1967, the fun begins


Dough in the pile

1967 One weekend while I was away in Poole visiting aunt Rene, the retired Ironmonger, Colin changed his name to Barney. So Barney and the Conran crew staged a pastry dough fight for a movie, in the apartment, and it must have been fun, which excused everything, including the dough in the carpet, on the bathroom windows, in the tea-cups, and the beds.

Mistaken fact alert: It was at this time when Barney first smoked hashish (Red-Leb). (Re-reading this, I know I must be mistaken and this ‘first hashish’ nonsense happened sometime before 1967.)  When I came home, apart from the dough all over, there were maybe 28 spent, burnt-down matches on the kitchen table and I couldn’t guess what the were used for – only figured out later they were for lighting hashish in a pipe made from a toilet roll card tube, with a foil-formed bowl in a hole. (Ha, dope brain. Not true, the matches sighting may have happened in sometime around 1965)

This is the invite to the Color Party, Barney art directed the grid, I designed the grid’s measurements, Barney performed the drawings of the people with balloons, the top hat and rabbit, the blancmange, fizzy and tea cakes, the shoe, and the moon; I drew all the rest, the radio-active radio, Bash Street Kids, the dancers and piano by the rabbit, A1 the best – with Barney adding the concentric fine lines around it (shades of the Hakwind Barney/Higson drawings), Go-go, Desperate Dan to Burge’s flaming Morris car, I wrote most of it, and lettered the type, although it looks very much like Barney’s, similar, type indication mark-up script.

This use of Neu(sp?) Haas, or as you’d call it, Helvetica, is interesting because it is Barney’s first use of Haas on a job he designed. Previously he was a Venus-man from his days on Manette, but having worked on closing the letter-space on 72pt Haas at Town, he aquired an appreciation for it – even tho’ the magazine, staff and owner was abhorrent to him.

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1967. It was from the clean up party after this practice run that we strategized the next party. The resulting, epochal  ‘A1GoodGuyz sounds good evening’ on the invite, but usually called the ‘Color Party,’  was the kind of event that changed things, consciously part of a first flush of subversive co-mingling. We lined the entire apartment in plastic.

We invited a crew of art students from our old art school in Twickenham to build a set from Fulham market street rubbish and make a movie in our apartment. We turned the apartment into an extra mural class in creativity. I still have an invite, on an A1 broadsheet blueprint. (Our first use of A size paper, his employer on Manette Street had been instrumental in the change over to the new sizes.) I found the invite, tucked away in a folder somewhere, with Barney and my drawings and a cast of characters.

We had invited other art schools, too. Pearce Marchbank (not from Highgate College, he was from Hornsey) was there. There were sewing machines to make rags from rags. A sometime Fulcher lover, Mary Lexa, the limber-legged ‘Bohop’ dancer, from Becky Sharp country in St Louis, Mississippi, and later, San Francisco who won the licorice pipe award for most colorful costume, could recite very quickly, “Anna Banana fe-fi-fo fofanna – Banana.” She is now living as a dance impresario in Denmark. Roger Bowman played “Green Onions” on a huge organ made from Fulham Market boxes and scraps. A tousle-haired guy, I think of as Jacob, recreated the 2nd world war standing on the kitchen table. Messrs. Kirby and Shields, the teachers, arrived, and discretely left, smiling. Barney had his movie camera, and I took photographs; it was a scene from La Dolce Vita.

The Color Party, also called the "Sounds good evening"

Three young neighbors from the pre-fabs on Avonmore Road, and students from Twickenham with Barney reading his exposure-meter for his super-eight movie camera at the Color Party.

Copyright 2008 David Wills