Stephen Fowler and Rocky Alvarez are exhibiting their collection of home made record sleeves
Private view 6.30 this coming Thursday night (23rd), at;
53 Columbia Road, London E2 7R6
the exhibition will be on until Sunday 26th April.
selections of the collections have been printed and bound in three volumes.These will be available to buy on the night. (Volume Three is hot off the press!)
there will also be a chance to hear the record collection being played by Nervous Stephen and Rocky.
Light refreshments will be served.
Stephen Fowler and Rocky Alvarez have been picking up home made record sleeves from junk shops,flea markets,second hand record shops and charity shops for a good few years and along with donated sleeves from their friends they have managed to collect a stunning collection of funny,tragic and clever sleeves.
Jessica Lack recently wrote this piece in the Guardian about the collection;
Artist Stephen Fowler is not your average record collector. Sure he’s a sucker for rare vinyl like the rest of us, but since his self-imposed retirement from the DJ circuit last year, he has been exhibiting some of the more peculiar examples of his collection. Yes, it’s DIY cover art courtesy of the general British public, found in the dusty corners of charity shops up and down the country.
It is easy to forget in the era of the iPod, the passion we once had for the single. Tantalisingly affordable at £1.99, it was the cheap slutty shortcut to musical nirvana fit only for pre-teens and philistines. Wrapped in a flimsy paper sleeve, it didn’t take more than the average teenage bedroom sulk to find your beloved Purple Rain cover had become a shadow of its former self. Mottled with white creases, torn corners and buckled innards, it was glossy vinyl’s shabby partner, like Midnight Cowboy’s Ratso to Joe Buck.
Fowler’s collection is the fall-out of cover destitution. His warped specimens are bittersweet testaments to love and loss. Some are perversely pathetic, like a song called Baby Oh! Baby, which has been painstakingly repaired using adhesive plasters. Others are just deeply ironic. The Glitter Band’s 1974 hit Let’s Get Together Again has been re-packaged and a photograph of the group stuck on the front with sellotape has discoloured to a sticky amber, they really are a tarnished version of their sparkly younger selves. More hilariously is a cartoon of a car-crash, complete with decapitations and blood splats drawn onto a makeshift sleeve of Candi Staton’s Nights on Broadway – surely the work of a beleaguered younger brother driven to murderous vengeance by repeated playing?
Other covers say so much more about the teenage psyche than a song ever could. The Human Leagues’ pioneering electro single Being Boiled was released in 1978 before Oakey teemed up with the photogenic Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley. But here, some pubescent heart has been driven to an act of futile endeavour by sticking pictures of the girls all over the cover – as if the concept of the band without them would be too painful to consider.
Ultimately it is the simplest examples that are the most telling. Rod Stewart’s larger-than-life persona is reduced to a blank white cover with his name written in purple felt-tip pen, Elvis’ face cut out of Jailhouse Rock to make way for Roy Alton’s reggae version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Eddie Cochran’s C’mon Everybody – that rallying cry to disaffected youth – is illustrated with a sketch of a dude smoking a reefer. It would be easy to dismiss these acts of random creativity as nostalgia for a time when new release meant queuing with the rest of Britain’s spotty youth for Our Price to open. But the cartoons, doodles and day-glo handwriting speak of the hopes and desires and perversities of generations of school children and their thrifty parents that can never be conveyed by the simple click of a download button.
with thanks to Kavel