Richard Neville – ‘Hippie Hippie Shake’

Just got word that ‘Hippie Hippie Shake‘ by Richard Neville is in the process of being turned in to a movie, so thought I’d get in there in case it all goes pear shape and ruins it for those who’ve not read it.

Neville’s memoirs are not just another name dropped bio about the 60’s. As the editor of Oz publication, along with his collaborators he was undoubtedly one of the most influential people in this social revolution, a key member of swinging London during one of the most fondly remembered and documented periods in history. All this with just a simple publication that saw all three editors arrested and falsely imprisoned.

The height of the heat the trio received was following Oz 28, otherwise known as The Schoolkids Issue, which saw 20 schoolkids take up the open invitation to edit the underground magazine. The editors were later acquitted over harsh sentencing during a media circus that saw celebrity after celebrity testifying for and against the publication in what famously became known as the obscenity trials, which somewhat amusingly focused around The Rupert The Bear Controversy.

For it’s own, Oz magazine started as a satirist publication, but quickly became the voice of alternative London, and one of the most exciting and visually stunning (penned by Martin Sharp) publications of all time.

As below from

Sixties underground magazine Oz has a legendary place in magazine history, both for it’s establishment-shaking attitude and for being where publisher Felix Dennis (Maxim) cut his teeth. But what did it look like? Issues are extremely rare – I’ve never seen a copy – but now most issues are available to view online at The pages have been scanned at a large size, so it’s difficult to view using the site, but copy them to your desktop and you can view them easily in Photoshop.

It’s fascinating watching a fanzine develop into a (slightly) more professional magazine. Plenty of hippie nonsense, but also much that predicts todays environmental concerns. The notorious School Kids issue is present in full, the issue that led to an (unsuccessful) trial of the editors for obscenity. Check out page eight of the issue for the porno version of a Rupert the Bear cartoon that was a central feature of the trial. The issue was put together with the help of a group of school children including one Deyan Sudjic, more recently an architecture/design journalist and shortly to take over the running of London’s Design Museum.

Back to the book. From kidnapping tv presenters to booking deported comedians, Richard Neville didn’t just live it, he mobilised it. An Australian who ‘shook up London’ with a magazine, the memoirs devote time to the thought process and fun as well as social breakthroughs of an incredible era. In my opinion this has never been documented from an insiders point of view as well as is done in Hippie Hippie Shake. Forget what you know about the era in London, and the underground below the underground until you read this book.

And whilst I have a feeling that invitation to tea at John Lennon‘s house and hanging Malcolm X turning up at his door on the run from the police will definitely feature in the films, these now-icons are played as minor characters in his memoirs. The talents of Martin Sharp and Germaine Greer (the ‘Oz sex psychiatrist’) are even more important, and beyond them countless unique characters who time’s forgotten, but given a few twists of fate may have become Abbie Hoffman or taken the torch from Tiny Tim. For Neville as the insider watching the spiraling destruction of then peaceful-modern life, from a corrupt government and a few violent extremists, it’s a somewhat tragic ending to an inspiring read.