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.