In which Tony is urged to brainstorm in a most unusual manner.
Self-styled musical impresario George Lyttleton called to inform me of an impending release from one of his stable. I suggested under the circumstances a doctor might be more useful than a graphic designer. He responded with liberal use of the word ‘dolt’ and explained he would need artwork for Campbell Glen’s new CD.
In the 70’s, Lyttleton had a number of high profile bands under his wing, most likely until they realised he was less a manager and more a delusional fantasist in a lime suit. Now he was reduced to a single artiste, eccentric Scottish troubadour Campbell Glen. Described by New Musical Express as ‘a fruitcake extraordinaire,’ Glen was certainly odd. I met him once and told him I designed his last cover. He offered me a sardine.
Lyttleton said he wanted to push the boundaries of visual communication for the new album and that we should ‘think inside a box’ for ideas. He said he had spoken to other managers and they agreed this was the best method for achieving creative breakthroughs.
The trouble began when he arrived carrying the box in question. Even in its collapsed state it was enormous; too big to fit under his elfish arm so he clutched it with both hands slightly above head height. When I answered the door I faced a wall of cardboard and two sets of disembodied fingers. After the initial confusion, he shuffled in sideways, perspiring heavily and bursting out of his tight suit.
“I’ve never seen so much cardboard in one place before,” I said. “Have you been feeding it?”
“New deep-freezer,” he replied, catching his breath. “Top of the line. It traps moisture and transfers it outside so you get a lot less frost.” I thought frost would be a good thing in a freezer but Lyttleton thought otherwise. “40 pounds of seafood in the old one and I couldn’t get near it for frost. Needed an icepick. It was like an Arctic expedition every time I wanted to eat.”
“Couldn’t you just defrost it?”
“I did,” he replied. “Do you want some fish?”
Lyttleton shuffled uneasily and loosened his collar. I imagined he would welcome frost at this particular juncture.
“The point is,” he said, “I’ve got a new one now and it arrived in a big box.”
He rose and began assembling the box in such a manner that he would be inside it when it was complete. There was a certain Lyttleton logic to this as it would spare him the indignity of having to raise his little legs over the steep sides to get in.