Personality Posters - The secret source.

For those of us who rode in the middle of the bus, we were grateful we weren't "front of the bussers". They were uncool dorks. We in the middle were not so haughty as to mock them, because there was always someone cooler than you, ready to take you down a peg. Those were the kids in the back of the bus. They wore the Zeppelin shirts even after the principal announced them to be verboten. They had the hats with the pot leaf on it. They'd never had any pot, but they knew they wanted some. And when they someday got some weed, their groovy posters would be ready and waiting, back at their basement bedroom. The middle bussers wondered where they got the posters. They couldn't get into head shops... probably. Maybe an older brother or sister took them to Crow's Nest, which was a record store that was practically a head shop. But, even better than that, they could order them from the back of comic books, courtesy of Personality Posters.
Aha! Personality Posters! It only took me thirty years, but I have found the Xanadu of rear-bus scary-coolness. I will break my fast on honeydew, and drink the milk of paradise! Now I'll be in with the rockers. Let me explore.

Absinthe. Clearly a visual parody of Degas' L'Absinthe, with the diabolically subversive addition of Alfred E. Newman at the table next to miss Andree, it's far too literate and snooty. I'd never make it to the back of the bus with this in my bedroom.

Syncopated Rhythm. Hmm, That's kind of groovy, but I'd look more like a jazz fan, like Brubeck or Coltrane. Also, I could make that myself with scissors and a book of that colored construction paper. Nah.

Aquarius. Ooooo! It's printed on mylar! That'll make it hard for an outraged parent to tear up. This one's pretty good. Trippy and possibly colorful, it could easily be used as a cover for an Alan Dean Foster novel.

Love is Splendid. I did like Snoopy books when I was a kid, but this isn't snoopy. It's a shitty rip-off of Snoopy. Snoopy's head isn't shaped like that, and he doesn't have that many spots. The font at the bottom looks like Hebrew for some reason, too. Also, I'm not a girl.

Cosmos in Chaos. Possibly! The illustrator was being paid by the hour to turn these designs out, and people are hard to draw. So the figure was left in silhouette and he resorted to the can't-miss seventies tactic of splashy colors. Are those rays shooting into or out of the guy? Hmm. There are too many Saturns in there, too. I'd find it hard to own this poster without talking about that, and that would be suicide. Plus, it could be construed as being a religious poster. Negative!

The Future. Heeeey. A cold glimpse of our alienated future. One silhouetted guy sitting on glass cubes, ironically stranded on a tiny pinnacle of his own glorious creation or something. Lonely and tehcno, it'll prepare me for the eighties and the coming of Rush's Signals album, which I'll be buying in a few years. then all those stoners will have blown minds, with my complicated canadian prog coolness. I think the poster is airbrushed, which is super cool because it's the seventies, and airbrush won't be worn out until at least 1985. I've found my critical back-of-bus art acquisition. Three bucks?!? That's a lot of lawns to mow, but it'll be worth it. Back of the bus, here I come.
I'll have to borrow the money and have mom write me a check to... Gandalf? Oh Gandalf. Is there any kind of subculture coolness for which I don't have you to thank? I hope I can convince mom this is for school.

So what magazine were the cool kids reading? Cream? Rolling Stone? Not even close.
The Mighty Samson. A kind of sissified comic book with a hand-to-hand umbrella battle on balloonback. I think those stoners might have been dorks all along. I think I've been had.

Click for biggerness.


Craig F. said...

You could get that Syncopated Rhythm poster and listen to some Ken Nordine Word Jazz.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Hah! You're right. It does remind me the cover of his "Colors" album.



PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Here in Chicago, Nordine is still on WBEZ Sundays at midnight, when the big hand and the little hand get together to chime the time, right between the week that was and the week that's gonna be. I recorded some of his shows to CD, so I can stare with my ears any time I want.

Thanks Craigf!


Craig F. said...

For a while, I had a radio show on WCUW in lovely Worcester, Mass. (motto: We put the...ah, fuck it.) and I used to play cuts from Colors all the time.

Ypek said...

Isn't he called Alfred E. NEUMAN?

At least that was his name in the Dutch MAD magazine.


PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

You're ebsolutely right! It's been so long since I saw a MAD magazine. Also, I didn't check with the internet on that. Good catch! Busted!


Anonymous said...

There was something apocalyptic and eschatological about the "Cosmos in Chaos" poster . . .

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