On October 15 1966 Pink Floyd and Soft Machine played at a very important rave; a rave that marked the opening of the Roundhouse in London and the launch of International Times or IT, a zine which is regarded by many as the publication that launched the British underground press movement.
Published every fortnight the zine was bold, provocative, and openly critical of the conservative establishment. Despite several attempts by the authorities by the government to shut it down, which included repeatedly raiding the IT offices, 174 issues were produced between 1966 and 1973.
An exhibition opening on September 28 at A22 Gallery in Clerkenwell brings together every single edition of the IT, and other counterculture publications that followed including Oz, Gandalf’s Garden, Black Dwarf, Friends/Frendz and Ink. Also on display will be comic books Nasty Tales and cOZmic Comics which reflected a similar mood of dissent.
Covers of all these zines, spreads from comic books, posters, flyers, ads and other graphic art have also been featured in a book edited by Barry Miles and James Birch. The editors believe that “the influence and impact of the underground press has largely been neglected or undervalued” and hope to celebrate their salience in the rise of British counterculture with the book and exhibition.
The British Underground Press of the Sixties, the book, will be out on October 5. A 100 limited edition copies will be packaged in a special case and sold along with a poster of Janis Joplin originally created in 1971 for International Times on the occasion of her death.
The British Underground Press of the Sixties will be on view at A22 Gallery in Clerkenwell from Sep 28 to November 4 2017.