Step into the Summer of Love
THE psychedelic sixties are alive and well and parading their hippy, eye-popping kaleidoscope of colours on Exeter's quayside. If you still dream you saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky turning into butterflies above our nation, then you will feel right at home at Jonathan Hill's very own testament to the Summer of Love.
Now he is looking to sell much of his collection of psychedelia – including posters, LPs, jewellery and clothes and other memorabilia of the period at the Psychedelic Shack – a place of pilgrimage for aged – but now well-heeled – hippies.
Not just an art form, the typical swirling patterns of LSD hallucinations also reflected revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments.
Jonathan began his collection as an art student in the 1960s.
"One of my first posters was a 1968 Show Your Head poster by John Hurford, an artist who lived at Chulmleigh and worked for the Oz magazine," he said.
"It was done for a legalise pot rally at Speaker's Corner. I just loved the art work and the colours. I remember I paid five bob for it – that's 25p – and I have just sold one for £500.
"Once I started collecting I just kept going, particularly with posters and records. A lot of them I have never played so they are pristine.
"Most of what I have here is my own, and supplemented with clothes, jewellery and handbags and such like that I pick up whenever and wherever I find it. My father and grandfather were antique dealers so I suppose it is in my blood, but really I now have just too much stuff."
Although the posters were common in the 1960s, relatively few survived.
"I think psychedelic is an art movement, just as Art Deco is. Youngsters today still love the art and music," said Jonathan.
"Most of my customers are old hippies who have now retired and have a few bob to spare to bring back happy memories."
A 1967 Tangerine Dream LP by Kaleidoscope went for £750 recently, with the same price being paid for the Zombies 1968 album Odyssey and Oracle.
And if anyone happens to have a first press of the Beatles first album Please Please Me, they should look after it – one sold in the UK for £12,500.
The Shack, where the aroma of patchouli oil vies with the very smell of the 60s, musk oil, to recreate those heady days, is holding a sale of its contents on February 23 and 24, with Jonathan looking to turn the premises into an art gallery.
John Hurford will be signing copies of his book on the Saturday of the sale.