Cyclops was initially a series of four poetry magazines produced in Norwich in 1968 and 1969. The magazines were followed by Cyclops events or happenings which can be read about here. The magazines are interesting because they and a few other magazines, such as Norch, represent local examples of the mimeograph revolution that was sweeping the United States and Britain. The first edition of Cyclops is especially interesting because it is called the "Unicorn appeal issue".
No, the deluded hippies were not fund raising for the return of a mythical beast but rather the Brighton bookshop called the "Unicorn" which had been raided by the police and its owner Bill Butler charged with obscenity and heavily fined.
The list of contributors is interesting because they show local talent such as Maurice Carpenter, Tim Sillence and Jeff Nuttall but also what I term "the Brighton connection" of Peter Riley, Paul Evans, Bill Butler and Richard Cupidi. Students from the University of East Anglia (UEA) are represented by Snoo Wilson, Malcolm Johnston, Berkely Henegan and Sarah Sladden. Carl Weissner (described as from San Francisco) was a German associate of Nuttall who published Jeff in his own Klacto mag. Pete Hoida was a confidante and friend of Tim Sillence from his Cheltenham days. Oh, and there is some musician called Marc Bolan.....
This jewel of a book was actually published at Bristow's by the Wild Pigeon Press. The rest of the series were not and the focus seems to move away from the bookshop towards the UEA.
I contacted Peter Riley who was delighted about what he termed one of his "lost poems" and he remembered that the Unicorn was "a regular refuge" and that he was present at most of the trial.
Richard Cupidi wrote "a surprise dreamtelling we call our past. Yes I remember Bristow's as a phenomenon, but I never visited there. After Unicorn I went on to found the Public House Bookshop which had connections with most of the independent / alternative bookshops including Bristow's. The poetry connection continued with us - we put on readings for over a decade & Ginsberg once called our poetry collection better than City Lights."
Cyclops 2 still has the Brighton connection with the addition of John Upton.
The blurb mentions that Gillian Barron, had been published in Corgi's "LoveLoveLove" but Paul Evans is also published there too. I picked up a copy for 49p from a charity shop.....
Issue four contained more work by Nina Steane who is perhaps best known for her "All In" themed posters which were made to be hung in the various different rooms of a house. Also we have some poems from the legendary Barry Edgar Pilcher - once known as "the loneliest man in Ireland," a member of the Atlantis Community, saxophonist and mail artist. Cyclops 4 was another benefit issue but this time for Chris Cheal had been caught on the hippy trail with some hash.
Cyclops 3 was a collection of loose leaves of poetry and drawings inside a manila envelope. As such it is very rare as the contents are easily lost or perhaps even intended to be given as gifts. The copy photographed is from the UEA archive. The contents sheet mentions a second Cyclops event for the summer solstice and an accompanying solstice reissue.
There was a benefit gig at the UEA Barn for Chris Cheal which raised £70 (half of what was needed). 500 people came to see Totem, Nick Zurbrugg, Berkely Hennegan, Tim Sillence, Al Sutherland, Bob Broome, Wobbly and the Gentle Sound of Light.
The Sound of Light reportedly put on their best show to date combining films, strobes, slides and liquid lights until the audience was reeling. Wobbly, who were the house band of Yarmouth Arts Lab, played a half-hour long number to finish off the evening. At the end of it two of the group collapsed and the audience went "quietly beserk."