[Slowhand] Clapton's Aussie mate recalls wild London

John Mills turbineltd at btconnect.com
Fri Sep 19 12:20:59 EDT 2008

So, what's this film, "Trouble in Molopolis", all about; has anyone seen it?

I don't think EC would welcome comparison with a banker, especially at the
moment ;~)


Clapton's Aussie mate recalls wild London

Paola Totaro
September 20, 2008

THEY were a group of young tearaways, flatmates during the swinging '60s
when London was the place to be.
On Thursday night, at the Aussie-owned Jane England gallery in Notting Hill,
two of the rebels, Eric Clapton and Melbourne filmmaker Philippe Mora, took
a gentle walk down memory lane to a time when Australians seemed to be
"everywhere, moving and shaking in fine arts, music and theatre, in
conventional, avant garde and counter culture . a combined outburst of
Australian creativity hitting foreign shores".
The occasion was the opening of a retrospective of Mora's painting and
drawing. Clapton, looking more a bespectacled banker than legendary rock
god, laughed as he reminisced about the share house in the legendary
"Pheasantry", the bohemian mansion in the King's Road, Chelsea, shared too
by Arthur Boyd.
"I fell in love with this character. He offered to share a lease on The
Pheasantry and I thought it was just him and me but it wasn't . and then I
saw this character kind of skulking around the kitchen and realised there
was more to it than met the eye and, well, you know, it kind of just turned
into a knocking shop for a little while," he said.
The young Mora was part of the Australian exodus that included Barry
Humphries, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Richard Neville, Robert Hughes,
Marsha Rowe and Bruce Beresford.
He first made his mark on the art scene in London after a successful and
precocious exhibition in Melbourne.
He began by contributing cartoons to the legendary satirical magazine Oz,
and held several critically acclaimed exhibitions at the Clytie Jessop
Gallery and later with Sigi Krauss. There, he sparked a scandal when an
anti-Vietnam sculpture - a life-size figure made from meat and placed on a
bentwood chair - began to rot and Princess Margaret complained about the
stench while dining at a restaurant across the road. The sculpture was
photographed by Angus Formes and became a cover of Time Out magazine.
Clapton said the document that best told the stories of their times together
was the movie Trouble in Molopolis, which stars many of the protagonists of
the period, including a saucy Germaine Greer who plays a cabaret singer.
"Philippe's movie that is showing downstairs . that is the document of our
time . all those people in that movie for me, it was my first time
producing, later, I got a go at producing sound tracks. He is a wonderful
man, I'm the proud owner of three of his paintings and my kids love them . .
they don't know the dark side, they think it's just naive wonderful,
splendid art. Well, so do I. I am proud to be part of this opening. Enjoy
the show," he said.
Mora later moved to film and made several groundbreaking films, including
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime and Mad Dog Morgan with Dennis Hopper, which
took him to Los Angeles where he still lives.
On Thursday night, just days after Damien Hirst made millions selling dead
animals, Mora joked that his meat sculpture had been a metaphor for victims
of war - and a work you could not sell.
"Most of my creative roots are in London. This is where I took off, crashed
and burned and took off again. "Paraphrasing Brendan Behan, on occasion,
like many artists, I was a drinker with a painting problem," he laughed.

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