Two Australian counter-culture magazines from 1970-72

A few weeks back I posted on facebook that a hippy counterculture magazine I co-produced in 1971-72, called High Times, is now online -- every page of its 6 issues scanned by the University of Wollongong at http://ro.uow.edu.au/hightimes/  (This Australian High Times came out 3 years before the US pot magazine of the same name, which is still going 42 years on.)

First issue 1970: Rock is a 4-letter word

First issue 1970: Rock is a 4-letter word

 Our High Times was a successor to a tabloid mag called Revolution, a music/counterculture mag that I published from 1970 through ’71 using the facilities of my pop music weekly, GoSet.

 I started GoSet with a few mates in 1966 and by 1970 pop and rock had grown up -- as we and our readers had -- and Revolution became a national monthly covering music that was more meaningful, or at least louder and more loud-mouthed, and, over its one year lifespan it also dove into politics, sex, drugs and alternatives ways of doing most things.

 Now, the U of Wollongong crew led by Michael Organ have digitized all 11 issues of Revolution here http://ro.uow.edu.au/revolution/ . Starting below with issue #1, I will be posting comments on each issue in sequence on my blog at coorabellridge.com.

 

A few items in Issue #1 – the one with Peter Fonda in Easy Rider on the cover:

 * In my editorial attempting to justify the paper’s immodest name I cited Chuck Berry’s “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n ’ rollDeliver me from the days of old” as “nothing less than revolutionary in the grey flannel fog of the fifties” -- and when Dylan ‘went electric’, I said “his oppressed-minority lyrics over a defiant rock backing … became that much more offensive to the oldies, and thus more totally on-line for ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

 I noted the Beatles’ were calling for “evolution” then quoted Nina Simone’s reply: “Sing about revolution because I’m talking ‘bout a change. It’s more than just evolution, Well you know, you gotta clean your brain…”

 And I wound up with this advice from Plato: “styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions….The new style … quietly insinuates itself into manners and customs; and from these it … goes on to attack laws and constitutions, displaying the utmost impudence, until it ends by overturning everything, both in public and in private." I neglected to add that Plato wrote these words as a warning that “the introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state”!

 * We ran a two-page summation of the trial of the Chicago 8, who were alleged to be “leaders” of mass protests against the war on Vietnam that disrupted the 1968 Democratic Party Convention. These 8 activists were sentenced to a collective total of more than 60 years in jail – which reminded me that presidential elections have precipitated serious political realignments twice already in my lifetime; the second was 2000 in which pro-Bush agitators forced the abandonment of the Florida recount. There will be more of this next month, in response to this year’s disfunctional election.

 The Chicago 8 story also foreshadows two events that changed my life: a year later I was committed to trial in Melbourne for “inciting diverse persons unknown to commit larceny at supermarkets” for publishing Chicago 8 provocateur Abbie Hoffman’s tips for freeloading in his book called “Steal This Book ” – and five years after that I joined Dave Dellinger, the Chicago 8 defendant who received the longest sentence in 1969, as an editor of the New York based progressive newsmagazine Seven Days.

* ALSO IN REVOLUTION ISSUE #1: Our friend the underground filmmaker Albie Thoms reports on experimental films and other multimedia events in Austria and Germany. Albie always sketched the core story -- eg these guys (mostly guys) bite chicken’s heads off on stage -- then he listed all the who when and wheres which makes him popular with archivists today. Albie’s commentary was often limited to underperforming adjectives like fantastic, incredible, or outrageous. Sometimes he also gave you a strong judgment of the worth of the work – in this report, not so much.

 Our more conventional film critics Al Finney and Robert Garlick review three new American movies of the day – Easy Rider, Zabriskie Point, and Alice’s Restaurant.

 

 

 

 

Phillip Frazer1 Comment