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Echoes of the underground – A Footsoldier’s Tales – Ebook

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Echoes of the underground – A Footsoldier’s Tales – Ebook

Echoes of the Underground by Lee Harris

JUST PUBLISHED ON BARNCOTT PRESS!

www.barncottpress.com

AVAILABLE TO BUY HERE

Paper back version will be coming soon

Echoes of the Underground: A Foot Soldiers Tale is a unique collection of ‘underground’ writings by Lee Harris, the majority of which were originally published in the  ’alternative press’ of the 60′s and 70′s; International TimesOzHome Grown and ‘Other Scenes’ .

The collection includes writings on the ‘Beat Generation’, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, the 60′s theatre revolution, and the South African apartheid era (Lee was one of the few white members of the ‘African National Congress’and met Nelson Mandela).

There is some interesting material covering the ‘War on Drugs’ and the early days of the ‘Legalise Cannabis’ movement – as you might expect from the publisher of Home Grown, Europe’s first cannabis magazine.

 

Also included are rare interviews with beat poet Michael McClure, the director of the musical HAIR Tom O’Horgan, the man who ‘turned on’ Timothy Leary by giving him some L.S.D., Michael Hollingshead, and Harry Shapiro, author of ‘Waiting for the Man’ and the Jimi Hendrix biography‘Electric Gypsy’.

Some unpublished work is included in this insightful and personal collection of writing which covers some of the most exciting and revolutionary times in recent world history.

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* Price (£4.00) varies according to location and rate of the dollar.

 

AMAZON KINDLE:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C6OCTNY

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Ben River – So here we are (3-Track digital single)

Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Ben River – So here we are (3-Track digital single)

by-the-riverside-front-800

This ‘name your price’ 3-track single includes the new songs:
So here we are, You’ll find your way & By the riverside
and comes with cover art & video of ‘You were there all along’
live @ Half Moon Putney. Download HERE

http://www.benriver.net

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Upsetter Magazine

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Upsetter Magazine

Deluxe special edition of Upsetter Magazine Issue 1, a magazine on the great Lee Scratch Perry

Limited to 200 copies - Each copy is individually numbered -

Includes articles on Lee Scratch Perry in Studio One, The Ska Years, Upsetter News, Colour Photo Postcards

Discography 1963-68 & Original Perry art

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Home Grown Magazine – 10 x RARE A4 PRINTS

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Home Grown Magazine – 10 x RARE A4 PRINTS
The ten colour A4 Prints
Come packaged in a protective cardboard cylinder
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Bryan Talbot’s Smokey Bears – 3 x RARE A4 PRINTS

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Bryan Talbot’s Smokey Bears – 3 x RARE A4 PRINTS
The three black and white A4 Prints
Come packaged in a protective cardboard cylinder
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Bryan Talbot’s Brainstorm Comix – 3 x RARE A4 PRINTS

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Bryan Talbot’s Brainstorm Comix – 3 x RARE A4 PRINTS
The three black and white A4 Prints
Come packaged in a protective cardboard cylinder
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Echoes of the Underground – DVD

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Echoes of the Underground – DVD

A collection of short films, featurettes & music videos with over two hours of previously unseen footage filmed during the making of the album ‘Lee Harris meets River Styx – Angel Headed Hip Hop’ from 2007 – 2010. featuring: Brian Barritt, Jim Haynes, Howard Marks, Youth, Henk Targowski, Eddie Woods, Jean-Jacque Lebel, Giles Walker & Peter Dunne (Mutoid Waste Company) and more

DVD (PAL) – Region 2

Here is the trailer

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Lee Harris meets River Styx – Angel Headed Hip Hop – CD

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Lee Harris meets River Styx – Angel Headed Hip Hop – CD

Angel Headed Hip Hop is the work of playwright, writer and spoken word artist, Lee Harris and songwriter & poet River Styx. A mesmerising journey of psychedelic soundscapes. Featuring Aldous Huxley, Howard “Mr Nice” Marks, Brian Barritt, JC001 & more. The album was released in 2009 on Genepool/Universal Music.

