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This article is taken from PN Review 230, Volume 42 Number 6, July - August 2016.

on Jeff Nuttall

Off Beat
Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground
Douglas Field and Jay Jeff Jones
IN 1978, INVITED to read his work to the students at Warwick University, Jeff Nuttall was asked to introduce himself. He did so and at some length, but first he said, ‘Ten years ago that wouldn’t have been necessary.’1

The niggling vanity in this statement suggests Nuttall’s acknowledgement of his diminishing stature as a countercultural figure who, back in 1968, was renowned in certain quarters, on the back of the success of his generation surveying tour de force, Bomb Culture. This hip sociology bestseller established him as the expert insider of the alternative society, which was high on the media’s free love and drugs titillation agenda. It was one of those cornerstone works of an era, like The Female Eunuch, that could have launched Nuttall on a Greer-sized career if he had played his cards right.

‘I had no idea I was stepping so far into the enemy camp,’ Nuttall wrote. ‘The iconoclast had come home, shown himself articulate, rational, prepared, in fact, to talk things over sensitively. The embrace was flattering, remunerative and smothering.’2

Instead, Nuttall appeared to chuck in his zeitgeist straight-flush hand and retreated from the psychedelic salons of London for the life of a dedicated art lecturer in provincial Bradford.

Bomb Culture MacGibbon & Kee, London, 1968

Bomb Culture, MacGibbon & Kee, London, 1968.
Cover designed & illustrated by Jeff Nuttall.

Well, hardly.

Bradford College of Art was, at that time, the educational equivalent of Dodge City. ...


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