The Sixties began in the summer of 1956,ended in October of 1973 and peaked just before dawn on 1 july,1967 during a set by Tomorrow at the UFO Club in London
detto fatto,Joe Boyd lascia White Bicycles pedalare indietro di quarant’anni per le Swinging streets di una London in piena rivoluzione culturale. Semmai vi chiedeste cosa questo abbia potuto significare, Boyd ve lo racconta e dalle quinte di un piccolo club in Tottenham Court Road; LSD, Psychedelia e Rock,mods hippies hipsters e groupies, Folk and Funk and Blues: The Sixties,folks
Pink Floyd,Soft Machine,The Incredible String Band,John Martin,Fairport Convention,Nick Drake fra gli artisti che Joe Boyd lancia in pista in qualità di produttore discografico e dj; centinaia i concerti organizzati in Inghilterra e America; the Purple Gang,Procol Harum, Pretty Things, Jeff Beck,Ten Years Later, Tomorrow, le bands e i solisti presenti alle serate dell’UFO-Tottenham Court Road palcoscenico di uno spettacolo epocale,la musica si sveste finalmente del pudore,osceno e adolescenziale,degli swinging e si scopre a ballare nuda per strada, più che mai irriverente e smaliziata.
Make love,not riots-avrebbero detto allora
Sotto una parte del libro tratta dal primo capitolo
The Sixties began in the summer of 1956,ended in October of 1973 and peaked just before dawn on 1 july,1967 during a set by Tomorrow at the UFO Club in London.
John Hopkins and I had launched the weekly UFO events at an Irish dance hall in Tottenham Court Road just before Christmas in 1966,and they had quickly become the hub of psychedelic London. BY April,our resident attraction,Pink Floyd,had outgrown us,so I was always on the lookout for new groups. I saw Tomorrow at Blaises one night and thought they were pretty good.When they made their UFO debut on 19 May it was love at first sight between them and our audience. Steve Howe,later to make his name and fortune with Yes, played guitar, while Twink, a key figure in the genesis of punk,was the drummer. I don’t know what became of Junior, the bass player, but his mad-eyed, don’t-give-a-fuck presence in a string vest was a key element in their appeal. Lead singer Keith West had a solo hit that summer with ‘Excerpt From A Teenage Opera,Part 1’(Groger Jack,Groger Jack,please come back…’) and did his best to maintain a pop-star presence while around him the group was morphing into something quite different. ‘My White Bicycle’,a tribute to the free transport provided by Amsterdam’s revolutionary provos, was their new theme song, while Howe’s solos got longer and Twink’s drumming even wilder.
A month or two earlier,I would never have gone to Blaises and Tomorrow would barely have heard of UFO.Everything was accelerating that spring. New drugs,clothes,music and clubs. The psychedelic underground and the pop scene were starting to overlap. UFO crowds were bigger each week, and it was getting hard to maintain the original atmosphere. It was also difficult to ignore the increased attention from the police: the longer the queues, the more customers were getting frisked and busted.
Hoppy ran UFO’s light tower,records between shows,putting on Kurosawa samurai films at 3 a.m. and troubleshooting around the club while I stayed near the entrance and trousered the money. When plainclothes policemen asked to have a look around, I would state our policy: no search warrant, no entry. (There was nothing to prevent them from merging with the crowds and paying their way in,of course UFO’s ads often touted a ‘spot the fuzz’ competitions). As for Mr Gannon, our landlord at the Blarney Club, he felt the case of whiskey delivered to Goodge Street police station every Christmas should take care of them well enough.
A few weeks before Tomorrow’s return visit on 30 June, a uniformed bobby turned up, asking to be allowed in the collect clothes left behind by a man being held in custody. This made sense: half and hour earlier, a naked guy had bolted past me up the stairs and disappeared into the night. Hoppy and I agreed that an exception could be made, so I told the audience we were going to let the fuzz in to look for the clothes and turn on the overhead lights (murmurs and booing). As the crowd spread out in a wide circle, some garments could be seen scattered around the floor. The young bobby seemed to blush as he glanced at the crowd, a vivid cross-section of ‘London Freak’ circa May 1967: long hair on the boys,flowered dresses on the girls,Arabian or Indian shirts,a few kaftans,jeans,even a few white shirts and khaki slacks. Many were tripping; most were laughing or grinning.
The laughter grew as it became clear that the bobby’s hastily gathered armful contained more than was required to make his prisoner decent: two or three pairs of underpants (gender undetermined), a couple of shirts, a bra,several socks,etc. As he made his way to the door, the working class constable regarded us with amazement, not hatred. We, in turn,regretted that he could not grasp why we took drugs and danced in the lights,lived for the moment and regarded our fellow man with benign tolerance, even love. That was the theory, anyway. Tested, it would come undone in the ensuing years, even as the bobby’s mates donned kaftans, rolled joins and joined the crows at festivals.
The first man I knew to take hallucinogens was Eric Von Schmidts.Mailorder packages of peyote buds from Moore’s Orchid Farm in Texas arrived periodically at the Von Schmidt apartment near Harvard Square. He would cook them up in a pot and invite friends over to drink the soup. They would stack some LPs on the record player-Ali Akbar Khan, Lord Buckley,Chopin, the Swan Silverstones, Lightning Hopkins-then drink the potion and try not to be sick. If you couldn’t keep it down you weren’t, in Eric’s view,calm enough (‘centred’had not yet been used in this context) to deserve the high. It was an experience meant for an intellectual and spiritual elite, not the masses (although he certainly would have never put it in that way).
The market is too efficient, of course,to limit transcendence to people who can stomach peyote. Down the street from Eric’s flat in 1962 was the laboratory of Professor Timothy Leary, who advertised in the Harvard Crimson for volunteers to take LSD at a dollar an hour and was determined to become the Johnny Appleseed of hallucinogens. By 1967, pure, powerful LSD tabs were still available while adulterated, amphetamine-laced concoctions were starting to be widely distributed. Few bothered about how elevated the experience might be.
In June that year, a New of the world reporter tipped off Scotland Yard about a ‘drugs-and-sex’ at Keith Richards’place and was rewarded with a ringside seat at the raid. It has become the stuff of legend: Mars bars threesome, Marianne Faithfull naked under a fur rug,etc..a symbol of out-of-control decadence. The media stopped winking and grinning about “Swinging London” and started wallowing in horror stories about teenagers being led astray. Sgt Pepper was the world’s soundtrack that month and powerful Establishment figures were horrified by the implications of influential pop stars’ open fondness for drugs.
Taken From White Bicycles,by Joe Boyd,2006
Joe Boyd – Record Producer/Writer.