Ah, 34 Montagu Square, the infamous ground floor and basement apartment once leased by Beatle Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Many celebrities sub-leased the apartment from Starr then, but perhaps the worst of the worst celebrity tenant award goes to a Mr. Jimi Hendrix.
Hendrix—along with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham—sub-leased the apartment back in December of 1966. They both lived on the lower-ground floor and paid £30 a month in rent. That’s a pretty rad bargain if you ask me even for back then. I’d consider it living situation that you’d probably not want to fuck up. But… Jimi Hendrix apparently did. One night while on an acid trip, Hendrix decided it would be a good idea to whitewash the entire place. He threw whitewash all over the walls because LSD. That, er, “mistake” led Ringo Starr to issue Hendrix an eviction. Bye-bye, Jimi!
Hendrix and Etchingham only lasted three months in the digs. Hendrix, did however, compose the song “The Wind Cries Mary” while he lived there. The song was inspired after a fight he had with Etchingham over her lack of cooking skills.
The photographs you see here, by photojournalist Petra Niemeier, are of Hendrix while he lived at 34 Montagu Square. Judging by these photos, I’m surprised Hendrix didn’t burn down the damned place while smoking in bed. Methinks the Beatle probably made the right call.
Something was brewing in the city, and the word had gotten out. The Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in January; for the April 26, 1967, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter J. Campbell Bruce and photographer Art Frisch collaborated on an article by embedding themselves (to use much later terminology) on a tourist bus that would cruise by the Haight-Ashbury district so that regular folks could see real hippies in action. According to Brian J. Cantwell, the bus was called the “Hippie Hop.”
In the pages of the Chronicle, legendary columnist Herb Caen sniffed with bemused contempt at the tour buses:
What’s striking about the pictures from the perspective of today is that the ostensible “hippies” seem indistinguishable from most young adults today. The “little old lady” cited in the original article as saying “You’re sure they’re not beatniks? WE have beatniks in Cleveland” surely had a point. My guess is that the intervening 48 years (!) have made it difficult to see what was so gawk-worthy about these young people; also, by the end of the summer, things were likely looking quite different on Haight-Ashbury.
The tours were well known at the time. Just two weeks later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about them in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, in an article titled “The ‘Hashbury’ Is the Capital of the Hippies”:
The only buses still running regularly along Haight Street are those from the Gray Line, which recently added “Hippieland” to its daytime sightseeing tour of San Francisco. It was billed as “the only foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States” and was an immediate hit with tourists who thought the Haight-Ashbury was a human zoo. The only sour note on the tour was struck by the occasional hippy who would run alongside the bus, holding up a mirror.
At six one morning, Will [the narrator’s boyfriend] went out in jeans and frayed sweater to buy a quart of milk. A tourist bus went by. The megaphone was directed at him. “There’s one,” it said. That was in the 1960’s. Ever since, he’s wondered. There’s one what?
All pics except the Caen column will spawn a larger version if you click on them. Be sure to see the full gallery at SF Gate. All photographs by Art Frisch.
While it has been long believed that Paul McCartney was the first Beatle to ever admit taking drugs during an interview with Independent Television News (ITN) in June 1967, it can now be revealed that John Lennon was in fact the first Beatle who owned up to the band being “stoned” two years before this in an interview with an American journalist.
February 1965, The Beatles had just arrived on location at New Providence Island in the Bahamas to film Help!. On being asked what The Beatles had been up to on their flight over, Lennon replied “We got stoned.” There is a stunned silence before the interviewer says: “Alright. I know you’re only kidding.”
Of course, Lennon wasn’t kidding, as The Beatles had been popping pills since at least 1960 and smoking weed since being “turned-on” by Bob Dylan in 1964. Simon Wells exclusively explains for Dangerous Minds:
The Beatles took a chartered jet to the Bahamas for the start of filming of Help! on Monday 22nd February 1965. Perversely as it may seem, the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein had become intoxicated with the idea of tax shelters and havens—and after his dismal performance of selling off the Beatles rights to A Hard Day’s Night for little more than the average house price in Britain, he sensed an idea to set up an offshore interest in the Bahamas, hoping that the money from the film would escape the extortionate financial red tape and punitive taxes that would attract to the film’s future successes.
To defer suspicions, Epstein cooked up the idea of filming part of Help! in the Bahamas and so eager was he to establish a presence there, filming for what would be the finale of the movie was shot first. Temperatures at a constant high for the area, the group would have to shield themselves from the likelihood of considerable tanning – an issue that would have colored (excuse pun) the earlier shots in the film, all set in London. Nonetheless, The Beatles knew little about this, and happily trundled onto the caravan of filming—the shores of Nassau were far more attractive than a gloomy British February. Equally, it meant a break from the rigours of touring, something they had grown to hate.
