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.
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50 years ago today an album was released that took pop music, something previously regarded as disposable, into the realm of art, whilst helping enable a vital generation of young people to throw off the shackles and express themselves in ever-ambitious ways – ‘Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ soundtracked the fabled ‘summer of love’, which had spilled out into an unsuspecting world via the US West Coast, its psychedelic epicentre being San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, where the original hippies had gathered and pondered the meaning of it all, adopting a lateral LSD-laced stance on life that would be a defining feature of the decade.
David Mancuso’s London Loft party, ‘Journey Through The Light’, celebrates its 10th anniversary on June 23rd. Held Upstairs @ The Light in Shoreditch, it’s a party like no other, underpinned by a high-end audiophile sound system that has to be heard to be believed. Although its originator, now approaching his 70s, hasn’t been able to make it in person during recent times, the party continues in his absence, Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy his chosen stand in (he hopes to return for future dates though).
I was in Dublin airport at 9.00am last Saturday morning and had bought a cup of coffee and a scone before boarding my flight to Manchester. I was just picking up a knife to butter the scone when who should I see sat down at the next table but John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). It turns out that he’d been performing with Public Image Limited at the same festival as I’d been at, Electric Picnic. He was with someone else who looked really familiar, although I couldn’t place him. They had a load of pints of Guinness stacked up in front of them and at one point this Irish lad walked up to their table and, without saying anything, put down a couple more pints for them, gave them the finger, and started to walk back to where he was sat. They didn’t take too kindly to this and started shouting after him, saying it wasn’t good form to tell them to fuck off, Lydon stating that he was in his ’50s and didn’t ‘need that shit’. For a moment it looked like it might kick off, but after they gave the guy a bit of a lecture it seemed to calm down.