Party of Three

One can hardly exaggerate what Jean-Luc Godard has meant for the cinema, and for the french Nouvelle Vague in particular. We won’t repeat this praise, but simply view once again the absorbing dance trio in his Bande à part 1964 film.
The dance moves are those from the Madison, a dance novelty from the late 1950s that was still popular in the Sixties. The music is from Michel Legrand, and actors are Claude Brasseur, Anna Karina and Sami Frey.

Long before the Fifties, sheet music covers already illustrated men’s romantic fascination for enigmatic, threesome amorous relations…

Breton, Bretonne‘ from the operette Déshabillez-vous!’. Music by René Mercier, lyrics by André Barde. Published by Salabert (Paris, 1929), illustrated by Roger De Valerio.
Les Emboiteurs‘ by François Perpignan and Henri Passerieu, published by Enoch & Cie (Paris, s.d.), and illustrated by Lucien Métivet.
I går så var den din i dag så ä den min‘ by Helge Lindberg and Karl-Ewert. Published by Nils-Georgs Musikförlag (Stockholm, 1929) and cover illustrated by Garmland.
Karmeslied‘ by Hendrik Stuurop & Jan Van Riemsdijk, published by Toneelfonds ‘Van Hulst’ (Kampen – Netherlands, s.d.). Cover illustrated by Willy Sluiter.
Anna, was ist denn mit Dir?‘ by Léo Fall, Rudolf Bernauer and Ernst Welisch. Published by Drei Masken Verlag (Berlin, 1912), cover illustration by Paul Telemann.
Das Töchterlein von Herrn Pedell‘ by Hermann Leopoldi and Erwin W. Spahn, published by Drei Masken Verlag (Berlin, 1929). Illustration: Willy Herzig.
Eine kleine Freundin hat doch jeder Mann‘ by Franz Lehar and Arthur Rebner, published by Drei Masken Verlag (Berlin, 1921) and illustrated by Wolfgang Ortmann.
Wenn die Sterne am Himmel Leuchten‘ by Emmerich Kalman and Julius Brammer, published by Drei Masken Verlag (Berlin, 1921) and illustrated by Wolfgang Ortmann.
Entre dos fuegos‘ by R. Alberto Lopez Buchardo and Emilio Fresedo, published by Breyer, Coleccion (s.d.), cover illustration signed ‘FOHN’.
Det kommer en båt blåa jackor‘ by Elis Ellis and Max Roland, published by Elkan & Schildknecht (Stockholm, 1928), illustrated by Eric Rohman.
Bal-Album‘, various composers. Published by A.B. Skandinaviska Musikförlaget (Stockholm, s.d.) and cover illustrated by Orla Muff.
Carneval Polka‘ by Procida Bucalossi. Published by Lundquists (Stockholm, 1893), unknown illustrator.

Nine Cute Drawings Saved From Oblivion: Walter Plantikow

Wenn der Hahn nicht krähen kann..! (Im Hühnerstall – Down on the Farm)‘ by Billy Dale, Charles Parrott, Jimmy Adams, & Harry Harrison (German lyrics by Leopold Seewaldt), published by Roehr, C. M. (Berlin, s.d.) & illustrated by Walter Plantikow.

Untill now this sheet music cover was the only item in our collection illustrated by Walter Plantikow. Little is known about this German artist. We found and translated this bit of information from Stefan Nagel’s Titelblaettr blog:

During the Weimar Republic, Walter Plantikow, who was born in 1893, worked primarily for the Berlin-based Heinrich Borngräber Verlag, which published the “men’s magazine” “Reigen” as well as erotic novels and works of world literature. In addition, Plantikow designed postcards and music titles.
In later years he illustrated, among other things, the covers of dime books, children’s and youth books, he tried to establish himself as an artist by painting oil paintings and worked as an art teacher after the war. Walter Plantikow died in 1973.

Drawing by Walter Plantikow (source:

Recently we purchased an album, the cover of which was rather dully illustrated by Plantikow.

Im Spielwarenladen‘ by Max Paul Heller (published by Richard Birnbach (Berlin, 1923), front and title page illustrated by W. Plantikow.

But to our surprise, each of the nine little piano works showed a black and white drawing by the artist. Not really masterworks, but certainly worthy to be saved from oblivion… They can also cheer up your day!

Forever Blowing Bubbles

Blowing bubbles‘ by Jaan Kenbrovin & John William Kellette. Published by Salabert (Paris, 1919). Cover illustrated by Roger De Valerio.

Last week our home town football club AA Gent crashed out of the quarter-finals of the EUFA Europa Conference League at the hands of West Ham United. The anthem of this London-based Premier League club is the American song Blowing Bubbles, originally written in 1918.

Sheet music cover for ''I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' by John William Kellette & Jaan Kenbrovin
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles‘ by John William Kellette & Jaan Kenbrovin. Publisher Jerome Remick (New York). Left version illustrated by Starmer (s.d.). Right version is unsigned (1929).

The music was co-authored by John Kellette and Jaan Kenbrovin, a collective pseudonym for James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent.

Blowing bubbles‘ by Jaan Kenbrovin & John William Kellette, published by Karl Brüll (Berlin, 1919) and illustrated by Godal.

The song became a big hit in America and in the early 1920s made its way into European music halls where it was performed by major singers and bands.

Blowing bubbles‘ by Jaan Kenbrovin & John William Kellette, published by Ernst Rolf (Stockholm, 1919) and illustrated by Alfred Proessdorf.

If one would argue that graphical quality —or illustrative DNA— is very different for each country (or more simply said, that each region in the world has its own more or less unique illustration style) then the various covers shown here for the same song around the same period perfectly illustrate this point.

‘I’m forever Blowing bubbles‘ by Jaan Kenbrovin & John William Kellette , published by B. Feldman & C° (London, 1919).

The official version of how West Ham fans came to adopt this song revolves around a schoolboy and a soap ad for Pears in the early 1920s. But this dubious claim cannot be proven as the first recording of West Ham fans singing Blowing Bubbles was not before 1940, when West Ham won the Football League War Cup Final.

Czech sheet music cover for 'Bubliny'
Bubliny‘ by Jaan Kenbrovin & John William Kellette, published by Accord, Hudebni nakladatelstvi (Praha, 1921), and illustrated by Leo Heilbrunn

In 1980 the English punk rock band Cockney Rejects reimagined the romantic Boston Waltz into a thuggish raw Oi!-version to celebrate their beloved club winning the FA Cup Final.

Their mimed performance for Top of the Pops with the lead singer clad in the West-Ham colours (claret and sky blue) ended with the teenagers running around the BBC building and causing mischief. Following this incident the BBC banned the group from performing, some calling it an unfair punishment.

The group was closely affiliated with the team’s notorious hooligan firm and they provoked violence wherever they performed. According to the Guardian a Cockney Rejects’ 1980 performance in Birmingham was “the most violent gig in British history“, which also meant the end of their career as a live band.

Anyway, I’m sure our Gent players, aka the Buffalos, were not happy to hear this song in the stadium… Oi, sorry mates!

I’m forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high,
They reach the sky,
And like my dreams they fade and die!

'Ceci et ça' about Illustrated Sheet Music