Above: The slogan that adorned the Hammersmith & City tube line at Westbourne Park, West London formany years before obliterated by tag banality
Above: some of the stickers mocking the "I'm Backing Britain" campaign initiated by the then Labour PM, Harold Wilson
Above: Two King mob posters (The Luddite letter was a found object in
EP Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class")
(The above illustrated an English, King Mob translation of the Situationists: "Thesis on the Paris Commune")
There follows what was soon to be regarded as sexist and crude by the first wave of nice, refined feminists who alarmingly quickly dismissed King Mob in a simplistic way as male chauvinist. Had they never been in a public urinal (?) to find this is the type of stuff which goes down - often more in women toilets than men's - though most of this now in our cleansed day and age is instantly wiped clean by hired firms of graffiti busters. These cartoons were of course a detournemont of bog-wall style and deployed precisely for shock value in relation to a fairly dire occupation at the London School of Economics heavily manipulated by the paid-up intellectuals of New Left Review. The guy who did this never got anywhere though later his lovely partner from down home Liverpool did say the basis of feminist hate was the white working class male which, only changed after the feminists experienced - what were then called - third world males! The original feminists never knew a thing about what could be achieved by deploying crude diversion but there again they were antipathetic to the spirit of '68 instantly intent on re-vamping a Labour party hostile to concepts of autonomy and open assemblies never mind the death of art! Yes, the cartoons were crude but they were meant to be. Finally though, you couldn't have met a nicer, more caring, penniless, hurt guy than our friend, Richard 'Irish' Bell, who did these drawings! In the years to come, the all-pervasive feminist ambience made sure these drawings were never ever reproduced though for Malcolm Mclaren they mightily helped influence the outlines of Punk and its imagery. And where would all women punk groups like The Slits have been, which feminists then opportunistically raved about, without these much more profound indicators pointing to an entirely different reality to that of radical image making?
Accompanying Irish's cartoons the tract below - written by Dave Wise - was handed out a day later at the occupation of the London School of Economics. It ended up getting published in David Widgery's The Left in Britain (Penguin books 1976) under the title "Situationlist [sic] diatribe, LSE 1968, Vietnam Occupation."
Everyone was just starting to settle in / talking to each other /thinking about the coming night's playful exploration of the desolate academic labyrinth when the platform bureaucrats took over finally and irrevocably. From then on imagination and creativity were out. Frozen talk / frozen responses were the rule – hecklers mauled – the lot. A tyrannical discussion (speaker versus audience) followed, providing the framework for the professional revolutionary to enact the parliamentary power game and administer in the safest way possible the functioning of the building. Lenin's little homily was pasted up...."guard as the apple of your eye your tools etc" therefore "guard the LSE etc" – a statement which may have been relevant fifty years ago but which is desperately inappropriate to technological regression and the conditions of a claustrophobic consumerism. What do you want to guard....teaching as a commodity totally removed from life? No one suggested fighting against the irrelevancy of what was being taught – maybe burning a few files, facts, statistics or whatever. Instead we were entertained with seminars. "The Sociology of the Revolution etc. (WOW!) We were occupied – by the phantoms of an alienated education system – the situation was created in the name of the revolution and yet the relationships, language, and bodies were the reincarnation of the authoritarian ghosts who have buggered us already. How often must it be said that any true expression of a revolutionary libido now must necessarily involve a subversion of the 'tools': tools devoted today largely to the creation and maintenance of false needs and desires. A building as dry and cold as the LSE under such revolutionary circumstances would be radically deranged, charred, fucked etc. in the process of cathecting with a liberated psyche.....on reflection, this may have been deep down what the Committee of Public Safety feared...perhaps they too realise soccer hooligans are the most militant group within the British working class.
Below: Further stickers etc from Irish
Above: Xmas leaflet which accompanied the invasion of Selfridges in 1968. Many were handed out to shoppers and many scattered across Oxford St
Above right: A piss take on the technocratic and future ultra capitalised city centre of Newcastle as conceived by the planners in 1968. Reproduced in a local gestetnered mag
Below: Detourned comix from the first Dublin based Gurriers mag (A "gurrier" was Dublin lingo for a teddy boy)
The illustrations above demonstrate how we used (and abused) the past history of poetry and painting. Obviously Coleridge's letter on Wordworth's sister Dorothy is ironically and provocatively related to today's prevailing, denuded pornographic imagery...As for the diverting of Peter Paul Ruben's Head of Medusa, the bubble-speak suggested a more Lautreamont-like take -"as beautiful as the trembling of an alcoholic's hand" etc. and with the word 'beauty' deliberately misspelt suggesting a language beyond an Oxford educated English.....
The above Mickey Mouse spoof was done (we believe) at the behest of Charlie Radcliffe and was not part of King Mob though most of us thought it was terrific and copied it and handed it out
For other articles on King Mob see the following: