London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945 Paperback – 1 Feb 2011
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"'Miles gets closer than anyone to unravelling the enigma of Zappa.' Daily Telegraph 'Excellent and authoritative.' Daily Mail 'Perfect.' Arena" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Publisher
A major and definitive history of countercultural London by our pre-eminent chronicler of the cultural underground.
'Passionate, unashamedly personal, frequently ludicrous, often unbelievable, always fascinating... A rollicking good read.' Time OutSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The main problem is the title; misleading to say the least, how can you claim to write a book about 'counterculture' in London and hardly mention The Little Theatre Club, Ronnie Scott's Old Place, the improvised music scene which flourished in the 60s in London. In his introduction Miles uses the disclaimer that he never really was interested in that scene; if so then use a different title for a book. There is little here that readers of Dan Farson, Deakin, Jeff Bernard etc will find new, not enough else to attract others. Nothing either on an artist like Lynton Kwesi Johnson... No mention of Julie Driscoll, nor Mike Garrick, central to the jazz poetry movement. The sixties is covered in a very anecdotal style and dwells too long on the indulgences of Jagger, McCartney et al, without analysing what the 'counterculture' signified in any depth. I would suggest that Barry Miles retitle his book 'My experience of London's Artistic Bohemia' which would at least have the merit of being clear.
I've knocked off one star, simply because good though this book is, it does rather ignore some of the counter-cultural influences and connections that extend outside the charmed bubble of London. Also there were some surprising omissions from the accounts of the Ladbroke Grove, squatting and free festival scene of the late 60s and early 70s - how can you have an account of London's counter-culture without mentioning bands such as Hawkwind?
That having been said it is a good and entertaining read, and had me listening to all my old punk records.
Among the wide range of topics and bohemian characters discussed in these 31 entertaining chapters are Teddy Boys, Angry Young Men, The Colony Room(presided over by the formidable hostess Muriel Belcher), Francis Bacon, The 1965 Albert Hall Reading, Indica Books and Gallery, David Archer's Bookshop in Greek Street, J.G.Ballard, Ralph Rumney(co-founder of the Situationist International), International Times, The OZ Trial, George Melly, Leigh Bowery & Minty, The Arts Lab & The Sex Pistols.
Miles was at the epicentre of Alternative London for several decades and his 'London Calling' paints a vivid portrait of those heady and extraordinarily creative times.
The book lacks pace, the narrative drags in places and characters fail to come alive. What should be the author's unique advantage - that he was there, right in the heart of it, in the early 60s - becomes an irritation as he throws in asides such as the never-returned loan of a tie to a poet that simply get in the way and further slow an already less than snappy narrative. The surely amazingly colourful characters, from George Melly to William Burroughs among many others, are two-dimensional; their presence never excites.
The book is a missed opportunity; a disappointment.
If you were a teenage NME reader,art school revolutionary, Ladbroke Grove hippy or just someone who loves London and the huge contribution it`s made to the richness of our culture, this is for you. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book about undrground London. it is full of amusing anecdotes.Published 6 months ago by Sandra Marie Kelly
Excellent book,well researched and written by somebody who was there and knows his subject. Accurate.Published 11 months ago by R. Harrod
This was a present. This was very good, it was just what I was looking for. I would tell others about this product in the future.Published on 26 Feb. 2014 by W P.
It's an amazing book. All things that happened in London from the cultural, musical and literary point of view during several decades are there. Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2012 by rogerio santos
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Art, Architecture & Photography
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Edwardian and Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Ireland
- Books > History > Cultural History > London
- Books > History > Essays, Journals, Letters & True Accounts > 20th Century
- Books > History > Europe > Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > Europe > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > North America > Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > North America > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > World History > 1901-1913
- Books > History > World History > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > Music, Stage & Screen > Music > Styles > Rock & Pop > Styles