Record Store Day 2015 Top Ten #RSD

WARNING: Frivolous non-work related post

I don’t know why this passed me by until now but tomorrow is World Record Store Day (RSD)! The short film above will give you a sense of the anticipation that is building for some music fans.

The 18th April is also my birthday (which hadn’t passed me by). I decided at the end of last year that I should finally invest in a turntable on my birthday to justify hoarding a whole stack of records – I haven’t had a record player since 2002 (?) – so it would seem that the ‘vinyl’ stars had aligned!

As is now tradition, there are dozens of RSD related special releases on vinyl that will not be available until Saturday 18th April – and even then, some of them will only be available through participating stores. So if you like your music served up on black (and various other coloured and pictured) plastic then there’s plenty to get excited about.

For more info, including finding participating stores near you, you can visit the official website.

On the official site you will also find a list of the RSD releases, however (and this is why we are here) I have already done some of the dirty work for you…

This is my Top Ten of what to look out for – I’ve listed the format and by clicking on ‘More RSD information’ you’ll find more info on that product. What are you waiting for Pop-pickers!?

– Number 10

False Hope – Laura Marling [7″ Vinyl] [NEW release]

Limited edition from Laura Marling’s new album Short Movie. I lost track of her a little after her first album but I’m loving the sound of her new stuff and so this would be a good place to get back in… More RSD information

– Number 9

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Join Hands [12″ Vinyl Album] [reissue]

This one is going in for sheer effort alone – restored track listing, artwork that was originally rejected (but preferred) and heavy weight vinyl. This looks like a very nice gift for any SatB fan. More RSD information

– Number 8

No life ’til leather – Metallica [music cassette] [new format]

Early Metallica demos (featuring Dave Mustane) reissued on a music cassette – you may never get to ‘play’ it but how could you resist? More RSD information

– Number 7

You Really Got Me – The Kinks [7″ Vinyl] [reissue]

One of three exclusive 7″ reissues from The Kinks for RSD. The grandaddy tune of heavy metal – I’d be tempted to buy this for the cover alone. More RSD information

– Number 6

Kings of the Wild Frontier/Ant Music – Adam and the Ants [7″ Vinyl] [reissue]

At the time Stand and Deliver was the AatA track for me – these days it’s Ant Music. It’d be great to hear the faint crackle of the turntable over the drum sticks intro… More RSD information

– Number 5

Detroit – Gaz Coombes [10″ Vinyl] [NEW release]

This is the latest single from Gaz Coombes (formerly of Supergrass) and while I’ve only heard it the once on YouTube it’s stayed with me. RSD is not all about reissues, it’s about new music too so this isn’t a bad start. More RSD information

– Number 4

Alone + Easy Target – Foo Fighters [10″ Vinyl] [new format]

I’m not the biggest Foo Fighters fan but Dave Grohl is the official RSD ambassador for 2015 and this looks a nice little EP of demos (including a classic Kim Wilde cover) to coincide with Foo Fighters 20 years anniversary. More RSD information

Number 3

Walk On By – Dionne Warwick/The Stranglers [7″ Vinyl] [new format]

The Stranglers deliver a great cover version. This special edition 7″ has the Dionne Warwick classic on the flip side. Neither is better than the other – just different – highly recommended! I’ve included the Top of the Pops version below but the full version runs for much longer with a classic Dave Greenfield keyboard solo. More RSD information

 Number 2

More Roar – Robert Plant [10″ Vinyl] [new release]

A life EP of from Percy’s recent tour – featuring a reworking of Whole Lotta Love – what more could you want?! More RSD information

Number 1

Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 – Various Artists [Double Vinyl Album] [reissue]

This one is a pure indulgence. Ordinarily buying a reissue on vinyl is less satisfying than tracking down an original (unless the original is prohibitively expensive). In this case however, owning a bright and shiny indulgent reissue of the 80s classic somehow seems more appropriate. If you were around the first time then, like me, you might be tempted – if you weren’t then you really should get this – watch the original TV add below for proof!! More RSD information

And bubbling under the Top Ten…

Take On Me – Aha 7″ picture disc (another eighties indulgence)

Bernard Herrmann – Psycho Original Score (Great for scaring the neighbours)


Chime in and let me know what you would (will, or do) chose..!


