Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Pink Floyd UFO Poster Being Restored

Custom Framing Phoenix: Pink Floyd UFO Poster - Phoenix Archival Framing: Phoenix archival framing Here's an original (first print) silkscreen poster (the layered inking around the little paisleys is obvious) of a Pink Floyd UFO poster. Click the above link to go to that blog post.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire Guitar Up Close

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire

Syd was fond of many guitars during his career but the guitar that he admitted feeling "most close to" was his dynamically customised Fender Esquire and (almost in tribute) his successor in Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, used a sunburst Fender Esquire; which he later modified with an additional pickup. Syd’s Fender Esquire was refinished in metallic silver and featured a series of 15 mirrored style metal discs stuck to the front of the body and on the scratch plate (this singular disc also featuring a small yellow sticker), giving the guitar an "other worldly" look that worked beautifully with the music that the group were producing at the time with the help of Syd’s Zippo lighter and some echo equipment. This guitar is known as "The Mirror-Disc Telecaster" but the mirror discs WERE NOT ACTUALLY GLASS MIRRORS AND THE GUITAR WAS NOT A TELECASTER! 


Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
The Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire was created by applying a silver plastic sheeting which was shrunk into place (by heat), this was a material commonly used to insulate Radios and other electronic equipment.


The Silver plates (mirrors) were actually thin, polished, metal plates having a bit of an opaque reflectiveness (believe it or not these plates were a bit of a hippy fascination item in the 60's, people glued them to anything from doors, pants pockets to hats and car wheels! They were everywhere in London in the mid to late Sixties as the Hippy Era came in. You'd get little ones stuck on dresses, big ones on bags, they were stuck on hats, all sorts of stuff, because you could go into a "head shop", buy them singularly and stick them all over anything you wanted. Syd would polish them prior to shows to play with the light effects that Mark Leonard projected. Besides that, the only modifications he seemed to make to the guitar was the pickup height (closer to the strings makes the tone thicker).

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
It's a good question as to where the original is right now. As far as I read from several books, Syd once quoted that he gave it away for a black telecaster he ended up having (however rarely played, seemed he played it finally when he did his last gigs with 'Stars' before they split after about 3-4 gigs).


Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Rolling Stone has kind of an interview with Syd in Issue No. 98. December 23rd, 1971. He talks about his new guitar he bought and about the mirror disk esquire and tells where it went. This it what it says:

He produces a guitar and begins to strum out a new version of "Love You" from Madcap. "I worked this out yesterday. I think it's much better. It's my new 12-string guitar. I'm just getting used to it. I polished it yesterday." it's a Yamaha. He stops and eases it into a regular tuning, shaking his head. "I never felt so close to a guitar as that silver one with mirrors that I used on stage all the time. I swapped it for the black one, but I've never played it."


Syd, in another interview somewhere mentions (I paraphrase): "the discs had gotten worn".

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire

Well yes, they would if you didn't polish them all the time, they're metal, they get roughed up, scuffed, and lose their reflective quality.

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire






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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pink Floyd UFO 1967 Poster

Pink Floyd UFO
Pink Floyd UFO

Pink Floyd UFO
Pink Floyd UFO
I am now proud owner of this Pink Floyd UFO poster. It's off to be restored when I get it! This is a copy of my buddy's (framed) poster! Feast yer eyes!




 
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pink Floyd UFO Poster - Hapshash and the Coloured Coat

Pink Floyd UFO
Pink Floyd UFO
Here's an original (first print) silkscreen poster (the layered inking around the little paisleys is obvious) that was printed in 1967 by Osiris Visions (OA114). It was designed by Hapshash & The Coloured Coat (Nigel Waymouth & Michael English), and was used to promote a July 28, 1967 Pink Floyd show at the UFO Club in London (where Pink Floyd was more or less the house band in the Syd Barrett days). This is an ORIGINAL and very rare 1967 Osiris poster designed by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat for the great Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) at the UFO Club in London. Original first printings of this heavily bootlegged poster are extremely rare (more info below) and of course the fact that it's a concert poster for Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd make this one of the most collectible posters by Hapshash in the Osiris series (the highly acclaimed and collectible psychedelic posters made in London in 1967/68, printed and distributed by the Osiris Agency. )

Commissioned by International Times to design posters for their underground UFO club on London’s Tottenham Court Road, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth were true creative originals, on a par with San Francisco’s famous Family Dog collective. Pink Floyd’s UFO performances before a sympathetic audience helped cement an increasing popularity. A week later, their first album ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ was released.

