Monday, December 23, 2013

Mick Farren on Media Revolution Counter Culture and Anarchism

Mick Farren (1943-2013) on the subject of Watch Out Kids, the counterculture comic he co-produced with Edward Barker (1950-1997) in 1972. In 2011 the comic was the subject of an exhibition at SPACE, London in 2011 (interview by SPACE Exhibitions Curator, Paul Pieroni).

In 1972 writer and musician Mick Farren, collaborated with artist Edward Barker to produce Watch Out Kids.

Up in until 1969 Farren had been the lead singer anarcho-psychedelic rock outfit The Deviants. Following the band's psychotropic implosion on tour in Canada, Farren had returned to London -- pursuing a solo career while also becoming heavily involved in London's burgeoning underground newspaper scene through his editorial work for the International Times.

Farren's text for Watch Out Kids is marked by a strong sense of subcultural unity. In it he argues that the same spirit of rebellion that awoke a post-war generation of Rock and Rollers was the fuel behind the late 60s countercultural boom. Watch Out Kids documents the development of that sprit -- tracking its many mutations over a twenty-year period.

Farren's words sit amongst a loud and unapologetic design and layout by Barker -- at the time also working at the International Times. Drawing heavily on the alternative comic scene, Watch Out Kids features Barker's own work alongside that of luminaries such as Spain, Robert Crumb, Malcolm Livingstone and Gilbert Shelton, amongst others.

Sharp, brash and ideological, Watch Out Kids is a fascinating document; at once historical yet entirely personal. For the exhibition at SPACE the entire book will be displayed on the Library walls alongside a video archive featuring a new interview with Mick Farren by SPACE curator Paul Pieroni.

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