The group’s plane continued the majority of the film’s attendant circus, plus a few liggers and reporters to help things along. The nine-hour flight requiring more than just alcoholic sustenance, the band happily tugged on a succession of marijuana joints to elevate the time between touching down in the Bahamas. Since August the previous year when Bob Dylan famously turned the band onto the magical herb, the group had indulged heavily in the newly found pursuit. The effects were immediate on their dress and music, heavy shades and dissonant chords were now pitting their senses; introspection tossing “boy meets girl” out of the window.
While the media were well aware that The Beatles (and most of the other groups of the period) took drugs, there was no need for them to spill the beans and spoil the party. By 1965 standards, The Beatles were still good cheeky copy—guaranteed to bring a smile to the nation’s breakfast tables, and still with the consent of Britain’s parents, the girls and boys could shower them with unbridled adoration. Behind closed doors in Buckingham Palace and at (the Prime Minister’s home) Number 10 Downing Street, plans were already afoot to adorn the band with the M.B.E. If an admission of naughty chemical use had surfaced prior to the award announcement, it would have clearly stymied the whole pantomime. The press knew this too—so all was on course to preserve the Fab’s innocence—for the time being.
For those who chart such things, this is the first admission from a Beatle that drugs were now a part of their lives. The evident shock from the reporter is testament to the disbelief that these sweet boys could ever do such a thing. Predictably, the comment was not used in print, and it remained buried on the reporter’s tape – until now!
Simon Wells new book on The Beatles Eight Arms To Hold You is available from Pledge Music, details here.
In celebration of 4/20 today, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is encouraging media outlets to use these stock images of people enjoying marijuana instead of the usual hippie–dippie photos we always see.
Media outlets continue to use stereotypical “stoner” images for otherwise serious news stories about marijuana. The Drug Policy Alliance is offering an alternative: stock photos of real, everyday people who use marijuana.
These photos are open license and free to use for non-commercial editorial purposes, and we hope they will help make the jobs of editors easier and the content more relevant.
While some of photos are a bit comical (I really dig the Jenga one! It’s perfect. No one would ever play Jenga unless they were stoned!) I get where DPA is coming from. It is highly annoying that the media keeps depicting every marijuana user as some sort of Burning Man, hacky sack-playing idiot with an IQ of 80.
The notoriously scuzzball Terminal Bar, as seen in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver.’
Though I may yearn for the rents of the 1970s, the “grit” of “old New York” can be heavily over-romanticized. Yes, it was cheaper, and the arts were more vibrant and the population more varied. There was shitloads of violent crimes, parts of the city were really dirty and dilapidated, and other parts just looked like some one had dropped a bomb on them.
Nonetheless, historical records of the all-too-recent period of NYC brutality are in high demand. Terminal Bar was most certainly an “old New York” institution. The infamously sleazy Port Authority-adjacent saloon opened in 1972, catering first to working class Irish-American toughs, then more for pimps, pushers, prostitutes, down-and-out drunks and drug addicts, finally attracting a primarily gay, black and male clientele before closing in 1982. During its ten-year run, bartender Sheldon “Shelly” Nadelman (the son-in-law of the bar’s owner Murray Goldman) documented his patrons and the area around the bar with a keen eye, and his collection, Terminal Bar: A Photographic Record of New Yorks Most Notorious Watering Hole continues to engross those of us with a taste for the louche.
Calling himself a “half-assed artist,” Nadelman mainly worked in portraiture of his regulars—beautiful black and whites of usually overlooked and often avoided faces. In 2002 his son Stefan made a small documentary, Terminal Bar, that took the 2003 Sundance Jury Prize for short film—you can now watch it in its entirety (and in HD!) below.
In a combination of interview, narration and slideshow, you get a taste of just how wild—and how alive—one little bar could be. The Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building now stands where the Shelly Nadelman once took his customers’ portraits.
Japan’s reputation for baffling weirdness and its wont to use Western pop culture figures in advertising has resulted in some amusing confluences, especially in the pre-Internet era, when said popcult figures could do an ad in Japan for some easy money with reasonable confidence that none of their fans back home would ever see it.
Now, of course, we enjoy the fruits of a global network containing damn near every stupid thing that ever came down the pike, available instantly and for all time or until Prince complains. And so today, even we gaijin can enjoy the three headfuckingly lysergic TV ads the British pop duo WHAM! made in 1985 for Maxell audio cassettes. These were part of a campaign that included some pretty weird and acutely ‘80s print collateral, as well:
Images are of ad spreads for sale by eBay user tokyotim
If you were alive and reasonably sentient in the ‘80s, you know WHAM!‘s material whether you cared to or not just by dint of radio and MTV saturation play, so you’ll notice that in the TV spots, they change their songs’ lyrics—probably for licensing reasons—but that’s not what’s really important here. What’s really important is that you drop a heroic dose and stare deeply into Andrew Ridgeley’s eyes until you see the FACE OF GOD.
Jerry Brown stayed busy during the 28-year interval between his two stints as California’s governor: he made a bid for the presidency, got elected mayor of Oakland, and became the state’s attorney general. Before he was mayor, he also founded a commune in Oakland called We The People. The house at 200 Harrison Street doubled as a salon; Brown envisioned it as a place for “philosophers, artists and activists to discuss and plan ways to work change.” On weekdays in the mid-90s, he broadcast a talk show (also called “We The People”) from the commune over the Bay Area’s Pacifica station, KPFA.
