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Barry Miles

Barry Miles (born 21 February 1943) is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subjects of the 1960s London underground and counterculture. He is the author of numerous books and his work has also regularly appeared in leftist newspapers such as The Guardian. In the 1960s, he was co-owner of the Indica Gallery and helped start the independent newspaper International Times.

Biography[]

In the 1960s, Miles worked at Better Books, which was managed by Tony Godwin. Godwin was friends with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, with whom he would exchange Penguin books for City Lights publications. In 1965, Allen Ginsberg gave a reading at Better Books that led to the International Poetry Incarnation, a seminal event co-organised by Miles.

In 1965, Miles and his wife, the former Susan Crane, introduced Paul McCartney to hash brownies by using a recipe for hash fudge that they had found in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.

Following the International Poetry Incarnation, Miles established the Indica Gallery and Bookshop, allowing him to meet many of the stars of the Swinging London social scene. Miles brought McCartney into contact with people who wanted to start International Times, which McCartney helped to fund.

With John Hopkins and Dave Howson, Miles organised The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, a concert on 29 April 1967 at Alexandra Palace to raise funds for International Times. It was a multi-artist event, featuring poets, artists and musicians. Pink Floyd headlined the event; other artists included: Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Arthur Brown, jazz-rock group Soft Machine, Tomorrow and The Pretty Things.

Miles became the de facto manager of the Apple's short-lived Zapple Records label in 1969. While temporarily living in California, Miles produced an album of poetry readings by Richard Brautigan entitled Listening to Richard Brautigan for Zapple. Miles's friendship with Brautigan ended when Miles became involved in an affair with Brautigan's girlfriend Valerie Estes. By the time, the album was completed Miles and Brautigan communicated to each other only through their respective lawyers. Zapple was closed before it could release the Brautigan album, but it was eventually released in 1970 by the U.S. division of Harvest Records.

Miles also produced Ginsberg's Songs of Innocence and Experience LP, recorded in 1969 and released the following year. In 1970, Miles moved with his wife to rural New York state, where he lived with Ginsberg on his farm. However, Miles's marriage soon ended and he returned to England. Miles currently lives in London and is married to travel writer Rosemary Bailey.

Miles's book Hippie (2004) is a reminiscence of the Hippie sub-culture of the 1960s and early 1970s, with interviews, quotes, and images. He co-wrote I Want to Take You Higher (documenting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit by the same name) with Charles Perry and James Henke.

Miles wrote Paul McCartney's official biography, Many Years from Now (1998). Miles has also written biographies of Frank Zappa, John Lennon, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and Ginsberg, in addition to books on The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Clash, as well as a definitive history of London's counterculture since 1945, London Calling.

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