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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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Photos from:

City Lights (Publisher of White Hand Society)

Generation Film (a WordPress site)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/28/2010 3:15 pm

    So, I used to do a lot of drugs. I dabbled in all the major hallucinogens when I was a kid, smoked a lot of dope, etc. So that part my life was spent watching movies/listening to music (The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Fear & Loathing, Yellow Submarine, etc.) in various altered states. But I didn’t do it because I was intrigued by the culture or the artistry or the method or anything meaningful. I just did it because that shit sounded cool when I was trippin’!

    Now that I don’t do those things anymore I have re-experienced these things in a natural state and I think I have a greater appreciation for them than when I was a teenager. I don’t think it’s any better or worse sober, just different. You carry with you the past experiences that shape and mold who you are in the present– I still remember (vaguely, ha) where I was and what I was doing when I experienced them for the first time, so it’s also kind of nostalgic and comforting at the same time.

    Rambling again…blah…

    • 11/28/2010 10:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing Marie! Your “rambling” is always welcomed. I think experiencing things in different “states” is really fascinating and enhances each variation of the experience.

  2. 11/28/2010 9:52 pm

    Wow, great sharing of information, but my personal experience occurred with my reading of Ken Kesey and his novels: One Flew over the Cuckoo Nests and Sometimes a Great Notion. Additionally, I read Tom Wolfe, Kool-aid, Acid Test.

    • 11/28/2010 9:57 pm

      Yes I was reminded about Cuckoo’s Nest today while reading White Hand Society. Definitely going on my reading list :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. 03/03/2011 7:55 pm

    Enjoying your blog and the photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your comment on my blog. I’d say you’re going to do an excellent job “creating yourself” … and I’m envious you’re living in Europe. I’d like to dabble in travel writing and live part-time at least in Europe. Perhaps I’ll see my dream in the next couple of years. Stay in touch, perhaps we’ll meet in Europe sometime and share coffee at a cafe or wine in a bistro!

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