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Riding So High: The Beatles and Drugs
14 November 2017
6.34pm
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Beatlebug
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@Joe What a wonderful, scholarly review. If I'd written a book, I'd be elated to read a review like that. Heck, it's almost as good s the book itself! a-hard-days-night-george-10

Jesting aside -- good to see you're getting that kind of (deserved) recognition. john-lennon-salute_gif

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15 November 2017
9.47pm
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ewe2
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@Joe your book got a mention on one of the main Facebook Beatles pages via a blog, so I did the needful and you'll get a few new readers 😀

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

16 November 2017
5.39am
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Zig
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Joe said

All positive reviews have been a joy, but this, by Erin Torkelson Weber, is probably my favourite so far. I'm fairly blown away by what she wrote. Please do take the time to read it.

https://beatlebioreview.wordpr.....odden/  

Awesome review. Elements I strongly agree with:

... on issues where contradictory accounts and interpretations exist the author provides both sides of the debate and allows the reader to decide.

Every time you did that, it reminded me of Spencer Leigh. An admirable trait. 

The book then follows both a chronological and chemical format...The author also follows each man into their solo periods...

The way you did this was simple, yet incredibly effective. It may be my favorite element.

Each section on a particular drug also includes notes on the most common physical, emotional and psychological side-effects associated with that drug, allowing readers to speculate on the impacts particular chemicals may have had on particular Beatles.

It is this aspect of the book that has me seeing, hearing, reading The Beatles in a slightly different light. Not better or worse, but more clearly understood. As Erin so eloquently put it:

Ultimately, Riding So High provides an objective, well-documented look at how drug use infused and impacted numerous aspects of Beatles history... it would seemingly prove essential for any author wanting to know not only what drug a particular Beatle was using at a particular moment in time, but also what the commonly accepted side effects were and, in some cases, what specific impacts certain chemicals had on certain events. 

This was an excellent review of an excellent book!

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18 November 2017
3.27am
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Reklo87
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I have seen the adds for this book on the site for some time now and I just put two and two together and figured out that the author is you Joe.  I am glad to see this is exciting for you and to see the positivity around the book and it's release!  I have never dug into their drug stuff that much.  I will have to check it out now!

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18 November 2017
7.19pm
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sir walter raleigh
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I’m still waiting until this stretch of school finishes up so I can get back into Riding So High. I sat down a read A Taste Of Honey immediately, but haven’t picked it up since. I really enjoyed what i read so far however. I get a kick out if those raunchy party stories!

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

24 November 2017
5.57am
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Joe
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Thanks everyone! I'm just catching up on this thread, and it's lovely to see all the nice things people are saying.

I even sold two paperbacks to parents in my son's playground while dropping him off this week! They'd heard about it and asked for copies. That's pretty cool.

@sir walter raleigh I hope you do keep going with it. I think the later chapters are better!

@ewe2 Which Facebook page was that? I did get a sales spike for a few days last week and wasn't sure why.

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24 November 2017
6.26am
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ewe2
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Joe said

@ewe2 Which Facebook page was that? I did get a sales spike for a few days last week and wasn't sure why.  

Trying to find it is proving difficult, your book hit several facebook groups, and got shared around (not counting your posts):

https://www.facebook.com/group.....489002454/

https://www.facebook.com/perma.....5046231068

ah, here's the one I contributed to:

https://www.facebook.com/group.....292503140/

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

24 November 2017
7.14am
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sir walter raleigh
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@Joe indeed I have. I was reading it on the car ride up to South Carolina, and Ill be reading it on the way down. 

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"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

24 November 2017
8.13am
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Joe
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Thanks @ewe2. I didn't want to go around spamming the many FB groups out there, so it's good to see other people spreading the word. I don't really use FB all that much anyway, so I'm never fully across what people are saying.

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Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

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24 November 2017
4.30pm
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ewe2
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I had no idea there were that many large distinct Beatles groups on facebook, it's interesting to see how a book makes the rounds.

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

25 November 2017
1.03pm
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vonbontee
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Recommended "Riding" to a friend on the phone last night (tho I haven't read a word yet): He loves the Beatles and loves buying books so he's sure to pick it up.

Me, I'm pleased to discover portions are on Google Books already, so I'll probably skim through a bit of that later today, just to get a little taste. Not too much tho - I've already formally requested it as a Xmas gift and don't want to spoil my eventual enjoyment. I can wait another month!

One thing I'm looking forward to is Joe's, uh, "authorial voice", I guess you'd call it. So many of the articles on the BB are necessarily written with a neutral, journalistic/encyclopedic tone, with only the occasional opinion unobtrusively sneaking in. By contrast, his too-infrequent extended Forum opinion-posts (like his hilarious takedown of Philip Norman, one of my favourite posts here ever) are full of personality. That isn't strictly necessary in a scholarly work, but it'd be nice added bonus if some of that crept into "Riding".

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Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

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27 November 2017
7.04am
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Joe
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vonbontee said
One thing I'm looking forward to is Joe's, uh, "authorial voice", I guess you'd call it. So many of the articles on the BB are necessarily written with a neutral, journalistic/encyclopedic tone, with only the occasional opinion unobtrusively sneaking in. By contrast, his too-infrequent extended Forum opinion-posts (like his hilarious takedown of Philip Norman, one of my favourite posts here ever) are full of personality. That isn't strictly necessary in a scholarly work, but it'd be nice added bonus if some of that crept into "Riding".  

