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Astronomy Domine

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June Child Richard Wright Syd Barrett Peter Jenner Crows Nest FIlms

The man who turned Pink Floyd into stars.

Peter Jenner is credited with laying the foundation stone of prog rock and we're filming with him right now as the government eats itself. 

Along with producer Malcolm Boyle, Carney is down in London with Peter, where the music revolution started as filming continues on the much anticipated documentary Hoppy - Underground Head.  We're enjoying the privilege of filming the protagonist of the British underground scene, deeply involved with it's emergence in 1960's London, who looked after T.RexThe Clash, Billy Bragg, Ian Dury and Pink Floyd and helped to start U.F.O. in Tottenham Court Road.  Pictured here with June Child, Richard Wright and Syd Barrett, Jenner was instrumental in the Sixties movement.  His voice is heard in the beginning of Pink Floyd's first Space Rock track Astronomy Domine, written by original vocalist/ guitarist Syd Barrett from their debut album The Piper At The Gates of Dawn.

Peter looked back on his introduction to Floyd from Hoppy whilst working at London Free School and we visisted the 1966 site of one of Floyd's first gigs - All Saints Hall.  In an interview with Louder Sound Jenner said “We were the first generation of young people who hadn’t been in the army; who hadn’t been in the war. We were the first generation who didn’t want to be like our parents. There was a discovery of new music: Tamla, Atlantic, blues, music coming in from America that previously hadn’t been available. Then there was The Beatles and the Stones: English people writing their own songs and having huge hits and becoming international stars. They had long hair. It was clear that they smoked dope.”

It was only a matter of time before Jenner would wholeheartedly join in. “The whole alternative scene through the London Free School took off,” he says. “The underground hit the zeitgeist – it was the 60s and Harold Wilson and 20 years after the end of the war.”

Through his friend John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, Jenner went to investigate Pink Floyd. “Floyd were the house band of the underground: if you were interested in this new underground thing, you were interested in the Floyd. I first saw them in June 1966. I went to see what it was all about because I was marking exams at the LSE and I was tired and I wanted a break.”

Jenner and Hopkins initially wanted to run a label, DNA. It was going to be progressive in outlook – they had got some funds from Elektra via mutual friend Joe Boyd, and they began producing avant-garde improvisers AMM. Soon, they realised it would be impossible to make the label a success without a pop band to buoy it up.

We all owe John Hoppy Hopkins a lot.

This profoundly talented, wild and determined man made the Sixties swing.  Hoppy studied Physics and Mathematics at Cambridge, but when he was given a camera at his graduation in 1957 his life changed.  This transformation was perpetuated throughout London's burgeoning underground arts scene.  The journalist, researcher, political activist and, most famously, photographer created and documented Sixties counterculture and was a pioneer of independent video in the UK.

Carney enjoyed the privilege of filming with Hoppy several times before his death in January 2015, Malcolm Boyle and Carl Stickley were approached by Hoppy to film a full biographical interview with him.  The interviews conducted with Hoppy and his contemporaries yielded fascinating, funny and shocking stories about the Sixties underground scene and alternative culture, inspiring their forthcoming film Hoppy - Underground Head.  Crowdfunding for the film continues and you can get involved here (rock n scroll down).