“Hoppy was a friend for 55 years, he was an amazing, inspirational, generous energy during the counterculture Sixties and beyond. We all miss him whether we knew him or not.” – Adam Ritchie
“People often say to me, ‘It was great in the ’60s, wasn’t it? Where’s the underground now?’ My answer to that is: ‘We are the underground! We may not call it the underground any more, but there’s an awful lot of us now, and we are joined together because we are all people who want to be free of a corrupt government and a society run by greedy hooligans.’” John “Hoppy” Hopkins born August 15 1937, died January 30 2015 (this quote first appeared in Vice Magazine, March 2, 2010)
John Hopkins — Hoppy, as he was best known — passed away earlier this year. There were several obituaries published in the mainstream press that listed, among his other achievements, his contribution to, and ‘leadership’ of, the UK counterculture during the ’60s.
We wanted to remember, in images, some of the work that Hoppy did, which includes photography, his role as co-founder of the UFO club, the London Free School (which led to the Notting Hill Carnival) and the International Times. Hoppy was an artist and significant political activist but most importantly he was, and remains, a role model for anybody who wants to start up something alternative.
Hoppy’s photography is impressive enough on its own – among his archive are photographs of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Dusty Springfield and Marianne Faithful, all of which sit happily alongside documents of political events (such as CND and anti-racist demonstrations), street scenes and art photography. He applied the same style to each photograph and was unfazed by star status, capturing the personality and character of his subjects and, most of all, the flavour of the moment.
In 1974, Hoppy, with his then partner Sue Hall, set up a non-profit video production co-op called Fantasy Factory, which is where he lived and worked towards the end of his life. After Hoppy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s he moved to sheltered accommodation where he met and started a relationship with Isabel Barbosa (who also had Parkinson’s). This relationship lasted and made him happy until his last days at Univerity College Hospital.
If you walk along Goswell Road in Clerkenwell you will pass an expansive glass- fronted Knoll furniture showroom and Zaha Hadid’s chic minimalist gallery but you may not notice the small, cracked FANTASY FACTORY sign that still sits on the wall a few doors down. Every time I walk past it I think of Hoppy and the work he did. This sign itself is like an underground version of the traditional blue plaque: hand-designed, vibrant, broken but hanging in there, reassurance to anyone who needs it that there is an alternative; as Hoppy said, there is still an underground.
– Gemma De Cruz