If I could time travel to any other era, my number one destination of choice would be Carnaby Street in the 1960s. Mini skirts, sharp suits and bobs aplenty, it certainly seemed the place to be.
Instead of enlisting the help of the Tardis, I'll happily make do with In The Sixties – Barry Miles's seminal memoir of British counterculture in the 1960s, issued as a collectors' limited edition book with never-before-seen photographs and interviews.
In 1962, Miles was a student at Cheltenham art school. By 1969, he was running the Beatles’ Zapple label and living at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. In between, Miles was a major force in the UK’s nascent counterculture, and active in every significant underground event of the decade.
In The Sixties is Miles’s personal memoir of this turbulent period. A friend of Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, Miles helped to organise the pivotal International Poetry Incarnation at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1965. He co-founded and ran the Indica Bookshop in Mason’s Yard, the epicentre for the London underground scene, and published Britain’s first underground newspaper, International Times (IT), from Indica's basement.
Miles's partners in Indica were John Dunbar, then married to Marianne Faithfull, and Peter Asher. Through Asher, Miles became closely involved with the Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney. Other musicians who appear in the pages of the book include the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa; it also includes memorable portraits of writers and poets such as Ginsberg and Burroughs, Charles Olson, Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski.
This expanded edition of In The Sixties illustrates Miles’s story using personal and long-unseen images of London in the 1960s, including photographs and drawings from pre-Beatles Britain through to the post-psychedelic era. Also included in this edition are exclusive sound recordings of interviews conducted by Miles with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Townshend in 1967, with Mick Jagger in 1968, and a previously unpublished interview with John Lennon in 1969.
The book is published by Rocket 88 and is available at www.inthesixties.com.
Main image: Paul McCartney with American folk singer Julie Felix at a party in her Chelsea flat | All images courtesy of Albany Arts Communications