17 – Ian Marchant – A Hero For High Times

15th February 2018

Ian Marchant - A Hero For High Times

Ian Marchant lives five minutes walk from my house in Presteigne. I’d heard his name mentioned here and there, and after meeting Bob Rowberry a few months ago (and learning about Ian’s book based on Bob’s adventures) it felt like a very natural progression to pop round to Ian’s for a chat. In this episode you’ll hear about his life as a writer, what it’s like to reinvent contemporary British trainspotting and be interviewed by Noel Edmonds, as well as a deep dive into the topics covered by his important new book A Hero For High Times: A Younger Reader’s Guide to the Beats, Hippies, Freaks, Punks, Ravers, New-Age Travellers and Dog-on-a-Rope Brew Crew Crusties of the British Isles, 1956–1994 (Jonathan Cape, 2018).

Roger Lewis, writing in The Times, has already called it “a seditious, crackpot, transcendental riot… my book of the year, and it’s only February.” I’ve just ordered my copy and I would ask you to consider doing the same. I’m genuinely excited to learn more about this period of immense counter-cultural influence which happened before I really came of age. I’m hoping it can help fill in the large gaps in my understanding of my own cultural heritage and I have a feeling it will provide many laughs along the way!

On a personal level, there is something beautifully fitting about the fact I now live in this small town in the Welsh borders in which the man who has written such a book also resides. I feel among friends. As I mentioned last time, it has been perfect timing to meet Ian and an honour to be able to release an episode of the podcast to coincide with the publication of the book.

I really hope you enjoy this episode, we had a lot of fun and I can safely say you will learn a thing or three!



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  • Border life and the war outside Ian’s window
  • How Ian arrived in Presteigne
  • The benefits of light policing on country life
  • Reinventing contemporary British trainspotting
  • Being interviewed by tiny Noel Edmonds
  • Psychedelic heaven at Lampeter University in the 1970s
  • Life before writing and getting his first break
  • Working with the BBC and making a living as a writer
  • The genesis of Ian’s new book, A Hero For High Times
  • Meeting Bob Rowberry and being inspired to write about British culture
  • The influence of 60s Psychedelia and lack of awareness of it in today’s generation
  • Taking drugs and fucking to change the world, will it happen again?
  • The politics of the counter-culture in deeply conservative times
  • Local activism as a force for good
  • Changing consciousness through the reformation of our draconian drug laws
  • A Hero For High Times is out now!


Ian Marchant

Ian’s Website
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