International Times' (it or IT) was an underground paper founded in London in 1966. Editors included John Hopkins, David Mairowitz, Pete Stansill, Barry Miles, Jim Haynes and playwright Tom McGrath. Jack Moore, avant-garde writer Bill Levy and Mick Farren, singer of The Deviants, also edited at various periods.
Within a short time of the first issue, the name International Times was changed to IT after litigation threats from the London Times. The paper's logo was a black-and-white image of Theda Bara, vampish star of silent films. The founders' intention had been to use an image of actress Clara Bow, 1920s It girl, but a picture of Theda Bara was used by accident and, once deployed, not changed. Paul McCartney donated to the paper.
International Times was launched on 14 October 1966 at The Roundhouse at a gig featuring Pink Floyd. The event promised a 'Pop/Op/Costume/Masque/Fantasy-Loon/Blowout/Drag Ball and featured Soft Machine, steel bands, strips, trips, happenings, movies. The launch was described as "one of the two most revolutionary events in the history of English alternative music and thinking. The IT event was important because it marked the first recognition of a rapidly spreading socio-cultural revolution that had its parallel in the States" by Daevid Allen of Soft Machine.
From April 1967, and for some while later, the police raided the offices of International Times to try, it was alleged, to force the paper out of business. A benefit event labelled The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream took place at Alexandra Palace on 29 April 1967. Bands included Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, Savoy Brown, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine, The Move, and Sam Gopal Dream.
In response to another raid on the paper's offices, London's alternative press on one occasion succeeded, somewhat astonishingly, in pulling off what was billed as a "reprisal attack" on the police—prompting the Evening Standard headline Raid on the Yard. The paper Black Dwarf published a detailed floor-by-floor guide to Scotland Yard, complete with diagrams, descriptions of locks on particular doors and snippets of overheard conversation in the offices of Special Branch. The anonymous author, or "blue dwarf," as he styled himself, described how he perused police files, and even claimed to have sampled named brands of whisky in the Commissioner's office. A day or two later The Daily Telegraph announced that the "raid" had forced the police to withdraw and re-issue all security passes.
IT first ceased publication in 1972, after being convicted for running contact ads for gay men, and for a longer period in 1974, but merged with Maya, another underground publication, and was revived in 1975, continuing until 1982. It resurfaced in 1986... into the 1990s. There have been a total of 209 issues. It was a contemporary of other radical underground London magazines, Oz, Friends and Ink.
Many people who became prominent UK figures wrote for IT, including feminist critic Germaine Greer, poet and social commentator Jeff Nuttall, occultist Kenneth Grant, and DJ John Peel. There were many original contributions from underground writers such as Alexander Trocchi; William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
Leading editorial contributors to the late 1970s IT were Heathcote Williams, Max Handley, Mike Lesser, Eddie Woods (Amsterdam editor), and Chris Sanders.
In 1986 IT was relaunched by Tony Allen and Chris Brook. After two issues (Volume 86; issues 1,2) Allen left, and Brook continued with a reinvigorated editorial group for two more issues (Volume 86; issues 3,4). After various one-off issues into 1991, 2000 saw Brook and others create a web-based presence - initially through the alternative server 'Phreak', circa 1996.
There are currently two archive sources online: 1) The International Times Title site and 2) an archive scanned by previous contributors and editors.
International Times (IT) Archive is a free online archive of every issue of the International Times. It runs from a precursor to IT, The Longhair Times, released on April Fools Day 1966 to an erroneously labelled 'last issue' - a Xeroxed single sheet issue in 1994. The continuum of this journal, in fact, includes issues and web presence from the last editorial group (IT#4 Vol 1986) until the present day: see .
The IT Archive was launched on July 16th 2009 at the Idea Generation Gallery in London.
The IT Archive was founded by Mike Lesser supported by fellow contributors and editors of IT such as including, Mick Farren, John "Hoppy" Hopkins, Dave Mairowitz, Pete Stansill and Heathcote Williams amongst others.
- Original International Times Site
- International Times Archive
- John Hoppy Hopkins IT Page
- Obituary of Ed Barker
- Quotes from a talk by Barry Miles on International Times
- Allen Ginsberg interviews the Maharishi International Times, 26 February 1968
- Tribute to Tom McGrath
- Obituary of Tom McGrath
- Dugald Baird, How International Times sparked a publishing revolution, The Guardian, 17 July 2009