CLEARLIGHT Trilogy relives the 1960s and 70s counterculture, from its beatnik
genesis to some explosive revelations about a rock and roll tragedy that were
never investigated before.
Frozenlight and Burninglight are now
available here on patreon along with free chapters from
– where the dreams and ideas of the 60s collide with a
decade when love, peace, great dope and any kind of dress-sense were abandoned
in favor of sex, drugs, vodka and flared loons in clownish colors.
Determined to keep the spirit of the 60s alive, two anarchic dope smugglers endure danger, misadventure and acute paranoia to bring the finest possible hash and opium from the dope fields to a local dealer near you. Their clients are rock stars, rich kids, millionaires and connoisseurs of “the sacred herb”. Against them are warlords, Russian gangsters, the cops of many nations and 2,000 years of superstition, hypocrisy, prosecution and persecution of dope smokers all over the world who prefer a toke to a nip – or indeed both at once if indicated.
Failure of their endeavors can result in serious injury and worse, or several decades in a 3rd world hellhole. They operate in corrupt, lawless and violent parts of the world where even beheading is an option. Yet they wouldn’t dream of cutting their hair, pretending to be tourists, or even crossing a border without carrying something decent to smoke on the other side.
How they cope with this tough dangerous
work is largely by a deal of self-medication, a little meditation, and the
ability to out-think the bad guys and never to stay in one place long. Which
tends to mean brief encounters and relationships. But there are
All the places, people and pleasures of the
world are freely available and the doperunner’s life is never dull and rarely
boring – except when it’s going too well. It is also often so amazing and
magical that you can’t believe it really happened until someone else confirms
it. What’s more every story in these books is quite true, based on notes and
journals of the time and corroborated by the few remaining survivors.
In fact if some of the names and dates may
be a little hazy it’s because the actors are still alive. Way too many other
players and witnesses are dead, long before old age, and it is only a series of
miraculous near-misses and life-saving surgery that has kept the two
Heroes or villains? That’s for the gentle
reader to decide. But if you ever wondered about the magic, mystery, light and
dark sides of cannabis and opium, The CLEARLIGHT Trilogy is a good place to get
the inside story from experts in the field. One critic called it “a cocktail of
The French Connection, Easy Rider and Mr Nice with a dash of Keystone Cops” and
that’s four ways of looking at it.
At any rate the CLEARLIGHT Trilogy is a
rare and truthful account of a sociological phenomenon and revolution by a
primary source who can write a bit. 1962-76 was a period of international
confrontation, rampant materialism and, despite a brief spasm of altruism
between 1967 and 69, of spiritual degeneration. Since then consumption,
pollution, corruption and depletion of finite resources has increased
exponentially, alongside a growing human fear of solitude, silence and
self-examination. We have trashed the planet and desensitised, distracted and
degraded the nature of our minds – when they’re not being totally stoned and
anaesthetised by drugs, booze and religion.
Against this apocalyptic trend and march of
the zombies a small army of beats, hippies, freaks and doper rebels plough a
lonelier furrow, hoe a psychoactive row designed to augment their perception of
the world and all its other beings, to become a better person and shine a
little more light where it’s so badly needed, as opposed to the darkness and
suffering of which there’s already way too much.
It’s all in CLEARLIGHT and it’s out there
now. All feedback, criticism and reviews are warmly welcomed. Feel free to
email any questions or comments. Let’s get an enlightened conversation going
about the damage done by dope laws, which is infinitely greater and affects
millions more innocent people than the natural, organic drugs such as cannabis
and opium themselves. In fact the insane War on Drugs corrupts and destroys whole countries, destabilizes entire continents and has turned a medicinal cottage-industry into a plague of addiction,criminality and violence more widespread and deadly than all massive damage done by alcohol and tobacco combined.
Meanwhile millions more recreational users live their righteous lives
in fear of a bust that could cost them their jobs,future prospects,and even their freedom.
