Friday, March 25, 2005

Hippie Mysteries!

Remember hippies? They dressed in beads and fringes and they painted flowers on their cars and said 'Far out!' and 'Peace, man!' a lot. Well, before there were hippies there were beatniks. Beatniks wore black turtleneck sweaters, and drank espresso and discussed philosophy and read poetry and said 'Cool, Daddy-O!' In the 1950's and 1960's San Francisco was one of the most famous homes of beatniks and hippies.

One of their favourite meeting places was the famous City Lights Bookstore in a part of San Francisco known as North Beach. City Lights Bookstore is still there today – in 2005 – and it's hardly changed. You can still buy beatnik and hippie poetry and even see some beatniks and hippies. Most bookshops have categories like Best Sellers, Mystery & Crime, Children's etc. City Lights Bookstore does have a children's section, down in a musty basement right between Lesbian Literature and Muckraking. And guess what? They had a copy of The Pirates of Pompeii!

Here is a picture of me (in sunglasses and a turtleneck) holding that famous volume of hippie/beatnik literature in front of a door which is labelled I AM THE DOOR. I went with my brother Dan last week and we wandered around for a happy hour. At one point Dan saw a copy of a book called STEAL THIS BOOK by a hippie called Abbie Hoffman (a man). Dan tried to steal it, but the staff got very upset and he had to put it back... (Just joking! *hee*)

Just outside City Lights Bookstore is the famous Transamerica Pyramid. And that interesting green building to the right of it is owned by movie director Francis Ford Coppola. There is an Italian restaurant called Café Zoetrope there. Coppola also owns a vineyard in the Napa Valley.

One day I would like to own a vineyard. Or maybe a bookshop. One day I might even write some Hippie Mysteries.

I love San Francisco (never call it 'Frisco') and I would move there like a shot if it weren't so darned far from Italy and Greece and the British Museum. Also, it has all those pesky hills!

Still, maybe one day...

[The 17+ books in the Roman Mysteries series are perfect for children aged 9+, especially those studying Romans as a topic in Key Stage 2. I have also written some Western Mysteries (set in the Wild West) and the Roman Quests series, a follow-on from the Roman Mysteries set in Roman Britain.]

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