Thanksgiving at the A1GGZ 1968
A Serigraph by Judi Cowper while at Art School in London in 1968 of her husband Billy – a good friend of Barney. Judy stayed at Leigh Court with the A1GGZ, says Judi, “Since we were at odds with the political status quo at the time, I figured a new flag was in order.”
My First Thanksgiving Turkey, by Judi Cowper
Bill and I went to London the end of summer 1968.
We arrived at Southampton and made our way to London with Richard. We went to a recommended B&B (probably because it was so cheap) and we dutifully inspected the room. It was quite large, had 3 beds, and the toilet was right next door. We paid the agreed upon price and went out to inspect the neighborhood. We found a Wimpey Burger and had burgers. We slid into a booth and unwrapped our burgers. Bill had hair slightly below his ears, and Richard had a lovely head of hair, but not overly long… nevertheless, everyone in the place was staring at us. It was 1968 and there was lots of long hair in London… finally we realized they were staring because everyone else in the restaurant was eating their burgers with a knife and fork. Bill stood up and announced, “We invented em and we’ll eat ’em as we like.” He sat down and we proceeded to ‘tuck in’ to our burgers.
The nonmoving bed
That night we returned to the B&B and fell into our first nonmoving bed. We had been on the ship for 10 days and still had not gotten our land legs back. In the middle of the night Richard got up and let out a shriek. We turned on the lights, and Richard was standing on the carpet that was an inch deep with water and the walls were actually running with water…burbling over the moldy growths… we eventually all got to sleep, after Richard took a full roll with assorted lenses so we would have the event captured forever!
The next morning we set out to find new lodgings. I am not sure just where we went or who sent us there, but we wound up at an office and were given an address… we have a devil of a time finding the place… no GPS or map quest… and it was a road that was only a couple of blocks long.
We eventually found 1A Leigh Court . It was up some stairs, we knocked on the door… it was opened by this grinning guy who grabbed my suitcase and ushered us down a long hall. Thus began my association with Bubbles and Squeak.
I know, I still haven’t gotten to the Thanksgiving dinner. Barney Bubbles AKA Colin Fulcher was our greeter. He and Bill had an immediate affinity for each other. Bill could be difficult, he has a huge past of abuse and rejection, he was an ugly drunk, but he had a marshmallow heart and Barney caught that part.
Barney Bubbles, a one of a kind. He was so full of enthusiasm, love for his fellow man/woman, and a bright and shiny attitude about life. I met his demons later. He set us up in the living room (sitting room) which we shared with Rob, an American draft-dodger, and later on Rachel and Richard… she made jewelry and I have no clue what he did, I can’t even remember what he looked like. Rachel was very soft looking and they came and left in a short time. Rod was in the far corner, my memory of him was reclining and spouting anti-military statements. He and Bill agreed on that, as Bill went to jail instead of going to the draft.
Peter and some others occupied a bedroom in the middle of the hall. I seem to remember a bunk bed set up of some sort. The first room, just inside the door was the studio and I think Barney slept there.
(No that was my room, but I think I may have been in out’a town, could be wrong –DW)
Now that I think about it, I am not sure just where David’s bed was. The bathroom came next and then the kitchen, with the sitting room at the end of the hall.
I think there was no fridge because we kept the milk outside the windowsill. The British guys were way more interested in clothes than food, and drank a lot of tea with milk, but weren’t big on food.
On to the Feast.
The English weren’t much on turkeys, so I had to special order one from Safeway. I had gotten a job at some modeling agency near Marble Arch…they hired me because my dress was short enough, (thank you Daphne for the purple and green dress, you made it and you are 6 inches shorter than I thus the length) and so I had a paycheck coming in. I worked at a department store in Guildford giving out Jules Duval Cyprus Sherry… I decanted and brought home all varieties.
Black-currant jelly on the turkey
So, Safeway gets in the turkey. I had never cooked one before by myself, but I was determined that I should share our customs. I don’t actually remember all the side dishes, but I did use black currant jelly instead of cranberries, and I still prefer it. I did mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and turkey. I don’t remember dessert, I hope it was pumpkin pie, but I doubt I found pumpkin in the grocery store. I don’t remember all the guests, I think Gary and Carol, the American couple, as well as Peter and David Wills, Barney Bubbles, Rod the Draftdodger, and Bill and I. There may have been others, I don’t remember the actually eating part, just all the preparations. I don’t think there were even that many plates, it was a guy pad before I arrived, and I didn’t feel like I should intrude on the system. I do remember that people talked about the meal long after the event, which really pleased me. Many years later Barney brought it up as a fond memory.
Wills: I think there was a problem around the washing-up after the meal. I think this eventually led up to Barney leaving A1 Leigh Court.
The office where Judi and Bill found us was the Arts Lab switchboard. I left our A1 address there as a crash pad, “Visitors from San Francisco welcome” much to Barney’s surprise, then he got into it. He happily told me that Judy and Bill were arriving. I was down in Poole when they arrived. Judi tells me my brother Peter was living there at the time.
If David Medala(Sp?) is reading, it’d be fun to have his eyes up on Barney.