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Jonathon Green

These pages on Friends Magazine wouldn't exist without the help of Jonathon Green and his permission to use interviews from the research for his book: Days in the Life: Voices from the English Underground, 1961-1971.

Jonathon talks about Friends:
[Cover of Friends Nº1] "We did the first issue from this wonderfully over the top flat behind Harrods, owned by Alan's friend Bobby Steinbrecher. Lots of secretive huddling, which Alan seemed to love: who was privy to the telegrams to Jagger, who was hip enough to get some of Bobby's coke. It was blissfully vulgar: the bedhead was wired with dimmers, stereo, God knows what else, presumably geared up for Bobby getting laid. The sitting room was green, but shaded so that one end was quite dark and it paled down almost to white by the time it reached the other.

There were no wages, of course, but Alan and I did cash a solitary advertising cheque for sixty quid or thereabouts and pop across the road to Harrods' Food Hall to get us all supper one night. In between all this Pearce and I laboured over the boards. Poor Pearce - two weeks before he'd been at 'AD' and I'd seduced him away to super- chic 'Rolling Stone'. Now he was working at a kitchen table, albeit in a smart kitchen, on something with the distinctly tacky name of 'Friends'. But we did put it together - and at some stage Alan presented us with these two hustlers, Eddie and Steve, who called themselves Famepushers."

"On the masthead it said I was the News Editor and what that really meant at first was that I spent vast amounts of time scanning the American underground press, rewriting the best bits and sticking them into a section we called 'Newzak', as in Muzak. We had a certain amount of local news and various people would emerge with axes to grind, which we would more or less indulge, but all too much of the section was me talking about 'the brothers and sisters', 'the pigs' and carefully spelling America with three k's: 'Amerikkka'.

I also wrote features - not very undergroundy in many cases, but as near as I could manage to emulating Tom Wolfe who was most people's non-fiction role-model at the time. I did interview Wolfe at one stage. He came up to a flat I was crashing in and I was very impressed that he carried our milk up six flights of stairs. He had on the white suit but wouldn't smoke a joint and talked about England as a 'museum of style'. God knows what he made of it all, but he was very charming.

What was best for me was that I got to write 20,000 words in every issue. The problem of this was that I was my own editor, not the best thing at 21. The thing I probably did best was type reasonably accurately no matter how stoned I was. I used to type straight onto the IBM typesetter and Pearce would just grab the repro all ready for design. I also employed - not that they got any money - various friends from Oxford, notably Jerome Burne."

- Jonathon Green

[Photos © Phil Franks]

Jonathon Green (left) and Stanislav Demidjuk
(Snapped by Philm outside the offices of OZ as the cops, headed by the evil Mr. Luff,
are waiting to serve a search warrant on Felix Dennis, who is about to arrive in a taxi.)

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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

All Images Copyright © 1969 - 2024 Phil

contact: Phil Franks (freax AT philmfreax.com)
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