DOPE IN THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
Dope in the Age of Innocence is a memoir of the years 1960 to 1965 lived on the fringes of society in Ibiza, Formentera, London and on the road in dangerous treks across Europe and the Middle East. Its subject is what it says on the cover: the innocence and sincere motivation with which that generation believed marijuana, hashish and the psychedelic drugs would open doors to perception and usher in a kinder, more enlightened world.
The book, with its absolutely honesty and gripping narrative of adventure, amateur crime, love and betrayal has gained a dedicated following, one which continues to grow by word-of-mouth amongst the young generation, the 60s generation and amongst women of all ages who are engaged by the author’s caring but complex relationship with his ex-wife, wife and children.
Having finished the book, readers ask for the story of those who peopled it to be carried on. “What happened to them afterwards?” they ask. The author’s memoirs 1965 to 1970 are no less rich and poignant than those related. A sequel may well be his next project.
The two opening paragraphs of Dope in the age of Innocence.
That morning, when we left for London, I rose in the dark and went into the big kitchen where the double doors were open to let in the pre-dawn light. I found Hanna squatting by the embers of last night’s fire in the big hearth set into the gable wall. A lighted candle stood on a stone beside her, and she was pouring boiling water from a blackened saucepan into a jug, making me coffee. I pulled on my old Cuban-heeled boots and stood in the doorway for a minute, looking out at the sky still filled with stars, and the dark line of the sea below them.
On the camino, by the gate, I saw cigarette tips glowing in the darkness: Rick and Carlo, waiting; maybe they’d been up all night. At the fire, Hanna held out a cup of coffee and a plate with bread and sardines, but I was too excited to eat and, besides, we had a nine-kilometre walk to La Sabina where we’d catch the daily boat to Ibiza, the first leg of our journey to the north. It was September 1964.
“Dope in the Age of Innocence should be required reading for women who insist that men cannot be romantic. It is not short on sex and drugs but is innocent, too, thanks to the author’s faith – if not quite fidelity – in love and his belief in the art of words. Set when the world was vast and to explore it was an adventure, it is a paean to free spirits and is the only accurate description I have come across of Ibiza when the island was known only to an eclectic group of arty, cheerfully druggy, free-spirited foreign residents, of which I was briefly one.”
Irma Kurtz, Cosmopolitan columnist, author of The Great American Bus Ride, writer/presenter BBC Ibiza The Original Party Island