Dave Haslam’s new book, ‘Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor’ has just been published by Constable. It’s an ode to his time in Manchester, from 1980 when he arrived in the city from his Birmingham home to study English Literature, right through until what he’s been up to in more recent times, but as you’d expect given Dave’s Haçienda legacy, particular emphasis is placed on his time as DJ at the much-hallowed venue, and the clubs that orbited around it.
Tom Wolfe, the famous American author and journalist, died yesterday, aged 88. He wrote the countercultural classic, ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’, published in 1968, which documented the exploits of Ken Kesey’s Californian LSD evangelists, The Merry Pranksters, who played a leading role in the emergence of the psychedelic era during the 1960s – their ‘Acid Test’ gatherings, originally at Kesey’s La Honda farm, unleashing psychedelic light shows, whilst providing the launchpad for the band The Grateful Dead.
I’m in London this evening for Tim Lawrence’s ‘Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor 1980-1983’ book launch at The Institute Of Light, which is hosted by Pages Of Hackney. I’ll be talking to Tim about his hugely impressive, highly informative, often deeply emotional excavation of New York nightlife in the early ’80s. I blogged about it recently:
Back in the early 2000s, when I began to explore the internet properly, discovering a number of DJ forums discussing dance culture and its history, it was clear that the early ’80s had been largely obscured. This was the period that followed the supposed death of Disco in 1979 (prompted by the vitriolic racist / homophobic ‘’Disco Sucks’ campaign fronted by WLUP Chicago shock jock Steve Dahl), and preceded the emergence of House music during the mid-’80s.
Meant to give both of these the heads-up in recent months, and certainly ahead of Christmas, but I’ve been so swamped with other stuff I haven’t had chance.
Anyone who’s been following the blog during recent times will be in no doubt of my admiration for John Higgs’s ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds’, a book like no other, full of incendiary ideas and inspiration – a proper mindsparker. I wrote about it here:
Half a century ago today a seismic cultural event took place at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The International Poetry Incarnation, with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg the guest of honour, drew over 7,000 people – bringing together formerly disparate groupings who could now, as a result of this vast gathering, see strength in numbers.
First up I have to say that fortune favours the brave, and Daisy Eris Campbell and her brilliant cast and production crew are destined, I’ve no doubt, to really make their mark via ‘Cosmic Trigger’, a bold adaptation of the Robert Anton Wilson book. Hugely ambitious in its scope, the 4 hour play now moves to London where there’ll be performances at LOST Theatre in SW8, kicking off tonight and running through until Saturday – needless to say that it’s highly recommended. The backstory to all this can be accessed via ‘The Gateway Drug’, which you can read here:
I’m all about connections. What really turns me on is when two previously separate areas of interest suddenly collide head on thanks to the discovery of a new piece of information. The connections are already there, it’s just that we’re blind to them much of the time, so when John Higgs, the author of ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds’, does the detective work and pieces of the jigsaw fall together in a way that reveals a different picture to what we may previously have envisaged, that’s a deeply nourishing feast for me.
Just finished a captivating and, to my mind, long overdue book, which covers the history of black music in the capital spanning (almost) 100 years, the recently published ‘Sounds Like London’. By bringing all the threads together, its author, Lloyd Bradley has made a telling contribution to our understanding of how British black music evolved, following the lineage of its direct influences in the Caribbean and Africa, in juxtaposition with the impact of African-American innovation throughout the 20th century.