Here's a (very) partial Set List from that Pink Floyd UFO show:

  • Reaction In G
  • Pow R. Toc H
This poster measures approximately 19 5/8" x 29 3/4", and is in good condition. I think the photo does an adequate job of displaying the various edge issues. This poster comes from the collection of Brad Rodgers and is the real deal. There are so very few of the true originals of this poster around (most are reprints).

Late in 1966 the London underground newspaper International Times held a launch party for their new paper. After the success of that event the promoters opened their own underground club, the UFO. Upon learning that other clubs in the US were printing posters for their events, they decided that this was a necessity for their events as well. In early 1967 Michael English was introduced to Nigel Waymouth and the two agreed to work together designing posters for these promoters. The two first chose the name 'Cosmic Colors', but produced only one poster under that  name. Next they chose the name 'Jacob and the Coloured Coat', but produced only two posters using that name. In about March of 1967 the settled on 'Hapshash and the Coloured Coat', the name by which they are best known. Around the time that the two began working together the International Times formed an off shoot company to handle it's poster design and printing for the UFO club and others, it's name was Osiris Visions. Included in this series of posters are a few that the various artists did before Osiris Agency was formed. Also included are a few posters by artists other than English and Waymouth. Most notably Martin Sharp, Mike McInnerney and Greg Irons. Osiris lasted until the fall of 1968 when the demand for all things psychedelic had completely dried up. Osiris numbered their posters in five different series using a variety of numbering schemes (including omitting one or several numbers at a time).

At present, there are a number of Hapshash and Osiris posters around that are, IN MY  OPINION, bootlegs. That is, they have been created well after 1967 and likely in the late 1990's in order to sell to an unsuspecting and unknowing public. These posters all have the following traits listed below, but the most obvious and telling trait is that they seem brand new, like they were made yesterday, (which they probably were). These are available from a variety of sources on e-bay as well as occasionally in the traditional auction house market although I've noticed that most of the reputable houses are no longer selling them.

The bottom line on these posters is that unless you are an expert yourself, or are incredibly sure of where a particular poster has been for the last 40 years you should assume that the poster you are buying is a bootleg. This holds especially true of posters bought on E-bay.

Here is a list of all of the ways to distinguish the bootlegs from the original printings..  These are  in no particular order of significance.

1. I've heard at least three stories about where these are coming from. The latest is the widow of one of the artists. Well, Nigel Waymouth and Michael English are both still with us so they don't have widows yet. I also heard the aunt of someone at the printer. I also heard the son of the aunt of the printer. None are true, they are being printed up this year.

2. The posters measure 19 1/2 by 29 1/2. Real ones come in at around 19 3/4 by 29 7/8 up to 20 by 30. This tells me that the process they are using to duplicate them causes some loss to the image size.

3. Fine details that exist on the first printings do not exist on these. I.E.  on the Tomorrow poster there should be more dots in the lettering than is actually there. There should also be more line detail on the bird. I have a white one that is for sure real to compare to and it is obvious that there has been some degrading in the image quality.  Further, on these there is quite a lot of spillover between the inks. Lots of silver on the black etc. There is no spillover on the originals. You can see each print run on the originals. I suspect these are printed in one run instead of the 2-4 that would be required the other way.

4. These posters are brand new. They are not Mint condition, they are brand new. There is not a single fold, crease, smudge, bent corner, wave, bend or curl. No matter how well they were stored over the years it's just physically not possible for them to all be perfect. I've picked up quite a collection of Hapshash items, and other paper goods for that matter, over the years and none of them come even close to being this nice.

