One of the most famous mastheads of the alternative press ... This issue, which I've just picked up for a fiver on Charing Cross Road, dates from October 1967. The paper launched a year earlier with a concert at the Roundhouse featuring Pink Floyd and Soft Machine, and by the time of its - or should that be it's -first birthday - it was already suffering serious grief from the police - as detailed in the excellent Wikipedia entry.
And the alluring, 'retro' woman on the masthead? Well, there's a story attached. Wikipedia's version is this: The paper's logo was 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.
In this issue, the centre spread is 'The Acid Report: chemical, sociological & legal aspects of LSD'. This asserts: The widespread use of LSD represents a new social force in England. In the past, drug users have always been members of the lowest classes; the poorly educated and the slum dwellers, but LSD users are "the cream of today's youth"; college and high school students, as well as advertising men, housewives and ministers. Just a little overstated perhaps, but a sign of those times.
John Peel was among the columnists ... there's a full-page ad for Jefferson Airplane's 'Surrealistic Pillow' (yes, I've still got a copy of that) ... and an ad for a concert headlined by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
I was only eleven when this issue came out. But I keenly remember a school announcement not much later proudly listing the achievements of the sixth form school leavers. One, it said, was going to work for The International Times, which they clearly considered to be a title of great repute ... even then, I knew it was it, and its reputation wasn't quite as the school imagined.
Wonderfully, the entire archive of it is available online,
We are happy to announce that we have reached our first birthday. It has been a journey with many ups and downs, but we have made it. Now it is time to celebrate our success. We would like to thank each and every one of you for being part of this journey.
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