Terry Taylor’s book documents one summer in the life of an unnamed sixteen year-old narrator. Leaving home and his job he dabbles in spiritualism, is seduced by an older woman and gets rich quick from drug dealing. This is a world of sharp suits, jazz, kicks, “spades”, nightclubs and sex. A London that is already swinging half a decade before the rest of the world catches on.
Terry Taylor (1933-2014) was the much younger lover of Ida Kar, whose National Portrait Gallery collection includes a series of photographs of Terry getting stoned in London’s Soho back in 1956. His proto-mod exploits as a young man are fictionalised in Colin MacInnes’ famous novel Absolute Beginners. Throughout Taylor’s life music, magic rituals and hallucinogenic drugs loomed large. Terry spent time in Goa and hung out with William Burroughs in Tangier before settling down in the wilds of north Wales, where he continued to dig modern jazz and perfect his occult practices.
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