“The 21st century equivalent of the early experiments with beat poetry and improvised Jazz. A slice of life, a slice of history”… Upsetter Magazine. 

The album is recontextualising the beat poets into the modern age” K&C Daily Times.

READ MORE ABOUT THE ALBUM ON WIKIPEDIA

Here are some music videos from the album

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Alchemy: 30 Years of Counter Culture – CD

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Books, Comics, Music & Films | 0 comments

Alchemy: 30 Years of Counter Culture – CD

 

New Antique Records is proud to present; “Alchemy – 30 Years of Counter Culture” an alchemical fusion of dub, jazz, celtic, ambient, psy-trance and spoken word available digitally for the first time.

Originally released in 2002, The album features Youth, Raja Ram & Simon Posford (Shpongle), Howard Marks, Brian Barritt, Bush Chemist, JC001, Drum Druids and many more, brought together by Lee Harris to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the oldest headshop in the creative melting pot of London’s Ladbroke Grove area.

“It starts perfectly chilled, dubby even, and by way of Howard Marks and the Mystery School Players, arrives at Shpongle. The flute work morphs seemlessly into a kicking Psy-Trance tune from Nervasystem & Aether. Dammit, it’s so good!” Inna?Turtle

“Very nice fusion and a nice piece to listen to at home and on the chill-out-floors around the globe”  Mushroom – Hamburg

“Alchemy is trippy with a capital T. It is a celebration of one man’s journey through the counter culture that has existed in this country since the 1960’s. Listening to Alchemy gives us a sense of history that you won’t read about in school text books.” …..Peek Magazine

“If you like Lee’s trippy ramblings then check out “Alchemy – 30 years of Counter Culture, Some real gems on that one!” …..PSYAMB

The Album is also available digitally on New Antique Records


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Decades of Dope – By Lee Harris

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Counter culture archive | 0 comments

 

High!

Welcome to the sixth Home grown, our special turn of the decade issue. As we enter the eighties the cannabis flag seems to be flying high with the mushrooming of legalisation groups in many parts of the world and the coming of The 1st International Conference in Amsterdam in February 1980. “Legalise without commerce, except small scale cash crop for family farmers” suggested Allen Ginsberg, poet and sage of our times, when he passed through London in November 1979. In October a customs officer was shot dead while intercepting a lorry with a large amount of cannabis hidden in it’s hold; the Legalise Cannabis Campaign puts it’s case on television in an “Open Door” program and Cheech and Chong at last hit our screens in the dope movie “Up in Smoke”. What a strange sequence with each in it’s own way highlighting a facet of what is happening on the cannabis front at this time. As the market place expands the consignments of cannabis get larger, ripe pickings for big business, with its insatiable need for bulk buying. In some spectacular “operations” using the combined forces of many police authorities and customs, a considerable amount of cannabis has been impounded and we now have the first death of a customs officer in the cause of duty.

 

At Odds with the law

There are other ways of dealing with a problem that has got out of control. A recent report of a study group, Cannabis – options for control (Quartermaine House, 1979) put forward four options, 1; changes in maximum penalties, 2;decriminalization, 3; a licensing system, 4; and legalization. I quote from the report: “it cannot be said, therefore, that the quite massive deployment of resources by the state to enforce the ban on cannabis has achieved it’s objectives. On all the available evidence, consumption and illicit supply have increased greatly over the past ten years, and it is an open question whether or not this trend will continue.” so much for the present inept system of control. “At the same time enforcement has had a number of undesirable social consequences, the most important that considerable numbers of young people of good character have found themselves at odds with the law who would not otherwise have done so.” That brings us round to these “young people of god character…at odds with the law”, as the report so succinctly puts it. Under the title “Stand up and be counted” the LCC presented a balanced, sober argument for changing the law, on a repeated slot on BBC television. With access to the public at large, the case for cannabis became a legitimate cause for concern, a subject for debate and a reasoned argument. In a remarkably short time cannabis has received a degree of respectability few would have thought possible a decade ago. Even the National Association of Probation Officers supports the aims of the campaign, though no current member of parliament has seen fit to ally him/herself to this shift in public attitudes. Then came Cheech and Chong in “Up in smoke” and the emphasis was shifted to anarchic, outrageous fun. Getting stoned is a funny business, especially on grass, and the cops versus dope smokers charade was treated like something out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. The posters proclaim that the movie will have you “rolling in the aisles”, and at the box-office the cashier asks if you would like to sit in the Smoking or No-smoking side with a wink of the eye and a knowing smile.

