Pot Culture: Bibliography
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Waiting For The Man:
The Story of Drugs and Popular Music

Helter Skelter; ISBN: 1900924080
Harry Shapiro
Harry Shapiro is Director of Communications at the UK's leading drugs charity, DrugScope (formerly the I.S.D.D.) and has also written biogs of musicians of English blues musicians, Alexis Korner, Graham Bond and Eric Clapton. With Caesar Glebeek of the Jimi Hendrix Information Centre, he is co-author of the definitive Jimi biog, Electric Gypsy.
The seminal exploration of musicians' relationship with drugs, first published in 1988 by Quartet, Waiting For The Man gets into stride with the twin rise of jazz and marijuana in the 1920s. Each development in popular music has brought with it a new fashion in drugs and these trends are chronicled and related to sociological factors such as race, class and society's attitude toward musicians.
The new edition brings the Story up to date with a whole new Part Three, concluding with a short, sharp, but necessarily inconclusive chapter called 'The Blunt Truth', about the weed of wisdom and its resurgence during the past decade. For anybody who smokes pot and listens to music (which is everybody, right?), WFTM is crucial.
Dope Girls:
The Birth of the British Drug Underground

Lawrence & Wishart, 1992. ISBN:0853157723
Marek Kohn
Strictly off-topic, but a nontheless illuminating tale of the cocaine scandals and moral panics which followed the end of the First World War, entertainingly told by Marek Kohn, whose first book was Narcomania: On Heroin and who has made the social history of drugs his special subject. Here, just as it slips from living memory, he describes a bizarre episode of British history that was a blueprint for all drug scandals to come: 'The highly publicised inquest into the drug-related death in 1918 of the West End musical actress, Billie Carleton, became the focus for a heady cocktail of public anxieties, not only about drug use, but about the supposedly malign influence of 'men of colour' and the 'frailty' of the men that associated with them. Plus ça change.
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Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years
Plenum Pub Corp, 1980.ISBN:0306404966
Ernest L. Abel
A much-quoted work, of near mythological status, which Amazon claims to be able to obtain, for a price! I'd be interested to hear if you manage to score a copy, but the entire text is online at Cliff Schaffer's Drug Library; the Chapter on the Jazz Era is here.
To Be Or Not To Bop
W.H. Allen, 1980
Dizzy Gillespie
& Al Fraser
Dizzy's autobiog appears to be out of print and out of mind, which is sinful when you consider Miles Davis says on page one of his classic Autobiography: "Listen. The greatest feeling I've ever had in my life - with my clothes on - was when I first heard Diz and Bird back in 1944. I've come close to matching the feeling of that night, but I've never quite got there..." But that's a different story.
Declared a "national treasure" by the White House, Diz started out as a flashy trumpet player in the swing bands of the 30s; he was right in there with Bird at the birth of Be Bop in the 40s and became a national hero through a State Department-backed tour of his big band in the 50s. Since the 60s, he's explored various World musics, incorporating Latin American elements into jazz, and was partially responsible for the inception of both Afro-Cuban jazz and bossa nova. A revelatory new biography, Groovin' High: The Life of Dizzy Gillespie, by Alyn Shipton, was published to universal acclaim in March, 1999.
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Really The Blues
Carol Pub. Corp, 1990. ISBN:0806512059
Milton 'Mezz' Mezzrow
First published in 1946, the autobiography of the Mezz - whose name became a byeword for the best weed a body could buy - is an astonishing chronicle of the early days of jazz that takes the reader on a tour from Chicago speakeasies, via flophouses and whorehouses, to the recording studios of Harlem. An invaluable slice of first-hand American history, told with smouldering intensity, the lingo alone is worth the price of this book.
Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana
St. Martin's Griffin, 1998. ISBN:0312195230
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman
Originally published by The Bobs-Merril Co. Inc. in 1979, this classic of hemp literature is a popular social history of marijuana use in America, written by a former editor of High Times whose CV also includes a biography of Abbie Hoffman and the top-selling Howard Stern books. Particularly good on the machinations of Anslinger's Bureau of Narcotics, the updated version includes an after word by journalist Michael Simons on the progress of the hemp movement and the growing importance of medicinal marijuana, as well as an introduction by William Burroughs.
The Autobiography Of Malcolm X
Grove Press,1964. ISBN:0345304950
As told to Alex Haley
An established classic of modern American literature and a book that expresses like none other the crucial truth about our violent times, this is the absorbing personal story of the man who rose from hoodlum, thief, dope peddler and pimp to become the most dynamic leader of the Black Revolution. It is, too, a testament of great emotional power that shows the Macolm X that very few people knew while he lived, the man behind the stereotyped image of the hate-peacher. A sensitive, proud, highly intelligent man whose plan to move into the mainstream of the Black Revolution was cut short by a hail of assassin's bullets.
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Mystery Train:
Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music

