Monday, February 02, 2009


Copy of PAUL GORMAN 012


This is the strange and wonderful story of my bolero jacket - which connects the Beatles' Apple Boutique with Hawkwind.

I have journalist Paul Gorman and his wife Caz to thank in the first instance. As well as writing about Barney Bubbles [see previous post] and BB's connection with Hawkwind - who Paul had first seen and loved at an impressionable age - he has also produced another great book:

'The Look: Adventures in Rock & Pop thelook_coverFashion' (2006), which has developed its own blog at

When I told him I had a special jacket which had been made for me when I was a dancer on the 1972 Hawkwind 'Space Ritual' tour he asked to see it. It is now enshrined on The Look blog in a picture story under the title: The Bolero Connection

It begins: 'THE LOOK brings you images of an extraordinary one-off jacket just loaded down with historic rock & roll fashion connections.'



How I came to be a dancer with Hawkwind is a long story. The band always assembled at the Frendz office in Portobello Road where I worked, before heading off for a gig, usually also going for a meal at the Mountain Grill, the local greasy spoon which kept us all alive at that time. Mike Moorcock lived round the corner and we were all pretty good mates. As I recall, at some Grove party I asked Nik if I could get involved in someway withe their upcoming tour and I think he suggested I could be a dancer. Who knows for sure. What I do remember is going for a rehearsal in Brixton and just leaping about the stage in a mad fashion. Some of the band raised their eyebrows but no-one objected and I was suddenly on board for what was one of their greatest tours.

The fullest account of that Hawkwind tour I can find on the web is 'Lost In Space' by Mick Wall, published in Classic Rock in November 2000.

A brief outline of the story behind the tour:

'By 1972, the band were without doubt breaking into bigger times. Hawkwind's performance at the 'Greasy Truckers Party', held at the famous Chalk Farm Roundhouse in London was confirmation of this'

In June, 'United Artists' released the single 'Silver Machine', which rose to number 3 in the national charts despite limited radio airplay. The money gained from the sales of the single enabled the band to tour Britain with a truly mind–blowing show that became known as 'The Space Ritual'.

'The whole show had been in formation for well over a year and saw the creative talents of Barney Bubbles, Johnathan Smeeton (alias Liquid Len), Robert Calvert, Michael Moorcock and a host of others hit a peak and develop a pure multi–media background for the Hawkwind musicians, who by now were Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Dik Mik, Del Dettmar, Stacia, Lemmy, Bob Calvert and Simon King.

'In May 1973, UA released the double album 'Space Ritualhawkwind Alive', which came in a fabulous foldout sleeve designed by Barney Bubbles. The album contained almost 90 minutes of ultimate Hawkwind, heard as they should be – live. Acclaimed for being well ahead of their time, it was a slice of vinyl that combined rock music with theatre and to this day is still regarded as one of their most notable recordings.'

Full Text here

Few of the accounts of the tour note that there were two other dancers on-stage for at least some of the gigs - Renée La Ballistere and myself. According to an NME piece by Nick Kent, Renée had previously performed with Quicksilver Messenger Service (1966-68) followed by two years with the Jefferson Airplane. She lasted the whole tour I think while I only survived for seven gigs.

The tour ran from November 8th - December 23rd (according to the itinerary in my files) and the dates I danced at were Dunstable Civic Hall (Nov 9), Portsmouth Guildhall (Nov 11th), York University (Nov 16th), Lancaster University (Nov 17th), Leeds University (Nov 18th), Bristol Locarno (19th) and Norwich St Andrews Hall (21st).

My presence is noted in two clips in the archives. The first was published in The Snail, a Devon-based underground paper of the day, written by Peter Blake, the paper's founder and editor. In his slightly deranged account he records at the Portsmouth gig: 'A few new faces in the dressing-room, John of Frendz with velvet trousers ready to rip.'

Later in the piece, referring to a later stage in the tour, he writes, 'John may've sewn up his trousers, but still has hurting feet - (the male strobe dancer) the male strobe dancer ?? "Need to get a bit of bread together you see, new baby to pay for you know; it's something immediate to do; doing it NOW, instead of tomorrow; getting down to it."

Andrew Means wrote a live review of the Norwich show for Melody Maker (Dec 2, 1972) and recorded at the end: 'The dancing became the kingstone of the show - the neurotic activity of the male dancer, and the more expressive movementgs of Stacia and her blonde companion. It was fascinating to watch the three relate to each other, although perhaps it could have been better done if the suggestions incorporated had been planned and exploited more positively.'

My memories of the tour are jumbled. On the first gig, there was a massive crowd at Doncaster and too much adrenalin went to my head; remember jabbering away on the coach afterwards as if I was the star of the show - which I was certainly not.

I remember crossing the Pennines in the tour coach with Lemmy telling me his life story; when we stopped to stretch our legs, I remember buying a blanket for my newly-born son in a street market.

The tour bus broke down on the way from Leeds to Bristol, and we had to hire three taxis from Birmingham to Bristol, travelling in a high-speed convoy to the gig, arriving late, audience in a frenzy. The front of the stage was so low people were mobbing us.

