The Octopus Show One - 9th October 1968

Submitted by root on Tue, 08/06/2013 - 11:53

This Show was created by the Octopus Club (details of the Club are set out below) in conjunction with Bill Harpe.  This was very early in the life of the Blackie (in those days we were known as Great Georges after the name of the former church and our registered charitable name 'The Great Georges Community Arts Project') and we had few staff  but a number of regular volunteers and attendees.  Events in those days were by invitation rather than public advertising. This was the first of two collaborations with the Octopus Club.

We have comparatively little archive material from this time.  And what we do have is not entirely clear. So even in terms of the dates things are somewhat confused.  Certainly one show took place on the 9th October in 1968 and the other Dec 11th 1969.

When it comes to the shows themselves we certainly have a programme which is headed Octopus Show One and this links up to the description of the show below.

In addition we have some photos of dancers which could be Ocotpus Show One or not?

However it should be noted that despite the detailed information below we have nothing that would tell us what actually happened - that is no reports, reviews, or even personal remembrances  - so it would be good if anyone who does recall this event could get in touch.

The Show

The following is an exact copy of what appears to be an early description of Octopus Show One. 

"The Octopus Club is going to organize an activity at Great Georges on October 9th.

The theme of the evening is going to be movement and dance and the idea is to get everyone completely involved in what is happening. So involved that at the end of an hours programme of music, film and events - they will be sufficiently uninhibited to join in a vigorous communal dance.

The programme is going to take the following form:-

20 minutes Film of movement or dance.

10 minutes of music - this music is to be rhythmic dance-type music as modern as possible and coming to a tremendous climax at the end of the 10 minutes.

2 minutes Drum Beating - starting very quietly but then becoming thunderous to announce a dramatic happening or event.

5 minutes - dramatic Happening or event - The idea of this will be to present something which will shock the audience into a state of mind where they are only aware of their immediate situation. It will consist of flash­ing horrific or frightening or erotic films on to a screen.

5 minutes - The happening described above will be immediately followed by a group of dancers dancing to music. We want this music to be slow and sensual at first but then to a quicken and become wild and abandoned and lead into the last phase which will be a communal dance.

10 - 15 minutes - Communal Dance - to be led off by the group of dancers who were performing as above. This dance is to start in a big crocodile or line, and then take a circular form and to be very energetic; so ener­getic that people will drop out one by one.

10 minutes - Very quiet music suggesting peace after storm."

 The Programme



                         'OCTOPUS SHOW ONE'


Production Committee  

         Jim Lyon, Bill Harpe, Kim Zadow, Val Mack.

 Dances Performed By

          Val Mack, Sue Lawrie, Julie Collins, Jenny Salzburg, Bronwen

          Dean, Pauline Dobson.

 Events Performed By

Sue Hayes, Jayne Kenworthy, Steve Elmer, Andy Shaw,   Brian Harrison, Tom Burke, Bill Harpe,  Wendy Harpe, June Sergeant.

           Events Created by Bill Harpe

           Directed by Tom Burke


            Jim Wiggins - reading 'Howl' by Alan Ginsberg

 Lights and Coloured Slides

             Kim Zadow


             Jim Lyon

 Design of Posters and Tickets

              Kim Zadow

Technical assistants

   Bruce Weston, Phil Fanning, Alan Heyes, Sam Goodier, 

   David Lamb

General Assistants

               Members of Octopus Club           

Music Used  

               George Malcom playing Bach.

               Pierre Henry's 'Music on a Door and a Sigh'

               Other music by the 'Manic Depression'

               Promoted by OCTOPUS CLUB with Great Georges.

Photos of Dancers in Rehearsal


Dancers in rehearsal for Octopus Show One

 The Club

Octopus Club Motif

What is the Octopus Club?

It started in 1966 as the Contact Club, which used to meet at the Childwall Abbey Hotel on Sunday evenings. Early in 1968, the club moved to its present venue and two important changes were made; firstly, the meeting night became Wednesday, and secondly, by popular vote among the members, the name was changed to Octopus Club. The eight tentacles of the octopus represent the many different aspects of the club's activities. The club is a non-profit-making concern, run by and for its members through a committee, and aims to be a meeting place and forum for progressive and liberal-minded people.

Who are its members?

Club members come from all walks of life and include managers and milkmen, teachers and architects, engineers and social workers, students and housewives. There are no bars to membership, except those relating to age, occas­ioned by the fact that the club meets in licensed premises. Men and women are equally welcome.

What does it do?

The Club runs a weekly series of discussions, debates, talks, lectures and music evenings, and it is the object that the members take part in the activities, not just sit and listen. The club is specifically for those who want to DO things, and

does not aim solely to provide entertainment or amusement in a passive way. Furthermore, members of the club engage in various forms of social action. At present, club representatives assist with the local Child Poverty Action Group, and with the new Great George's centre for the arts. Outdoor activities at weekends include climbing and skiing trips, camping holidays, in fact, anything the members happen to be interested in.

Is it affiliated to any other body?

No; the club feels that this would inhibit its activities and its action.

Who are its officers?

Chairman :   J.Lyon

Secretary :   Mrs A. G. Fanning, 

                   10 Beeston Grove     


 Liverpool 19

                   051-CRE 3138

Treasurer:    Mrs A. Jones

 How do I join?

By visiting the club any Wednesday and asking to see the Secretary. Membership costs 10/- per six-month session. You will also be welcome as a vistor - nightly admision charges will be slightly higher.