Be In Wellington Square 4pm Wed 1 Mar. Original flyer announcing an event in Oxford on 1st March, 1967, INTERNATIONAL TIMES.


Be In Wellington Square 4pm Wed 1 Mar. Original flyer announcing an event in Oxford on 1st March, 1967,

a "MANIFESTATION OF joy HORSEBACK girls MUSIC trip BRING people, animals flowers lovers ITS free ITS fun ITS sponsored by INTERNATIONAL TIMES". Single sheet, offset in b/w. 26.2x20.3cm. Illustrated with a wood engraving of a nymph transformed into a tree, an illustration that had earlier appeared in IT #8 (p.14). Short, closed tear to top edge and some handling creases, o/w Very Good plus. Provenance: Steve Abrams.

The 'happening' was organised by Hoppy at the height of the controversy in the national press about the prevalence of cannabis use at Oxford University. The controversy arose after The People had published an article by Steve Abrams, "The Oxford Scene and the Law", from "The Book of Grass", which its publisher, Peter Owen, had sold without the author's permission. Sensationalist articles in other popular newspapers followed, and the story dominated Cherwell, the Oxford student paper in which Abrams had previously announced the formation of SOMA.

Abrams wrote later: "The first account of the Student Health Report [intended to resolve the matter] appeared in a Cherwell exclusive on the 1st of March. On the same day things looked as if they might be getting out of hand. Cherwell had announced a 'happening' in Wellington Square, sponsored by International Times. It was to be filmed for German television. John Hopkins, the organizer, promised to provide Suzie Creamcheese of the 'Mothers of Invention' pop group on a white horse. The front page of the Oxford Mail for March 2nd has a photo of hundreds of students pouring out of Balliol College and another of them marching along the High Street. There were signs and banners with legends such as 'Death penalty for pot' and 'God moves in a mysterious way'. The Deputy Chief Constable stated that 'more than 500 students disorganized the city centre for over two hours'… The Oxford Mail account says that the police tried to clear Wellington Square, whereupon the 'happening' reformed as a procession down St. John's Street… The Sun called attention to six undergraduates tied together with a plastic rope crawling along the High Street, insisting they were climbing a mountain. The Sun also remarked on the presence of a girl on horseback carrying a sign which said, 'Free Suzie Creamcheese!'" (Hashish Fudge, self-published by the author, 1993).

An extremely rare flyer, the only one seen by this cataloguer, and possibly the first use of the term 'Be-In' in print in Britain. It appeared less than two months after the 'Human Be-In' in San Francisco, and almost two months before the 14-Hour Technicolor Dream and the series of 'be-ins' in London that preceded publication of the SOMA ad. in The Times.