Home Taping Is Killing Music And It’s Illegal.

I found this on the back of a recently bought vinyl copy of “Before The Flood” by Bob (The most bootleged artist in history) Dylan & The Band. I don’t think it appears on the backs of any of the other LPs I own…


I seem to remember similar ads in the 1980’s which threatened JAIL TIME if you taped music from the radio! When I go to the cinema these days and they run an anti-piracy advert before the film, it only serves to remind me of the films that I need to illegally download because they’re not commercially available to buy. If they are available, they’re watered down cuts of the film or edited for violence or something silly like that.

Bob Dylan & The Band’s “Before The Flood” is a live recording from 1974 and it really is amazing! A great companion piece to the record would either be the 1974 bootleg soundboard recordings “Paint the Daytime Black” or “Oakland Flood”, but if you want those you’ll have to download them in an illegal fashion. Here’s the artwork so you know what you’re looking for…



…And from Wikipedia, here’s a copy and paste job (A theft if you will) about “Home Taping Is Killing Music”…

Home Taping Is Killing Music” was the slogan of a 1980s anti-copyright infringement campaign by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), a British music industry trade group. With the rise in cassette recorder popularity, the BPI feared that people being able to record music from the radio onto cassettes would cause a decline in record sales. The logo, consisting of a Jolly Roger formed from the silhouette of a compact cassette, also included the words And It’s Illegal.

The campaign has in recent years had its revival, as the Norwegian branch of IFPI launched a new campaign named Piracy Kills Music. The campaign has exactly the same message, same name and even very similar logos. The campaign won the Norwegian 2008 Gulltaggen award for “Best Internet Strategy” with much controversy.

An early ‘proponent’ of home taping was Malcolm McLaren who was at the time managing the British band Bow Wow Wow. In 1980 the band released their cassette single “C30, C60, C90 Go” on a cassette that featured a blank other side that the buyer could record their own music on. The band’s record label, EMI, dropped the group shortly afterwards because the single allegedly promoted home taping.

Glasgow’s George Square Is OUR Rectangle!

The six new shortlisted designs for the revamp of Glasgow’s George Square have been unveiled and I’m almost speechless at how terrible and charmless they all are. ALL of them.

Luckily, I’m not completely speechless and I’d just like to take this opportunity to say this:

George Square Is OUR Rectangle! Leave those Victorian statues EXACTLY where they are!

The moving of Glasgow’s many Victorian statues like gigantic chess pieces is nothing new and it’s not that I or the many other people who live close to the square are against change. As a matter of fact, everybody I’ve personally spoken to is all for a revitalisation of George Square but, and listen carefully, as a PUBLIC and VERY GREEN space!

The statues that surround George Square have been discreetly moved over the years more than once but c’mon! They look so settled where they stand today. And everybody knows it except for the people in charge who very shortly are about to completely ruin George Square as we have come to know it.

Let’s take a look at the six new shortlisted designs for the Square and as always, click on the images to enlarge them.

Design One:




Design Two:




Design Three:



Design Four:




Design Five:




Design Six:




Design Six is apparently the current “most popular” design with Glaswegians. The best of a bad bunch I’d say.

I’m not very good expressing myself when I’m angry without using extreme profanities so here are some photos of how George Square has looked in the past…


George Square


G. Square





Fireworks Night 2012:


…and here are two panoramic shots of how George Square currently looks today…



Don’t tell me what you think.
Write to Glasgow City Council and/or a decent Glasgow Newspaper you trust.
So not The Daily Record.

Keep right up to date with everything by visiting: Restore George Square.

You May Also Be Interested In…
* Future Glasgow
* The Glasgow Alphabet By Rosemary Cunningham
* Al Cook’s “Necropolis”

Behind Al Cook’s “Necropolis”: Blood Test.

Whenever I get an illustration commission I occasionally get asked to provide ‘idea sketches’ to show what the finished piece will look like. This type of request usually results in me turning down a lot of artwork job offers because I almost never ever produce any ‘idea’ sketches and if I do, they never really resemble the eventual illustration and I tear them up just as soon as I’m finished with them. Besides, I think that sample and ‘idea’ sketches could subliminally put someone off of your work.
Is that crazy and paranoid?

If it’s not crazy and paranoid it’s probably arrogant of me but I’d rather turn down an illustration job than waste my time churning out sample sketches just to please someone who doesn’t have the faith in me to just let me get on with things.

That said, sometimes I do produce ‘working’ sketches for my horror comic-strip to help me place where characters and objects will be in the panels and today I’m going to break my own rule and show them to you.

All of these working sketches come from the “Please Give Blood” installment from my comic-strip, Al Cook’s “Necropolis” and as you will see, these were never meant to be seen…

* Working Sketch:

* Eventual Illustration Panel:


* Working Sketch:


* Eventual Illustration Panel:


* Working Sketch:


* Eventual Illustration Panel:


* Working Sketch:


* Eventual Illustraion Panel:


* Working Sketch #1:


* Working Sketch #2:


* Working Sketch #3:


* Working SKetch #4:


* Eventual Illustration Panel:


I decided to upload these scribbles because aside from my own, I like to see work in progress. Be it a building being built or a half finished song, I’m interested and so I hope those sketches were of some interest to you.
You can view “Please Give Blood” in full HERE.

