By Joshua Robinson –
Record collector Steve Goldman couldn’t believe his luck when stand-up comedian Stewart Lee agreed to write a foreword for his new book, ‘The Art of The Bizarre Vinyl Sleeve’, co-written with Simon Robinson of Easy On the Eye Books.
Steve’s exhibition “The Worst Record Covers in The World” was a hit when it launched in Huddersfield in November 2021, gaining attention from both national and local media, including an appearance of some of his favourite covers on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You.
Some of the covers in Steve’s collection can be viewed on the Worst Record Covers Instagram.
The book, which is available to pre-order on the Easy On the Eye Books website, is set to launch on Thursday 16th November at The Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead, opening with a foreword written by Stewart Lee.
Stewart Lee writes in the foreword: “I love records and I’m professionally obliged, as a stand-up comedian, to see the funny side of things, and so when they asked me to write a few hundred words introducing The Art Of The Bizarre Record Sleeve I thought it would be fun. But I was wrong. Very wrong.”
“…the relentless low quality and relentlessly poor aesthetic choices of the sleeves made me despair of humanity itself. I began to hate mankind for its ineffable and inexcusable shitness, its natural tendency towards ugliness and stupidity…
Stewart Lee added: “Up to a point kitsch is funny, then it begins to speak of our collective failure to understand true beauty, and makes me feel sickened to my soul.”
“I began to hate this whole project, and specifically the men behind it, Steve Goldman, whose collection the book represents, and Simon Robinson, who has corralled it into some kind of shape.”
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Steve Goldman , 56, from Huddersfield said: “We asked Dolly Parton, Stewart Lee and King Size Dick if they could contribute forewords for the book and Stewart was the only one who bothered to reply.”
“We were thrilled to receive Stewart’s inimitable prose with hilarious references to his own history with bizarre vinyl sleeves and some of his favourite picks from the collection featured in the book. To have my favourite stand-up comedian write that he hates me and Simon in the foreword to our own book is a rare privilege. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience!”
At the end of the foreword Stewart Lee finished on a positive note, writing: “In showcasing the cheapest and yet most sincere sleeves they can find, Goldman and Robinson are defining an as yet uncategorised new substrata of folk art. Because thirty years ago Steve Goldman saw the sleeve of Roadstar by Peter Rabbit and understood that sometimes the chance meeting of ineptitude, naivete, underfunding, tastelessness, and hope can combine to create a whole new surreal and impenetrable artistic statement somehow far greater than the sum of its often stupid parts.”
‘The Art of The Bizarre Vinyl Sleeve‘ is available to pre order on the Easy On the Eye Books website.
The trailer for the book’s release is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suCh49X4qVM
Steve Goldman’s collection will be exhibited at The Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead from 16 November 2023 – 27 January 2024. After that it will travel to the Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick (5 February – 21 April 2024) with further exhibitions in Warrington in September 2024 and Northampton in 2025.