The Dark Side of the Summer of Love

by , under City Life, History, Science, Writing

Researching for my talk at TEDx this year, I came across scanned pages of this superb article in Playboy magazine. Who knew what crazy stuff was out there on the Interwebs?!

Seriously, it’s a very fine piece that gets under the skin of what was really going on at the time, through the story of a doctor who opened a free clinic in Haight-Ashbury that acted as a kind of barometer of what was going down out on the streets beyond. Much of it was a very long way from the ‘peace and love’ ideal that has become the myth.

The Haight was becoming a giant behavioural sink of human guinea pigs living on top of one another and dosing themselves with a bewildering array of chemicals… but one drug stands out as the most destructive, a drug that then, as now, had a reputation as one of the most socially corrosive.

I’ve put them together into a PDF… nothing too explicit I promise, though if your boss would be offended by a few bikinis, it’s probably NSFW. Apologies – the resolution on the last page was a little poor, but the text still readable.

(Illustration by the award-winning Japanese artist, Yuko Shimizu)


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  1. Len Hjalmarson

    thanks Kester, reading some of this history as part of exploring San Francisco, as part of a wider exploration of place as text.