Designer Desire: Alex Steinweiss

Mosaic of Alex Steinweiss LP cover art | H is for Home

New Yorker, Alex Steinweiss (1917-2011) is considered the father of LP artwork. Prior to the 1930s, the vast majority of records were sold in plain sleeves or record shop advertising ‘bags’. As the first art director at Colombia Records, he recalled what record covers used to be like:

The covers were brown, tan or green paper. They were not attractive, and lacked sales appeal.

They were so drab, so unattractive, I convinced the executives to let me design a few.

He went on to design album artwork for other record companies such as Decca, London, Remington and Everest.

Examples of his work can be found in Jazz Covers, a book we’ve reviewed in the past. There are two books dedicated to his huge back catalogue; For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss and Alex Steinweiss. The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover. There are three editions of the latter available costing from £15 to £1,000.

Portrait of Alex Steinweisscredit

It’s a stick up!

Win a £50 Inkmill voucher with H is for Home

As we said yesterday, we’ve been slowly turning our home office into a place where we actually want to work. It had become a bit of a dumping ground for clothes and shoes and stacked boxes of shop stock. We’ve cleared it all away and it’s looking like an actual room again!

Inkmill Vinyl chalkboard on a wall in a corner of our home office | H is for Home nkmill Vinyl chalkboard on a wall in a corner of our home office | H is for Home

As part of our home office makeover, we’ve installed a lovely, custom-made adhesive chalkboard provided by Inkmill Vinyl. We can quickly jot down packing lists, event dates, item requests, phone messages and so on.

Crow vinyl sticker above a light switch

This month, we’re giving someone the opportunity to win their own sticker, decal or wall art up to the value of £50.

Green cheese plant vinyl sticker on a sitting room wall

Stick up a height chart for a kid’s bedroom, adhere opaque patterned film to the bathroom window or create a statement wall by affixing your favourite poem or inspirational quote. There are so many options & possibilities!

Pink castle vinyl sticker on a bedroom wall

Pictured here is just a tiny example of the many, many patterns from which to choose!

Mouse and mouse hole vinyl sticker on skirting board

 Enter our competition by commenting below saying which vinyl sticker, decal or wall art you’d like to win.

Yellow vinyl dinosaur height chart sticker on a bedroom wall

£50 Inkmill Vinyl voucher

Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | U Me and the Kids

Gimme Five! Portable record players

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selection of portable record players

We’ve been sorting through a lot of our vinyl records that haven’t seen the light of day in years. We’re thinking of eBaying off these ones and investing in others that are more likely to be played.

Some of the best vintage vinyl finds we’ve had over the years have been found at car boot sales. Having a portable record player with you when you’re out record hunting ensures you don’t get home to find you’ve bought a duff! They’re also perfect for domestic use if you want to listen to your vinyl in different rooms – perhaps a bit of Kenny G in the bath 😉 With the resurgence in popularity of vinyl, there are lots of portable record players on the market. We love the retro looks that some of them have – but the favourite has got to be the Charlie Brown one, we’re big Peanuts fans!

  1. Crosley Cruiser portable turntable in Ditsy Print: £125, Urban Outfitters
  2. Steepletone SRP025 green retro portable vinyl record player: £59.49, eBay
  3. Numark Portable USB vinyl archiving turntable: £99.99, Maplin
  4. Crosley Peanuts turntable: £89.99, eBay
  5. GPO Attache Protelx brown briefcase style vinyl record player turntable: £84.90, Amazon

Charity Vintage: Jungle Book LP

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vintage Jungle Book LP(ends 21 Apr, 2014 12:15:45 BST)

You always get the question in celebrity Q&As, “What was the first record you ever bought?” Well, I’m not sure if I actually bought it. I would have been a bit too young to go to the record shop on my own, with my own money, but The Jungle Book LP was my first record!

I played it over & over & over again, my clumsy hands probably ruining the needle on my parents’ record player. I knew all the words to all the songs – I probably still do!

This copy of the Jungle Book record being sold by & in support of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice* is in very good condition – both the record and its sleeve.

What was your first record?

*Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice provides vital care to patients and families living with terminal illness across Birmingham and Sandwell. All monies raised through their online shop will help them to care for more families living with terminal illness.

Watts Cooking?

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45 record single sleeve for "Watts Cooking" by Tommy Watt & His Orchestra

We’ve just seen this record in a nearby antiques centre and liked its cover so much we took a couple of quick snaps.

Not being familiar with the work of Tommy Watt we didn’t actually buy it, but having given him a quick listen on Spotify it’s very 60s cocktail party with a bit of “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” thrown in!

detail from the 45 record single sleeve for "Watts Cooking" by Tommy Watt & His Orchestra

Taking another look at it, the artwork is very reminiscent of one of our favourite illustrators, Bill Charmatz.

It would look great in a small frame – we might go back for it!