416 pages, large format book stuffed with anecdotes, exotica and pictures
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"What links David Hockney, Jane Asher, Syd Barrett, Alan Ginsberg, The Krays, Ronnie Wood, Princess Margaret, Salvador Dali, Dennis Hopper, Germaine Greer and a bunch of nutters who thought drilling holes in their heads was a good idea? Given that you have probably already clocked the title you’ve possibly already guessed that the link is London in the sixties, more specifically the London that revolved around, and grew from, the success of the Beatles and The Stones, and the cast of characters that gravitated towards them. London Babylon is basically a who’s who of London in the swinging sixties (and it’s some who’s who), laced with fascinatingly detailed research, more than enough sex and drugs to keep even the most jaded reader tuned in, and whilst there are no major new revelations, making the streets of London itself the star lends a new slant to popular stories, weaving them together and helping place them on the rapidly evolving timeline in such a way that you are left with a far better grasp of just how things must have seemed at the time. This is an entertaining and informative romp which will even appeal to readers who feel they already know all there is to know about the period."
The Oracle Total Music Magazine
A marriage of an energetically entertaining literary style and thorough absorption of the subject, London Babylon cuts, dries and dissects not only the leading musicians, but also their small cabal of film directors, actors, suits, artists, mystics, designers, wide boys, rich kids, drug pushers, revolutionaries, writers, groupies, thugs...all the scene-makers who functioned (or otherwise) in the Smoke and its more exotic outposts. Into the bargain, it ratifies or dismisses with sound evidence a lot of the rumoured excesses that were discussed by provincial schoolboys when sharing a communal cigarette behind the bike sheds.
Alan Clayson - writer Backbeat
Granny (and granddad) takes a trip
Germaine Greer, whose perspective on the decade’s successes and excesses developed from both her feminist writings and self-confessed “supergroupie” activities, defined the swinging 60s as an era of “just rich kids playing”. It’s a view which encapsulates the evolving consensus now superseding the “If you remember the 60s, you weren’t there” cliché. For the masses, the 60s was something that happened to the well-heeled in Chelsea.
Overbury’s self-published work supports this latest thinking; it’s packed with vivid character portraits and we notice a theme. Jane Asher’s father was the Harley Street doctor who identified Munchausen Syndrome. John Rendall, famous for keeping The Lion Cub From Harrods, was a friend of Princess Margaret’s lover Roddy Llewellyn. In the Clermont casino, Lord Lucan rubbed shoulders with F1 champion Graham Hill and high-roller John Aspinall. Affluence abounded.
At Mick Jagger’s pad at 13A Bryanston Mews East, or over at 101 Cromwell Road’s hippie haven, the new phenomena of the rock stars and their extended entourages held sway. Overbury’s challenge is to map out the hedonistic interconnectedness of music, fashion, drugs and gambling. It’s a big task and it does swamp us with arriving and departing personalities. Too much for a single sitting, but ideal to get lost in for a while.
Ian Abrahams - Record Collector
The film Performance, a chapter on which is included in London Babylon, also acts as a useful cipher for the themes of this intriguing book... (more)
Guy Sangster Adams - Plectrum - The Cultural Pick
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The Lost Chapters
|Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Keith Richard, John Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Jones, Ringo Starr, Eric Burdon, Jimi Hendrix, Tara Browne, Anita Pallenberg, Suki Poitier, John Crittle, Nigel Waymouth, Guy Stevens, Peter Meaden, Ossie Clark, Chelita Secunda, Marc Bolan, June Bolan, Chris Blackwell, Tony Elliot, Chrissie Shrimpton, PJ Proby, Bongo Wolf, Chas Chandler, Peter Whitehead, Howard Marks, Jane Asher, John Dunbar, Marianne Faithfull, Charlie Richardson, Michael Hollingshead, Spanish Tony Sanchez, Derek Taylor, The Fool, Magic Alex, David Litvinoff, Martin Sharp, Robert Fraser, Christopher Gibbs, The Clermont set, Michael X, John Paul Getty, Talitha, Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Donald Cammell, Pauline Boty, Brion Gysin, Sir Mark Palmer, Dreamachine, Amanda Lear, Peki D’Oslo, John Bindon, Michael X, the jet set, the in crowd, Felix Dennis, Richard Neville, Oz magazine. the Indica gallery, Jeremy Fry, Jean de Breteuil, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, Stash de Rola, Professor Bruce Lacey, Henry Herbert
17th Earl of Pembroke,