Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UFO reunion for March 2012 is shaping up


The UFO was an itinerant 'underground' club which briefly dominated the scene of '67. A good argument can be made for it being the cradle of the British psychedelic scene as it featured bands such as Pink Floyd, the Bonzo Dog Doh Dah Band, Arthur Brown, the Pretty Things, Procul Harem and Soft Machine. It was certainly (with OZ magazine) at the epicenter of the counter-culture, 'hippy' movement that came out of the London suburb of Nottinghill Gate.

It existed in part to fund the counter-culture newspaper IT, which perennially needed cash not only to ensure it came out regularly but to fight the numerous attempts of the 'establishment' to close it down.

Around the UFO gathered any number of now semi-legendary names of the British underground; Joe Boyd (Floyd's first producer), John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, artists Michael English and Nigel Weymouth (famed as 'Hapshash and the Coloured Coat'), poet Michael Horovitz and poet and lyricist, Pete Brown (check out Cream's 'Disrali Gears').

UFO gigs were 'happenings' in the true sense of the word; little was planned, anything could happen including mild chaos. A Beatle might turn up,and did, ad so might the 'fuzz' - and did! Naturally, as a hippy movement, they lost money but club nights at the Blarney on Tottenham Court Road, All Saints Church, Nottinghill, Chalk Farm's Roundhouse and the '14-Hour Technicolour Dream' at the Ally Pally, left an indelible mark on London’s musical heritage. The influence of the UFO cannot be understated.

One scene regular, ex-roadie legend, Mouse O'Brien, has had the brilliant idea of a UFO 'reunion'; a 'happening' for 2012 with three bands full of legendary 'musos', an original oil-lamp light-show projection, magic, art, Jeff 'Isle of Wight' Dexter as MC/DJ, an exhibition of original IT and UFO artwork, and what ever else transpires... he has already lined up all sorts of interesting performers, and many of the old 'faces and heads' have confirmed they'll be along.

It's not often that you get advance notice of a 'happening'. Generally there's a press report, and maybe a TV arts show, and you're left thinking 'Jeez, I'd like to have been there! How come these things are always only for those 'in the know?’ So, take a note of he date and place; March 24th, the Tabernacle, Nottinghill Gate. There will be a website 'Zeigeist' and look out ofr collectable publicity materials appearing as the event approaches. You read about it here first!

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