Film ID: NEFA 10894 Video of NEFA 10894 One Man's Meat - Swinging Newcastle ONE MAN’S MEAT: SWINGING NEWCASTLE 1967-1968 Visitor TabsDescription Filmed Tyne Tees Television inserts to a programme on the fashionable scene that centres on the Handyside Arcade on Percy Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, at the height of the boutique boom of the 1960s. [Mute footage] General views of passengers getting off a double decker bus in central Newcastle. A tracking shot from a bus follows of the male reporter in a suit walking along a busy shopping street in the city. [Mute footage] Young men inside a boutique have fun trying on beads, hats and flowery accessories, and wearing them in a hippy style. Two young women walk down Percy Street handing out promotions for an event at the Handyside Arcade. They hand one to the Tyne Tees TV reporter who engages them in conversation (mute). One of the women wears a placard proclaiming “Get a passport, get free gift.” One of the women points out the entrance to the Handyside Arcade. Close-up of the placard, and the woman’s mini skirt and legs. Portrait shot of the young woman. Close-up of the leaflet about the event. The two women walk off, the camera focusing on the fashionable mini dresses as they walk away. The Tyne Tees TV reporter glances at the leaflet and heads off down the street, past a record shop. [Part sound on film] General view of the entrance to Handyside Arcade, a sign above the entrance reads: ‘Arcadia’. The reporter strolls into the empty Edwardian arcade with its cast iron gas lamps and looks around. Close-up of various shop names: Fig Leaf, The Witches Coffee Bar, Target, Paraphernalia, Scene, The Birdcage, Pot, The Crafts Gallery, Fred Wallace Printer. A man is painting the outside of the boutique Blaise. Window posters repeat a photo of a man sporting a ‘Pot is Fun’ slogan. Various shots follow inside a clothing workshop, women busy making clothes at sewing machines. [Part sound on film] The reporter window shops at the trendy boutique, Target. He spots the sign for a café, ‘Granny’s Coffee Parlour’, and walks into Scene, where Indian bells and other hippy paraphernalia are on display, along with Union Jack aprons. He pushes through the Indian bell display and is stopped by a female assistant and charged one shilling for admission to the coffee bar, which covers the cost of a raffle ticket to win either a set of Indian bells, 5 records or a dozen joss sticks. General views of a painted chest of drawers for sale at the reduced price of £52.00, which he thinks is rather expensive. [Sound on film] The reporter walks down into a cellar coffee bar and sits at a table. A trendy young man is playing acoustic guitar. A hot drinks machine stands in a corner and the reporter tries to get his coin to work in the machine, gives it a thump, but loses his money. [Part sound on film] General views follow of the Fig Leaf shop window decorated with posters of Chairman Mao. A trendy assistant hangs around at a shop doorway, and another looks out from another boutique entrance. Inside one shop, a fashionable woman in a bouffant hair style, (very Dusty Springfield), sits and crochets clothes, smiling. The assistant moves back inside the boutique, Pot. Overhead shot as the reporter heads to the shop. Inside the darkened shop, two women with cropped haircuts (like early Twiggy) are trying on clothes. The reporter browses arty posters and drawings. He interviews the shopkeeper in a boutique that sells fashion, pop posters and drawings, bells and beads. They discuss the meaning of 'swinging', which is an in word of the time. There are various cutaways of fashionable people browsing in the shop. The interview continues with the male shopkeeper, the reporter saying that the displays all seem very confused and muddled. The shopkeeper replies: “Well, so is life […] life tends to be confusing, doesn’t it?” The reporter says he has been wearing the same suit for a number of years so he muses, could he be part of the "Swinging Arcadia Scene"? The man replies that the suit fits in with the reporter’s environment and that, if he worked in the Arcade, he would probably wear different clothes like the people in the boutiques. [Sound on film] The reporter leaves Pot and walks to another shop. Inside, he interviews the owner about trade, which the man admits could be better. It is a swap shop, which the owner intends to supplement with an art gallery upstairs and a soup kitchen in the back. He says that they are planning to have an Independence Day at the arcade, declaring a free state, and plan to invite the Duke of Edinburgh to officially open it. He mentions T Dan Smith as an alternative if the royal declines. He says the swinging Handyside Arcade scene is far better than the London scene (Carnaby Street) The reporter walks into the Three Bulls Head pub on Percy Street, joining Alan Price at the bar, a local musician and later member of The Animals (born in Fatfield, Washington, County Durham). The barmaid pulls the reporter a pint. He