Above is one of my favourite pictures of Mick – sporting one of the great Afros – the cover shot for a piece by Charles Nicholl that asked the question: ‘Was the Underground press a shortlived volcano? Many of its papers have folded and many youthful idealists are now veterans of progress.’ By September 1973 the glory days of the underground press were largely over but many of its writers survived and thrived. Mick, like myself and many others, joined the good ship NME in the 1970s, Time Out survived and went on to make its proprietor Tony Elliott a millionaire and of course dear Felix founded an empire that continues to thrive to this day. More of which anon.
Headpress have recently published this excellent anthology of Mick Farren’s journalism, comment pieces, fiction, song lyrics and blog posts which provides a welcome addition to his substantial ouevre which includes the excellent autobio ‘Give An Anarchist a Cigarette’.
Mick has much to say about bars and aliens, even more about Elvis. There’s standout encounters with Gore Vidal and Johnny Cash and a great exchange of letters with Pete Townshend. The early underground press stuff makes particularly interesting reading now, capturing as it does the weird headiness and naivete of the time.
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