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Sunday, 27 March 2011

"Eel Pie Dharma" quoted in 2 recent rock histories: "WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN" & "EEL PIE ISLAND"

Won't Get FOOLED AGAIN: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia
Richie Unterberger

Jawbone Press
2a Union Court
20-22 Union Road
London SW4 6JP
England
http://www.jawbonepress.com/


On Thursday I picked up a mysterious package at our village post office. The contents turned out to be Won't Get FOOLED AGAIN,  the latest book by rock historian Richie Unterberger. The 300 page story of  Pete Townshend of The Who was so appealingly packaged I finally had to wrest it away from our pretty village postmistress.

Unterberger knows his rock history, and he's done books on many other rock legends and movements, including a book on another of my favourite groups,The Velvet Underground. He does his research thoroughly, hence the inclusion of the piece from my 1990 memoir/haibun Eel Pie Dharma. 
http://www.richieunterberger.com/


My sixties memoir and Pete Townshend's Eel Pie Studios are named after Eel Pie Island, a small islet in the middle of the River Thames across from Twickenham. From the summer of 1969 through the summer of 1971 I lived in a hippie commune, the largest in the United Kingdom, in the derelict Eel Pie Hotel. We were squatters, anarchists, runaways, drop-outs, wannabe and former musicians - I was a homeless Vietnam War draft dodger.

A bit sadly, our addled youthful activities were a major negative inspiration for Townshend's anthemic song  "Won't Get Fooled Again". Chapter 2, "The New Revolution", tells of visits between Townshend and members of the Eel Pie Commune. My comments on this relationship are on pages 73-75, and fellow communard Gavin Kilty is another source for this tale. Townshend himself described his eventual disenchantment with one commune member in Unterburger's book, "I just grabbed the nearest thing, which was a hammer, and I hit him on the head with it, and nearly killed the fucker." 

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 Eel Pie Island
2009
Dan van der Vat and Michele Whitby

Frances Lincoln Limited
4 Torriano Mews
Torriano Avenue
London NW5 2RZ

A time warp reading this. Although I lived in the Eel Pie Hotel for two years in its final hippie commune days, I knew little of the hotel's older history. Thanks to the hard slogging research of the two editors, reading this beautfully illustrated hardcover filled in most of this missing knowledge.

We did know much of the ballroom's incredible role in the Thames Valley music scene. The Stones had been regular performers in the ballroom, the Newcastle Brown had flowed, and in its last days I had sat high in the projection room while my buddy, Scotch Dougie, projected phantasmagoric shapes on acts like Atomic Rooster and The Edgar Broughton Band.

Pictures are the heart of this trip down psychedelia's memory lane. I'm proud that two of mine are included, a double-page one on pages 84-85, and a classic one on page 87 of a communard striding over the arched footbridge to the Never Never Land which was 'the island' to us.

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As always, special thanks to Weed!
My webmaster and fellow Eel Pie communard who encouraged me to put Eel Pie Dharma online almost a decade ago.
Without Weed's patience and technical ability EPD would never have reached so many thousands of online readers.
An unanticipated result of putting EPD online has been its use as an ongoing resource for books, such as the two above, a BBC documentary, as well as Hari Kunzru's novel,  My Revolutions.

I've always believed the sixties were the first dramatic phase of a spiritual Renaissance. These books and websites document what has somehow slipped into 'the past'. But the best is yet to come ...
peace
Canadian Chris/cricket/Chris Faiers


     
       

2 comments:

dahpunkt said...

Who but CF could give us this sweeping perspective on 60s rock royalty? After reading this posting I want to rush out to get these books, and reread Faiers' seminal 60s memoir 'Eel Pie Dharma' to access the missing memories of the Keef legend not revealed in 'Life'.

Nick said...

Chris
It's wonderful to read your blog and writing about so many important thing, particularly zazen and the Dharma.
Love
Nick Garnett