Ah, don't get your hopes up too much @vonbontee. One thing that bugs me is when non-fiction writers put too much of themselves in the text. Unless you're Christopher Hitchens or Will Self or [insert your favourite polemicist] it's quite hard to do it convincingly, and harder still to sustain for the course of a book. There are some jokes or wry asides here and there but it's certainly not full of them.

One thing Erin T Weber told me was that, after reading it, she had no idea who my favourite Beatle was, or even if I had one (I don't). She saw that as a positive, in that too many biographers let their love of a particular person cloud their storytelling (eg Norman, Coleman). I thought The Beatles were far more interesting than I am, so it was my duty to get the hell out of the way.

Furthermore, I didn't want to cast judgement too much on The Beatles' drug-taking. Some people take drugs on a daily basis; others would never think to touch anything stronger than tea or coffee. I decided it wasn't really for me to say that anything was intrinsically good or bad, but rather to let people make up their minds based on their own points of view. When I quoted Yoko saying heroin was "a celebration of ourselves as artists", or that she and Lennon weren't really addicted because they didn't inject, I didn't say "…which is a steaming pile of self-serving bullshit", even though it (hopefully quite clearly) is.

That said, there are judgements there – one of my favourite characters in the book is Lady Isabella Frankau, a Wimpole Street doctor who practically gave away heroin and cocaine in order to manage addictions and to keep junkies away from the black market, but who inadvertently helped accelerate a huge drugs problem in Britain. It's hard to discuss someone like that without making some judgements on their behaviour. Do let me know what you think once you've read the book.

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Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

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27 November 2017
7.17am
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I was going to say @Joe that you did a great job of keeping your authorial voice out of it, which I think is vital when the subject is a controversial one. You kept away from value-judging the effect on the Beatles of their drug-taking other than to posit that it had to have had an effect; you were a good deal fairer to your subject about that than McDonald was, but you also point out that he was one of the first to declare there had to have been an influence.  That impressed me because I can't keep my opinions out of most things ahdn_paul_01

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27 November 2017
3.34pm
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sir walter raleigh
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If anybody has Read Catch A Wave by Peter Ames Carlin, the story of Brian Wilson, he often goes through the albums listing song he likes and doesn’t like. The book is very well written and contains non stop information, but every once in a while it reads like a forum post for “Your Favorite Songs off of Sunflower.”

In Riding So High, it is clear from the preface that Joe is about the fully explore the subject in question without bias or restraint. 

john-lennon-salute_gifI had never been more excited for a book after reading a preface. Haven’t finished yet, but I am not disappointed. 

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"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

27 November 2017
5.00pm
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vonbontee
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"The occasional joke or wry aside" is enough to satisfy me, Joe, as far as that goes. And I wouldn't need or want any moral judgements either, aside from maybe something obvious like "Paul was pretty silly for trying to take a pound of weed into Japan".

I can tell you right now that I'm gonna love this book and refer to it often, until I get it memorized!

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Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

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30 November 2017
4.52am
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Joe
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Yeah, it was hard to avoid pointing out that McCartney was a bit daft with all the drug problems. He and/or Linda were busted on six occasions in six different countries (Sweden, Scotland, USA, Japan, Barbados, England). He admits that he was incredibly cavalier in the 70s and 80s.

Here's another snippet from the McCartney solo chapter. I didn't really want to post many extracts here because they sometimes don't read very well out of context, but I thought it might amuse you @vonbontee:

IN 1986 MCCARTNEY and Ringo Starr were among the performers on a charity album, It’s A Live-In World, in aid of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation organisation Phoenix House.

McCartney’s contribution was the light reggae Simple As That, a poor song even by McCartney’s wildly variable Eighties standards. ‘I know it isn’t easy to refuse,’ goes the opening verse. ‘A lot of thoughts are flying through your head. Tell me this before you have to choose: Would you rather be alive or dead?’ In the chorus he appears incredulous than anyone could ever succumb to drug addiction: ‘It’s as simple as that. Would you rather be alive or dead? It’s as simple as that, it’s so simple. It makes you wanna cry.’ Indeed.

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30 November 2017
9.34pm
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I recall a TV interview Paul and Linda gave to Tom Snyder by satellite some time in the Wings Era. Snyder had a ploddingly dutiful, earnest approach and though he did have a sense of humor it was kind of linear.  My memory of it was that Paul and Linda were high as a kite and they were basically behaving like juveniles -- playfully evasive for no reason, mischievously toying with Snyder's wording of his questions, etc.  Poor Tom...

A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,

a coffee dessert, yes you know it's good news...

30 November 2017
11.06pm
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Evangeline
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I didn't realise this had actually happened!!

Definitely will be ordering this as my birthday present. apple01

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1 December 2017
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Ahhh Girl
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Is this a clip of the interview, @Pineapple Records?

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1 December 2017
11.36am
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Pineapple Records said
I recall a TV interview Paul and Linda gave to Tom Snyder by satellite some time in the Wings Era. Snyder had a ploddingly dutiful, earnest approach and though he did have a sense of humor it was kind of linear.  My memory of it was that Paul and Linda were high as a kite and they were basically behaving like juveniles -- playfully evasive for no reason, mischievously toying with Snyder's wording of his questions, etc.  Poor Tom...  

https://youtu.be/JGHM4mxHMHc

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It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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