Peter Coyote and Robin Hood in real time

In Peter Coyote’s oh so too true memoir of the sixties he shews the driving force behind Colin Fulcher’s switch to ‘Barney Bubbles.’ By 1967 Colin had been reading Naked Lunch, On The Road, Howl, was keeping up with the Doors, and Floyd, read up on events in Frisco too. We were lectured by the visiting merchant Seaman, Hippie Jim, who told of the Dead and drugs and the Diggers in the Panhandle.

Somewhere amongst all the Marxist jargon around at the time, the simplicity of the Diggers working ethic stood out. It was they who stole food from Cala (or was it another predecesor of what is now Whole Foods?) on Haight and the Safeway out in the Avenues, euphemistically called ‘dumster diving.’ No sirree. The fabled 70’s Haight Ashbury venue, Shady Grove’s character (and collector of my work), The Beast, ran with the lads who aquired the goods to feed the people, aquired fair an’ square under cover of jostling crowds, push carts, sou’westers and the like. They got food and gave it to poor. Robin Hood in real time.

It was Emmett Grogan who amassed the Diggers in the Haight, to quote Peter Coyote in ‘Sleeping Where i Fall:’ “Emmett’s personal relationship to these formulations of “anonymous” and “free” was always ambiguous and complex. His notion of anonymity was to give his name away and have others use it as their own nom de plume. So many people claimed it for so many purposes that eventually some reporters would assert that there was no Emmett Grogan and that the name was a fiction created by the Diggers to confound the straight world. While Emmett’s largesse was one way of demonstrating lack of attachment to his name, it also made the name ubiquitous, and incidentally made Emmett himself famous among cognoscenti.”

Cheap and Cheerful

The reason I quote this is the obvious contemporary influence on what was the working relationship of Barney and myself in the A1 GoodGuyz, The oft discussed reasons for Fulcher’s dalliance with Anonymity and Free that led to Bubbles and Sqeeek’s working modus, can be found most immediately in the San Francisco Golden Gate Park Panhandle’s Digger history. Coming out of the meld of Morris and Marx with a dash of Manic the Digger’s were cool.

One also can see here,for instance, the background to Warhol having a sub for his speeches, or in another timezone to explain my use of the Barney Bubbles credit when working on Black Dwarf.

I recently accessed a neuron arrangement that told of why I was giving credit to Barney B on Tariq Ali’s Black Dwarf in 1967/8, for work I that had done. When I did this, I amused myself thinking how in the future this would cause attribution concerns for graphic historians.  And there was that ‘switched at birth,’ Mark Twainian ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’ switcheroo going on that Barney espoused. Also the name change was partly because I thought he should have done the work anyway – because that was our arrangement when we started, we’d do alternate issues. I don’t think Barney really wanted to work at Black Dwarf. Yeah, he wouldn’t work in Tariq’s ‘studio’ because there wasn’t one – I had to work on the floor.  I’d take his work in with me and present it at the last minute so Tariq couldn’t mess with it.