Psychedelia and Other Colours

Rob Chapman
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ISBN 9780571282005 Format Hardback
Published 03/09/2015 Length 656 pages

About Book

In the summer of 1965 the informal parties that Ken Kesey was holding at his house in Palo Alto California were about to evolve into what became known as the Acid Tests. These spontaneous anarchic gatherings spread their tentacles far and wide until an entire generation seemed to be under their spell. Fifty years on from the Merry Pranksters multimedia mayhem, acclaimed author Rob Chapman explores in crystalline detail the history, precedents and cultural impact of LSD, from the earliest experiments in painting with light and immersive environments to the thriving avant-garde scene that existed in San Francisco long before the Grateful Dead and the Fillmore Auditorium. In the UK, he documents an entirely different history, and one that has never been told before. It has its roots in fairy tales and fairgrounds, the music hall and the dead of Flanders fields, in the Festival of Britain and that peculiarly British strand of surrealism that culminated in the Magical Mystery Tour.

Sitars and Sergeant Pepper, surfadelica and the Soft Machine, light shows and love-ins - the mind-expanding effects of acid were to redefine popular culture as we know it. It's a story that you think you know, but no one has laid out the narrative quite like this before. Chapman documents psychedelia's utopian reverberations - and the dark side of its moon - in a shimmering day-glo portrait where the sublime, the sinister and the just plain silly co-exist in imperfect harmony.

  • About Rob Chapman

    Rob Chapman is currently the holder of a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at the University of Lancaster. He was for a long time a regular contributor to Mojo magazine and has also written for The TimesGuardianIndependent on SundayUncutWord and the dance music fanzine Jockey Slut. He is the author of Selling the Sixties: The Pirates and Pop Music Radio (1992), The Vinyl Junkyard (1996) and the acclaimed biography Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (2010). His novel Dusk Music was published in 2008. He has compiled and written sleevenotes for CD reissues by artists as varied as The Last Poets and John Fahey, as well as numerous psychedelia and loungecore compilations. He lives in Todmorden, Lancashire.

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