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Nick Mason

We're filming with the pulse of Pink Floyd today.

Founder member Nick Mason is shooting interviews with Carney and Malcolm in London.  Mason is the band's longest serving member and integral to their sound and evolution.  We're talking to him about the swinging sixties and John "Hoppy" Hopkins for forthcoming documentary Hoppy -  Undergound Head.

The early Sixties Britian... everything is up in the air, not least love, drugs and sex.  A group of talented teenagers from academic backgrounds in Cambridge — Roger 'Syd' Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour — are all keen guitarists and among many who move to London, keen to discover more of this new world and express themselves in it.  Mainly in further education — studying the arts, architecture, music — they mix with like-minded incomers in the big city.  In 1965, Barrett and Waters meet an experimental percussionist and an extraordinarily gifted keyboards-player — Nick Mason and Rick Wright respectively.  The result is Pink Floyd, which more than 40 years later has moved from massive to almost mythic standing.

Hoppy was a political activist and one of the best known underground figures of swinging London.  He founded the UFO Club and London Free School.

Floyd's success and signing to EMI were intrinsically linked to their collaborations with Hoppy and their gigs at UFO.  On the 13 January 1967 Pink Floyd, supported by The Giant Sun Trolley, played UFO, London. Fellow counter-culture documentarian Peter Whitehead filmed their performance as featured on Pink Floyd — London 1966-1967.  They were signed to EMI the next month.  On 27 January 1967 Floyd were again filmed at UFO for a Granada TV documentary, 'Scene Special', which was broadcast on 7 March 1967.

  

Mason formed Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and David Gilmour in 1965 when the trio were students.  Having grown up at a time when Rock and Roll was considered so radical that it was only broadcast by Radio Luxembourg for an hour and a half every Wednesday evening on Keith Fordyce's Rockin To Dreamland.  The boys were enormously influenced by Rock n Roll, but also classical music, trad jazz and bebop - beautifully evident in Mason's Doing It! drum solo - listen here.  Rock and Roll had been a working class sound and Mason, Barret and Gilmour were part of the sociological transgression into middle class voices.  Son of filmmaker Bill Mason, Nick says, "around the early-ish 60's, what really happened were the art schools started turning up the bands, and that includes a band called The Pretty Things who were one of the earliest of those.  The Beatles certainly had an element of the art school and The Rolling Stones were a college band rather than working class off the railways which had been the early English rock scene."  This shift had a huge influence.  Mick Jones of The Clash went to The West London School of Art and Design because he wanted to be in a rock and roll band and as a bi-product of that he got a great art education which influenced the bands record sleeves and costumes.

Mason curerntly plays with pyshcedelic rock band Saucerful of Secrets which he formed in 2018 with Lee Harris (guitarist), long time Floyd collaborator Guy Pratt (bass and vocals) and Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp (guitar and vocals).  

Hoppy's life as a cultural polymath was hugely influential. However his refusal to stay in one place has made his history elusive and fragmented.  Malcolm Boyle and Carl Stickley have shot exclusive interviews with Hoppy and his contemporaries for our film. The interviews yielded fascinating, funny and shocking stories about the Sixties underground scene and alternative culture.  They are weaving these distinctive voices into a film which tells the story of Hoppy and the hippy underground scene which changed the world.  Hoppy - Underground Head will give a unique insight into the man whose influence is still felt today and Carney and Fleur are delighted to have crewed and shot so many of these mind blowing testimonies.  Crowdfunding for the film continues and you can get involved here (rock n scroll down).