Oi Polloi

Through the Magpie Eye: The Morningstar Commune

Published: Fri Mar 23 2012

As you’d expect from something that “gives everyone a voice,” — the internet is certainly full of a lot of rubbish, but deep in the dingy back rooms of the information superhighway are a few hidden morsels of curiosity. Here’s a gem brought to our interest by our very own child of the soil, Mr Brown.

The Morningstar commune was founded in 1966 by San Francisco river-child Lou Gottlieb. Lou was the bassist for popular folk-lite band, The Lampliters, a band perhaps most famous for their ‘Things go better with Coke’ advert jingle, but after an LSD induced epiphany he decided to throw down the bass guitar and head to the hills.

Remembering a 30-acre ranch in the country just north of San-Francisco that he’d bought thanks to some Coca-Cola cheques, he set off with a few likeminded earth-children to start what would be known as the Morningstar Commune.

The commune was given the clunky acronym of LATWIDNO, you know, a “Land Access to Which Is Denied No One” and because of its open nature and lack of rules quickly became a hotspot for hip-cats who were passing through.

This all sounds great but from all accounts it sounds like really what you ended up with was a bunch of lazy sleaze-balls nodding around on acid. Here’s an interesting quote from one of the female residents, “I’ll tell you it was pretty interesting to wake up and find somebody in your sleeping bag with you.” Yep, sleaze-balls indeed.

By the late sixties the Morningstar Commune was becoming hot on the dibble’s radar and after a mass arrest in ’68 many of the residents had upped sticks and left.

“Most of us didn’t have the discipline or patience to become active members of Lou’s wild dream. We were either too lazy, too restless, or both. There was a core group that kept the place functioning as a community, but for the most part nomadic flower children passed through the place on their way to something called the future,” says Marc Campbell, member of Colarado New Wave band, The Nails and one-time Morningstar Resident.

Here are some choice snaps from the Morninstar Scrapbook courtesy of Laurelrose.com