You May Also Be Interested In…
* Al Cook’s “Necropolis”
* Graham Humphreys: “Zombie Flesh Eaters” Artwork
* Sketches For Nobody #6

Al Cook’s “Necropolis”: Please Give Blood.

Hi folks, this is the latest entry in my macabre Glaswegian comic-strip, Al Cook’s “Necropolis”.
It’s called “Please Give Blood” so please do!

As always, the main place to view Al Cook’s “Necropolis” in all of its complete and black biro penned, sinister hand-drawn wonder is HERE.

* Footnote:
I sent this “Please Give Blood” strip off to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service asking them to get behind the comic etc… and they said:

Hi Al,
Many thanks for your enquiry.
I’m afraid this is something we will not be able to support.
Best regards,

Leigh Taylor.
Donor Recruitment and Publicity Officer
Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service
25 Shelley Road
G12 0XB
Tel: 0141 357 7740“.

That aside, please do give blood. It’s very very important and not painful at all.

* Give Blood For Scotland
* Al Cook’s “Necropolis”

You May Also Be Interested In:
* Cut Loose (Complete Version)
* Cracking Open A Cold One

Why ‘Signature’ And ‘Replica’ Guitars Are For Losers.

I’ve been a guitar player for almost 21 years now…

My very first guitar cost my parents 15 bucks. It was a 3/4 sized cherry sunburst acoustic and it came with horrible black nylon, plasticy strings which I replaced as soon as I figured out how. I’ve never ever seen black guitar strings since.

I got that guitar for my 10th birthday and I played it for about 5 hours every single day over the next few years. Regrettably, I gave that guitar away to a pal and the last I heard of it, it had been sprayed with silver or blue paint and as recently as 2004 it was still being passed around by kids in my home town interested in learning how to play.
I wish I still had it.

My second guitar wasn’t very much of an improvement on my first. Again, it was a nylon stringed acoustic costing 25 bucks from a catalogue. It was just like the kind of guitar used in Scottish high school music departments.

That guitar ended up falling off of a cliff and getting smashed into smithereens. Yep. A cliff.

I went through quite a few guitars after that and eventually ended up playing an electric Epiphone Les Paul. It was blue and sparkly and it really was a great guitar. I played it for years and by the time I was through with it, it was covered in scratches and dents and occasionally, blood. The paint below the scratch plate had worn away and the neck had even been broken and fixed but you know what? It didn’t matter because those scratches, dents, dings and breaks were made because of the way I play.

I took great care of that guitar but that doesn’t mean to say that I didn’t use it. Scratches and breaks are inevitable.

Whilst looking at Gibson Les Paul guitars on Ebay today I came across this:

Neil Young OLD BLACK Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Gold Top – Bigsby Relic

Neil Young’s ‘OLD BLACK’!
Yours for only £1299.00!

– Except, that’s not Neil’s beloved Old Black because Neil has his beloved Old Black because it’s his. Nope, that’s a replicated version of Old Black and as you can see, it looks just like the real thing. Every scratch and modification has been painstakingly recreated exactly according to the original.

I have a problem with this kind of thing.
I think it’s a sad person who would spend money on this. Neil Young didn’t make or cause those scratches or (as I believe they are called in the business) ‘distress marks’. Some guy in a factory made those marks and besides, why would anybody want a new and unplayed guitar which is covered in scratches? It won’t make you sound like Neil Young my friend. Neil Young sounds like Neil Young because he’s Neil Young and because he does things like this:

That guitar is not beat up. It just looks beat up. It’s never been played and ironically it’s listed on Ebay as: “A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear.”

What we have here is simply an overpriced Les Paul Epiphone. The original ‘Old Black’ was and still is:
(a) Old.
(b) A 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop which was crudely painted over with black paint and then heavily modified by Neil Young.

Do you see what I’m getting at here?
If your guitar ends up as beat up as this cheap imitation looks, it should be in that condition because you really used your guitar over the years.

I also have a problem with the money that is charged for shoddy items like this.

A beat up and broken VOX amp that Jimi Hendrix once pissed on and then set fire to?
– Nah. I’ll take a fully working and un-pissed upon VOX amp that hasn’t been set alight thanks.

A beautiful cherry sunburst guitar that has been defaced by the signature of Slash in thick black marker?
– I think you see where I’m going here don’t you?

I hope you do because this isn’t what guitars are for. Play your guitar every day and before you know it, you’ll have a style all of your own and if the Gibson Company one day approach you to authorise your very own signature brand?
– Tell them to EFF OFF!

You May Also Be Interested In…
* Neil Young’s Sound
* A 1997 Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Florentine
* A Montecristo Cigar Box Guitar!

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