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London BabylonLondon Babylon: The Beatles And The Stones In The Swinging Sixties
Steve Overbury (Stephen Overbury)

What links David Hockney, Jane Asher, Syd Barrett, Alan Ginsberg, The Krays, Ronnie Wood, Princess Margaret, Salvador Dali, Dennis Hopper, Germaine Greer and a bunch of nutters who thought drilling holes in their heads was a good idea? Given that you have probably already clocked the titled you’ve possibly already guessed that the link is London in the sixties, more specifically the London that revolved around, and grew from, the success of the Beatles and The Stones, and the cast of characters that gravitated towards them. London Babylon is basically a who’s who of London in the swinging sixties (and it’s some who’s who), laced with fascinatingly detailed research, more than enough sex and drugs to keep even the most jaded reader tuned in, and whilst there are no major new revelations, making the streets of London itself the star lends a new slant to popular stories, weaving them together and helping place them on the rapidly evolving timeline in such a way that you are left with a far better grasp of just how things must have seemed at the time. This is an entertaining and informative romp which will even appeal to readers who feel they already know all there is to know about the period.
The Oracle

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The OssiansThe Ossians
Doug Johnstone
(Viking)

Connor Alexander is an arse, no ifs, no buts, he makes the word dysfunctional seem wholly inadequate. That his sister, girlfriend and best mate continue to put up with him beggars belief, and this was before he stepped up his booze and drug intake to industrial levels and long before he began stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down and waving guns around in Doug Johnstone’s band-on-the-road novel The Ossians. What makes this such a rattling good read for working musicians (or indeed road crew) is the attention to detail Johnstone has lavished on the day to day touring trivia - something he will know all about as part of East Lothian lo-fi rockers Northern Alliance - everyone else can happily pack this road-trip/black-comedy thriller into their holiday luggage and devour on an exotic, sunny beach somewhere, safe in the knowledge that the freezing, rain swept Scottish setting will help make the idiotic amount of money spent on two weeks away that little bit more satisfying. Rumours that the Ossians have released a mini-album entitled The Macpherson Tapes on 45b Records are entirely true (check out their www.myspace.com/theossians page), rumours that Johnstone IS Connor Alexander are, thankfully, entirely untrue.
Ruby Palmer

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