Richard Neville + Felix Dennis 1963-69

I did some illustrations for Oz in the late 1960s, and simultaneously I was discovering the places that the Oz editorial team, their mates and fellow travellers were hanging out – I remember the Baghdad House – middle-eastern-hippie flavoured cellar bar /restaurant, and the famous Cafe des Artistes (now the K-bar) – where everyone hung out – lots of comfortable sofas, cushions, tables for houkah pipes and other stuff – frequented occasionally by the Stones, Clapton, Harrison etc), the Picasso in the Kings Road, Mick Farren’s studio in Edith Grove, the Chelsea Arts Club, the Kings Road Pheasantry, the Prince of Wales in Notting Dale, Julies Bar nearby, and other sundry pubs and late-night drinking clubs. But at this time, outside Kensington and Chelsea, there were  ‘underground’ hotspots all over central London – Better Books (when Barry Miles was manager), Compendium Books in Camden Town, the Indica Gallery, Apple Corps in Saville Row, the Marquee  and 100 Clubs, the Speakeasy, the Roundhouse, Henekeys and Finches in the Portobello Road, and of course Finch’s The One Tun in  Sunny Goodge Street (and several other pubs in Fitzrovia), Arts Lab in Drury Lane, the ICA (as always), Gerry’s Bar and the French House (aka The York Minster) in Dean Street – and so on.

But back to Oz: the spate of ‘underground’ (aka counter culture) journals, comic-books and magazines at this time stemmed from the newish availability of offset litho printing presses, and the low-cost entry point they provided to publishing. The huge advantage of new technologies like the IBM Electronic composer – a type-setting machine that was a sophisticated electronic typewriter; – the Grant Projector (an adjustable vertical camera obscura for enlarging and reducing art-work); Letraset and other instant-lettering transfer technologies; Cow Gum – low impact adhesive for paste-ups, rostrum Process cameras – for photographing flat art-work and other pasted-up materials; scalpels and steel rulers (etc), meant that magazines could be created, written, edited and published almost anywhere. This not only offered economy of means, but also considerable artistic freedom, as illustrated perfectly by OZ magazine.

1968_oz16cov_c

See: Barry Miles: Hippie (2004); Richard DiLello: The Longest Cocktail Party (1972); Andrew Loog Oldham: Stoned (1998).

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