I’m trying to think what I may have been reading round about his time, other than Mark P’s Sniffing Glue, of course.
The New Musical Express was probably most predominant; Charles Shaar Murray, and that lot.
I had been reading the likes of Solzhenitsyn and Kerouac – two great writers from either side of the Divide – but all of that had kind of ground to a halt; there was something of a Year Zero nihilistic chasm forming.
The good fiction writers of the English working class like John Brain and Stan Bartstow(!) had been eclipsed by the truly awful English middle class writers like Julian Barnes and Martin Amis.
I cannot think of any decent British fiction from that era.
So it must have been Philip K Dick, I was reading: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
My favourite was – and still is – The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, his final work.
All the Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Van der Graaf Generator, Planet Gong, Todd Rundgren prog-era psychedelia was evaporating (even though they were to reinvent themselves at some point) and the incipient creativity of the sixties-seventies running dry. And the attendant sci-fi crusting over with it. When Michael Moorcock – author of the ‘Eternal Hero’ series – attempted ‘serious’ fiction the results were truly embarrassing.
Nope. Nobody was getting it.
So here we are today in summer 2019…and I am up high in the hills of a foreign country listening on Spotify to the new album by The Allman Betts Band and mostly getting a kick from it, feeling their energy, and harking back to the days sitting outside the Nag’s Head pub in High Wycombe overlooking the Rye with a joint in one hand, a beer in the other, listening to their fathers’ band’s Jessica/Ramblin’ Man flowing out from the jukebox through the doors and windows of the building, prior to punk, and recalling the freedom-inducing sense of those times…
Still trying to remember what I was reading between paperback covers back then.