Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience

I'm ending 2012 looking back at an era I've often skimmed over: the psychedelic side of the 60s. While I happily plunder the 40s, 50s and the earlier part of the 60s for inspiration, I've always found this bit, well, a bit fuzzy for me to really get into. But it's still influential, and seems to be edging its way towards a more mainstream revival.

My first bit of evidence for this is the Karl Ferris Psychedelic Experience at the Proud Gallery in Camden which I went to the opening of last week. His saturated photography capture that whole era perfectly - especially his cover for the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced? The Proud display is crammed full of colourful rock stars and far-out girls. I especially like his Pre-Raphaelite inspired shoot with Donovan, shot at Bodium Castle.

And then there's the music that's hanging around the fringes at the moment, experimenting with the psychedelic sounds: Tame Impala, Temples and my current new favourites, Stealing Sheep.

But for some people, this isn't a revival - it's never been away. When I went down to the club night Fuzz 4 Freaks as part of my Rough Guide research, the place was full of young beautiful people, all dressed immaculately in their finest late 60s finery. The attention to detail - and enthusiastic dancing - made it obvious that this wasn't a fashionable dress-up opportunity, in the way perhaps a victory roll and smear of red lipstick might be at the moment. It's just what they all were into.

And my final thought on the psychedelia 'trend': I'm halfway through Mad Men season five at the moment: Roger has taken LSD, Don has issues with Tomorrow Never Knows. If the Mad Men portrayal this aspect of the 60s proves to be as influential as their take on the late 50s/early 60s look has been, who knows what we'll be wearing and listening to in a year's time?

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