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Q The write stuff

I Amsterdam-born writer Arnon

, Grunberg wrote his first book Blue l Mondays as a dare.


NAME: Arnon Grunberg. AGE: 26.

PREVIOUS JOBS: Waiter, real estate

i salesperson, writer of love letters on behalf of other people, pharmacy worker, actor, writer and chess teacher, gigolo, clerk, entertainer.

ROUTE TO BECOMING A WRITER: l was very bad in socialising with ; other people. I hated making phone 5 calls. That’s why I wrote letters to everybody I had to phone, or I thought I had to phone. My letters became longer and longer. I never thought about myself as a writer. Once I thought of myself as an actor, and that was painful enough. One day a Dutch publisher asked me to write the stories down I had just i told him. That’s how Blue Mondays started. DAILY ROUTINE: I wake up between 8am and 8.30am, even when I go to bed at 7am. Then I go to a coffee shop nearby. I order an espresso and an 0.]. After that I go home and

write till noon or 1pm. Then I go out for lunch. I spend a lot of time in restaurants. Three times I fell in love i

Heroes of Haight-Ashbury: Beat luminary Neil Cassady (left) and Janis Joplin in 1967 (right) O

Diamonds are furever

where we blossom into rebellious young adulthood and rock ’n' roll is the soundtrack. San Francisco had a lot to do with that. Evert if you point to The Beatles and the Stones as the real architects of rock as an art form. I still think that the wild. unabashed spirit of rock ‘n' roll reached its peak in San Francisco.‘

Music writer BARNEY HOSKYNS has brought San Francisco’s idealistic Haight-Ashbury era to life, from the Beat generation to the hippie years. Words: Alastair Mabbott

Love or loathe hippies. and all the philosophical baggage that comes with them. you can't ignore the fact that the 'Summer of Love' played a crucial part in shaping today‘s world. So it's gratifying to see veteran music journalist Barney Hoskyns doing the subject some justice in his beautiful. rainbow-

.\Iy first encounters with Hoskyns's writing. more than fifteen years ago. suggested he was a soulboy at heart. albeit an tmorthodox one who could appreciate the finer points of The Birthday Party and Echo And The Bunnymen. How did someone with those tastes come to connect so strongly with Hippy Central?

‘Well. in many ways. I don't have that connection.‘ he admits. ‘lt interests me more from a pop sociological angle. I think a lot of the music made in San Francisco was fundamentally sloppy. I like the Dionysian. chaotic elements. but I like music to be made with a little more thought and care and craft in terms of records. A lot of the records don't stand up very well when you compare them to. say. the very best records made in London or Los

with a waitress, and one time with the daughter of the owner of the restaurant.

INFLUENCES: A Polish writer named Marek Hlasko, Isaak Babel, Turgenjev, Salinger, Flaubert. And everything I read and hated. AMBITIONS: I love to disguise my ambitions. For this reason I’m not

going to tell you anything about my


FEARS: Human beings. I fear only one thing in my life: men and women. But I’m very good at

disguising my fears. Without liquor I

would have never had sex in my life (with other people, with yourself

packaged study of the Angeles. But some of the you can have sex and be sober“ CI'llClhiC' ot .hipptedom. Even 5; ya“ Emmi. spirit and the headiness of it hope to beloaded whenldie. Beneath r/lt’ Dunno/1:! Sky: “t; {A m r. f I, all IS. captured on some of INCOMEzlgo to restauhams for Httig/II-xls/I/nujv l()().‘-—/(). “(4 ii {‘33 I’iiiisi U“? 3~ " = > v‘ ' them. dinner and l 90 to restaurants for “5 ill-“0‘1" 1‘5 1‘ PU” imd I” 11 “UN- hc is Will”? 11 lunch.lgo to restaurants for frontier town left San larger story the dashed breakfast.lmake enough money to Francisco a legacy of ""5 ‘2" "5' : idealism that permeates the impress the wrong people for the

tolerance. where the Beats and folkies settled with ease and the political activism of Berkeley rubbed tip against the hedonism of Ken Kesey's Pranksters. From such seeds grew The Jefferson Airplane. Janis Joplin. Country Joe And The Fish. Sly And The Family Stone. Santana and the daddies of them all. The Grateful Dead.

L'nlikc lloskyns‘s last book llltiting For The Sun. an investigation of Los Angeles' role in pop and rock culture that was as sprawling as the city itself. the San Francisco story lends itself to the demands of a short. self-contained book. tracing a classic are from early idealism through the glory years to its ultimate decline.

‘I.os Angeles was a pop city at the end of the day.

aftermath is common to all

pop subcultures and

lloskyns is quick to draw parallels between the early acid tests and the raves of the 80s and 90s. where he believes people were ’chasing exactly the same state of bliss or kuims that drew the first Deadheads in the San Francisco ballrooms of the mid-oOs’.

‘I do think there was a reawakening of the Haight- Ashbury spirit. and that was made explicit by some of the records.’ he adds. ‘And it is something that I think is periodically bound to resurface. because each succeeding generation wants to tap into that moment of naive wonder and enchantment.‘

Beneath The Diamond Sky: Haight-Ashbury 1965-1970

wrong reasons. I love to impress people for the good reasons, which is rare. So no more words about

income and money. (Thom Dibdin)

and always has been.‘ says Hoskyns. ‘lt‘s not a by Barney Hoskyns is published by Bloomsbury at guemondmsDIV/1,00,, Gmnberg,5 convincing rock 'n' roll city. I think the idea oI rock £18.99. Waiting For The Sun is published by :".L‘"S."UC’1.“.’Seder And '-."~.’.irburga: as a sort of anti-pop. Iate-teenage/early-20s thing. Bloomsbury at £9.99. f: 99

21 No.4 Dec 1997 THELIST103