This Mojo 2001 article does not really talk about Cat, but
about a fascinating Art discovery of paintings that you may find as fascinating as I have.
Just imagine walking into this room for the first time and going back in time 30
years to, as the author writes, a more innocent time. Perhaps someone may even read this
article and discover that he was the young man who painted these wonderful murals over 30
years ago. Since they lhave asted this many years untouched, let's hope they
are somehow these wonderful treasures can be preserved for prosterity.
- Mojo Magazine
- Courtesy of George Brown
- Written by Paul Gorman
- The Art Of War
- College unearths mystery pop
When it was announced in the House of Commons in January 24, 2001 that the Royal
Army Medical College on Millbank was to be sold to the highest bidder, much issue was made
of the college's status as a listed building and it's prime location and proximity to
Great Britain. Strangely enough however, no mention was made of the giant '70's pop murals
that adorned the walls of the building.
The huge paintings -
including a dramatic 20 ft high Che Guevara-style Cat Stevens and the silk -screen
likeness of Paul McCartney, Jose Feliciano and Alvin Lee. They were discovered in the
building, which has been vacant since 1975, while it was being converted into the new site
for the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Builders came across the artworks this spring
when they unlocked the door to a common room in the long-empty barracks block.
Adorning all four walls of
the room are a dozen images, all black on vivid colours such as pink, green,
and orange-very early 70's. The identity of the artist is not known, nor the date when the
murals were painted, but the presence of Cat Stevens, Melanie, Feliciano and what appears
to be the cover of CBS compilation album 'Fill Your Head With Rock' suggest
1971 - 1972.
Painted at a time when the
medical corps would have been heavily deployed in Northern Ireland, the depictions come
complete with an acrostic poem which spells out the word 'PEACE'.
"We believe the
murals were painted by soldiers at the barracks around 30 years ago, but are eager to find
out who exactly painted them and identify all the popstars depicted," says Michael
Benson, the London Institutes director of communications.
So far the Army is
stumped. A Ministry of Defense photographer was dispatched to help circulate the images
around the global network of ex-soldiers, but this has so far thrown no light on the
Meanwhile, the future of
the paintings is unclear. The London Institute will not confirm whether they will be
preserved, but their loss would be a shame. To stand in the room surrounded by the images
is to be transported back to a more innocent time, when even soldiers wore stack heels and
Afghan coats on city streets.
As for the musicians
portrayed, having strapped our 'experts' to the rack and twisted until we got a response.
MOJO is reasonably certain of the identities of all the bands, from the violinist who may
come from the Fill Your Head With Rock cover (Flock's Jerry Goodmen), to Alvin
Lee of Ten Years After sharing a corner with Spooky Tooth.
More importantly, do you
know anything about the soldier or soldiers who brightened up the lives of the medics who
slept in the dormitory next door? Is it in fact you? We feel sure anyone who displayed
such musical taste in the day would be a MOJO aficionado by now.
- Top Photo: Cat
Stevens, Melanie, Edgar Braughton Band
- Bottom Photo: Paul
McCartney, Jose Feliciano, violinist Jerry Goodmen
- Right Hand Photo: Pete
Browns Piblokto, Spooky Tooth, Alvin Lee