On one afternoon in October 1995, Brown’s guest was Dr. Timothy Leary. Leary owed his host a favor. Two decades earlier, Leary, having already escaped prison once with the help of the Weather Underground, was doing hard time in Folsom State Prison, where he was looking at a lo-o-ong sentence (95 years, says Wikipedia). In 1975, Brown’s first year as governor, he pardoned Leary. (If you think this means Brown is some kind of hippie with an enlightened attitude to drug policy, guess again; he’s actually been a wiener on this issue.) After Leary’s federal parole was granted the following year, he was a free man. He was arrested in Texas for smoking a cigarette in protest of no-smoking rules in 1994, but he stayed out of the slams for the rest of his life. I’d think he must have had warm feelings about Jerry Brown.
Leary had sought the office of governor in California’s 1970 election. He planned to take on the incumbent, Ronald Reagan, armed with a campaign song by John Lennon. Sadly, what might have been one of the most entertaining gubernatorial campaigns in American history was cut short by Leary’s incarceration some ten months before the election. Wise elders, why didn’t you send Reagan up the river instead?
In this wide-ranging half-hour conversation, the two lapsed Catholics do not discuss the pardon or their mutual interest in the governorship, but Brown does bring up the subject of toad-licking when a caller observes that many psychedelic compounds appear in nature. Even if you have no interest in any of the above, you will certainly enjoy hearing California’s current governor exclaim: “You can SUCK THOSE FROGS that give you the good high! Did you read about them?”
Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein were supporting characters in the story of art, literature and culture during the early to mid-twentieth century. Stein was a writer, poet and playwright, who collected and promoted the artists Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and Picabia; and the writers Hemingway, Ezra Pound and Scott Fitzgerald. Toklas was Stein’s lover, muse, editor, and confidante. The couple were inseparable during their 39-year relationship, which was celebrated through Stein’s book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1933. This book told the story of their relationship through Toklas’s biography.
While Stein ruled the salon, Toklas was mistress of the kitchen. Almost a decade after Stein’s death in 1946, Toklas published what could be described as another Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas—a cookbook that mixed her favorite recipes with concisely written memoirs of her life. Her childhood she recalled through her mother’s fritters and ice cream; her aunt and a favorite car (a Model-T Ford) recalled through a recipe for hot chocolate; while many of the artists, writers and actors she met through her relationship with Stein were evoked by recipes, such as “Custard Josephine Baker” or through tales of serving food—cooking Picasso fish, for example.
One recipe for “Hashish Fudge” was supplied by friend and artist Brion Gysin. This sweet delicacy gave The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book considerable notoriety, and forced the publishers to enquire over the legality of publishing such a recipe.
(which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)
This is the food of paradise — of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by ‘un évanouissement reveillé‘.
Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander.
These should all be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together.
A bunch of Cannabis sativa can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.
Obtaining the Cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as Cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognised, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called Cannabis indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.
As “experienced” gourmands know, the recipe bears more of a resemblance to what’s referred to in Morocco as “majoun.” The 1960s comedy I Love You Alice B. Toklas, starring Peter Sellers name checks Alice due to his uptight character eating a bunch of hash brownies. An audio recording of Alice reading the “Hashish Fudge” recipe can be heard here.
Whether or not you’re a fan of their unique brand of turgid hardboogie-prog, this recently uploaded video of Kansas performing their signature hit “Carry On Wayward Son” in 1978 at the Canada Jam is, to say the least, energetic.
Perhaps it’s unfair to make speculations about ‘70s rock band members cocaine habits—to firstly assume they are on the drug—and to further assume Scarface office desk levels of the white stuff being inhaled before the show, but holy shit THIS VIDEO. The band, or at least singer Steve Walsh, appear to have had some degree of chemical enhancement working in their favor.
A few online sources mention that years later, in the ‘90s, Walsh was supposedly arrested for possession and threatened with jail time. We also know from this 700 Club interview that guitarist Kerry Livgren and bassist Dave Hope were seriously addicted until they “found God.” In that particular interview, Hope admits to having spent $40,000 (in 1980 dollars!) on cocaine the year before his Christian rebirth. We can only guess what the differences would be between Dave Hope’s and Steve Walsh’s level of commitment to the white lady, but this performance seems to indicate Walsh was in imminent danger of flying off the stage and into the stratosphere at any second.
Me personally, I think “Carry on Wayward Son” is a killer ‘70s jam. It’s not even a “guilty” pleasure—and I don’t really care what was getting them through the show—to me, this totally rules. Your mileage may vary. If Kansas’ brand of arena rock is not exactly your cup of tea, you might just want to watch a guy completely out of his mind, going absolutely apeshit on what is probably a mountain of blow. In that case, proceed directly to 1:46 and 3:39 in this over-the-top performance.