The Soft Machine Turns On

The Soft Machine silkscreen poster, Osiris poster, British psychedelic era poster, The Soft Machine Turns on by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat 1967


An extremely rare original silkscreen from swingin' London, 1967.


The Soft Machine, along with the Move and Pink Floyd, was essentially a house band at the UFO Club in London which operated for about 7 months after opening in December 1966. Indica Books was selling Fillmore and Avalon posters from San Francisco and so in early 1967 UFO Club co-owners Joe Boyd and John “Hoppy” Hopkins decided that they needed to create their own posters.



Each had their own designers, Joe Boyd’s friend Nigel Waymouth was a co-owner of the hippest clothing store in London called Granny Takes a Trip, and Hopkins was pals with Michael English. As Joe Boyd later wrote, “we introduced them, shut them in a room together and told them not to come out until they had created London’s first psychedelic poster.”  Fortunately, the pair hit it off and ultimately created about 30 posters in 18 months for Osiris Visions LTD., a business was set up by Joe Boyd and Barry Miles, the proprietor of Indica Books and the International Times which was the leading UK counterculture newspaper. 



A key feature of Hapshash posters is they were beautifully hand screen-printed with liberal use of bright dayglo and rich metallic inks giving them a distinctive texture, color intensity and depth. It was a very labor-intensive process and so far fewer posters were produced than out in San Francisco where the posters were machine lithographs. In fact, Osiris eventually figured out that not only did costs not go down as the press run would increase, and so later posters were moved to the machine lithography process and the whole operation was shut down in mid-1968.

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