The Bad Press grew largely out of a sense of failure. 

A perverse mixture of disappointment and warm ashes.

 

Robert Cochrane of whose debut poetry collection 'The Thin Man In Our Compartment Looks Like Charles Hawtrey' Morrissey of The Smiths had said he 'heartily approved' and was, according to 'Books' 'one of the successes' of Faber & Faber's 1987 'Hard Lines 3'. 

He'd had two poems selected by Ian Dury. 

One concerned the life of a transvestite tolerated by a rural Irish community.

The second detailed the disappointment of a young girl in love with a smile, one that turned out to be entirely false. 

False teeth in her beloved's palm.

 

Hard Lines had been set up as a platform for 'new writing' under the auspices of Pete Townshend of The Who. 

When both he and Dury departed, Cochrane found himself helping Paula Silcox who worked at Faber, helping to edit the fourth book in the series.

 

In November 1988 he read an obituary for the poet and artist David Robilliard 1952-1988 and realised he would bring an air of freshness an intrigue to the proceedings with his Jean Cocteau/Andy Warhol like drawings, and his Edward Lear/Stevie Smith style short poems.

Robilliard had been a protege of the artists Gilbert & George' who had discovered and promoted his work, publishing his first book in 'Inevitable' in 1984. 

His second 'Swallowing Helmets' had appeared in 1987 vis the Van Abbe Museum.

Other valuable additions to the project were the poet/singer Billy Childish, a former lover of Tracy Emin, the quirky Alice Plankton, briefly championed by Faber's Head of Poetry Christopher Reid who was actually turned out to be man, and an introduction penned by punk poet John Cooper Clarke

 

'Hard Lines 3' had been drastically under-promoted, each subsequent edition relied heavily upon the momentum of its predecessor.

By that time sales had rather slumped, though a larger edition of seven thousand copies had been produced.

When the initial editing had been completed the project was axed at a meeting in the Spring of 1989. 

 

It came as no great surprise since Cochrane had uncovered in the Faber office a memo from Craig Raine bemoaning the fact 'the Hard Lines' series hadn't reached the uneducated market' in the way they'd anticipated.

The artist Andrew Heard, Robilliard's executor, had always expressed his personal doubts about David being published by Faber since they'd never shown any interest in him when he was alive. 

He and Cochrane decided to do a book by David Robilliard when funds and time might allow, and that was that.

 

In 1991 David Robilliard had a sell-out show at the Hirsch & Adler Gallery in NewYork.

Heard contacted Cochrane and said the book was on the cards.

There was only one problem. They didn't have a publishing name.

One night Cochrane was talking about the failed rock artist Jobriath and bemoaned that he had 'such a a bad press in the 70's'.

The rest is a kind of wonky history.

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The Bad Press. Manchester.
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