Sunday, 15 November 2009

Barney Bubbles original design for 4000 Weeks Holiday

Graphics genius Barney Bubbles accepted the commission Ian passed to him in the early autumn of 1983 to design the sleeve for 4000 Weeks Holiday. Tragically it was one of Barney's last designs - he died in November of that year before the work was completed. Here we see the first stage of Barney's original design (courtesy of Pauline Kennedy aka Caramel Crunch/Reasons 2009). When the album eventually appeared in 1984, it was packaged in what was intended to be the inner bag, with Ian's hand-written credits, its design completed by Caramel Crunch following Barney's death. It is thought, however, that Barney's original design did appear on Portuguese pressings of 4000 Weeks Holiday (Polydor Records).
With thanks to Rebecca and Mike, and Paul Gorman, author of Reasons To Be Cheerful - a book about the work of Barney Bubbles


  1. Hi Will,
    Yes, Barney's original design did appear on the Portuguese pressing (we sent you a picture of it) with only a minor amendment to cope with the change in tracklist between Barney preparing the artwork and the LP being released. Our hunch is that this minor change was by the record company.
    The picture above isn't really the first stage of Barney's original design, it is actually the finished stage of the original design, albeit only some of it is shown; the tracklist and the remaining graphics are missing simply because this picture only shows one of the two layers of camera-ready artwork.
    Some further info:
    As part of our research about all this, we've been told that cost concerns were behind the reason for the originally intended inner sleeve running as the outer sleeve (in most territories).
    Rebecca and Mike

  2. In addition to Barney Bubbles' original LP sleeve design going out in Portugal as we said above, some white label UK test pressings were (unusually) housed in a fully litho-printed cardboard LP sleeve of Barney's original design. The sleeves that came with the test pressings differ from the Portugal sleeves in that they have what we presume is a promo catalogue number (Durt 101), and also have the song 'Noddy Harris' in the tracklist, with no appearance of 'Inspiration'; it is entirely true to Barney's original in this sense.

    We spoke to a former record company executive about this (who was there at the time), but there were no definite recollections as to why some test pressings came with fully printed original Barney sleeves, nor the general wider story, unfortunately.