The Bad Trip: Dark Omens, New Worlds And The End Of The Sixties
ICON Revolution blues: academic exploration of how the Age Of Aquarius turned sour.
Fifty years on from the murder of actress Sharon Tate by members of Charles Manson’s ‘Family’ – and coinciding with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s recreation of those grisly events, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, in cinemas – The Bad Trip is perfectly timed. However, Riley’s book is anything but a commercially minded cash-in.
Opening with the horrific events at 10050 Cielo Drive, it delves backwards into the
reasons why the 60s counterculture lost its way, unravelling from the heady optimism of the Human ‘Be-In’ in San Francisco to the carnage of Altamont in less than three years.
While the depth of knowledge is impressive – who knew John Lennon abandoned a holiday in Greece in 1969 when an Athens soothsayer predicted he would be “shot on an island”? – it’s the joining of the (micro) dots linking occult energies to these events which will keep 60s obsessives up at night. Is it just a coincidence that, within two years, the sleepy Suffolk village of Lavenham played host to Michael Reeves’s blood-thirsty Witchfinder General, Sharon Tate’s final film The Thirteen Chairs and John and Yoko’s spooky 1970 short film Apotheosis, or proof that they were, as Riley puts it, all players in the “darkening end game of the 60s”?