Apple and the SuperFly

What do you think of replacing advertising with art on billboards, bus shells and street posters?

Shot on iPhone 6

My SuperFly exhibitions did this in 2009 and 2010 – now Apple are doing the same.

Despite having not seen it in the flesh I really like the Shot on iPhone 6 poster campaign by Apple as a simple piece of advertising design. As the campaign title suggests the images on the posters have been captured on the iPhone 6, demonstrating the power and versatility of the camera And yet it took a piece on the Creative Review blog to help me realise that my interest ran deeper than the simplicity of the design. The campaign felt very ‘SuperFly’.

With SuperFly I set out to create an openly accessible art exhibition using spaces usually reserved for advertising. Adverts often use great art, old and new, as part of the composition, however the focus is on selling the product.

SuperFly Creative Review

The Shot on iPhone 6 campaign is clearly selling a device, but it is doing so by demonstrating the output of the device, in print, via the creativity of its user.

Being ‘the most successful company in the entire history of civilisation’ means that Apple can dispense with the (limited) branding and sponsorship that I needed to accommodate, which makes the minimalist design even stronger.

And of course – given the recent (and impending) Art Everywhere initiative – Apple trump again in my eyes by using images of completely unknown photographers (unknown to me at least) when they could easily have given their device to a celebrity photographer and demonstrated its power that way (see the clip below (referring to the iPhone 4S) and ask yourself what the iPhone 6 campaign could have been in the hands of Annie Leibovitz?!)

So five years on Apple bring their own brand of SuperFly to the streets – although I’m guessing they were able to afford several more poster sites than I was…

Have a read of the article (by @belford_paul) and then jump to the SuperFly article (also on the Creative Review blog from 2009) – is it time to revive the SuperFly street exhibition?

Shot on iPhone 6 – Creative Review

SuperFly 2009 – Creative Review

Plastic Leadership – file under ‘punk’

Have you seen the state of leadership today? It’s like punk never happened…
What we need is more Plastic leadership!


It’s almost 40 years since an art school drop-out, with a clothes shop on London’s Kings Road, kick started the English ‘punk’ scene. In 1976, punk was defined by, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. It was The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. It was three (self taught) chords on a cheap guitar.

The rock ’n’ roll scene at the time was considered by some to be elitist, safe and/or irrelevant – Johnny Rotten (lead singer in The Sex Pistols) was famously spotted by Malcolm McLaren wearing a home modified “I hate” Pink Floyd t-shirt.

But in braking the rules, punk created a few of its own.

The 90s brought with it teenagers who were less familiar with those rules. While they were ‘into’ The Sex Pistols, they were also into ‘rock dinosaurs’ like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath – simply because no one told them they couldn’t.

“Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want.”

— Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

So why the history lesson in punk? Well, punk was misunderstood – and leadership has suffered the same fate…

“Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style.”

– David Byrne (Talking Heads)

Punk (to the uneducated) was perceived as being nothing but sneering, shouting and loud guitars.

But guess what – Leadership is still considered by some to be reserved for line managers, CEOs, prime ministers, etc…

Leadership has come to be about changing the world – and as a consequence it’s become unattainable.

“Punk became a circus didn’t it? Everybody got it wrong. The message was supposed to be: Don’t follow us, do what you want!”

– John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols)

Everybody got it wrong with leadership too. Leadership has become a circus of its own, stuffed full of it’s own glorified ring masters!

Real leadership isn’t about hierarchy. Real leadership creates opportunities for individuals – it allows everyone to take responsibility.

“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and says ‘That’s punk?’ and I say ‘No, that’s trendy!’”

— Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)


Great leadership makes leaders, not followers.

Derek Sivers, in his TED talk ‘Starting a movement’, says “A leader needs to be prepared to stand up and be ridiculed. It takes guts to truly stand out.” Standing out may give you the appearance of ‘a loan nut‘.

