International Times (it or IT) is the name of various underground newspapers, with the original title founded in London in 1966 and running until October 1973. Editors included Hoppy, David Mairowitz, Roger Hutchinson,Peter Stansill, Barry Miles, Jim Haynes and playwright Tom McGrath. Jack Moore, avant-garde writer William Levy and Mick Farren, singer of The Deviants, also edited at various periods.
The paper's logo is a black-and-white image of Theda Bara, vampish star of silent films. The founders' intention had been to use an image of actress Clara Bow, 1920s It girl , but a picture of Theda Bara was used by accident and, once deployed, not changed. Paul McCartney donated to the paperas did Allen Ginsberg through his Committee on Poetry foundation.
The IT restarted first as an online archive in 2008, a move arranged by former IT editor and contributor Mike Lesser and financed by Littlewoods heir James Moores,and in 2011 relaunched as an online magazine publishing new material, following a suggestion by Lesser to poet and actor Heathcote Williams. Irish poet Niall McDevitt served as the first online editor of IT, a position later held by Heathcote Williams (editor-in-chief) until his death in 2017. Current editor-in-chief is Nick Victor; contributing editors include Elena Caldera, Claire Palmer, and David Erdos.
International Times was launched on 15 October 1966 at The Roundhouse at an 'All Night Rave' featuring Soft Machine and Pink Floyd. The event promised a 'Pop/Op/Costume/Masque/Fantasy-Loon/Blowout/Drag Ball' featuring 'steel bands, strips, trips, happenings, movies'.[ citation needed ] The launch was described by Daevid Allen of Soft Machine as "one of the two most revolutionary events in the history of English alternative music and thinking. The IT event was important because it marked the first recognition of a rapidly spreading socio-cultural revolution that had its parallel in the States."
From April 1967, and for some while later, the police raided the offices of International Times to try, it was alleged, to force the paper out of business. A benefit event labelled The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream took place at Alexandra Palace on 29 April 1967. Bands included Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine, The Move, and Sam Gopal Dream. Despite police harassment, the paper continued to grow, with financial help from Paul McCartney, a personal friend of editor Barry Miles. Published fortnightly, it became the leading British underground paper, its circulation peaking at around 40,000 copies in late 1968/early 1969, before another police raid, along with competition from newer publications such as Time Out led to declining sales and a financial crisis.
In response to another raid on the paper's offices, London's alternative press on one occasion succeeded, somewhat astonishingly, in pulling off what was billed as a "reprisal attack" on the police—prompting the Evening Standard headline Raid on the Yard. The paper Black Dwarf published a detailed floor-by-floor guide to Scotland Yard, complete with diagrams, descriptions of locks on particular doors and snippets of overheard conversation in the offices of Special Branch. The anonymous author, or "blue dwarf," as he styled himself, described how he perused police files, and even claimed to have sampled named brands of whisky in the Commissioner's office. A day or two later The Daily Telegraph announced that the "raid" had forced the police to withdraw and re-issue all security passes.
In 1970 a group of people from IT, led by photographer Graham Keen, launched Cyclops , "The First English Adult Comic Paper."
IT first ceased publication in October 1973, after being convicted for running contact ads for gay men. The name was revived by another publisher in May 1974 for three issues until October. In 1975, Maya, another underground publication, temporarily renamed itself IT - the International Times, until that title closed after the November issue. A new title of the same name launched the following month, continuing until March 1976 when it went into hiatus until resuming in January 1977, ceasing in August of that year.
Publications with the International Times title were published from January to December 1978, and again from April 1979 to June 1980. A single 'festival issue' was produced in June 1982. The title was again revived in 1986, with three issues from January to March, the last time a paper publication of the IT name was printed.
In 2016, the 50th anniversary of the first copy of the magazine, further editions of a paper version of IT began to be published starting with issue Zero. These were edited by Heathcote Ruthven.
International Times has also published two books. Both are poetry collections – Royal Babylon by Heathcote Williams, an attack on the British Monarchy, and Porterloo by Niall McDevitt, a book satirising the Conservative Party and registering the counterculture of 2011-12.
Many people who became prominent UK figures wrote for IT, including feminist critic Germaine Greer, poet and social commentator Jeff Nuttall, occultist Kenneth Grant, and DJ John Peel. There were many original contributions from underground writers such as Alexander Trocchi; William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
Leading editorial contributors to the late 1970s IT were Heathcote Williams, Max Handley, Mike Lesser, Eddie Woods (Amsterdam editor), and Chris Sanders.
In 1986 IT was relaunched by Tony Allen and Chris Brook. After three issues (Volume 86; issues 1,2,3) Allen left, and Brook continued with one more issue (Volume 86; issue 4). After various one-off issues into 1991, 2000 saw Brook and others create a web-based presence—initially through the alternative server 'Phreak', c. 1996.
There are currently two archive sources online: 1) a comprehensive archive scanned by previous contributors and editors, and a less extensive archive with some commentary.
International Times (NIIT) Archive is a free online archive of every issue of the International Times. It runs from a precursor to IT, The Longhair Times, released on April Fools' Day 1966 to an erroneously labelled 'last issue'—a Xeroxed single sheet issue in 1994. The continuum of this journal, in fact, includes issues and web presence from the last editorial group (IT#4 Vol 1986) until the present day.
The IT Archive was launched on 16 July 2009 at the Idea Generation Gallery.
