About the Episode
Growing up in the mid 1990s, I was enthralled by Blur and Damon Albarn. There was music before Blur, my mother's cassette's dominating our terrace in West Yorkshire with Madonna, Jean-Michalle Jarre, Michael Jackson and many others. the trouble is, nothing connected with me on a relatable level. Then one day, Parklife comes on MTV and I'm hooked by the catchy chorus of a classic British single.
But it wasn't until I investigated deeper and saved up my pocket money to buy Leisure and Modern Life Is Rubbish. Boom! There it is, the lyrics detailing odd characters and Englishness, something you just didn't get in the pop masterclasses laid down by the aforementioned superstars.
But there was something else. I sat there, on my bedroom floor, silent, leafing through the casette inlays of Modern Life and Leisure, drinking in the artwork, the details, the credits, the typography. I didn't understand any of it, but on some inherent level, I felt a connection that could never be undone.
Then I'm in London, excited by my new surroundings following a move from Manchester. I'm having a pint with new friend and photographer, Andrew Cotterill. He introduces me to a friend at the bar and we're talking about design work. He asks me if I know Rob O'Connor, an old friend of him. Racking my brains, feeling like I should know, I go blank and then, it clicks. Stylorouge's Rob O'Connor, the man behind the work on Blur's art-direction, Trainspotting Rob O'Connor. THAT Rob O'Connor.
We swap emails and I'm introduced to Rob. In a whirlwind few days, I've arranged to meet the man behind so many iconic designs in popular culture, not to mention all those record covers that enthralled me in my teenage years.
You find me sat with Rob in central London, who was lovely enough to spare me his time for Arrest All Mimics.
Blur, Trainspotting, Spinal Tap. That's why. Rob O'Connor is a very humble, inspiring man. He cares only about the work and fresh ideas, not the glamour that surrounds much of his company's work. He is a true master in the design industry and anyone serious about a career in the arts should be tuning into this interview.