Monday, March 22, 2010

London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945 Guardian interview with Miles

Miles aka Barry Miles (on his books) has his new book, London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945,  out  now from Atlantic Books. Miles was a constant on the couterculture scene since the 1960s and has never lost his edge. His new book traces the history of the counterculture in London from 1945 to the present day. This is a milestone publication by one of the few participants in the scene who actually remembers the 1960s.
Eric Anderson, Terry Wilson and Miles
Naked Lunch @50 Paris 2009 photo Frank Rynne
There is a great interview in the Guardian available on line
For 45 years, Miles has lived in the same building in Fitzrovia, north of Oxford Street, a stone's throw from Soho to the south and BBC Broadcasting House to the west. Originally, he occupied a flat on an upper floor with his first wife, Sue Crane; he now lives with the travel writer Rosemary Bailey and their teenage son in the basement. The walls of the narrow hallway are covered with paintings, including several by William Burroughs, made during Burroughs's London phase, when Miles took on archival duties and compiled a bibliography of his work; he has also edited a variorum edition of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. Surrounding the pictures are photographs of Miles with Ginsberg, the cartoonist Robert Crumb and others. He is an exemplary case of social mobility – not upwards via the pursuit of money or status, but into the classless orbit of art. "As soon as I took my art A-level, at 16, I went off to become a painter. There was no further thought than that . . . You went to art school to learn how to do art. Then I saw a programme on television about the Beat generation. It was quite critical, but I thought it was wonderful. There was Ginsberg reading Howl and Lawrence Ferlinghetti with the Golden Gate Bridge behind him. It seemed to me that was the model to go for."
The freedom to choose your own style of living has been the main theme of Miles's pilgrimage. "We wanted the church and state to have no part in personal relations," he writes in In the Sixties, having reminded readers of the rigidity of social mores in previous decades. "And once we had got rid of them, then would come the great experiment of deciding how to live."
Read the full interview
 And from the Independent

And buy the book 

Miles, Barry (2010). London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945. Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781843546139.

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