Middle Earth - Covent Garden, London

With the demise of UFO, people moved over to Middle Earth.
Started as The Electric Garden, it transformed into "The Earth" and attracted a whole new band of converts.
With 1967 in full flower and psychedelia becoming widespread, many new sounds were introduced by the knowledgeable DJ's John Peel and Jeff Dexter. If UFO was exotic, then Middle Earth was breathtaking.
Held in a vast warehouse basement in Covent Garden when it was still a market, the club was a stones throw from the Opera House and at midnight, droves of brilliantly attired people would congregate around the tube exit.
The blast of sound and heavy incensed air would welcome you into a world of fruit, liquid slides, films, porn and vast amounts of drugs. The essential friends meeting place that was UFO was being lost to whole new groups of people as soul bands had evolved into psychedelia, Zoot Money became Dantalions Chariot with their awesome lightshow, together with The Action and The Creation.
The stoned crowd would leave at dawn and pick their way through the vegetables much to the amusement of the market workers. Grandma's attic was being plundered for any old or theatrical garb. However, when Middle Earth was raided, the whole club destroyed.

With that it moved to The Roundhouse at Chalk Farm. This is a large circular building and inside were tiered seating around a single stage. Above the seats were the lightshows
reaching to the ceiling. On the outer rim were stalls and room to dance and just trip-out. There was also a restaurant. By now many people made the pilgrimage to the club as it showcased everything that was underground.

Among the bands who played were The Floyd,
Pretty Things, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds and Captain Beefheart.

Middle Earth died and  a new club opened in the West End -Midnight Court

Rusty Cat Sneazin - March 2002
Do I remember Middle Earth???......well yes although it is a little fragmentary......probably making the transition from light and bitter to red leb about this time :-).

There was a doorway about the size of a domestic front door leading to the ticket office. All painted matt black and illuminated by ultra violet strip lights.
Good effect and showed the "passout" stamp on the back of your hand as well as the dandruff.
The aroma of fruit giving way to other controlled fragrances. The "cafe" inside sold apples - seemed to expect you to add your own sauce to them.

Two or three stages, white painted walls with coloured blobs and bubbles creeping up them from projectors in a tower.
John Peel and Jeff Dexter playing music until the first set, perhaps around 22:00 . Seem to remember Marc Bolan gave John Peel a hamster called "Biscuit" - going round and round on a turntable. Deboraarobed , Salamanda Palaganda etc took a little getting used to but I think was better than his later "pop" music.
The Nice - aaah the pulsating hypnotic rhythm of Rondo and the sinister Flower King of Flies punctuated by Keith Emerson rocking the keyboard back and forth with daggers stuck between the keys .
Pink Floyd doing Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine - their lightshow was simple but effective. A bank of high powered footlights alternating with a similar bank of overhead lights caused large dark shadows to dance up and down behind them.

I think it was this night that caused John, one of our party to go home and appropriate his father's projector. Inserting a mixture of washing up liquid and fountain pen ink into a slide, he projected it on the white house opposite at about 3:00 in the morning. The beginning of Cerebrum Lights.
There were "happenings". I think at the OZ Benefit attended by the Pink Fairies and the Deviants (what was the name of the silent movie star on the front of International Times ??) The military came in and crucified some bloke ! Slightly more realistic was John Peel saying " Ah! there's Inspector Bloggs over the back there trying very hard not to look like a plain clothes policeman".
Middle Earth was for me the Icon, the catalyst of a new way of seeing the world. I was never a full flower pushin' , bell ringin' hippy but have been a Middle Earther ever since.

Phil - November 2003

My name is Robert and I'm in Calif. I was just telling a 19yo online about
visiting the club Middle Earth in the 1960's.
I was in the US Army and stationed in Germany. I became a hippie in 1966
there .LOL. During 1967 a friend and I went on leave ( holiday) to London for 2 weeks. We tried to find some places to meet like minded people. Well,
girls! and dope too!
Along the way we met some folks who took us to that Magical place -
Middle Earth. What a scene! We were both around 21 or 22 yo. Two naive ,innocent boys from small town America. We had a blast!!
Since it has been almost 37 years later I'm sure my memories are a bit
faded .But I remember the doors( door) opening at 11pm .One single dwelling
size door with a window in it and a sign like stain glass saying Middle
Earth. Nothing more.
Then going in and seeing that huge cavern full of young people wandering
about. I remember 3 stages set up I think. When one band finished, another
We went Fri and Sat,then Fri and Sat the next weekend.Then our holiday
was over.The only band I remember from those shows was the (ugh) Lemon

I do remember we were so dissappointed because Traffic was playing the
following week and we were going to miss them.
One other memory of those nites was stumbling out that door at 8am and
looking around and seeing 100's and 100's of hippie kids feeling like us
,that they'ed been part of history that nite.

What a great club. I've been to the great San francisco venues of the
60's but Middle Earth was the absolute TOPS!

Robert - February 2004

Hi All
Like a lot of other people my memories of the middle earth are a mixture of hazy and sometimes vivid images.  I can remember queuing up out side at about 10 o’clock and floating down the stairs when it opened. I think that I must have heard the dialogue to a lot of classic films from the Cain Mutiny to Citizen Cane whilst trying to sleep in the early ours of the morning. One memory that is etched into my mind is John Peel introducing Captain Beafheart in 1968. But there is one thing that has always stayed with me and that is the feeling that I was experiencing something special with brothers and sisters of a like mind.

Submitted - February 2004
Do you have any recollections of this club?
We want to hear from you if you do!!




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