“[Punk] was something which brought people together, so they realised something was possible”

– Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks)

also points out that leadership is over glorified and he demonstrates the loan nut doesn’t become a leader until he gets his first follower – a leader in their own right. Without that follower, he simply remains a lone nut!

Pretenders and poseurs

But in amongst the genuine leaders there are also pretenders.

Pretenders in punk subculture were labelled ‘poseurs’ – they were not tolerated.

Maybe it’s time to expose the leadership poseurs – they’re easy to spot:

  • They don’t value their staff
  • They don’t collaborate
  • They don’t give time to other people’s ideas
  • The hold onto responsibility rather than share it
  • They take credit for other people’s work
  • They would rather manage than motivate

I’m not saying punk is about leadership, and I’m not saying leadership is punk. However, we do need to think differently about how we understand leadership and how we apply it to ourselves as individuals. If you are aware enough to recognise a poseur then you probably have a good idea how to turn some of those problems around.

“The whole punk ethic was do-it-yourself… When they said that anybody can do this, I was like, ‘OK, that’s me.’”
– Michael Stipe

‘Posing’ punk aren’t the end of the world but ‘pretend leaders’ can be devastating! In short, we need more people to take leadership and apply some ‘do-it-yourself’ punk ethic.

And this is where Plastic Leadership comes in.

Now, I understand the word ‘Plastic’ may make it sound ‘fake’ – but nothing could be further from the truth – this is the real deal. Let me introduce you…

Plastic Bertrand

plastic bertrand

On appearances alone Plastic Bertrand didn’t quite convince as a punk – however, his 1977 hit, “Ça plane pour moi”, is one of my favourite songs of all time. But I was six years old – what do I know?

Listen instead to what Joe Strummer had to say:

I don’t like saying, “You’re a punk and you’re not.”

There was a record out there called Ça plane pour moi by Plastic Bertrand, right? And I guarantee you if I had to play it for you right now you’d go, “Right! That is rockin!”

Now, if you were to say to any sort of purist punk, “This is a good punk record,” they’d get completely enraged. But Plastic Bertrand, whoever he was, compressed into that three minutes a bloody good record that will get any comatose person toe-tapping, you know what I mean?

By purist rules, it’s not allowed to even mention Plastic Bertrand. Yet, this record was probably a lot better than a lot of so-called punk records.”

So, roughly translated, Joe Strummer was saying that your leadership could be better than most so-called leaders! But what does band mate Mick Jones think?

“I came into the punk scene because punk stayed with you, it has taught you something. A lot of the other music of the time left you as it found you.”

— Mick Jones (The Clash)

Don’t leave people as you found them – have an impact. You know what to do – value people and make them feel valued – collaborate – listen – try other people’s ideas – share responsibility – reward good work – enable and motivate – take the initiative, and in turn, inspire someone else to lead too.

So – I think we’ve established a ‘title’ doesn’t make you a leader, any more than green hair makes you a punk. It’s demeanour, not dress. It’s ethic, not ethnicity. It’s attitude, not platitudes. So remember Joe Strummer and his attitude to Plastic Bertrand…

Plastic leadership – don’t leave home without it!

A wide angle on 2014


So here we are, 2015 – the fabled year of Marty McFly’s journey into the future. Apart from the blessing that in our universe Jaws sequels didn’t see episode 19, the reality of 2015 in the Back to the Future context remains largely underwhelming.

No hover boards, no flying Delorean’s (no Delorean’s of any sort on my driveway for that matter…), and no fortune-securing almanacs.

But the downbeat attitude ends here! My intention is to point out some faves of the last 12 months while looking forward to amazing developments in the year ahead!

So here goes, five highlights of 2015 (excluding family of course, cos’ they would take up three slots straight-a-way) in no particular order, as they appear in my head at this moment (while I also reserve the right to change my mind later…)

GoPro: I’ve always loved taking pictures and have a history of digital cameras that goes back to 2000 and a 3.4MP Fuji. Things have moved on considerably of course and despite the current convenience of a very powerful camera on my phone I’ve had a lot of fun with this camera over the past eight months – not least of which was taking 240FPS videos of sycamore leaves (helicopters) and slowing it right down.

