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London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945
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London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
London Calling London has long been a magnet for aspiring artists and writers, musicians and fashion designers seeking inspiration and success in this great city. This title explores the counter culture that sprang up in the decades following the Second World War, focusing on the West End and Soho. Full description
Hardcover, 468 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Atlantic Books
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Tosh
Apr 08, 2010 Tosh rated it really liked it
I'm a long term Barry Miles fan. I guess one can consider him as a cultural historian, but he also witnessed many aspects of his own field of interest. Which is American Beat/British Hippie/pop music cultural life. He was also a close associate of Paul McCartney in the mid to late 1960's, as well as a co-writer on McCartney's interesting memoir.

Miles has written biographies on American Beat Greats, as well as his own memoir of London life during the Sixties. But"London Calling" is sort of his m
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The Book Nazi
Sep 16, 2010 The Book Nazi rated it really liked it
Only after reading this book did I find out that Barry Miles is the guy who wrote biographies of Paul Mcartney, Frank Zappa and many prominent figures. I don't live in London and don't really know most of the venues chronicled in this book but Barry is able to tell great stories about them, and make someone visualize all the good madness.

There are stories of Post war Bohemia, '50's beatniks and jazz clubs, 60's hippie pop era where the stones congregated with The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, at the
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Kimmo Sinivuori
Aug 26, 2014 Kimmo Sinivuori rated it really liked it
This is a must book for everyone interested in counterculture, the Beats, the Beatles, John and Yoko and post-war London. This is a must also for those who love London and its watering holes.
Fiona
Oct 04, 2016 Fiona rated it it was amazing
London Calling by BARRY MILES is a counter-cultural odyssey through London's anarchic avant garde boho scene in Soho and the West End from the 40s with various surviving members of the Bloomsbury set, through every following decade from the 50s teddy boys and Angry Young Men, Francis Bacon and the Colony Club, to the 60s and the Summer of Love, then on to the rise of punk and ending with YBAs and Leigh Bowery of the 90s. Barry Miles published the underground newspaper IT in the 60s and knew ...more
Christopher
May 30, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it
Barry Miles was a major figure in the London counterculture in the 1960s, involved in such legendary things as the Indica bookshop, the underground newspaper International Times, and the UFO Club. But unlike some others in that scene, Miles was always interested in the general history of alternative culture: in the Sixties he read widely on the Beats who had preceded him (and he became close friends with many of them), and even after the Sixties passed he sought to keep abreast of new ...more
Thomas
Apr 30, 2013 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
This is basically a series of mini-biographies of artists, musicians and writers who have lived in and transformed London since 1945 up until about the late 80s. A lot of this book is dedicated to the 1960s, with some first-hand accounts from the author. It contained far too much idle gossip about people I’ve never heard of before for my liking - going to lunch at such and such a restaurant or taking such and such a drug. A lot of this book I just can’t relate to because it idolizes reckless ...more
Simon Fellowes
This was a really solid trawl through the late 50's, 60' & 70's aspects of inner London bohemian and creative life, particularly centring around Fitzrovia and Soho. Though seen through somewhat rose-tinted glasses, the book still manages to capture the electric atmosphere of the time, the characters, the ebullience - the can-do mentality. In hindsight we know much of what came out of the period wasn't as potent as it seemed, but it still must have been thrilling to be part of it at the time, ...more
Julie
Aug 04, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
An entertaining enough book, packed with amusing and shocking anecdotes about the underground scene in London since the war. Unfortunately, it's also packed with endless typographical errors that become thoroughly tiresome by the end. Things are so bad that a chapter heading, printed correctly at the start of the chapter is then repeated incorrectly at the top of the next thirteen pages. Atlantic Books, you really should be ashamed of yourselves! Even the underground press made more effort to ...more
Robert Pereno
Nov 16, 2010 Robert Pereno rated it it was amazing
Start of Nov. 'Just getting into it and a very promising start indeed'. 'Nov 13th and have just passed the half-way mark; I can not even begin to tell you how much I am enjoying this book.'
Finished the book on Monday the 15th. I did get a bit restless during the 1960s but woke up big time during the 70s and 80s. Always fun seeing the names of friends and places you have been: The Kilt, Blitz Club, Rusty Egan, Adam Ant, Wilma and the neo-naturists, Trevor Myles of Paradise Garage...and the list
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Writerlibrarian
I finally finished this mammoth, huge non fiction. It's fun, it's interesting, it's structured in a way that you learn bits and pieces and make connections throughout reading. It's not really chronological nor is it a complete history of that period. The 50's and 60's parts are the best parts. The whole chapter about Performance is quite interesting, gave me another point of view and I wanted to pull out Keith Richards autobiography out and start reading it on the spot. Miles is a good writer, ...more
Mark Findlater
This is a five star book chock full of insights from your man on the scene Barry Miles. I loved it, I learned a lot about the many intertwined histories of my home city and the culture of the nation. I'm going to dig deeper, and I whole heartedly recommend this book.

...Someone really should have edited it, and if someone did, then someone else should have. For all the wheat there is a good 25% chaff and this book could have been about 100 pages shorter without losing any of the good stuff.
Michael
Nov 30, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Weaker in the modern, post-sixties era (Billy Currie forming Ultravox after playing for Visage?) but for the late fifties, sixties and early seventies - Miles' beat - invaluable. And very, very funny.
Pondering Pig Newton
It's such a fascinating subject, I can't understand why I found it tedious and boring. Perhaps I was looking for a more graphic or personal approach, or amybe I'm more American than I think I am. The Bohemians seemed a bit more like career drunks than a fresh engaging counterculture.
Shanti
Jan 24, 2015 Shanti rated it it was amazing
Excellent read.Very informative and written with style,as Miles' books usually are.Anyone with an interest in art and the real 'movers and shakers' of our culture will love it.
Tobias
Aug 03, 2011 Tobias added it
Excellent on Indica the Roundhouse and the 1960s London counter culture, very patchy on the 1970s and 1980s
Jen
Dec 15, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
Fantastic book on the counter-culture history of London, especially the artists of Soho. Highly recommend it!
Andrew Cox
Andrew Cox rated it really liked it
Oct 22, 2013
Harry Sumnall
Harry Sumnall rated it liked it
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Multiple Galerie
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Stevenson
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Agata
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Kevin Flude
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Adam
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Aug 28, 2012
Bobby Tam
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Author of several books and biographies, most pertaining to musicians and the sixties.

Miles has written biographies of Paul McCartney, The Beatles, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, in addition to books on John Lennon, The Beatles and The Clash.

He is occasionally inaccurately credited as "Miles Mabbett" due to his co-authoring a book with Andy Mabb
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