SHOOTING FROM THE HIP: JOHN ‘HOPPY’ HOPKINS

SHOOTING FROM THE HIP: JOHN ‘HOPPY’ HOPKINS

Remembering the legendary pioneer of the underground 60’s

by Ellie Howard

Last month the world got a little less interesting, when John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins passed away. The legendary political activist and photographer documented the 1960’s underground scene; from the rolling stones; to Nelson Mandela; to the Ace Café’s biker girls - his photographs captured the raw spirit of the era.

A vehement counterculture figure, John Hopkins was educated at Cambridge and started his career as a mad physicist with the Atomic Energy Authority; but he was soon forced to leave when he made the headlines for being approached by the Russian Security agents. Activism was a part of everything he did; with friends he set up the anarchistic ‘IT’ newspaper in 1996. Hopkins dreamed of a society “free of a corrupt government and a society run by greedy hooligans”, and went on to found the London Free School. He started many a great party, organising the famous “14-Hour Technicolor night in 1977 and getting arrested 10 days after it opened, he also founded the psychedelic club ‘UFO’. A nirvana for acidheads, it was the kind of place where Pink Floyd just rocked up and decided to play. When he collaborated with Rhaunie Laslett, he inadvertently started a street procession that lead to today’s Notting Hill Carnival.

All images courtesy of John Hoppy Hopkins.

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Even at the age of 77, Hopkins still wore ripped jeans and a bandana. In short, the man was a legend.

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Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, on their way to Marlborough Street Court on charges of possessing cannabis.

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Influenced by Rock ‘n’ roll and motorbikes, in the early fifties the Ace Café became the destination for a new breed of bikers.

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With their black leather dress code, loud bikes and a tendency to move as a pack, the Pirates, were denied entrance into most dance halls and bowling alley.

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Gala Smile

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William Burroughs in his New York apartment, captured by John “Hoppy” Hopkins.

Comments


Fernando Elie on June 01 2015 at 01:31PM

Fantastic article post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

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