- Published by:
- Granada Television
- Interview by:
- Scene Special
- Timeline More from year 1967
More from year 1967
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“It’s So Far Out, It’s Straight Down” is an episode of the 1960s Granada Television news/documentary series Scene at 6.30. It aired in the Granada region of the British Independent Television network on 7 March 1967. The episode focuses on the burgeoning London underground movement and psychedelic music scene of the time. It features interviews with Paul McCartney of the Beatles and leading underground figures connected to the International Times newspaper and Indica Bookshop, such as Barry Miles. It was directed by John Sheppard and produced by Jo Durden-Smith. The episode also includes footage of the band Pink Floyd performing at the UFO Club.
“It’s So Far Out, It’s Straight Down” sought to explain to a mainstream audience the cultural changes taking place in London. Music critic Tim Riley describes it as one of the events of early 1967 that “punctuate an era as psychedelic pop culture took shape”. Also among these was the emergence of American guitarist Jimi Hendrix on the London club circuit, while Pink Floyd’s performance in the documentary was one of the group’s first television appearances. McCartney filmed his contributions in Granada’s studio on 18 January 1967, the day before the Beatles recorded their song “A Day in the Life“. The documentary also includes footage of Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso reciting poetry at the International Poetry Incarnation, which took place at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1965. The People Show are seen performing a piece of experimental theatre, filmed in the basement of the shop Better Books.
Author and broadcaster Richard Metzger comments on the documentary: “it’s pre-Summer of Love. The time seems so pregnant with promise. This is the exact moment, historically speaking, when pop culture went from B&W and shades of gray to vivid color … it’s easy to see how this film would have brought tens of thousands of young people into London seeking to find these forward-thinking cultural movers and shakers to become part of ‘the happening’ themselves.” […]
PAUL: “I really wish the people that look sort of in anger at the ‘weirdos,’ at the happenings, at the psychedelic freak-out, would instead of just looking with anger– just look with nothing; with no feeling; be unbiased about it. They really don’t realize that what these people are talking about is something that they really want themselves. It’s something that everyone wants. You know, it’s personal freedom to be able to talk and be able to say things– And it’s dead straight! It’s a real sort of basic pleasure for everyone. But it looks weird from the outside.”
PAUL: “Even though everyone is sort of getting on very well in this society we’ve got, it’s a bit too controlled, you know. Because you suddenly, you want to go and do something and somebody says: ‘Oh, no!! Subsection B, Clause A!! You can’t do that, you know!!’ And you say, ‘Well, why not? I’m a human being and that, and haven’t I got my rights?’ They say, ‘Well yes. But you’re not allowed to do THAT!’ You say, ‘Well if it doesn’t interfere with anyone it must be okay.’ ‘Sorry! Still isn’t!’ you know. So people have suddenly– I think alot of people have twigged that this, uhh… They’ve shut themselves in a bit, you know. People that say music is just controlled music, and art is just landscapes and things… aren’t right, because it’s other things as well. They’ve got all these rules; Rules of how to live, how to paint, how to make music– and it’s just not true anymore. They don’t work; all those rules. You can’t apply them, because it means then that you’re assuming that you know it all. You know, (uses his hands to divide the past, present and future) primitive man, us, and something else. And WE don’t know it all yet.”
“And so, all-in-all, what this gang of people from the ‘International Times,’ ‘Indica,’ and the whole scene is trying to do is try to see where we are now and see what we’ve got around us; see any mistakes we’ve made and straighten ’em out. (laughs) You know, it’s just a straight forward ‘endeavor’ kind of scene. You know, just to do something other than what’s been done before. Because what’s been done before isn’t necessarily the answer. There could be another answer, you know.”
PAUL: “What they’re saying and what they’re doing is, sort of… nothing strange about it. It’s just dead straight. They’re talking about things that are a bit new you know. And they’re talking about things which people don’t really know too much about yet. So they tend to get, you know– people tend to put them down a bit and say, well you know– ‘weirdo,’ ‘psychedelic,’ and things. But it’s really just what’s going on around, and they’re just trying to look into it a bit.”
“So the next time you see the word, like– any new strange word like ‘psychedelic,’ the whole bit, you know– ‘freak-out music’ and all of that, don’t immediately take it as… because your first reaction’s gonna be one of fear, you know. So if you don’t know anything about it, you can sort of trust that it’s gonna be alright. You know, it’s probably not that bad. ‘Cuz it’s human beings that are doing it, and you know vaguely what human beings do. And they’re probably going to think of it nearly the same way you would in that situation. And that’s true, you know. You can trust to the fact that things are generally not as bad as you make them out to be.”
Last updated on February 14, 2023
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