Fresh footage from Altamont

Today, few people have heard of the Altamont Free Concert, which took place on 6 December 1969. It was supposed to be the “Woodstock of the West” – a gathering of Hippies, drop-outs and music lovers from California and beyond.

Instead, it turned into a bleak, violent and deadly event, which was later dubbed the end of the Hippie era. Meredith Hunter, a young festival attendee, was killed by several Hell’s Angels, who had been hired to provide security during the event. There were reports of rapes and other violent episodes.

Carlos Santana plays at the Altamont Free Concert

The Altamont Free Concert plays a minor role in my new novel, This Wild, Wild Country. It is the reason my band of Hippies abandons California and heads towards New Mexico, where they hope to rebound from the experience and renew their ideals.

The US Library of Congress has just released some new footage from the festival, showing 60s rock legends such as the Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana and Grace Slick. The footage does not throw any new lights on the events of that night, but it shows the stark contrasts that defined the – and perhaps contributed to – the slow decline of the Hippie movement.

The era created some incredible talent and revolutionised so many aspects of society, but it was also marred by chaos, conflict and fragmentation. The Hippies threw the rulebook out of the window. But then, where do you go from there?

Under the radar ;)

Congratulations are in order – I won the Under the Radar award from Sue at the fabulous Brown Flopsie’s Book Burrow review blog. It’s a true Christmas present!

Quite a while after Sue wrote this wonderfully succinct and loving review of The Long, Long Afternoon, we met at the Bloody Scotland literary festival in Stirling. Sue is such an amazing book blogger and a great friend of debut authors across the UK. We really need that early buzz to get our pre-orders up and get noticed – so bloggers like Sue are our lifeblood.

Please support your favourite book bloggers with a like or share today.

3rd draft submitted

Phew….

I’ve just submitted the third draft of This Wild, Wild Country to the fabulous folks at Manilla Press. I can’t say much about it yet, but my second novel will be set in New Mexico in 1970 and feature a murder in a Hippie Commune.

It’s been tough writing the Hippies. They are so easy to ridicule, yet they really tried to do something different. I wanted to take them seriously for what they were aiming to achieve, rather than mocking their style and slang. Hope I’ve succeeded.

Hippie slang sounds cliched to us now, but it was totally real, man. Just check out this rad advert for bongo drums. Far out!

Source: Lileks Tumblr
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Welcome!

I am a journalist and fiction author, based in Glasgow. My first novel, The Long, Long Afternoon, was published with Manilla Press in February 2021. My second novel, This Wild, Wild Country, will be published in August 2022.

To learn more about my books, go to the Books menu. For writing tips and general updates, please check out my Blog below. And if you would like me to speak at your event, book group or feature on your podcast, please get in touch. You can also follow me on Twitter @wekesperos.

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