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Deep in a wood in the Marches of Wales, in an ancient school bus there lives an old man called Bob Rowberry. A Hero for High Times is the story of how he ended up in this broken-down bus. It's also the story of his times, and the ideas that shaped him. It's a story of why you know your birth sign, why you have friends called Willow, why sex and drugs and rock'n'roll once mattered more than money, why dance music stopped the New-Age Travellers from travelling, and why you need to think twice before taking the brown acid. It's the story of the hippies for those who weren't there - for Younger Readers who've never heard of the Aldermaston marches, Oz, the Angry Brigade, the Divine Light Mission, Sniffin' Glue, Operation Julie, John Seymour, John Michell, Greenham Common, the Battle of the Beanfield, but who want to understand their grandparents' stories of turning on, tuning in and not quite dropping out before they are gone for ever. It's for Younger Readers who want to know how to build a bender, make poppy tea, and throw the I-Ching. And it's a story of friendship between two men, one who did things, and one who thought about things, between theory and practice, between a hippie and a punk, between two gentlemen, no longer in the first flush of youth, who still believe in love.
The British love their booze. Ian Marchant - bon viveur, pub singer and writer - sets off to map the British landscape in drink. This mission takes Ian and his friend Perry on a gruelling month-long pub crawl, from the Turk's Head on the Scilly Isles to the Baa Bar in the Shetlands, taking in as many as possible of the British Isles' 60,000 pubs. Theirs is no sober march from south to north but a reeling, meandering trip as they meet up for a drink with poets and comedians, chavs and hedonists, Europe's foremost pub philosopher and Ian's Uncle Tony. This booze-addled, pork-scratching-fuelled trip makes a hilarious and uniquely British travelogue.
For 175 years the British have lived with the railway, and for a long while it was a love affair - the grandeur of the Victorian heyday, the glorious age of steam, the romance of Brief Encounter. Then the love affair turned sour - strikes, bad food, delays, disasters...Parallel Lines tells the story of these two railways: the real railway and the railway of our dreams. Travelling all over Britain, Ian Marchant examines the history of the British railway and meets those who still hold the railways close to their hearts - the model railway enthusiasts, the train-spotters and bashers (a hybrid of train-spotting where the individual - usually male - has to travel behind a certain locomotive in order to catalogue it), the steam enthusiasts. He swaps stories with commuters at the far reaches of London suburbia, he travels to deserted railway museums, and smokes cigarettes on remote, windswept stations in the furthest corners of Scotland, turning his characteristic eye for character, humour and surprise to one of the great shared experiences of the British nation.
What goes on under London? 2,000 years' worth of history. Who have the crypts of the city harboured and what can you find in the Chiselhurst Caves? Learn about Marc Brunel, who built the first tunnel under the Thames with the help of his more famous son, Isambard, and the man who built the first sewer, Joseph Bazalgette. Discover how people have used the world under London, and how you can go looking for it--under your feet.