Psychedelic Readings for the Psychedelic Curious
A few days ago I finished reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve seen the movie by the same name countless times, but never without smoking a bowl or ten prior. In later [pot free] years I would on several occasions start to put on the DVD – and in one instance a VHS – but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I remembered it as a disjointed, incoherent, unsettling freak show that my sober mind wouldn’t be able to handle. See, at that age I had no other knowledge of Thompson or the history and culture he made up and therefore couldn’t appreciate his story for what it is; an incredible look into a time of experimentation and dissent that resulted in one of the most profound and controversial journalist in history who opened eyes and minds across the globe. And also, a lot of fucking mescaline. If you haven’t read the book, be sure to. Then, watch the movie – high or not – and get back to me. I’ll be watching sans high… wish me luck.
The only negative thing I can say about Thompson’s classic is that it managed to steal me away from White Hand Society, the new novel by Peter Conners, author of Growing up Dead. But alas, I dived into Conners’ telling of the 1960’s psychedelic revolution as helmed by Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary. Sixty pages in and I’m absolutely fascinated. Since I began my journey with Becoming Dead I’ve been most interested in where the ideas of the hippie generation came from. Who and what inspired a whole cultural phenomenon? In reading about the Grateful Dead I often come across name and texts that were influential on the band and the music. The Doors of Perception (Aldous Huxley), On the Road (Jack Kerouac), Howl and Other Poems (Allen Ginsberg), The Egyptian Book of the Dead, etc. The images of the hippie generation are all very appealing. Dancing in the streets, protests for peace, free love. But for me, it’s nothing without the intellect that stands behind it. I look forward to discovering more of that with White Hand Society.
“Escaping through the lily fields, I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land”
The Other One
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City Lights (Publisher of White Hand Society)
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