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The Mambo Dogs

by Alex Bodini |

The Mambo Dogs. The artist Richard Allan. Moose as he was known in the office.

Where do you start? The pea shooter. The farting dog. The hounds of wit. Inspired according to one friend of Mambo, by Rene Magritte’s cat in a hat.

Richard Allan had a complex relationship with Mambo’s owner Dare Jennings. Dare was a country boy and could get run over by a fashion trend and not notice it. Whereas Richard could smell it coming. Dare developed his cool and while initially he was a plagiarist stealing The Phantom and using it as his launch vehicle Phantom Records and appropriating various prints he saw on his sample holidays as a screen print guy. He eventually cracked the nut with Mambo.

Back in the day when Dare probably didn’t know what his talent was, he eventually became a Svengali and could inspire an artist to great heights and knew how to market and develop a brand. With his finger on the pulse, Mambo became a  counter-culture brand you have to stand and applaud.

Richard meanwhile knew that it was his talent and the artists who were Mambo. But commercially he was a baby. Why? Maybe he was like Carrie in Homeland? But he is a genius. So he chucked his toys out of the pram and left. Dare probably thought it was the end and in a way it was but he lost the best but developed the rest. Richard’s farewell was the  “No things Must pass”. One of his dogs shitting a spanner. Thanks for the memories and he was out the door.

He started Mooks, which was beyond cool and sold it to a pair of thieves, who should have gone to prison for financial irregularities on the Australian stock exchange. Marc Newsom employed him in London. Mark Farrow an amazing graphic designer said to me that every day he woke up wishing he was Richard Allan. The Highest praise from two of the great designer’s Mark and Marc.

So the dogs defined Mambo’s surrealist intent and Richard Allan was the artist.

Call home Richard.