No Bongos, No Stilts: Quirky #2

Fancying myself as an Alan Erasmus of the 90s Ambient-Electronic scene (or indeed my famous sadly decased namesake) I set to task comissioning who I considered to be possibly the Peter Saville of the era to design Quirky’s flyers: Paul Nicholson of Prototype 21 had designed Aphex Twin’s logo, the sleeves for both Ambient Works and for a short time was Richard James’ dancer (a common mistake at the time was that he was actually Richard and the fellow crouching over his equipment was the lighting guy). Nicholson along with other emerging talents like Ben Drury & Will Bankhead, Grant Wilson-Claridge of Rephlex and R-Art’s work for Irdial Discs, I all felt were creating a fresh visual identity for new British electronic music, similar to Third Earth’s designs for Detroit Techno labels. Elsewhere, the new breed of European Techno records were largely packaged with sleeves depicting hippy robots, toga clad Adonises/Hindu Gods, or bad pastiches of Roger Dean, Trevor Key and others synoymous with 70s Progressive Rock album sleeves. James Bignell (my partner and founder of Quirky) is a photographer whose work adorns the sleeves of Locust (Mark Van Hoen) classics like Weathered Well and Natural Composite. We wanted to distance Quirky from the ‘Crustie’ proto-Trance nights popular at the time, proliferated with bongo players and stilt walkers (who were often let in for free). I think and hope that we largely succeeded. (Thanks again to Natalie Abadzis)

Myself, James Bignell, Unknown circa 1994



    • Hey Paul!
      Good to hear from you old friend. I’m living in Oslo now but am back over in Blighty from time to time, I’ll let you know when I’m there next.
      Nice to see you’re still busy with design, it appears to be going very well, it’s truly deserved. Have a great Crimbo, hope to catch you in the
      new year. All the best.


      • Hey Tony, I was wondering why you hadn’t replied and then checked your blog again and, like a fool, realised that of course you’d reply to the actual message.
        Funnily enough, a week or two after I wrote to you it turns out my wife (yes, I am married), works with Mark Van Hoen’s wife. So, up came the name James Bignell and another connection to Quirky. We all love the nature of coincidence…
        So, how come you have ended up in Oslo… What are you up to… And, all that? Definitely, if your over here we must meet up.


      • Hey again Paul. I ended up in Oslo because my missus is Norwegian and I really fancied a change from London and fell in love with Norway after a few visits. Very pleased to hear you’re married and happy Paul 🙂 Marks’ wife Jayne is great, I haven’t seen her in years, keep meaning to get to NY to see them both. Mark just sent me his new album which is great, very much in the vain of Truth is Born of Arguments. You should get your wife to try and wrangle a copy. As for what I’m up to – doing some DJing, booking and making music until I get a better grip on the language and/or a proper job. The music is with a band called Necessary. We have an album out in a couple of months but there’s some other stuff on the go as well, which is more rooted in club music. Will hopefully appear sometime this year too. There’s more details about all of that on the blog. Will see you in the coming months I’m sure, will let you know when I’m over. All the best.


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