Plume Books; ISBN: 0452278368
Greil Marcus
More than 20 years after its initial publication, Mystery Train remains one of the smartest and most provocative books ever written about roc'n'roll. Marcus puts his subjects - Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, The Band, Randy Newman, Sly Stone - into their proper context, which is the culture-at-large, explaining not only why these musicians matter, but what they've contributed to the Great American Myth which has so informed Global popular culture.
Best of Homegrown
Red Shift, 1994. ISBN:0952435004
Lee Harris & Chris Render (Editors)
An anthology of art and articles from Europe's first magazine devoted to cannabis and the psychedelic experience, containing polemic, humour, wisdom and eight pages of colour. Featuring, among others, work by Timothy Leary, Heathcote Williams, George Melly, Gilbert Shelton, Mick Farren, Harry Shapiro, Bryan Talbot and Michael Hollingshead, Homegrown (1977-1982) was a breakthrough magazine that represented a defining moment in British 'underground' culture.
The Louis Armstrong Story, 1900-1971

Da Capo Press,1988. ISBN:0306803240
Max Jones & John Chilton
This classic biography is a labour of love, researched over a twenty-year period by devoted fans who are themselves highly regarded in jazz circles, and produced with the enthusiastic assistance of Mr Armstrong himself, who contributed dozens of tape recordings and numerous letters, written in inimitable style, which combine to produce a portrait of which Philip Larkin wrote in The Guardian: 'A few words cannot convey the richness of illustration, fact and anecdote this book contains'.
  City of Spades
Allison & Busby, 1957. ISBN:074900116X
Colin MacInnes
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How To Talk Dirty & Influence People
Simon & Schuster, 1992. ISBN:0671751085
Lenny Bruce
Originally serialised in Playboy magazine and written over a three year period, this classic autobiography accurately reflects the gradual disintegration of Lenny's life from virtuoso comedy into a disorienting blur of legal proceedings, which makes this a book difficult to finish. It's distressing to reflect how Lenny was made to suffer for the future rights of American teenagers to use profane language with impunity and, for the cannabis activist, depressing how relevant his remarks about the prohibition of pot remain to this day.
The (Almost) Unpublished Lenny Bruce
Running Press, 1984.
From the collection
of Kitty Bruce
Perhaps I should apologise for scanning, without asking, various pages from this book - which was assembled from the private archive of Lenny's daughter, in order to fund her lamentable career as an 80s rock chick - to put together The Pot Smokers and Marijuana Idiom. But, hey, it's out of print...
High Times Greatest Hits:
Twenty Years of Smoke in Your Face

St. Martin's Press, 1994. ISBN:0312111347
The Editors of High Times
A retrospective celebration of America's most venerable heads' magazine, this is the story of the most provocative and notorious magazine in the world, which has somehow managed to survive 20 years of repression with its values intact. Founded by the legendary Tom Forçade, who died in 1978 and whose story is told here, High Times has documented such sagas as the hidden history of marijuana and the US government's defamation campaign against the herb, the US legalisation movement, and the fall and rise of smoke-ins across America.
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Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now
Secker & Warburg, 1997. ISBN: 0749386584
Barry Miles
'Authorised' may mean 'carefully edited by the most publicity conscious of the fab four', but Miles is a longtime friend of Macca and this biog is based on hundreds of hours of interviews and complete access to McCartney's own archives, so this is unequivocally Macca In His Own Words, verbatim. Some historians might argue with his memory, but this account of the meteoric rise of the Beatles against the background of Swinging London is as close to definitive as is likely to be written.
Reggae Bloodlines: In Search Of The Music And Culture Of Jamaica
Da Capo Press, 1992. ISBN:0306804964
Stephen Davis
Originally published in 1977, 'Bloodlines' was an early attempt to explain the then-exotic reggae beat to non-Jamaicans. It includes interviews with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Toots Hibbert, Big Youth and Augustus Pablo, plus hundreds of astonishing black and white photographs, capturing the restless pulse of reggae culture that exploded out of that small Carribean island in the mid-seventies and took the world by storm.
Rock Bottom:
Dark Moments in Music Babylon

