David Hillman 1970

I was an enthusiastic but  rank amateur when I first met David Hillman – it must have been in 1969. I was working together with Chris Robbins, a journalist/writer friend of mine, on a project that we tentatively called Canned London. It was a boxed portfolio of examples of life and art in what Time Magazine had christened ‘Swinging London’ a couple of years earlier (April 1966).

Canned London featured an airbrush illustrated  poster by Alan Aldridge (creator of The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969) ; Poems by Christopher Logue (Red Bird Dancing on Ivory – Jazz-Poetry, 1959); a portfolio by Clive Arrowsmith (art/director of Ready Steady Go and photographer for Nova) and other London photographers; articles on the Marquee, Speakeasy, Ponte Vecchio, and other clubs and restaurants; fashion pieces, (etc). Financed by Andre del Amo – a millionaire friend of Chris – we had set up a design-publishing group called Factory, and printed a cool computer hand-drawn OCR-A-like letterhead. We wrote to Hillman  at Nova and asked for a meeting. We wanted him to art-direct the project. Thinking we were from Andy Warhol’s Factory (which then we hadn’t heard of!), he gave us an interview, and despite our callow inexperience he was very supportive. About 20 years later, I was pitching a book to Phaidon (Understanding Hypermedia, 1993) and David Hillman was supervising art director – it was he who suggested Malcolm Garrett as the designer – a fortuitous and happy suggestion as Richard Oliver and I became great friends with Malcolm.

I love Harri Peccinotti’s serial strip-tease – treading that fine line between risque and cool – it was styled by Anthony Price and featured trans-luvvie Amanda Lear, and rather tritely entitled How to Undress in front of your Husband. – I’ve shown just one third of a gatefold spread. The beautiful (Panton S) chair is designed by Verner Panton in the mid-1960s.



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