The Pit


Our show was called 'The Pit' and we often worked with Jack Bracelin (Fiveacres Lights) (and Harry Fowler) he introduced me to the art.

I used to 'play' UFO - (under the berkely cinema in Tottenham Court Road)

When I say 'play', I hasten to say that I was never a muso (but I do play didgeridoo and button accordion a bit) I dont remember that we used the team DJ in those days - but as an electrician my 'gigs' always involved the lamps and amps.

I remember Happening 44 (44 Gerrard St) and later played house electrics at Electric Garden which became Middle Earth? (we had a squat in Neal St WC2) - and what about Luana's? (Luana's was a bit more 'private', but I might come back to that) - and what about the Round House (but that was later)

UFO was amazing in the early days when it was 'ours' - Remember "Arnold Layne?" Live Pink Floyd. Later the 'big gigs' in Covent Garden were amazing in thier own way - the drugs - the fruit - (anyone else remember getting a fruit massage?) 100s of hippies, 3? stages - more Live Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn - the pubs open at 6am to serve market workers - being told that a naked chick with purple hair was unlikly to be a market worker, so "be a good boy and fuck off"!

I remember using Aldis scientific slide projectors (fans and fins removed so the 'gate' got red hot) 2x2 slides, chinagraph wax pencils, syringes with indian inks, oils and substances of varying colours and viscosities from washing-up liquid (Squeezy) food colouring, even snot and semen!

We would also spend hours making hand coloured loops of 16mm film, and come up with futile attempts to fit home made colour changers to pattern 23 profiles! We would put trays of water on Zeis OHPs - make dreadful 8mm movies and find creative ways to distort the projection of old newsreels.

The more doped up we got the better they looked. We'd hire Panis (when they'd let us) and amazing scenery projectors from Samuelsons, or from Strand Electric's place under the arches at Vauxhall. One day I got hold of a 35mm movie projector with a carbon arc lamphouse - but that was a bit of a disaster in a relatively small venue!

What days they were!!! I wonder if anyone remembers the sign that was above the doorway of 44 - It was about two foot wide and said "Erotica 67".

It belonged to the people who shared the venue. My recollection is that Happening 44 finished when it was 'done over' by the heavies - something to do with the (Erotica 67) tenants upsetting someone.

I lost a heap of gear. Jack Bracelin (anyone remember him?) lost more.

I remember all the records were put on a gas ring (or in a pot?) - v. messy! When we went to get what was left of the gear I took the sign (for the fluro in it). I never used it but that sign was in my garage in England for years - I think it only got trashed when I moved to Aus in the 80's! (talking of records, do I remember we used to get dodgy imported records from a bloke called Branson who had an upstairs office in South Wharf Road Paddington? - I wonder what became of him :-))

Luana's (I said I'd come back to that) Jack owned a country club called 'Fiveacres' at Bricket Wood between Watford and St Albans.

In the grounds of Fiveacres was an old wooden bungalow called Luana's. The one huge main room had all the windows boarded (from inside) and we painted the whole place white - ceiling, walls, floor - everything. which was brilliant to project on.

The only 'furniture' were the mattresses around the edge of the room. We would would wear fluorescent body paint and dance naked under black light.

Every once in a while, high society and the glitterati would pay Jack huge money to come and party (I won't drop names),

Jack would bring in a top chef & a whole kitchen brigade just to lay the banquet (in the main clubhouse) and then everyone would come to Louana's and party with us - I wonder now if we were just a bit of a 'free love' floorshow - but I think it was just how things were.

I know Jack died, but what of Harry (Fowler?) Big Barry, Liz, Lou, Avril, Twitters - where are they all now I wonder?

Later I spent many years working with computer controlled slide projection (Ford Sierra launch used 72 SAV projectors, run from 3 Director24 controllers ganged together!

All gone now.

Chris Selwood - July 2004