The IT Archive was founded by Mike Lesser supported by fellow contributors and editors of IT including Mick Farren, John "Hoppy" Hopkins, Dave Mairowitz, Peter Stansill and Heathcote Williams amongst others.
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and writer. As a student at Columbia University in the 1940s, he began friendships with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, forming the core of the Beat Generation. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism, and sexual repression, and he embodied various aspects of this counterculture with his views on drugs, sex, multiculturalism, hostility to bureaucracy, and openness to Eastern religions.
The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era. The bulk of their work was published and popularized throughout the 1950s. The central elements of Beat culture are the rejection of standard narrative values, making a spiritual quest, the exploration of American and Eastern religions, the rejection of economic materialism, explicit portrayals of the human condition, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.
"Howl", also known as "Howl for Carl Solomon", is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1954–1955 and published in his 1956 collection Howl and Other Poems. The poem is dedicated to Carl Solomon.
Naked Lunch is a 1959 novel by American writer William S. Burroughs. The book is structured as a series of loosely connected vignettes. Burroughs stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. The reader follows the narration of junkie William Lee, who takes on various aliases, from the U.S. to Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the dreamlike Interzone.
The British counter-culture or underground scene developed during the mid 1960s, and was linked to the hippie and subculture of the United States. Its primary focus was around Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill in London. It generated its own magazines and newspapers, bands, clubs and alternative lifestyle, associated with cannabis and LSD use and a strong socio-political revolutionary agenda to create an alternative society.
The terms underground press or clandestine press refer to periodicals and publications that are produced without official approval, illegally or against the wishes of a dominant group. In specific recent Asian, American and Western European context, the term "underground press" has most frequently been employed to refer to the independently published and distributed underground papers associated with the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s in India and Bangladesh in Asia, in the United States and Canada in North America, and the United Kingdom and other western nations. It can also refer to the newspapers produced independently in repressive regimes. In German occupied Europe, for example, a thriving underground press operated, usually in association with the Resistance. Other notable examples include the samizdat and bibuła, which operated in the Soviet Union and Poland respectively, during the Cold War.
The Roundhouse is a performing arts and concert venue situated at the Grade II* listed former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, London, England.
John "Hoppy" Hopkins was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist, and "one of the best-known underground figures of 'Swinging London' " in the late 1960s.
Eric Drooker is an American painter, graphic novelist, and frequent cover artist for The New Yorker. He conceived and designed the animation for the film Howl (2010).
The Oracle of the City of San Francisco, also known as the San Francisco Oracle, was an underground newspaper published in 12 issues from September 20, 1966, to February 1968 in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of that city. Allen Cohen (1940–2004), the editor during the paper's most vibrant period, and Michael Bowen, the art director, were among the founders of the publication. The Oracle was an early member of the Underground Press Syndicate.
John Henley Heathcote-Williams, known as Heathcote Williams, was an English poet, actor, political activist and dramatist. He wrote a number of book-length polemical poems including Autogeddon, Falling for a Dolphin and Whale Nation, which in 1988 was described by Philip Hoare as "the most powerful argument for the newly instigated worldwide ban on whaling." Williams invented his idiosyncratic "documentary/investigative poetry" style which he put to good purpose bringing a diverse range of environmental and political matters to public attention. His last published work, American Porn was a critique of the American political establishment and the election of President Donald Trump; its publication date was the date of Trump's inauguration. In June 2015 he published a book-length investigative poem about the "Muslim Gandhi", Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, "Badshah Khan".
Barry Miles is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subjects of the 1960s London underground and counterculture. He is the author of numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in left-wing papers such as The Guardian. In the 1960s, he was co-owner of the Indica Gallery and helped start the independent newspaper International Times.
Transatlantic Review was a literary journal founded and edited by Joseph F. McCrindle in 1959, and published at first in Rome, then London and New York. McCrindle revived the title of the original Paris Transatlantic Review founded by Ford Madox Ford in 1924.
The International Poetry Incarnation was an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 11 June 1965.
Mike Lesser was a mathematical philosopher and political activist. He was born in London.
Chicago Review is a literary magazine founded in 1946 and published quarterly in the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago. The magazine features contemporary poetry, fiction, and criticism, often publishing works in translation and special features in double issues.
Harry Fainlight (1935–1982) was a British/American poet associated with the Beats movement.
Howl is a 2010 American film which explores both the Six Gallery debut and the 1957 obscenity trial of 20th-century American poet Allen Ginsberg's noted poem Howl. The film is written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and stars James Franco as Ginsberg.
Stephen Irwin Abrams was an American scholar of parapsychology and a cannabis rights activist who was a long-standing resident of the United Kingdom. He is best known for sponsoring and authoring the full page advertisement petitioning for cannabis law reform which appeared in The Times on 24 July 1967.
"It's So Far Out, It's Straight Down" is an episode of the 1960s Granada Television news/documentary series Scene at 6.30. It aired in the Granada region of the British Independent Television network on 7 March 1967. The episode focuses on the burgeoning London underground movement and psychedelic music scene of the time. It features interviews with Paul McCartney of the Beatles and leading underground figures connected to the International Times newspaper and Indica Bookshop, such as Barry Miles. It was directed by John Sheppard and produced by Jo Durden-Smith. The episode also includes footage of the band Pink Floyd performing at the UFO Club.