(review) Echoes of the Underground: A Footsoldier’s Tales

I discovered this title through the more traditional author marketing campaign. Meeting the author face to face.

And what a pleasure it was, it is and shall always be.

Having been on the hunt for a copy of “Brainstorm” by Bryan Talbot I discovered that Lee Harris (the original publisher of Brainstorm and good friend of Talbot) sells brand new copies over the counter at “Alchemy”, the headshop he still runs in the frenzied, colourful guts of Portbello road. It was at this time he told he about the completion of “Echoes of the Underground”, asking most graciously if I would read it.

Covering his beginnings in South Africa before moving into a thought provoking account of the numerous individuals encountered in his life Harris has collected articles, insights and personal recollections over what appears to be a troubling but rich lifetime. Lee manages to capture his experiences of the sixties with a high degree of lucidity. His intelligent discussions around LSD, the Arts Lab and numerous other counter culture topics are a brilliant insight into the general mindset of the time. The capturing of the flux and reflux of the creative spirit, and the legalities surrounding the march of the free thinkers, is quite astounding.

As Harris recounts his time with various beautiful creatures of the time his curiosity and genuine interest in the human soul is evident. Lee is a curious and soulful individual indeed, as well as being a gentle and powerful writer. The memories he recounts read as if you are there with him, reeling in psychedelic delirium, frothing in hedonism, swimming in history.

In this Harris takes you by the hand through the multi-layered strands of his memories. If you’re looking for a genuine, applicable, honest account of the sixties culture look no further. Lee will be only too happy to take those rose tinted spectacles from your face.

A brilliant account of a lifetime that now seems a galaxy away.

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