The definitive account of contemporary dance culture.. If you weren’t at Shoom in ‘87, then this is the best way to make up for it.” – The Face
The definitive history of the acid house explosion and its reverberations across popular culture, Adventures In Wonderland has been out of print for more than 20 years. This new edition has been updated slightly, with a new introduction and final chapter.
This is the acid house and rave explosion, as told by the people who lived it: door staff, dancers and drug dealers; gangsters, blaggers and promoters. From the real stories behind the huge illegal raves of 1989 to insider accounts from DJs such as Norman Jay, Trevor Nelson, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering, Carl Cox, Sasha and John Digweed.
But this isn’t just a book about the music. It’s about being up for it. Out of it. And right in the middle of it.
It’s about the Paradise Garage in New York, about dancing under the stars in Ibiza or Goa, about the house we built in the UK at Future, Shoom, Spectrum. Clink Street and the Haçienda. It’s about Ecstasy and community and a scene that grew with breath-taking speed because we needed to feel that the world was changing.
It’s about dodging the police to get the party started, and the joy of dancing all night in the British countryside, with thousands of others on the same high. About Madchester, Blackburn, and a new understanding between rock and dance music. And about what came after, from drum’n’bass to the rise of superclubs such as Ministry of Sound, Renaissance and Cream.
But most of all, it’s about having the time of your life. And who wouldn’t want that?
“Adventures In Wonderland is the ultimate, definitive account of the scene. Precise factually and perfectly articulated, it transports the reader to that unique, life-changing period. Sheryl Garratt was there, reporting from the core energy of the scene that we collectively created.” – Danny Rampling
“Gripping and vivid.. Garratt writes with the style and attitude of the feistiest club diva… Her personal memories are wedged between layers of insightful comment and thorough research.” – The Times
“She has spoken to everyone involved – from the Chicago DJs of the 80s to the rave promoters and club moguls of the 90s ¬ and shows that it’s possible to write popular culture without insulting our intelligence.” – Daily Mirror
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“Big, beautiful, bonkers, a little balding, bold and brave like a lion, a true crusader. Nothing I write about Gavin is good enough: not funny enough, not wild enough or tender enough, and it doesn’t do what I want to, which is make him alive again.” – Miranda Sawyer
Gavin Hills wrote about football and nightclubs, computer games and drugs. He reported on wars and famine, child soldiers in Africa, guerillas in South America and his own struggles with mental health at home. And also about football casuals, parties in Eurodisney and the Berlin Love Parade.
He won an Amnesty International Award for his reporting. He got marriage proposals from his readers. He was loved by everyone who met him, and by quite a few others who had only read his words. His writing could be hilarious and heart-breaking, sometimes even in the same sentence.
He wrote for The Face and The Idler, for national newspapers and skateboard magazines. He founded Phat, the short-lived but innovative lads mag that inspired Loaded. He edited the official Manchester United and England football magazines.
Selected by his long-time editor at The Face magazine, Sheryl Garratt, with a new foreword by Miranda Sawyer, Bliss to be Alive is a unique journey through the late eighties and nineties with this brilliant and much-missed writer. One of the most original journalists of his generation, Gavin Hills died tragically in May 1997.
“An inspirational catalyst, Hills’ writing lights up the page” – Robert Newman
Other Music/Pop Culture Books
Signed Sealed And Delivered
True-life Stories of Women In Pop
true life stories of women in pop
This book opened up debate on an important issue: the role of women in music. It was initiated by my friend Sue Steward. I was still at university when I wrote most of my contribution – and it shows. But I’m still really proud of how we sought out not just female performers but fans, managers, producers, label execs, session players, writers.
Below are a few of the anthologies my writing has appeared in over the years, and one of the strangest reuses of a feature. After David Bowie’s sad passing, I wrote a tribute to his style as part of The Guardian‘s celebration of his life. It was later reused as the introduction to this Bowie colouring book.
In my other life as a coach working with creatives of all kinds, I contributed short chapters to all of these. If you’re interested, all three essays were based on blog posts you can read for free in the blog at my coaching site, The Creative Life.
I’m currently working on a whole series of books designed to help creatives express themselves fully and authentically, earn money from their work, and be productive while also leading happy, healthy, balanced lives.
If you’re interested in the, sign up to the mailing list below. I won’t bombard you with emails, but when I do have a new book coming out, I’ll let you know.