Middle Earth (club)
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Middle Earth (formerly Electric Garden Club) was an influential hippie club in London, UK in the mid-to-late 1960s, following on from the UFO Club after it was closed down as a result of police pressure and the imprisonment of its founder John 'Hoppy' Hopkins.
Middle Earth started in a large cellar at 43 King Street, in Covent Garden, London. It was a competitor to the Roundhouse at Chalk Farm.
Nights at Middle Earth were normally hosted and arranged by the DJ and promoter Jeff Dexter. Groups that played there included Pink Floyd, The Who, the Jimmy Page-era Yardbirds, Roy Harper, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, JULY, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, David Bowie's folk trio Feathers, The Move, The Pretty Things, Fairport Convention and Jefferson Airplane, Eric Burdon and Captain Beefheart. The Byrds also played here twice with Gram Parsons. The main groups playing on a regular basis were Soft Machine, Tomorrow, Sam Gopal's Dream, Tyrannosaurus Rex with Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took, Social Deviants, the pre-Yes Mabel Greer's Toyshop and the Graham Bond Organization who was a constant visitor/performer. Others included The Exploding Galaxy dance group, and The Tribe of the Sacred Mushroom headed by Lin Darnton had performed a play based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
The club was noteworthy for several drug raids by the police during which underage revelers were arrested. Where in fact on the occasion of the 2 raids on Covent Garden, one of which occurred while Lin Darnton's play based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead was being performed, only 2 girls were arrested for being underage. The other arrest was of a member of The Graham Bond Organization for Possession. Sam Gopal's Dream was also due to perform that night, and were hanging out in the dressing room with Graham Bond when the Police raided the club. Also a machine called the 'Trip Machine' was dismantled and taken away by the Police.
Mick Hutchinson and Pete Sears of Sam Gopal's Dream often spent the night in the club with Graham Bond after management had pad-locked the outside gates after closing. Sam Gopal's Dream was an instrumental trio that played many shows at both the Electric Garden Club and, later, at Middle Earth.