 

Historical Precursors

Maybe it’s a good time to look back and fathom out some of the events of the past decade or so, and to briefly trace the social history of cannabis in this country. Although much has been written about its use during this decade gone by, it is not widely known that in the mid-nineteenth century, “opium and cannabis were available over the counter (including the corner grocer’s) without any form of restriction,” (Virginia Berridge, Institute of historical, University of London. 1978). As recently as 1972, in the back of Bradford’s oldest chemist shop four packets of Grimault’s famous Indian cigarettes, made in 1893, and containing cannabis were found. Note the directions on the packet: “In order to obtain the best results it is necessary, contrary to the case with cigarettes of ordinary tobacco, to inhale the fumes little by little so that they pass gradually down the respiratory tract where they come in contact with the larynx and lungs and then return through the nasal orifices. They are more efficacious when smoked in a quiet room when the patient reclining in an easy chair or lying on a couch secure from all draughts.”  Through most of this century, due to a complex web of bureaucratic maneuverings, professional self-interests, international pressures, public health concern and panic reaction often on a misinformed basis, the social and medical use of cannabis has been prohibited. The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, which is operative today, is based on a succession of Dangerous Drugs Acts, prototypes of the original 1920 Act. There seems to be every reason to believe that current drug policies, as direct descendants of their historical precursors, are motivated more by political considerations and vested self-interest, than by rational assessment of any public health consequences. The over-reaction and hysteria which greeted the publication of the Wooton Report in 1969, which recommended a reduction in penalties for cannabis offences, proved once more that prejudice and fear play a considerable part in determining peoples views rather than reason and common-sense. There is little wonder that the Established Order’s position has hardly changed in these last fifty years. John Stuart Mill’s view that “The only purpose for which power can rightly be exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” Still holds strong today. It is the basis of our democratic system, or it should be.

With the large influx of New Commonwealth immigrants to this country in the late fifties and early sixties cannabis use became associated with these minority groups. Until 1964, the majority of those convicted of cannabis offences were still black. By 1967 as the Psychedelic Revolution reverberated around the world, London witnessed “The beautiful people” In colourful regalia at a Legalise Poet Rally in Hyde Park. In the same month of the summer of love, sponsored by an organisation called SOMA, a full page advert appeared in The Times, listing the names of many illustrious and distinguished persons of the time, stating that “the laws against cannabis are immoral in principle and unworkable in practice”.  Later when the Wooton Report was debated, the then Home Secretary, James Callaghan, recorded his shock at the appearance of “that notorious advertisement” and learning of the existence of  “a lobby in favour of legalizing cannabis”. Shock and horror are part and parcel of the politician’s performance, the tricks of his trade, and his moral indignation served him well. He was duly given credit for adopting the “hard” line on “soft” drugs and his stance suggested, “that he was more concerned to show himself a tough Home Secretary than to deal with the case on its merits”. (Observer, April 1969)

 

 

 

 

 