Pixies: The new album did not disappoint and neither did their live set at T in the Park (Scotland).


Gairloch: …is a small town on the west coast of Scotland. We went as a family for the first time this year (my wife had been before) and what a location. We took a trip 30 miles out to sea on a RHIB and saw dolphins, a Minke whale, seals, puffins… it was a stunning morning, some of which you can see in the film below… I also got to try out my sea kayak (I’m going to cheat and include here as another fave of the year) in some serious surf. Can’t wait to get back…

Games: This year has been a real eclectic mix of games in the family. The kids really got into Monopoly and love using my Star Wars original trilogy edition – they both beat a couple of times. We also downloaded Need For Speed: Most Wanted which is a huge guilty pleasure for me. And then on a short break to Edinburgh I introduced my boy to Games Workshop which he got quite interested in so we are currently painting Warhammer 40K figures and learning the game. Finally, my boy also had a chess set for Christmas which he has now taught me to play… so despite the number of devices available to play games on in the house we have a pretty healthy balance of non-digital interests too…

University: 2014 was the year that saw my wife graduate with the same Masters in Design for Services that I completed in 2011. IT was like a refresher course for me, which was great, but also it’s given us the opportunity to collaborate on some great projects together and moving forward I’m sure there’ll be lots more – exciting times!

So, what hit the spot for you in 2014? While you think have a quick squiz at my 2014 in wide-angle, mostly courtesy of my GoPro. Watch out 2015!

Why I am not a Service Designer

dementia Diary workshop 1

At the best of times it can be a challenge explaining to people what you do. But when they already have a perception of what you do..?!

I’ve been a designer for a long time. A Graphic Designer. To many I will probably be a Graphic Designer until the day… well, you get the idea.

I’m a Designer still. But of a kind that many haven’t heard of. For you lucky people that’s about to change.
I work in Service Design.

PostIts workshop 1

Perhaps (mildly) controversially I’m going to say that I’m NOT a ‘Service Designer‘. That’s because I’m not sure that there is any such thing. Service Design (to me) is a collaboration between the designer (equipped with the tools and methods of design thinking), and the professional (armed with expert knowledge of their field, service or system – e.g. Social Services, Education, Health Care).

Within the collaboration my role is that of facilitator. I bring tools and methods that will facilitate the drawing out (pun intended) of ideas and visualisations to innovate, improve or completely change existing methods of working.

Maybe within that process we’re ALL service designers – what a utopia that would be!
On the outside, however, I’m just a designer, doing what I’ve always done – but with a new bag of fancy pencils.

Although the principles that hold Service Design together have been around for a while, the idea of designers doing something this useful still appears to shock. But if ever we needed proof that SD was edging into the mainstream, we find that even the BBC are in on it. Radio Four‘s ‘In Business had a programme dedicated to Design Thinking and how it is being applied to designing public services. It’s a very good overview and well worth a listen.

BBC 4 In Business

Conveniently there is also a new web platform around the idea of helping the general public understand what Service Design is and how businesses and public services can benefit from implementing its methods. Tereza Procházková recently graduated from Dundee University‘s Masters of Design for Services course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design – Translating Service Design is her Masters project where she has taken the novel idea of creating short videos to introduce some of the concepts and methods of, you guessed it, Service Design.

So, expect to see Service Design installed into your place of work anytime soon! Well, maybe the next couple of years anyway.
Do you see Service Design solving issues for your workplace? Do you have ‘Service Designer‘ written on your business card and want your money back?
Tell me what you think…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

During the last two years Jon Gill has worked as a designer with public service organisations such as Dundee City Council, The Young Foundation, People Can and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) – not on posters and leaflets or physical products, but on services. Services such as delivery of services to homeless people in Westminster and Hackney, Public Consultation on Council Housing in Dundee and piloting new Social Service ideas for SSSC across Scotland (Borders Council, Moray Council, Alzheimer Scotland).