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Paul Weller - This is the Modern World

Mike Edwards is a typography artist who creates fabulous images of musical icons such as Debbie Harry and Paul Weller using text inspired by lines and lyrics in their songs. His latest piece entitled 'Paul Weller - This is the Modern World' follows Edwards' signature style. 


The piece uses a 'cut up' text technique, inspired by the original master Kurt Schwitters who inspired godfather of Pop Peter Blake and Bowie amongst many others.

"Jools Holland cites Paul Weller as a poet, and I think he's right. Weller's observations of British life are both profound and searing, and what strikes me reading the words now is how relevant they are today. We continue to struggle with social and class issues, racial inequality, and political hypocrisy. What is also extraordinary that Weller was still in, or just out of, his teens when he wrote some of his most powerful work.


"So I've used various standout lines from a dozen songs that have had an impact on me, and I've created a new original piece of text that flows and connects the words to transform them, not only into a new piece of writing, but a new piece of writing that simultaneously visually portrays Weller as the young songwriter, poet and observer of life."

 

The text of Weller's portrait follows his lyrics:

THIS IS THE MODERN WORLD
WHAT KIND OF A FOOL DO YOU THINK
I AM YOU THINK I KNOW NOTHING OF
THE MODERN WORLD ALL MY LIFE ITS
BEEN THE SAME ITS NOT IMPORTANT FOR
YOU TO KNOW MY NAME NOR I TO KNOW YOURS
IF WE COMMUNICATE FOR TWO MINUTES ONLY
IT WILL BE A START TO CUT DOWN ON BEER
OR THE KIDS NEW GEAR ITS A BIG DECISION
IN A TOWN CALLED MALICE AND THE PUBLIC GETS
WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS BUT I WANT NOTHING
THIS SOCIETYS GOT I’M GOING UNDERGROUND WELL
THE BRASS BANDS PLAY AND FEET START TO POUND
GOING UNDERGROUND A COPS CAR AND A SCREAMING
SIREN PNEUMATIC DRILL AND RIPPED UP CONCRETE
A BABY WAILING STRAY DOG HOWLING THE SCREECH OF
BRAKES AND LAMPLIGHT BLINKING I FOUND MYSELF
IN A STRANGE TOWN THOUGH I’VE ONLY BEEN HERE FOR
THREE WEEKS NOW RUSH MY MONEY TO THE RECORD SHOP
A WHOLE STREETS BELIEF DASHED AGAINST THE CO OP
SATURDAYS KIDS LIVE IN COUNCIL HOUSES WEAR V NECK
SHIRTS AND BAGGY TROUSERS PAINT SPATTERED WALLS
TWO LOVERS MISSING THE TRANQUILITY OF SOLITUDE
A DISTANT ECHO OF FARAWAY VOICES BOARDING FARAWAY
TRAINS GOING UNDERGROUND SMOKING CIGARETTES &
IF WE COMMUNICATE FOR TWO MINUTES ONLY IT WILL BE       
A START THINKING BACK TO HOLIDAYS IN THE CITY THERES
A THOUSAND THINGS I WANT TO SAY TO YOU FOR KNOWING
THAT SOMEONE IN THIS WORLD FEELS AS DESPERATE AS ME
IF WE COMMUNICATE FOR TWO MINUTES ONLY IT WILL BE
ENOUGH QUIT RUNNING FOR THAT RUNAWAY BUS STOP
APOLOGIZING FOR THE THINGS YOU’VE NEVER DONE
MEET ME ON THE WASTELANDS THE ONES BEHIND THE
OLD HOUSES ONES OVERSHADOWED BY THE MONOLITH
MONSTROSITIES COUNCILS CALL HOMES AND THERE
AMONGST THE SHIT THE DIRTY LINEN THE HOLY COCA
COLA TINS THE PUNCTURED FOOTBALLS WE’LL SIT
AND LISTEN TO AN AMATEUR BAND REHEARSE IN
A NEARBY YARD MUMS AND DADS SMOKE CAPSTAN
NON FILTERS WATCHING TELLY AND THINKING BACK
TO HOLIDAYS THATS ENTERTAINMENT FOR KNOWING
SOMEONE IN THIS WORLD FEELS AS DESPERATE
AS ME WHAT A CATALYST YOU TURNED OUT TO BE
LEFT ME STANDING LIKE A GUILTY SCHOOLBOY  
I’VE  GOT A POCKET FULL OF PRETTY GREEN I’M
GOING TO PUT IT IN A FRUIT MACHINE 
SUP UP YOUR BEERS AND COLLECT YOUR
FAGS THERES A ROW GOING ON DOWN 
IN THE TUBE STATION AT MIDNIGHT
READ ALL ABOUT IT READ ALL ABOUT IT
ITS NOT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO KNOW 
MY NAME NOR I TO KNOW YOURS THIS IS THE
MODERN WORLD DON’T BELIEVE IT ALL FIND OUT
FOR YOURSELF FROM THIS WINDOW I’VE SEEN THE
WHOLE WORLD PASS FROM DAWN TO DUSK I’VE HEARD THE
LAST LAUGH LAUGHED TIME IS SHORT AND LIFE IS CRUEL WHAT 
KIND OF A FOOL DO YOU THINK I AM ALL MY LIFE ITS BEEN THE SAME 
THATS ENTERTAINMENT THE PUBLIC GETS WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS

 

For Jam fans it'll be a Wordsearch to find which lines have been used from which songs. A total of 14 songs are referenced:

 

The Modern World
Start
A Town Called Malice
Going Underground
That's Entertainment
Strange Town
Saturdays Kids
Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
In The City
Wasteland
Eton Rifles
Pretty Green
News Of The World
Just Who Is The 5 O'clock Hero?

 

The piece was created in Brighton, the spiritual home of the Mod [Quadrophenia], and Weller is often referred to as 'The Modfather'.

 

"As a reference to this, I've included a hint of a target, the Mod signifier, but have made it visually subtle as I think that, while Weller will always be associated with Mod culture, as an artist he has much more of a broader scope. I also want the piece to be much more than just a 'Mod picture'."

 

Some fun facts about the artwork:

  • The unique aspect of all Mike Edwards' typographic portraits is that they are readable.
  • There are 2,053 individual letters in this portrait of Paul Weller.
  • A vintage typewriter font is used to create the basic structure, then each single letter is coloured by hand, often three or four times as adjustments are made.
  • This means it takes around 10,000 letter renderings by hand to get to the final image.
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