— Matt. ‘Conspiro Media’ :
Before I began putting together the article that’s linked below about The Beatles and possible links to Christine Keeler (who, in 1963, was the showgirl and “prostitute” whose liaisons with a top-ranking British politician and Soviet military man helped bring about a Cold War-era scandal), I had no idea whether I’d find anything.
As it happens, I ended up finding a lot more than I’d expected.
The scandal is often credited with helping to bring forth what would become the ‘swinging Sixties,’ the age of the mini-skirt, the pill, and, sexual permissiveness. This eventually led later in the decade to the so-called ‘hippie’ era when things got even looser. The Beatles, of course, were at the centre of all of it.
Over the last year, I’ve dedicated much if not all of my research-time into reading a pile of books (and watching a number of films and documentaries) about the counter-cultural scene of 1960s London in order to see if it has any credible parallels to what author David McGowan claims was going on in the US within the Laurel Canyon scene. This is one of the main reasons why – clearly – my activity on ‘Conspiro Media’ has in recent times been, to put it bluntly, non-existent.
It’s still too early in the day for me to even to dare to reach any conclusions with regards to what I’ve discovered so far in my research into the counter-cultural scene in London in the 1960s. This research is a work in progress and I estimate it’ll take me a number of years to sift through. I’m even prepared for the eventuality that I won’t find anything of any particular note, but, given that London – and, to some degree, Britain as a whole – was integral to the success of the counter-cultural vibe of the mid-to-late Sixties across much of the world, I figure there must similarities to what was happening in the US. By that, I mean most of the key figures within the London scene – similar to in Laurel Canyon – would have been connected to the intel services, the military, so-called ‘elite’ bloodline families, politics, and the criminal underworld. Furthermore, in the US, Stanford University is a name that features in these lines of inquiry. In Britain, it would have been – I’d surmise – Cambridge University along with the Tavistock Institute and Clinic, and the London School of Economics (to name but a few).
As a result of this current research, I’ve launched a Conspiro Media ‘FaceBook’ page. As well as acting a link-source for any future articles from my other site, ‘The Occult Beatles,’ its purpose is to act as a ‘post-as-I-find-it’ page on what I hope to keep on discovering in future about the counter-culture scene of 1960s London. By doing this, I’ll not only be sharing information with fellow FaceBook users but encouraging any one reading any future posts on the page to add anything they may know themselves in order to help me to discover even more. Yes, it’s a work in progress, but an interactive one as well (I hope).
In the article below, you’ll get to read quite a bit about an individual by the name of Michael X a.k.a. Michael de Freitas a.k.a. Michael Abdul Malik. His connection to the Christine Keeler scandal comes through an individual by the name of Peter Rachman, the so-called ‘slum landlord’ of London. Michael is said to have been his ‘henchman.’ It just so happens also that Michael was a key mover and shaker within the counter-cultural scene in London.
I won’t, here, go into too many of the details of what I’ve posted about Michael in my article as it’s quite large in length. It’s best you read it in the article in full. However, to summarise, Trinidad-born Michael was a pimp, property-dealer, and “a thug” who, during sometime in the latter part of the Sixties, marketed himself as Britain’s answer to Malcolm X, hence the name, Michael X. He opened a ‘cultural centre’ in North London called the ‘Black House.’ This received a lot of PR and financial support from none other than John Lennon. The Black House soon fell into disrepute when Michael and a number of his associates were put on trial for the so-called ‘slave collar affair.’ It was alleged that he and his associates had forced a Jewish businessman to wear a slave collar around his neck and then extorted him for money. Michael fled the country during the trial after his bail was paid for him – it’s said – by Lennon. Michael returned to Trinidad where he opened another ‘cultural centre.’ Then, not long after this, he was arrested after two freshly-buried dead bodies were found on the grounds of the building. He was charged with murder and hanged in 1975. As pointed out earlier, this is just a summary of what’s in the article. There’s more to read about him if you go take a look.
What I don’t go into in the article (because it’s not relevant to it) is the fact that Michael – through his role as a key player in London’s counter-culture – helped in the formation and the day-to-day running of the London Free School. I don’t yet know enough details about the school and what it was formed for as such, but from what I’ve so far discovered, it was something akin to a community-centre that also offered free education to people who lived nearby (mostly, ethnic minorities). It was inspired by schools similar in nature that were operating within the counter-cultural communities of America. In fact, the idea for the Free School came from an Englishman by the name of John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins who’d seen these schools in the US for himself and then returned to London and helped in the formation of the London equivalent. Hoppy was – to some degree – the British equivalent of Timothy Leary in that he was a rallying, flag-waving figure for the counter-culture in London. Educated at Cambridge University, prior to joining the counter-cultural scene, he’d been, of all things, a nuclear physicist before becoming a photographer for the print-media taking photos of the Pop-stars of the day, including The Beatles. From there, he eventually got involved in the counter-culture of London from its very earliest days, even before a ‘counter-culture’ actually existed as such. Michael X provided the building where the Free School was based, and money to keep the school running was partly funded by live-music events, often with the headline band being The Pink Floyd. This was during their pre-fame days when they were regarded as the house-band for the burgeoning counter-cultural scene in London. It’s perhaps no surprise that The Floyd were chosen as the band to play the benefit gigs seeing as another key figure at the Free School was The Floyd’s then-manager, Peter Jenner, a former lecturer at the London School of Economics and the son of a Labour MP.
Michael X was also involved with the ‘International Times’ (I.T.), Europe’s first ‘underground’ newspaper, partly founded by Hoppy and Paul McCartney’s old friend, Barry Miles (he too is mentioned in the article). As well as this, Michael X was responsible for organising the protest (riot) that took place outside the offices of British tabloid the ‘News of the World’ following its hit-pieces on The Rolling Stones’ infamous drug-busts of 1967. Without too much effort here, can you see just how many links there is already between the counter-culture in London and a number of what I’d consider to be potential red-flags such as the LSE, Cambridge University, and, a former nuclear physicist? There’s more I have to learn and discover about all of the above, but I’ve enough there to cause me to think that it’s worth pursuing further. And that’s what I’ll be doing… Any contributions in helping this along is most welcome. Please do join me on FaceBook to keep updated and involved.