Flashback: Parties For The People By The People is a new fold-out publication on Rough Trade Books that tells the story of the infamous Blackburn Acid House ‘parties’, the vital part this moment of counter-cultural history has played in the social, economic and cultural lives of the area itself, and more broadly, of the country as a whole.
Taking in the post-industrial landscape of the area, the impact of years of regressive politics, both local and national, the confluence of football hooligans, casuals, gang violence, and eventually, the dispersal of all that into the culture of the parties and the emergent ecstasy boom, this rendering of time and place is told through a combination of reportage, fiction, poetry and oral history by contributors including Adelle Stripe, Alex Zawadzki, Anna Wood, Balraj Singh, Dorothy, Fergal Kinney & Jamie Holman.
This fold-out set is made up of three pamphlets including, ‘A Place Called Bliss’, by Adelle Stripe – an anti-love story of two friends and their doomed attempt to escape their daily drudge via the ecstatic promise of Blackburn’s legendary parties in the neighbouring county. It is a shadow story of those lost weekends—a tale of frustrated desire and frustrated aspiration, where the small miracles of love and hedonistic transcendence appear all but impossible.
I will be hosting an online Arvon non-fiction masterclass on September 9th 2021 on creative biographical writing. It is open to writers of all abilities. We’ll be looking at texts including Janet Malcolm, Michael Ondaatje, David Peace and Gordon Burn, plus a few exercises in research and writing across the two hour session.
As part of Arvon’s wider effort to increase participation in the arts, concessionary places are available for this course.
I have written a feature on the literary culture of Hebden Bridge in this weekend’s Yorkshire Post: ‘Aside from the proliferation of alternative lifestyles, its hordes of tourists, flooding incidents, or the title of ‘UK’s lesbian capital’, the small market town of Hebden Bridge has become renowned as an unlikely centre for literary culture in the North of England…’
In the first of their subscriber-exclusive Low Culture essays, I have opened up my battered copy of Julian Cope’s The Modern Antiquarian for The Quietus to argue how this classic guide to Britain’s neolithic remains has a strikingly modern relevance. An extract of ‘A Glimmer of Cope’ is available to read here.
Subscribers get perks including music, podcasts and bonus long read features penned by special guest writers such as Darran Anderson on the occulted history of kids TV show Knightmare; Megan Nolan on the unadulterated joy of loving Billy Joel; Joy White on grime as a contemporary Black British genre; Daniel Dylan Wray on John Cale and Oobah Butler on the anarchic artist Christian Jankowski. Plus, editors John and Luke are clambering into a clapped out old motor to drive round the UK to interview a wealth of guests such as legendary folk singer Shirley Collins, Repeater Books supremo Tariq Goddard and writer John Higgs about the culture that has shaped them for a brand new series of podcasts exclusively for subscribers – get the first episode as soon as you sign up today. Support on the last bastions of quality music journalism and sign up today!
I have written a feature on the extraordinary lives of Dennis and Lois, two unsung heroes of the trans-Atlantic alternative underground. A new documentary based on these legendary superfans of rock ‘n roll, and directed by Chris Cassidy, is out this week. Visit The Quietus to hear more about this New York couple and their shrine to 20th century pop culture.