Tag Archives: Syd Barrett

Review and Photos from Hipgnosis – Masters of Album Cover Art Launch Event

11 - Graham Gouldman and Aubrey Powell
Graham Gouldman (10cc) and Aubrey Powell (Hipgnosis)

I had the pleasure of attending the launch event for Hipgnosis- Masters of Album Cover Art at St Pauls Gallery in Birmingham on 22nd Feb 2014. In addition to the treasure trove of beautifully presented historic album cover art, there was an entertaining talk from Hipgnosis co-founder Aubrey “Po” Powell and Graham Gouldman from the band 10cc. There are lots of photos from the launch at the end of this article.

27 - St Pauls Gallery Exhibition
Some of the Pink Floyd album cover art produced by Hipgnosis

Pink Floyd band members past and present have a long history of friendship and working together with Hipgnosis (Aubrey “Po” Powell and Storm Thorgerson). Hipgnosis produced album covers including Saucerful of Secrets, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and More (quantitatively and literally!). See a full list.

Hipgnosis was a name inspired by Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett after he scrawled the acronym on the door frame of the house he was sharing with Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, who formed Hipgnosis. Hip is a reflection of a cool subculture; gnostic is esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters and hypnosis which is an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep characterised by heightened susceptibility to suggestion. Syd Barrett probably found it very amusing, but their landlord was less impressed which led to the frame being re-painted!

10 - Aubrey Po Powell
Aubrey “Po” Powell from Hipgnosis discussing their approach to style

Aubrey “Po” Powell gave some background to the formation of Hipgnosis and their approach to art, their interactions with record company management and talked through some of the artwork hanging in the room at St Pauls Gallery.

In the days before electronic photo editing software (Photoshop) it was a painstaking process to create some of the surreal images that Hipgnosis are famous for. An album cover photograph can actually be made up of several different photographs which are arranged and glued down to create a new image which itself is then photographed as a single image. Syd Barrett would do something similar in his later life in Cambridge where he would paint a piece of artwork, take a photograph of it, and then destroy his original painting by way of setting fire to it in his back garden. Many believe Barrett was crazy for doing this sort of thing. Perhaps it was just art?

10cc How Dare You cover art from Hipgnosis
10cc How Dare You cover art from Hipgnosis

The technique of layering multiple images into one allowed the creation of some of the most iconic cover art ever produced and helped create the Hipgnosis style. This style was created by utilizing darkroom tricks, multiple exposures, airbrush retouching, and mechanical cut-and-paste techniques.

The Hipgnosis style partly consisted of having foreground, middleground and background all in perfect sharp focus which created a sense of surrealism.  This is particularly evident in 10cc’s How Dare You album cover art pictured above.

5 - Graham Gouldman
Graham Gouldman from 10cc

Graham Gouldman of 10cc joined Po to discuss how their working relationship came about and gave some amusing anecdotes to match Po. His discussion of the phrase “how dare you” and how it pops up in many a conversation between people over the telephone got a good reaction from the audience assembled.

41 - Your Humble Narrator Keith
Your Humble Narrator Keith

The exhibition runs from  22nd Feb to 5th April 2014 and is free to enter. Aubrey and Graham were only present at the launch event.

I highly recommend visiting this exhibition to see the amazing array of treasures created over the years by Hipgnosis for many bands including Pink Floyd, 10cc, Yes, Genesis, The Rolling Stones and many more. St. Pauls Gallery can be found at 94-108 Northwood Street, Birmingham, B3 1TH, England. There is a car park opposite which is pay and display.

Hipgnosis Event Launch Photos

The Difficulty of Some Syd Barrett Song Lyrics – Listen and Sing!

I’m going to be honest, I cannot remember more than 10% of the lyrics in Syd Barrett’s song, Octopus! I love the way all the words roll off the tongue, I love the rhythm they make and the sounds too. I know the feel of all the words… I just cannot remember them!

Listen Online

If it has been a while since you have listened to the song, and you have forgotten most of the song lyrics, you can listen to the song on Spotify and sing along with the lyrics below! Enjoy.

If you are looking for a good way to spend ten minutes, check out our extensive Syd Barrett Photo Gallery with hundreds of rare and amazing photos!

Syd Barrett Octopus Lyrics

Trip to heave and ho, up down, to and fro’
you have no word
trip, trip to a dream dragon
hide your wings in a ghost tower
sails cackling at every plate we break
cracked by scattered needles
the little minute gong
coughs and clears his throat
madam you see before you stand
hey ho, never be still
the old original favorite grand
grasshoppers green Herbarian band
and the tune they play is “In Us Confide”
so trip to heave and ho, up down, to and fro’
you have no word
Please leave us here
close our eyes to the octopus ride!

Isn’t it good to be lost in the wood
isn’t it bad so quiet there, in the wood
meant even less to me than I thought
with a honey plough of yellow prickly seeds
clover honey pots and mystic shining feed…
well, the madcap laughed at the man on the border
hey ho, huff the Talbot
“Cheat” he cried shouting kangaroo
it’s true in their tree they cried
Please leave us here
close our eyes to the octopus ride!

The madcap laughed at the man on the border
hey ho, huff the Talbot
the winds they blew and the leaves did wag
they’ll never put me in their bag
the seas will reach and always seep
so high you go, so low you creep
the wind it blows in tropical heat
the drones they throng on mossy seats
the squeaking door will always squeak
two up, two down we’ll never meet
so merrily trip forgo my side
Please leave us here
close our eyes to the octopus ride!