chats to Price about the arcade. They talk about the success of the arcade and the atmosphere there. Alan Price says groups used to play there but the roof fell in from the vibration. He thinks it’s a good place for the young people. It’s not just a pale imitation of London's Carnaby Street, which is now aimed at tourists. Price thinks that the Handyside Arcade businesses are closer to their local customers. They go on to talk about the old days of the Downbeat Club and the early days of ‘The Animals’ pop group. Alan Price says there was only one club then and the Downbeat Club was very small and not very well known to begin with. Price talks about their growing audience at the club and that they weren’t the biggest group in Newcastle at the time. This was the Gamblers who used to play at the Majestic, which has just closed. He says the old days were more exciting because it was the beginning, but that all the kids on Tyneside now know about the arcade. He thinks that the 'swinging' idea is rather overestimated, but that Newcastle is better than many other cities as far as the music and fashion scene goes. The reporter offers him another beer. Close-up of the sign for another boutique, Blaise. The reporter walks into the shop, which is owned by two fashionable young women. They say that, because they are young, they know what their customers want to buy and share the same outlook and ideas. All the boutique owners are around the same age. [Part sound on film] General views inside a boutique where a girl tries on a mini-dress in front of a mirror. The interview with the owners of Blaise continues. They say they design and make their own clothes, and they don’t have much spare time but don’t mind. The reporter now goes into the Birdcage boutique. A customer exits a changing cubicle in a mini dress and says she’ll take it. The reporter interviews the proprietor, who is a much older man. He says he used to be in the tailoring business but he felt he had to move with the times and become 'with it'. He says it is impossible to keep up with all the individual style but his goods are very up-to-date. An older woman examines some fashionable dresses on a rail. The interview with the owner of The Birdcage continues. General view of the reporter on the upper level of the arcade. Close-up of the shop front sign for Object. The reporter enters the shop, which sells arts and crafts. Interview with the young woman owner. Most of the goods are handmade and come from the craftsmen and artists on a sale or return basis. She gets a commission for goods sold. General views of the art objects on display including sculpture and pottery. Interview with a businessman type (?) about the development of the arcade, the letting of property to the hippy and trendy crowd and its associated problems. He refers to ‘real’ hippies as ‘helpless, harmless and useless’ but no trouble at all. They talk about the "love-in" that was held in the arcade, a name which the owner feels was misleading. He thinks it should have been named a ‘shop-in’. His intention was to attract customers to shop, not sight-seers. He talks about the mixed reactions from older people. The businessman thinks they forget that they were young once. He recalls one woman, probably nearer 90 than 80 years old, who had known the arcade in her childhood, was disgusted and thought something had died in the arcade. He says it is usually quiet through the week but very busy on Saturdays when it is definitely a "swinging place". General views follow of groups of young people in the arcade, some school-age teenagers in high spirits. The reporter stops at the "Passport Office" to the arcade. Various general views record the people wandering around a busy arcade, with different styles of dress, including mods, football supporters and more hippy fashions. [mute footage] One of the arcade’s gas lamps comes on at the end of the day and the Tyne Tees TV reporter watches it, then turns and walks out of the arcade. Out on Percy Street, he is filmed following a young woman in a mini dress up Percy Street. Context In April 1966, American magazine Time ran an illustrated front cover proclaiming London to be “The Swinging City,” firmly establishing the capital as the place to be for the ‘hip’ and ‘with it’. Thousands flocked to London from all over the Western World, hoping to catch a slice of ‘cool’ associated with the likes of Soho’s Carnaby Street and the King’s Road in Chelsea. Aside from the British music scene of the time, dominated by the Merseybeat sounds of the Beatles, the British fashion boutique scene of the mid-60s heavily contributed to this ‘British Invasion’ of London Cool, with designers such as Mary Quant and John Stephen dressing these new young ‘mods.’ The cherry on the cake came just one month later in May 1966 when England won the World Cup, the most perfect of timing for the country already firmly centre on the world’s stage. This film, commissioned by Tyne Tees Television the following year, picks up this idea of Swinging London and investigates if any other towns in Britain also ‘swing’. The reporter explores the Handyside Arcade in Newcastle, remembered by shoppers of the time as a hippy haven, cloaked in a patchouli haze which wafted all the way down to the entrance at Percy Street. The U-shaped Edwardian shopping arcade was the brainchild of George Handyside (1821-1904), though he would never live to see its grand opening in 1906. Born into a poor Northumbrian working family, Handyside became a business magnate in the North East. During World War I the Arcade was used as a barracks and thereafter was left to dereliction during the Great Depression. The Arcade enjoyed a renaissance during the 1960s, where it became famous for being all things alternative, all the way up until its much-contested closure in 1987 to make way for the Eldon Garden shopping centre. Youngsters who hung out at the Arcade during the 1960s remembered it as a space for young people, somewhere the older generation deliberately avoided. It became the Carnaby Street or Kings Road of the North East, selling a mixture of new fashions, second hand wares and odd bits and bobs, as reflected in the variety of shops featured in the film. Among the splendid shops – “Paraphernalia”, “Fig Leaf”, “Target” and “Scene” – was one owned by The Animals’ drummer, John Steel.. The Arcade became a trendy place to be seen, a catwalk to show off your latest look and a place to socialise with other trendsetters. The Arcade was located right next to the Club A-Go-Go where live acts such as the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix played some of their early gigs. (Living in 66) Keyboardist of the Animals, Alan Price is interviewed by the reporter to give his views on Swinging Newcastle. Prior to The Animals, the Alan Price Combo were the house band at the Club a-Go-Go, where they were spotted by a talent scout from London and finally found fame. Price, originally from County Durham but then living in London, is therefore best placed to give his views on both the Newcastle and London scenes. Price believes the Newcastle scene is more ‘real’ than the London scene, which he describes as a ‘big con’ due to the influx of tourists following the British Invasion media coverage. The Newcastle scene is more accessible to locals financially and he believes it is better than most cities in England in terms of music and fashion. While the motivation for the filming of this feature was to document the mod fashions associated with the British Invasion and Swinging London aesthetic, by the time of filming in 1967, mod has clearly given way to the countercultural hippie trends associated with the Haight-Ashbury scene in San Francisco. This was the year of the Summer of Love, where the beat and R&B sounds of the Beatles and the Stones morphed into the psychedelic sounds of Sergeant Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request. The sharp tailored suits and slickly-parted cropped hair of the mod era unfurled into the flared jeans, Afghan coats, ethnic jewellery and long shaggy hair of the flower power era. While the shops heavily lean towards the hippie movement with names such as ‘POT’ and others adorned with the psychedelic posters of design collective Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, in the film we see a melting pot of long hair, flares, parkers, dolly dresses and beehives, showing the hippie trend had not completely taken hold in the North East just yet. Inspired by the Be-Ins of San Francisco, on Saturday 26th August of 1967, the Handyside Arcade hosted Newcastle’s first Love In, where the “with it” “hang out”, listening to local band The Gas Board, with Mike Figgis. The legendary owner of the Kard Bar, Brian Sandells, explains the no drugs policy of the event and a very ‘tired’ Graham Simpson - original Roxy Music bassist – disinterestedly talks us through his outfit whilst eating an ice cream lolly. Despite Brian Sandell’s protestations in the LOVE IN film that the Arcade is not a place for drugs, the window display of Blaise boutique in this film would suggest its patrons have other ideas! As the camera hones in on the shop, we see repeated large scale prints of the iconic photograph of Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg holding a sign claiming “POT IS FUN”. The hippie movement has its beginnings in the Beat Generation of 1950s America, its key figures remaining central to the hippie movement. Ginsberg in particular was a loud advocate for marijuana and LSD use and regularly attended rallies and demonstrations calling for its legalization. It was only natural that Ginsberg, with his liberal views on drug use, his anti-militarism and anti-capitalist political views, sexually liberated homosexuality and open-mindedness to Eastern religions and philosophies, would become the poster boy for the counter cultural movement. References: Living in 66: Newcastle A Gogo. BBC One (2016) Masters, Brian. The Swinging Sixties. London: Constable, 1985. Miles, Barry. Hippie. London: Cassell, 2003.