Colin Betts dropped out of grammar school and went on the road aged 15,on the day President John F Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963.For the next 3 years he tramped, hitched, begged, busked and beatniked around Britain,on the run from the cops and juvenile courts,when not confined to reform schools and mental institutions for such crimes as truancy and stealing milk from a doorstep.Released in 1967,he moved abroad and traveled the world for a decade,making music,smuggling dope and taking notes on the subject.These writings inform the CLEARLIGHT Trilogy and keep the narrative as accurate and honest as 50-year-old recollections can ever be.
Colin Betts came off the road in 1976,at the end of part 3 of the trilogy,
. Since then he has taught English to postgraduate level,spent 15 years training teachers in Vietnam,Laos, Burma and Tibet,and 20 years alone in a forest cabin writing books and music,studying meditation and Buddhism,surrounded by nature,weather,dogs and the sweet smell of dope.He writes because he can,and because we can we must. It’s also true musos and writers never really retire,they tend to noodle and witter till they drop dead in the middle of a bar or sentence.
Subscribers to Infinite Now and THE CLEARLIGHT TRILOGY are promised monthly
episodes of the tragic-comic brokenlight odyssey, regular essays, articles, music , visuals and readers’ reviews and comments. Both protagonists of brokenlight
are not only still alive,now in their late 60s,but also happy to relate to readers and respond to emails. With Steve holed up in South Carolina USA and Colin up and about all hours on the Scottish Border,someone is usually awake to talk cosmic bollocks about the 1960s’ and 70s’ counterculture.Please feel welcome to join the
conversation any time.
The mysterious death of Jimi Hendrix
in September 1970 was the final nail in the coffin of the 1960s countercultural
revolution,the day so much more than the music died.Put simply,the 60s without
Jimi are unimaginable.And thenceforth the values and aspirations of love,peace
and becoming a better person he believed insecurity would fall into disuse,in
favour of personal prosperity,material
security and rampant consumption of
finite energy and natural resources.
But for some
beats,freaks,hippies,artists,free radicals and natural born dopers,the spirit
of the 60s continued to inform and inspire their lives,just as a torch or
candle shows the way through a dark tunnel.Against them is a rising tide of
human apathy and fatalism,particularly among a younger generation who have
never had it so bad since the War.That this leads to despair more often than
unrest is another sign of darker times.
Despite 50 years of social progress
in other areas,the meat grinding,corrupting and life-destroying War on Drugs
continues to outlaw those it does not terrorize and kill,in danger of a jail
sentence or worse every time they crumble a green leaf into a pipe or joint.And
because it’s illegal billions of criminal dollars are involved,disputed by
warlords,armed gangs, venal cops, bent politicians and international
cartels.Nations go to war over drug profits;presidents and ministers are
obliged to launder millions. So what chance do a couple of freewheeling stoner
dopers have of tracking down the finest hashish and opium on the planet and
smuggling it thousands of miles without running into all kinds of trouble?
Absolutely none is the answer. From page 1 of brokenlight
to its shattering conclusion there are tragedies,challenges and violent enemies to
negotiate,leading to ups and downs,advances and setbacks,triumphs and disasters
along the way.Until the way gets so steep,high and perilously precipitous that
a single wrong move could end your life.
The decision to serialize brokenlight over at least 12 monthly
episodes is because there is so much to tell about such interesting times that
a one-off book doesn’t suit the medium or material still coming in on a daily
basis. Steve and I exchange around 10 messages a day across the Atlantic,confirming
details,names and dates from his own recollections,revealing further insights
and information all the time.We are still active musicians and film freaks so
you’ll get more bang than books for your buck.Many if not most of the people in
these books are no longer around,and it’s true distant glory days can be hard
to remember.But as first-hand witnesses and primary sources of the accounts in
THE CLEARLIGHT TRILOGY,1962-76,we have planned 12 monthly editions of brokenlight as a bare minimum pilot project,starting round about now.There won’t be any special offers or goals and stuff to speak of,just the fullest and most honest
description available of some shady areas indeed at a
time when the lights of love,peace and
spiritual evolution started blinking out,one by one,all over the world.
colin betts june 2016