Designed by Malcolm Garrett, but the idea for the bag came from Trevor Green, keyboard player in The Fireplace (www.mdmarchive.co...). Malcolm was doing a BA in Commercial Art at Manchester Poly at the time and Trevor, Fine Art. Meanwhile Malcolm came up with the name Fireplace for the band as Trevor was always drawing them. We all shared a flat at 199 Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, above Cowlishaws wet fish shop. John McGeogh of Magazine/Banshees was also a tenant, as well as Judy Blame, designer, who I knew by his real name of Chris Barnes. Malcolm and John and Chris went on to fame and riches and Trevor languishes in obscurity. C'est La Vie!
Yes, Trevor, John, Judy and I did all live at 199 Wilmslow Road (although I think John had moved to Whalley Range by the time Judy moved in). A few other people passed through those doors between 1975 and 1978 when I was there.
Trevor, and his musical partner John Chamberlain, never did manage to make anything more of Fireplace. But he did almost set fire to the kitchen on more than one occasion, forgetting that bread was toasting and catching fire, whilst he was in the other room playing the guitar.
The origin of the idea for the bag is not quite accurate as stated above though. My initial thought was to release the record in a plastic pouch with a sliding zip down the side, much like those A4 plastic folders you can buy in Ryman's. When I explained the idea of a plastic sleeve to Trevor he misinterpreted it and asked if I meant "like a carrier bag". This was a more appropriate notion, and much more realisable too, so I changed the plan following Trevor's comment.
The word 'Product' rather than the album's title featuring on the bag was suggested by Buzzcock's manager Richard Boon, whilst the large catalogue number on the other side was my typographic obsession. From the start I was insistent that catalogue numbers and other 'administrative' details should be prominent on packaging, to emphasise the mechanics of record production.
The carrier bag idea was resurrected by The B52s for their first album not long after, and again by Suede a good many years later.
All of which shows that creativity never exists in a vacuum and that ideas can have multiple origins. Indeed the use of metallic silver and fluorescent orange in the marketing materials for Another Music in a Different Kitchen, including the posters with their diagonal stripes, as well as the significant positioning of catalogue number as already noted, went on to influence our friends at Factory and their development of a solidly grounded visual aesthetic.
As a sad postscript, I learned recently from another Manchester Poly Fine Art graduate from that same period, that Trevor took his own life not so long ago. We read only of it in a newspaper so don't have more details. Trevor was a wonderful artist and an inspirational individual.
Hi Malcolm. This is Jon Chamberlain here, though I use the moniker Kcid21 (don't ask me why, can't remember). A few weeks after posting this comment I heard that Trevor had died. We were both from Shropshire and lived within a few miles of each when growing up but I didn't know him until arriving at Manchester Poly. I went to his funeral which was held in the local crematorium among the leafy lanes where I used to cycle as a child. As well as Trevor, Simon Grant, the singer of Fireplace died many years ago, also Jon Barlow, the drummer, an old grammar school chum of mine who died last year. Now there's only me and Fuzz (John Foster) left of the original band so perhaps we were cursed.
Trevor also moved to Whalley Range, and I was eventually the last remaining tenant of 199. Brian Cowlishaw (remember him) used to come in every day demanding I leave and one night Trevor returned and I found him curled up in his old room, saying he couldn't remember the address of his new flat. It was around that time he became heavily involved in drugs and I believe that was really the start of his long decline which ultimately led to his mental illness and suicide.
A year or so ago I was contacted by Roger Cleghorn by email after he saw the video of Fireplace on this site and I told him about Trevor.
Good to hear from you. I suspected that KCID21 was you, but couldn't be certain!
I hadn't seen the Fireplace videos on YouTube until seeing this post yesterday. I never knew you'd had that TV appearance.
It was Roger that passed on the sad news about Trevor to me a year or so ago. I see him from time to time.
I am now working with Mcr School of Art helping coordinate alumni events in London (reconnecting people who once knew one another, and introducing those who should know one another) as well working with a team to establish 'Design Manchester' as an annual series of events celebrating the creative industries in the North. (designmcr.com)
It would be great to get your input. My email is email@example.com. Please get in touch direct and I can tell you more.
All the best
COMMENT ADDED 18th February 2015
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