[Editor’s note: 5/21/2014: How Hip Was My Alley has been re-titled Dad, the Times We Had: Baby Boomers in Paradise.]
Kenton Crowther’s previous volume, Alleycats and Beatsters, collected the author’s writings built on the Beat Generation and the essence of “hip.” This time out, he casts a wider net; How Hip Was My Alley gathers over three dozen pieces on a wide variety of subjects, all drawn from the author’s blog, Crowther’s Columns.
What’s it about? Well, there are stories, opinions, points in time, and the people that bob in and out of the author’s life on a daily basis.
Here are friends, poets (even concrete poets performing!), Bohemians, Henry Miller, the Rolling Stones, self-published writers, blogs, the writing life and the small press scene; typewriters and the pleasures of printed books. Crowther remembers two recently-passed poets: Clive Hutton and Bill Peakman. He also tells us about musicians he’s known and performed with, in venues you’ve never heard of but will wish you had. There’s a lot here to dig into.
Whatever the topic, Crowther entertains with his seemingly never-ending well of stories. With its short pieces, and Crowther’s inimitable style, this is a book you can pick up, get engrossed in, and realize you’ve read through a chunk of the afternoon without even feeling the time pass. (Trust me on this. I’ve been there.) Like Alleycats and Beatsters, How Hip Was My Alley is an entertaining visit with a hip & plugged-in friend.