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Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House (Five Star) [Paperback]

Matthew Collin
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House 4.7 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

1 Jun 1998 Five Star
From its first publication in 1997, Altered State established itself as the definitive text on dance culture. This second edition includes accounts of the election campaign of Tony Blair which used an Ecstasy anthem as its musical theme, and the trial and acquittal of a 19-year-old for supplying the drug that killed Leah Betts, and her links to East End gangsters. Drawing on a wealth of background research and original interviews with key figures on both sides of the law, Altered State examines the causes and contexts, ideologies and myths of Ecstasy culture, dramatising its euphoric narrative from peak experience to comedown and aftermath, and shedding new light on the social history of the most spectacular youth movement of the century.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New edition edition (1 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852426047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852426040
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


?At last somebody has written the real history of the last ten years, and written it with such wit, verve, empathy and profound intelligence. If you

ve been part of the scene in any way, this brilliant book will serve as positive affirmation. If you haven't, yet still feel moved to pontificate about it, you will no longer have the excuse of doing so from a position of ignorance. I can't recommend this marvellous piece of work enough and in a sane world it would sell more copies than any other book written over the last decade? Irvine Welsh ?The first full history of the dance boom which, fuelled by Ecstasy, has transformed British culture over the past decade: here you will also find the drive to transcendence, or oblivion, that is at the heart of British pop? Jon Savage 'Altered State is not just timely; it was crying out to be written (The Independent)

About the Author

Matthew Collin has worked as a magazine editor, a foreign correspondent, a broadcast journalist and a features writer. He has been the editor of the Big Issue, the Time Out website and i-D magazine, and has worked in news for the BBC World Service. He has also written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Observer, Independent, Moscow Times, Face and Mojo. His previous books, This is Serbia Calling and Altered State, were also published by Serpent's Tail.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double Top 4 Feb 2006
I just reread this (having first bought it whenever it came out, back in 1997, I think), and found it to be a very interesting history/analysis of raving in the UK. My reason for not giving it four stars is that the author makes no attempt to explain why ecstasy became so popular, so quickly in the UK when it had previously been available elsewhere (notably in the states). Did it have something to do with Britain at the time (in the latter years of a Thatcher government, with those awful licensing laws), or supply (people could just buy it here more easily)?
There may be a bit much made of the effect of individuals too (x did this and then y did that, as if they created changes themselves), but even so, most of those individuals were interesting.
What I liked most about the book is that having focused on the initial boom, it then went on to look at what happened afterwards. I particularly liked the bit about Spiral Tribe (partly because at the time, for a moment, I thought that there might be some kind of youth revolution - I was young and, of course, wrong, but just for a moment there it was kind of exciting).
It would be interesting to read what the author would have to say about what has happened since 1997. Dance music no longer occupies the mainstream. Dull rock bands rule again (be they Coldplay or the Arctic Monkeys, there's nothing really that new going on). Politically, did the whole ecstasy generation thing give rise to the focus group approach with which Labour has been so successful? Was ecstasy the ultimate Thatcherite coup de grace, making even the disenfranchised selfish?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a very readable about the roots of Acid House and Ecstasy culture, and the way it has transformed and affected music as we know it today. Anyone with an interest in House music or Ecstasy culture will thoroughly enjoy this book, Matthew Collins has obviously researched well and talk about his subject from an almost spiritual viewpoint. I will say that the book becomes quite slow and difficult to read for the last 50 or so pages, but apart from this it is an outstanding book
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the next generations' history manual 23 Nov 1999
By A Customer
Matthew Collin with John Godfrey - Altered States (Serpent's Tail)
The result of years of hard work, this book written by pluri-collaborator to various magazines Matthew Collin with some precious help from John Godfrey is the first and best report on the Ecstasy and rave culture. From the first scene in Chicago and Detroit dominated by Frankie Knuckles, we move on to Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, to the birth of Acid House on the fuzzed synth rhythms of a Roland TB303 which sent out "coded radio signals to a sweaty nation" through Phuture' s hypnotic record "Acid Trax", which marked an era and a generation, though nobody is sure about where the name comes from ("some say it came from rumours that they were putting LSD in the water at the Music Box to make dancers even crazier(...); Marshall Jefferson insist that the record itself just sounded so weird that it was like a stimulated trip"). The scene moves then to Ibiza where Paul Oakenfold, Nick Holloway, John Walker and Danny Rampling, four DJs, immediately got hooked on a new scene and on a new drug, Ecstasy, the little pill first synthesised in 1912 by Merck in Germany. When they went back to Britain they brought with them the memories collected, the mew inspiration in the music and the new drug. From the first bleeping sound which came out of that Roland, we pass through the "Second Summer of Love", when everyone was "E-d up, loved up" and hugged bear dressed in fancy marvellously coloured clothes and happily danced in Spanish or British clubs wearing badges with the fateful smiley faces on.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodgoodgood... 11 May 2001
By A Customer
Very good book. The last couple of chapters drag out a bit, though.
Everyone who liked this should read "Last night a DJ saved my life" as well.
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