As I recall, just before the Norwich gig, I persuaded one of the girls to drive me out to the village of Wacton so I could see my new baby and pick up my lady Tanya to come and see the show. We were late getting back and the band were not best pleased. That was the end of my short career on the road.

PS: Those interested in Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and the Deviants should pick up this copy of FUZ Issue 2 [Autumn 2000], sent to me by Jolly of Better Badges fame. Copies are still available here:



The other connection that my jacket has is with the Copy of PAUL GORMAN 012Beatle's Apple boutique as the jacket is made up of a large roll of labels, which were attached to each garment in the shop. My jacket consists of about 100 of these labels.

Since writing this original entry have had the pleasure of corresponding with Marijke Koger, who along with Simon Posthuma was the original founder of The Fool. She has corrected my original account and commented on the jacket: That's the most whimsical garment I have ever seen, wow.'

apple1960 The Apple Boutique opened in London's Baker Street on December 7th, 1967 and closed July 39th 1968, having lost shed loads of money.

Because of the Beatles connection, there is a great interest in the history, the style and the clothes produced by The Fool, the quartet of designers from Amsterdam - as I have discovered. Here are some of the best sites.

Profile of the Apple Boutique on Strawberry WalrusA is for Apple

In the Life of...The Beatles

Two-part BBC video on the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the shop.

Nichola's Vintage Boutique

Site for Simon Posthuma, one of the four members of The Fool

Vintage Fashion Guild forum discussion

Check also Wikipedia entries on The Fool and Apple Boutique


Copy of FRENDZCONTACTS358[Left]: A long-lost image of Barney from a scrap of contact sheet I found in the Frendz archive. taken at the magazine's office at 305 Portobello Road. [Date and photographer unknown]

Back in November, The Generalist reported on the launch of 'Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles' by Paul Gorman. See: BARNEY BUBBLES BOOK LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE The book provides the best overview of Barney's graphic work from the 1960s onwards until his death in 1983.

This is a very good piece in the New York Times about the book, which includes a slideshow of Barney's work. See: 'Judging An Artist By His Elusive Covers' by Alice Rawsthorn.

The rediscovery of his work has been a long process. For almost a decade his name was forgotten. As much of his work was unsigned or credited using pseudonyms, his huge creative achievement was obscured.

Then in Spring 1992, Eye magazine published a 12pp-piece entitled In Search of Barney Bubbles, featuring an essay by Jane Thrift and showcasing a collection of his work. You can now see and read the whole feature online. Eye have also carried two recent posts: Reasons To Be Cheerful Part One and Two.

In 1997 came Barney Bubbles: Artist and Designer, an excellent extended post on the fantastic blog Feuillton, - being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Two artists Rebecca and Mike had also become interested in Barney's work and their Barney Bubbles Underground
exhibition at Artomatic in London's East End in 2001 is to date the first exhibition of his work ever held.

See also photographer Phil Franks' Friends website containing material on Barney.

Virtually the only formal interview Barney ever gave was by Dave Fudger and appeared in The Face [No 19/Nov 1981]. Can't find it online at present.


Here is Paul Gorman sitting in front of a framed page from OZ magazine by Barney Bubbles at his house in Clapham where The Generalist went to interview him in January. [To be posted on the Audio Generalist in due course]

Paul has now started a blog on the book. He already has some new material from one of Barney's former girlfriends which you can see there.

See: Reasons To be Cheerful - Art, Design and Rock & Roll

This joins the blog recently established by Barney's college friend and fellow designer David Wills.

Barney Bubbles? What a laugh.

Barney also has a Wikipedia entry

Now there is to be tribute concert at the Roundhouse in Barney's memory. Support it if you can.

Note: This gig has been postponed and is now to be held on June 7th


Press release reads:


‘Home Grown Events’ present SUNDAY IMPLOSION at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London, in memory of the late, great creative genius Barney Bubbles.

The Hawklords (Harvey Bainbridge, Alan Davey, Martin Griffin, Terry Ollis, Jerry Richards, Adrian Shaw, Steve Swindells, Ron Tree, Nik Turner) will perform the ‘Space Ritual 2009’ show, a presentation inspired by Barney’s creative art and stage design of his and Bob Calvert’s original ‘Space Ritual ‘73’ rock opera…with a nod to Barney’s concept for the ‘Hawklords: 25 Years On’ production.

Other music will be provided by an incredibly rare performances from Quintessence and Amon Duul II and a set from the quite fantastic Tracey Curtis as well as ‘Mothership Control’ from DJ Andy Dunkley (The Living Jukebox), otherworld gyrations from the gorgeous New Bubblettes, lighting by the ever-amazing Liquid Len and The Lensmen, and Mutoid Waste Co.’s weird and wonderful sculptures and happenings.

There will also be a performance of Bob Calvert’s play, 'he Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice' (the stage set of which was designed by Barney), performed by the Pentameters Theatre Group.

SUNDAY IMPLOSION takes place from 3pm to 11pm on June 7TH, 2009 at CHALK FARM ROUNDHOUSE

Tickets: £30 in advance (subject to booking fee) from:

Box Office 0844 482 8008 /,

0871 2200 260 /,

020 7734 8932 /