Funky Paul Olsen trips down Memory Lane

David Wills to Funky Paul Olsen: I’m often reminded of why you left England the first time (in 1967); it was when you were charged for a paper bag in Safeway that you thought should be free. Funny that. I’m collecting up ol’ memories –  with Giana and Aten Skinner, Kate Moon, Judi Cowper, Pat Synge, Bob Wagner, Phil Franks, and you, recounting it all makes a vivid picture.

Paul Olsen:I moved into 307 on December 21, 1969 and lived in the first floor front room, over the “shop” front, and moved out in May of 1970. I had my huge Monopoly painting on the wall in my room, plus lots of my Fillmore and Avalon posters.(Wills says: When Barney and I met up in the seventies sometime, ’75 or so, we visited Little Tony in what had been the old Frendz office and the Monopoly board painting was still there.)

DW: And Barney was stoned on LSD a good part of the time… 
PO: – aint that the truth,
DW: Got anything to add to the Barney memories

Old Candy wrappers
PO: Not much….Barney stayed with me part of the time he was in SF…. 1069 Church street… between 20th and 21st… that’s where he came and stayed with me. I don’t know where else he stayed. I remember him being so overwhelmed at being in San Francisco where it was all happening, and that he took LSD one day and wandered down to the park nearby where I lived where they were having a fair, and he came back with some old candy wrappers exclaiming how beautiful they were… he was flying.

DW says : Barney told me at conversations spread over time that he stayed a while in a Grateful Dead safe-house, with ‘Pete’ and ‘Rick’ (or similar) at 534 Ashbury, (which, co-incidentaly, is where I have now lived for 40 years or so.) it’s where Pigpen hung out in 68, he had a keyboard there. Pigpen and Janis played and sang in the front room. Barney said, “I did it all with them. Yeah, Janis too.”

Wills: These were some of his choices.
“Flying saucers,” candy buttons, Appleheads, Atomic Fireballs, Bazooka Gum (10-pack), Boston baked beans, Bottlecaps, bubblegum cigar, bubblegum cigarettes, candy cigarettes, candy lipstick, candy necklace, Charms Pop, Cherryheads, Chuckles, gold mine gum, Good N Plenty, Bit-O-Honey, Grapeheads, hot dog bubblegum, Jawbreakers, Tootsie Pops, Jujubes, JujyFruits, Lemonheads, Clark Bar, Milk Duds, Necco Wafers, Nik-L-Nip wax bottles, Pez, Dum Dum suckers, Fun Dip (also calked Lik-M-Aid), Pixy Stix, pumpkin seeds, Red Hots, Razzles, Ring Pop, Slo-Poke, Smarties, Pay Day bar, Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddy sucker, Sweetarts, Tootsie Roll, Twizzler licorice and wax lips.

Olsen:: Huge Kebab sitdown
Then he wrote to me either later in ‘68 or early ‘69 saying he was working on getting this building (307) and would I like to come and live there with him… he reserved the biggest room for me, and I moved over December 21, 1969. I wanted to move to England after having been there with you two. We all used to go up to a Greek café in Golborne road and have a fabulous huge kebab sitdown meal for 6 shillings… it would be the only meal of the day and really filled you up.

By the way, one of my best friends over here… David Bailie, who I met in 1970, lives in Rugby Mansions, just around the corner from Avonmore Road in Bishop Kings road! He was the pirate with the parrot on his shoulder (“Cotton”) in all the Pirates of the Caribbean” movies…it certainly set him up for his retirement!

House full of friends
One of the guys who lived in 307 had a second-hand record stall in Kensington Market (I loved that place) and we used to go up there and visit with him during the day…but I can’t remember much else of what did together other than have the occasional jam. Quiver were rehearsing in the freezing, dank, dirty and small basement. Barney took the box room on the first landing and insisted it was what he wanted….just big enough for a single bed…he just liked having a house full of friends…and it was fun. But I moved in a girl fairly straight away and we started looking for a flat which we finally found in Barnes, and we lived there for 4 years and she lived there for another 3 and now lives in Sheen, so I was getting busy with my new life in my new country, and not too involved with Barney those first 5 months.
And when we moved out in May of ‘70, I pretty much lost touch with Barney…. I may have seen him once or twice after that.

Ringoes “Sure Rod.”
Did you read or see where Ringo announced (he lives nearby…you should see his palace!) a few weeks ago that he wasn’t going to sing any more autographs? Well, at Kenney’s party, Rod Stewart walked over to Ringo’s table and said, “Ringo, can I have your autograph please?”