5. The biggest problem to me though is the paper. It's not the right stock. It should be a little thicker. Not a lot, just a little. But where I know they're not right is when I turn them over. They are white as snow. Not off white, not faded white, but bright white. There is just no way that ANY paper produced in 1967 could look like that. It's impossible. Paper is made using various chemicals that will eventually cause it to age. No matter what. These haven's aged a bit. That's why I believe they are being printed this year. If you smell them they don't smell 35 years old either. They smell brand new. Go get your nicest LP from 35 years ago and smell it. It smells like it is 35 years old. That is a hard thing to duplicate.

6. The colors are just a little bit off. The Julie Felix that is around has an olive green through gold coloration. The one shown in Ted Owens's book is yellow. That is a big problem. Of course one vendor says that they "were all printed during different print runs" etc. etc. That's true, they were created in a print run 35 years later. Hah.

7. The Arthur Brown of the 500 series is on the same paper stock as all the rest basically. I have a Hendrix of the 500 series that is for sure real that is printed on more of a newsprint type stock. It has yellowed and looks like it is 35 years old.

8. The double size Pink Floyd at the UFO club is printed on the same paper stock as some of the others, that is: one side is plain white matte paper and the other is a semi gloss or "waxie" texture. What are the odds that the same paper stock would be used on a poster from 1967 and another from a couple of years later.

9. I've noticed that one of the key methods to determine a bootleg from an original is to look for any overspray of ink colors. On most of the bootlegs you can see a very fine overspray on colors. That is, there will be a very fine mist of one color on top of another i.e. black on top of silver or gold on top of black etc.

10. The other key method to determining a bootleg from an original is to see how many layers of ink there are, or how many print runs were required to print the poster. On the originals you can clearly see where one layer of ink ends and another starts or overlaps it. On the bootlegs it looks like the colors are all part of the same print run with no depth or layering.
 
 
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pink Floyd Fillmore Auditorium 1967 Poster - Original Art

Pink Floyd Fillmore
Pink Floyd Fillmore
 Check out this original art for the poster promoting the Pink Floyd's 11/26-28/1967 run of shows at the Fillmore Auditorium. These concerts featured performances by the Floyd along with Lee Michaels and Clear Light. This is a one-of-a-kind artifact from the psychedelic sixties. This Pink Floyd Fillmore original art is by Bonnie MacLean for the BG90 poster. It was also the first Fillmore appearances by Pink Floyd. This was the infamous 1967 US Tour by Pink Floyd where, it is generally accepted, that Pink Floyd decided that they had to DO SOMETHING about Syd Barrett. Bill Graham was so "impressed" with them that he didn't book them again until 1969.

This image is hand drawn in pen & ink on thick illustration board and measures approx. 19" x 25". The image measures a full 14" x 21"; exactly the same size as the poster. Original art for many of these psychedelic posters exhibits a much finer detail than the final posters themselves and this one is no exception. It must be seen it in person to be fully appreciated. The piece remains in precisely the same, beautiful condition as the day it was completed over 45 years ago. Here's a direct quote from Bonnie about the creation of the image: "This poster had a two-fold inspiration: 1. England and 2. the name Pink Floyd; the name inspired the choice of a male figure; the English influence came from the work of the artist, William Morris, famous for his paisley fabric designs, which inspired the pattern on the jacket." Bonnie signed the work "in the plate" back when she originally created it and she has signed it once more at lower right, just above the bottom crop line, in the manner in which she would sign one of her paintings. See the additional photos of the signature and of Bonnie signing it in her studio.

A bit of history: in a cosmic twist of bittersweet irony, Bonnie's former husband Bill Graham unexpectedly presented her with all of her original poster art as a Christmas gift in 1990. Tragically, Bill would perish less than a year later in a helicopter crash, on October 25, 1991. To the best of my knowledge, only a tiny handful of pieces of original art for any Fillmore poster have ever been offered to the public, for one simple reason....Bill Graham retained them all. They are now in the permanent possession of Wolfgang's Vault, never to be shared with the public.
 
 
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