ALL ARE WELCOME TO THIS LAUNCH OF CLINTON HEYLIN`S NEW BOOK, THE EXHIBITION WILL RUN UNTIL 29th AUGUST 2016....This is the story of the birth of Punk, with a capital P, in the only country where it was a mainstream movement: the UK;told entirely by eye-witnesses (Heylin included) whose words, then and now, have been held up to the light of history’s hindsight. This is also the story of the rebirth of Rock, by a bunch of bands who set out to deconstruct and destroy the form, on the island that largely invented it and reinvented it at least twice in the fifteen years before Punk. And it is the story of the ex-Catholic, semi-Irish, snotnosed, working-class Cockney oik who dealt the final, fatal blow to England’s dreams of empire when he became a Rotten revolutionary. But most of all it is the story of a handful of British youths who were inspired to raise their voice in song, and allow it to echo around the world. It is a story that, till now, has only been told piecemeal: of one band blazing a trail gig by gig, convert by convert, to the pre-set agenda – not always adhered to – of a fetish shop owner until, within a single year, the whole island rocked to the sound of ANARCHEEE. How did this happen…and why does it still matter? Read on.
PREVIOUS SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS
Nigel Waymouth of `Hapshash & the Coloured Coat` fame seen here signing new edition silk screen prints in the gallery and at the recent Hapshash exhibition at the Utrecht Record & Cd show November 2013.
In 1966, Nigel Waymouth teamed up with Michael English and formed the graphic design partnership, Hapshash and The Coloured Coat. At that time, English was working as a free-lance graphic artist for various alternative publications and venues. Waymouth had recently opened London's first counter culture boutique, Granny Takes A Trip, designing its multi-faceted decor and many of the clothes. They were aware of each other's work but it was Joe Boyd and John Hopkins, the organisers of the UFO Club, who had the idea that their combined talents might produce something special for the club's posters. During the next eighteen months Hapshash and the Coloured Coat produced a series of posters and designs that defined the ideals and visions of that time as distinctively as any of the music or fashions.
From the beginning they both understood what each other had to offer and, in sharing their talents, they were certain that they could produce a style that was both unique and exciting. English's talent lay in his ability to balance an unrivalled attention to detail whilst creating the most fluid designs. Waymouth brought to the work a strong imagination bursting with romantic ideas and a facility for figurative drawing. Their very strong sense of colour was also important, given the cost limitations and the strictures of the silk-screen process. At a time when the prevailing fashion was for an indiscriminate use of rainbows and any clashing colour combination, they strived for maximum colour effect without sacrificing balance and harmony. To this end they introduced numerous innovations that have since become common practice. Expensive gold and silver inks had not been used much on street posters before but they made it a regular feature of their designs. English and Waymouth also pioneered the technique of grading one colour into another on a single separation. The effects were startling, bringing an explosive vitality to the fly posters on the London streets. Nothing like it had been seen before or since. Looking at a whole block of some twenty or thirty of a single Hapshash poster was a powerful visual shock. It was not long before people began to tear some of them down in order to decorate their own walls. It was eye candy to match any psychedelic experience.
In hindsight, they now realise that what they had done was to bridge a gap between Pop Art and tagged graffiti. The posters often contained subversive elements , including sexually explicit graphics, mystical symbols and dissenting messages. They regarded each poster, whatever it was promoting, not only as an aesthetically pleasing design but also as a pro-active concept. They got away with it because the posters were so charming to look at and the contents, including the words, required closer attention than people could give at first glance. Their immediate audience was the younger generation, sympathetic to the spirit of the times but they also wanted to brighten the lives of people going about their everyday business on the grey streets of London.
In October 2000, The Victoria and Albert Museum put on an exhibition of the Hapshash and the Coloured Coat posters and designs, including many of the original artworks. These posters are now collector's items and fetch high prices at the auction houses. In 2001 the exhibition was extended before it went on tour. As Ted Owen and Denise Dickson wrote in their definitive study of psychedelic posters , "High Art", "they designed some of the most dazzling, beautiful and original psychedelic posters - as good as anything produced in San Francisco and Detroit."
Bamalama posters recently exhibited a range of rare and unique concert and promotional posters of David Bowie from the period 1966 - 1977 at the Utrecht Record & CD show April 2013