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Days In The Life: Voices from the English Underground, 1961-71 Paperback – 2 Apr 1998
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"This is the first publication I've seen on the 1960s to address all closely the question: how did it feel in that dawn to be alive?" (Herald)
"An action packed tapestry of illuminating flashbacks" (Spectator)
Vastly entertaining, highly illuminating and not a little moving. . . Days in the Life is undoubtedly the best available summary of its period and milieu, and will probably remain so for quite some time to come.See all Product description
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The only thing I could wish for is that Jonathon would release the unedited version which contains more interviews and uncut. He used to make it available by some method to researchers and I think digital would be a great opportunity to let the rest of us have it too.
I believe the only reason he had to edit it in the first place was to save paper. The quality of his interviews cannot be different as he found a way to get people like Paul McCartney who are often a little too glib and guarded to reflect upon situations intellectually and revealingly.
In the meantime, you cannot be disappointed. This is pure class.
However, I think that peoples views on how the "underground" changed or didn't change the culture is a little narrow. The people interviewed for the book form a tiny clique who were the ruling elite of the times and they didn't train the telescopes much further than the "Grove". People were doing stuff all over the UK, you only had to read the letters page of IT to realise that. Also the "counter-culture" didn't just role away with the three-day week and the Tories with their "Night Assemblies Bill" etc, it changed location, firstly to the Windsor Free Festival in '74 and then Watchfield in '75.
I feel it was from these events that the Peace Convoy, 'Henge and other counter-culture events like the "Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp" and on into "Rave Culture" evolved. The "underground" is not dead it just doesn't look the same as in did within the smoke filled walls of "UFO", or "Friends" office. Just thought I'd mention it.
Today music is all about the media and the image, not about content and reality. Interesting to read today ..........
I would also recommend Richard Neville's "Hippie, Hippie Shake" a great read !!
From the accounts, a familiar pattern emerges: the alternative society gradually proving itself to be as money-orientated as its square counterpart, egos getting in the way of a utopian dream. But there are some humorous scenes along the way - the chaos of "underground" magazine offices; flats invaded by squatters who were all too ready to put communism into practice.
In the end, I found the exhaustive details about magazines like Oz, IT and the rest were not all that interesting. And a great part of the book - inevitably - is about drugs: this isn't morally shocking, but it can be tedious after a while.
Perhaps the most thought-provoking part of the book is the postscript, when the interviewees look back and say how much they think has really changed, how important the sixties were for the development of society. Doubtless, the near-Victorian 1950s need blasting out of the way. Whether all the drugs were necessary to do it, well, you have your own opinions on that. If you can remember the 60s, they say, you weren't there. This book rather disproves that saying. Which doesn't make it an absorbing read. Still, the kindle price is a mere £5, and if you're an old hippy, it's only money.
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