Length: 512 Pages
A new history of counterculture in the UK, from the release of Heartbreak Hotel in 1956 to the passing of the Criminal Justice Act in 1994
‘MY BOOK OF THE YEAR… Extraordinary… What a seditious, crackpot, transcendental riot this book is’
Roger Lewis, The Times
Deep in a wood in the Marches of Wales, in an ancient school bus there lives an old man called Bob Rowberry.
A Hero for High Times is the story of how he ended up in this broken-down bus. It's also the story of his times, and the ideas that shaped him. It's a story of why you know your birth sign, why you have friends called Willow, why sex and drugs and rock’n’roll once mattered more than money, why dance music stopped the New-Age Travellers from travelling, and why you need to think twice before taking the brown acid.
It's the story of the hippies for those who weren't there – for Younger Readers who've never heard of the Aldermaston marches, Oz, the Angry Brigade, the Divine Light Mission, Sniffin' Glue, Operation Julie, John Seymour, John Michell,Greenham Common, the Battle of the Beanfield, but who want to understand their grandparents’ stories of turning on, tuning in and not quite dropping out before they are gone for ever. It's for Younger Readers who want to know how to build a bender, make poppy tea, and throw the I-Ching.
And it's a story of friendship between two men, one who did things, and one who thought about things, between theory and practice, between a hippie and a punk, between two gentlemen, no longer in the first flush of youth, who still believe in love.
Length: 512 Pages
"Extraordinary... What a seditious, crackpot, transcendental riot this book is. My book of the year, and it’s only February."
"Listen carefully, children, to a checklist of the British underground scene... This amiable and engaging blog-doc is an Odyssey for elective outsiders. Here are real monsters and sirens of Soho and Presteigne, legions of the talkative dead, and a great rattletrap camper van voyage carrying us back to the point of origin… A Hero for High Times is Ian Marchant’s monumental defence of the alternative way."
"Infectious... [A] hugely engaging compendium of high ideals, low morals and apeshit behaviour."
"A defiant, funny lament for lost ideals."
"An up close and personal story of the counterculture... as well as a rumination on the nature of friendship."
"A lament for lost hope and a lost radicalism amid the conservatism of the contemporary world."
"Ian Marchant is one of Britain’s most remarkable, but under-recognized, writers. He is a true chronicler of the country... You never quite know what he’s going to do next, but what you do know is that it will be fascinating, and beautifully written... This, I think, is the book Marchant was born to write: it’s a testament, a collection of tall tales that all turn out to be true... It’s one of those books that seems to lift off its own pages: it’s an enactment of the very thing it describes. It places a whole way of life in context, and becomes, defying chronology, part of that context itself. I can put it no plainer than that"
"Made me laugh"