The Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius, with Gary Lachman

Cultural historian (and former Blondie bassist), Gary Lachman for this entertaining, clear-headed tour of the dark side of the Age of Aquarius


Gary will rip flower-power out by the roots to reveal the demented, psychedelic nightmare seething below the surface. Based on his book, Turn Off Your Mind, an impressively researched, unputdownable masterpiece of cultural journalism, this talk will entertain and inform those who wish they'd lived through the Sixties as well as those who did but can’t remember.

How did a decade of love and peace end with Altamont and the Manson Family bloodbath? Gary (wiki biog) exposes the sinister dalliance of rock's high rollers and a new wave of occultists and gurus, tying together John Lennon, Timothy Leary, Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson, Charles Manson, Anton LaVey, Jim Morrison, L. Ron Hubbard and many more Anglo-American cultural icons.

It was in the Sixties that the West's youth reached out so that previously rejected beliefs took centre stage, influencing the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, saturating the hippies and flower power, hitting the big screen and the bookshelves; _Lord of the Rings. The Tarot, I Ching,_ astrology, _Rosemary's Baby_, Kabbala, yogis, witchcraft, UFOs, Aleister Crowley, Yin Yang and the Tibetan Book of the Dead became the common currency they are today.

But the vibes went bad, the auras darkened. Such was the strange power of the repellent Charles Manson that Rolling Stone almost ran a cover declaring "Manson Is Innocent", until the paper interviewed him. The eventual article was more accurately headlined: "Is This The Most Dangerous Man Alive?" but confusion and moral failure nonetheless reigned. So did that darker undercurrent win out? Gary Lachman here charts this explosion, its rise and fall, and its enduring legacy.


As Gary Valentine, Gary Lachman was a founding member of the pop group, Blondie.

He wrote the group's first single X-Offender and his song (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear was a top 10 hit, also covered by Annie Lennox. Subsequently, he was guitarist with Iggy Pop and plays at Blondie reunions even if, in time-honoured tradition, he is currently suing the rest of the band.

Despite this hiccup in their relations, and "despite all my efforts," as he puts it, Gary was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (video) in 2006 with the other members of Blondie.

Since 1996, Gary has lived in London, and writes full time, contributing to the Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Mojo_ and other journals in the UK and US. He lectures regularly in London and abroad, and is a frequent guest on BBC Radios 3 & 4. Gary has appeared in several television documentaries on the history of the counterculture.

Gary Lachman is one of today’s most widely read and respected writers on esoteric themes. He is the author of more than a dozen books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition, and his work has been translated into German, French, Czech, Russian, Italian, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish.


Reviews for Turn Off Your Mind:-


Marianne Faithful:-“A really well-researched, well-written book about a moment of destiny from which I for one was glad to escape alive.”

The Independent’s paperback of the week:

“An impressively researched guide to the odder aspects of a weird decade. Lachman reveals the Sixties as a period when the credulous were willingly led by the duplicitous (and) spiritual tourists resurrected forgotten gurus like Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Blavatsky and the creepy Crowley. Lachman notes that the fraudulent Carlos Castaneda was published by the University of California. There is much in Lachman’s book to entertain and inform those who wished they had lived through the Sixties and those who did but can’t remember. ” – Chris Hirst

New Statesman:- “Depicts the late-Sixties subcultural craze for the occult with graphic precision.” – Jonathan Medes.

“Rips flower-power out by the roots to reveal the demented, psychedelic nightmare seething below the surface… A fascinating, unputdownable masterpiece of obsesso cultural journalism. Gary Lachman deserves the satanic Pulitzer.” – Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

2013Martin Keeley