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Psychedelia and Other Colours

Rob Chapman

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 fairytales 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.

RRP: £35.00

Published: 09/03/2015

ISBN: 9780571282005

Length: 656 pages

Format: Hardback

About Rob Chapman

Rob Chapman is currently the holder of a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at The University of Manchester. He was for a long time a freelance radio broadcaster with the BBC national network and a music journalist. His work has appeared in Mojo , The Times, The Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Uncut, Word and 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 first novel Dusk Music was published in 2008. He lives in Todmorden, Lancashire.