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In the Sixties Hardcover – 3 Oct 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; First Edition edition (3 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224062409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224062404
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,035,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

The insider's book on the sixties that everyone has been waiting for. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Barry Miles is the author of Allen Ginsberg: A Biography, William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible; Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now and The Beat Hotel. He lives in France.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Bourke on 27 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
In Swinging London of the 1960s, Barry Miles was always in the right place at the right time. He was like that character in Woody Allen's Zelig, always present at pivotal moments in history, off at the edge of the picture. It's a wonder his face isn't among those on the cover of Sgt Pepper because Miles was at the photo shoot. Paul McCartney was one of his best friends - Miles ghost-wrote McCartney's autobiography Many Years from Now - and Miles co-owned the hip Indica Gallery where Yoko Ono pursued John Lennon. ("Pursued" because although Yoko claimed to have never heard of the Beatles, that's how Miles observed it.) In the pre-Yoko period when Lennon was living in the woody stockbroker belt outside London, Miles was introducing McCartney to avant-garde music, underground theatre and politics, counter-culture literature.
But the inside stories about the Beatles are only a small part of what makes this such a fascinating memoir. Miles also befriended William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, writing several books about them and other Beat authors. He co-founded the legendary underground newspaper International Times, and was involved in the UFO - London's first psychedelic venue, where Pink Floyd got their start - and most of the other watershed events of the period, almost anything at the cutting edge: drugs, rock'n'roll, high art, pop culture, banned books.
When the '60s began Miles was a teenage art student in Cheltenham, living in squalid flats that were centuries old, throwing parties in which bohemians fought off teds, bopping to jazz and smoking pot.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John J. Durrell on 30 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Miles uses his considerable writing skill and vantage point as a member of the underground to give a closely observed view into avant-garde London of the sixties. Miles communicates a real sense of the possibilities, the experiments, the energy, along with the amateurism and the disasters that were all characteristic of the time. There is a sense of what it was like to be in the middle of a small group of people who were able to influence the world, and who were not necessarily aware that they were doing so. Paul McCartney was his friend and occasional patron, so the occasional insights into the Beatle world are enlightening, and show how they were able to reflect and broadcast the cultural inputs around them to a much wider stage. The contrast Miles shows from the beats, (William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg and co.) who were "counter" and the rising popular culture (Hendrix, psychedelia, etc.) is dramatic. Miles makes accessible an intimate view of a small community which created cultural reverberations we still feel. Hang on, not to over intellectualise: This is a fun book. You won't get this perspective anywhere else, and it is worth having.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 27 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Having heard Barry Miles on the radio and read his biography of Paul McCartney (Miles has also written biographies of Frank Zappa, William S Burroughs, Richard Brautigan & Charles Bukowski amongst others) and seen this recommended in a book-chain in Cheltenham I knew I had to read this. I finally got round to reading it after reading Joe Boyd's similarly historically located memoir 'white bicycles - making music in the 1960's', which is of course fantastic, as is the tie-in compilation. Boyd and Miles were both there, so this beats the top-ten list style TV show memoir thang...

Miles' memoir works on several levels - the early sections set in Cheltenham, Stroud & other areas of the Cotswolds are a reminder of what this country was like pre-rock-& roll/sexual revolution. The way nostalgia shows work seem to suggest the country wasn't a throwback to the 19th century, which it was, and Miles beatnik-era is interesting as he comes across teddy boys, proto-hippies, boho-types and the like. The bohemian arcadia vibe here really needs to be mimicked more often, though Pete Doherty has tried. I loved details like South African fruit in a bus station, or the type of literature Miles was attracted to (those cheap Penguin classics), or a kind of loose commune existence - Miles' marriage here seems one of convienience, it gets overlooked later on. & a reference to a 'direct' phone line seems confounding to us techno-assisted souls in the present...

The book starts off as a loose memoir of various proto-hippy individuals, by the time the book gets to London, it becomes a who's who of the Swinging Sixties. Miles' co-founded the Indica bookshop, stocking key 60s texts that were hard to find/banned (there are references to several titles - Ballard's 'Why I Want to...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jill Knight on 23 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
How refreshing, after so many books that either 'imagine' the Sixties or fail to remember much about them at all, to find a book written by someone who WAS there but still remembers. The reviewer who compares Miles to Zelig is spot on, I think. You might only have a vague awareness of who he is, but he seems to have been connected in one way or another to most of the key players of the decade. This fascinating book covers so many topics. The mostly short but always interesting chapters cover such things as the eccentric photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist John "Hoppy" Hopkins, the cult bookshop Better Books, William Borrough's and Allen Ginsberg's visits to England, the activities of Peter and Jane Asher, druggy evangelist Michael Hollingshead, the writer Charles Bukowski, The Pink Floyd's early years, The Fugs, John and Yoko, Brian Jones, Paul McCartney's burgeoning artistic interests, the International Times, UFO, the notorious drug-chasing (and more) policeman Sgt Pilcher, Frank Zappa's visits to the Indica gallery in London, glimpses of assorted Suzy Creamcheeses, a stay at the Hotel Chelsea, some difficult encounters with Allen Klein, the formation of Apple and Zapple and many, many, more. For students of the Sixties, The Beatles, the Underground, the Beats and various other aspects that made the decade so rich and distinctive, this is definitely worth reading.
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