Little, Brown & Co, 1996. ISBN:0349108404
Pamela Des Barres
Only incidentally about pot (as most of its subjects swiftly graduated to the consumption of life threatening drugs), this book by the former super groupie and author of I'm With The Band (William Morrow, 1987), is worthwhile for its insiders' view of rock 'n' roll excess. As the Sunday Telegraph reviewer put it: 'What Pamela hasn't seen of wild-haired, coke-snorting men wearing heavy eyeliner, you suspect isn't worth knowing... vivid.'
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The Boy Looked At Johnny:
The Obituary of Rock and Roll

Pluto Press, 1978. ISBN:0861040309X
Julie Burchill & Tony Parsons
Burchill & Parsons were the 'hip young gun slingers' recruited to give The New Musical Express some cred. during the punk era, who proclaimed themselves 'the only unbiased rock writers in the world': 'Read by two million readers every week, revolted and reviled by the cocaine-scum rock stars and the valium-choking record conglomerates, they wrote The Boy Looked At Johnny not as a book for those who seek to keep their idols cocooned in soft-focus press officer mythology, but as a book that blows the lid off rock and roll for the first and last time. Handle with caution; the authors come not to praise rock but to bury it.' Phew! Actually, and embarrassingly in hindsight, the authors of this out of print period piece proclaimed Tom 'Glad To Be Gay' Robinson and Polly 'Hare Krishna' Styrene - then of X.Ray Spex - as the uncrowned King and Queen of Pop.
Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1994.ISBN:0340610190
John Lydon with Keith and Kent Zimmerman
A compelling first hand account of Britain's most notorious rock'n'roll band, The Sex Pistols, from their shambolic early gigs in London to the chaos of the disastrous American tour that brought about John's departure from the band. From the mind of a true original, this account is written with all the power, energy and drive that characterise one of the most challenging and influential British rockers of the last twenty years.
The Bible: Sniffin' Glue, nos.1-10
Big O Publishing, 1978. ISBN:0860444899
Edited by Mark P.
A compilation of the first ten issues of the seminal fanzine produced by Mark P., who writes in the cover note: 'Sniffin' Glue' was started in July 1976 after I was inspired by the Ramones and Nick Kent. It has always been ME. Not it is someone else. I reckon it tells the story of the New Wave. Not in dates and exact details, but in feeling. 1977's answer to The Bible... Honest.
This edition is out of print, but a more recent retrospective is available at Amazon for a price!
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The Emperor Wears No Clothes
HEMP/Queen Of Clubs,1985-92. ISBN:1878125001
Jack Herer
Subtitled 'The Authoritative Historical Record of the Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition & How Hemp Can Still Save The World', this is the one and only hemp book, an underground phenomenon, the tract that inspired the contemporary hemp movement and made its author a counter-cultural hero, no less. No home should be with out one.
Ecstasy : Dance, Trance & Transformation
Quick American Publishing, 1996. ISBN: 0932551203
Nicholas Saunders
& Rick Doblin
Earlier incarnations of this pioneering work, in which Saunders writes of his experiences, research, and overall knowledge of MDMA, were "E for Ecstasy," "Ecstasy and the Dance Culture," and "Ecstasy Reconsidered". From the chemical make-up to the trafficking of the drug, Saunders explores the realm of Ecstasy and its culture in what is must read for anyone curious about the subject and a fitting testimonial to its brilliant author, who was killed in a car accident in 1998.
Lifeline Publications, 1995. ISBN: 0952008211
Dr. Nuke
'Dr Nuke's Guide To The Science of Cannabis & The Sociology Of Getting Stoned' is published by Lifeline, the Manchester-based agency dedicated to telling the truth about drugs, and focuses on several key aspects of cannabis, including its chemistry, consumption, control, cosmology, crime connections and crumbliness. It covers most things that the intelligent user or non-user might want to know and excludes only those issues which are not scientifically valid, the author forgot to read about, or forgot to mention.
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