There was a very strong look to "Friends". And I found sympathetic spirits there. 'OZ' was quite different. Marcuson was always a very remote character who had incredibly good dope. Tibetan temple balls, things like that at £11 an ounce. I had to quit 'Friends'. They weren't paying and there was, in the end, a fair degree of coolness. I wasn't socially part of the inner circle there. So I took my act over to 'Time Out'. And when Pearce left and went to 'Time Out', that was a fundamental thing for me because along side the journalism I had this appreciation of design and he had been doing things with newsprint that nobody else was.
For a long time I was the real journalist in the underground press. People used to point this out and I didn't understand it. To me we were all in the same business. I was incredibly envious of people writing these incredibly indulgent 5000 word pieces about a pop star for 'Rolling Stone'. I felt very schizophrenic about going to 'Friends'. I'd walk down Portobello and go from this very straight world up in Church Street to this complete freaks world in North Kensington. It was two distinct worlds and I'd travel between them bringing the news from one and the news from the other. It did cross over once or twice. I wrote a piece on Quintessence, then 'the' Notting Hill band, for the 'News'. They got me so stoned I got back to the office and couldn't write a thing. The editor said 'Are you all right?' and I said 'I'm not feeling very well' and I had to go home."
The interview texts are from
"Days in the Life: Voices from the London Underground 1961-71" by Jonathon Green,
used here with permission. Any reproduction is prohibited without permission from the author.
Days in the Life excerpts © Jonathon Green
contact: Phil Franks (freax AT arrakis.es)
Freax/Friends website produced by Malcolm Humes