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Tales From The Embassy

Communiqués From The Guild of Transcultural Studies 1976 – 1991

“If you want a glimpse into one version of alternative London in the 1970s and 80s, here it is… amusing and enchanting in equal measures; a kind of Thousand and One Nights for the counterculture.”
Rupert Loydell, International Times


Dave Tomlin
210 x 148
ISBN: 9781907222566


‘The ideas we discussed in the sixties were not just ideals: many people actually put them into practice. These tales are the best account I’ve ever read of trying to live that life. Written with a wonderfully light touch and yet often dealing with seriously challenging issues, this is a book that probes deep but will also make you laugh out loud.’
Barry Miles

‘Dave Tomlin’s collection of tales gives a vivid picture of the counter-culture of those years at its most engaging. I personally found the tales funny, and often touching.’  Diana Athill

One night in 1976, a group of squatters entered the Cambodian Embassy in London, an opulent building that had remained empty for two years following the bloody revolution of the Khmer Rouge. For the next  fifteen years, this peculiar residence would play host to the Guild of Transcultural Studies, an open platform for creative monomaniacs, radical metaphysicians, poets, prophets and exiles.

Dave Tomlin, founder of the Guild, member of the experimental music ensemble Third Ear Band, and contributor to the legendary underground newspaper International Times, traces a playful, semi-fictionalised, and highly readable path through this long occupation, illustrating the unfettered nature of its many occupants while providing a vivid portrayal of a more leisured age in which eccentricity could  flourish more readily.

These humorous, perceptive, and deftly crafted vignettes boast a thinly disguised cast of provocateurs, including John Michell, earth mysteries sage and fortean, Nicholas Carr-Saunders, author of Alternative London, beat poets Harry Fainlight and George Andrews, playwright of The Warp Neil Oram, countercultural photographer and journalist John “Hoppy” Hopkins, and Sir Mark Palmer, aristocrat-turned-gypsy-traveller and male model impresario.

About the Author

Artist, writer and musician Dave Tomlin was a founder-member of the seminal free-form folk group Third Ear Band. A constant presence within the London underground scene, he founded the Guild of Transcultural Studies in 1976 and contributed to the International Times.