Hash Trail

By 1971, when the Oz obscenity trial took place at the Old Bailey, the great surge that was “flower power” was on the wane, destroyed by it’s own excesses as well as the vindictive forces of an established backlash. It was the time of the great gurus and the acid-converts turned onto Eastern deities with enthusiastic relish. Shiva and Kali danced about as the divine light shone and Hare Krishna, Hare Rama was chanted in ecstatic union with the Godhead. The aroma of patchouli and the heady scents of Spiritual Sky and Fragrance of Love incense are echoes of those times. The years ahead saw a great exodus to the East, as thousands of young people from many walks of life made the journey, often overland to Afghanistan, Nepal and India, in what was to be known as the “hash trail”. The romance with the mystical orient was a legacy of the hippy movement, inspired by tails of temple balls in Katmandu, hash dens in Kabul, and the chillum smoking sadhus of Benares. When the time came for these transformed “pilgrims” to return home, many of them earned their fare by bringing back some of their spoils to share with friends who had never made the trip. Morocco, the Middle East, Thailand were all opened up as a generation of hashish-smokers partook of the delights of these exotic places. “Hey man, you want some hash?” cried the street vendors as young westerners ebbed and flowed throughout the cannabis-smoking countries of the world, becoming adepts at the varieties of the hashish experience. But sometimes the price of this adventure was heavy and many a traveler found himself/herself incarcerated in primitive conditions in prisons serving unduly long sentences. Even at the end of this decade there a about a hundred and fifty Britons still languishing in foreign jails for cannabis offences, including Danny de Souza who is serving thirty years in Turkey. Back home people were being busted all over the place. I estimate, on current form, that around 100,000 persons, mostly aged between seventeen and thirty, have been found guilty of cannabis offences throughout the seventies, the vast majority for unlawful possession. Every police force in England and Wales (except the city of London police) has full time drug squads, with approximately 560 officers assigned to them. As cannabis offences provide by far the greatest number of cases they deal with, it is easy to understand why young people all over the country feel at odds with the law, to say the least.

 

Grass Roots

“Boring pot smoking is on the way out”, stated the Daily Mail in 1973. At that time the Release-inspired Cannabis Action Reform Organisation and the Campaign for the legalization of Cannabis both flourished for a while then disappeared into inactivity due to a number of reasons. The former, the more professional of the two floundered mainly because of the climate of the times, which as we’ve witnessed, was repressive and rather harsh. The latter was a grass roots movement without a solid base, because people were afraid to identify themselves with the weed openly. For a few years cannabis smoker went about their business in a quiet subdued manner, with the threat of being busted in the privacy of their homes always there. “Condemnation doesn’t liberate”, observed Carl Jung, and the close-knit clandestine communities of cannabists drew into themselves and it seemed as if boozing, tranquilized tobacco-addicted populace at large had won the day. In 1977, ten years after the birth of Release and that psychedelic Summer of Love, events took an interesting turn, inspired by what was happening in America. With the National Organisation to Reform the Marijuana Laws successfully getting many states to decriminalize marijuana us, and with the meteoric rise of the glossy dope magazines, like High Time, an awareness of the growing social acceptability of pot among the middle cases dawned. Seeds of a new cannabis consciousness were about to be planted over here. On the same day in July 1977, as a Release-organised group of about five hundred lobbied the Houses of Parliament with the help of the elderly Marcus Lipton MP (now deceased), the first issue of Home Grown appeared on the streets billed as “Europe’s first dope magazine”. It was pure coincidence that the two events occurred at that time, but nevertheless an interesting pointer to what was to follow. In this same year a “cannabis crusader” Tony Read, arrived back having been given an amnesty from a twelve year prison sentence in Algeria, and staged a one-man smoke-in outside Buckingham Palace and elsewhere, urging others to follow suit. Direct action, in open defiance of an unjust law, naturally led to the ritual of “smoke-ins” in Hyde Park, organised by an amorphous group calling themselves the Smokey Bears. Sensing that the time was now ripe for an efficient pressure group to emerge, the LCC was duly inaugurated at a meeting in a hall situated opposite the Houses of Parliament in June 1978.

Meanwhile research on the effects of cannabis continues unabated. “So far there are more than 20 books and almost 3000 papers on the subject, and further papers are appearing at the rate of almost one a day” (New Scientist, August 1979) Also, there are a few experiences where the participants themselves know so much about what they are doing, for a generation has grown up with a truly encyclopedic knowledge of the many facets that make up the cannabis mythology. Subterfuge has taught many a young enthusiast how to grow the plant indoors with artificial lighting, dealing in dope has helped launch the careers of budding entrepreneurs by giving them initial capitol and know-how, and being persecuted for a peaceful and pleasurable pastime has taught people to be more aware and bonded communities around the country into a camaraderie that few share in our impersonal world. It is in a positive sense that we move on into the next decade in the hope that we shall show the powers that be, the errors of their way. Into the eighties, stay high.

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