May 1968: the revolution retains its magnetic allure

A Stone Roses album, a Hari Kunzru novel, a Gucci ad campaign ... 50 years after the events of May 1968, our writer reflects on how the ideas and energy of that moment live on today

We are now as far from the events of 1968 as the people involved were from the end of the first world war. Cliche has long since reduced much of what occurred to “student revolt”, but that hardly does these happenings justice, partly because it ignores the workers’ strikes that were just as central to what occurred during ’68 and the years that followed, but also because the phrase gets nowhere near the depth and breadth of what young people were rebelling against, not least in France.

This was the last time that a developed western society glimpsed the possibility of revolution focused not just on institutions, but the contestation of everyday reality, which is ...

As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor review – life in the Beatles’ magic circle

A new edition of the memoir by the band’s amiable press officer who witnessed Beatlemania and took notes as the breakup happened

“Spring is here and Leeds play Chelsea tomorrow and Ringo and George and John and Paul are alive and well and full of hope. The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you. When the spinning stops – that’ll be the time to worry. Not before.” So ran the press release that announced the end of the Beatles on 11 April 1970, some time after they had actually broken up. It was written by Derek Taylor, a loquacious native of the Wirral who had served as their press officer in 1964, and again from 1968 until the end, when he headed the press department of Apple, their record company and doomed experiment in “western communism” .

Alongside their manager Brian Epstein and producer George ...

Meet Me in the Bathroom review – were the Strokes the last real rock stars?

Lizzy Goodman’s oral history beautifully captures the guitar rock scene in New York from 2001 to 2011, a flashbulb moment before everything changedIn the opening two years of the 21st century, guitar-based rock enjoyed a late burst of creativity. The music industry was still thriving, yet to be laid waste by the internet. Meanwhile, New York, a city that had long been a byword for rock and its associated romance, was on the brink of a musical renaissance – and an awful trauma – before property mania transformed even its most disreputable neighbourhoods, after which affluent incomers could happily live out some dream or other, but the conditions for any kind of exciting culture were too often snuffed out. This is the backdrop of Meet Me in the Bathroom, an oral history by Lizzy Goodman, who arrived in New York from her native New Mexico in 1999 and was evidently ...

Meet Me in the Bathroom review – were the Strokes the last real rock stars?

Lizzy Goodman’s oral history beautifully captures the guitar rock scene in New York from 2001 to 2011, a flashbulb moment before everything changedIn the opening two years of the 21st century, guitar-based rock enjoyed a late burst of creativity. The music industry was still thriving, yet to be laid waste by the internet. Meanwhile, New York, a city that had long been a byword for rock and its associated romance, was on the brink of a musical renaissance – and an awful trauma – before property mania transformed even its most disreputable neighbourhoods, after which affluent incomers could happily live out some dream or other, but the conditions for any kind of exciting culture were too often snuffed out. This is the backdrop of Meet Me in the Bathroom, an oral history by Lizzy Goodman, who arrived in New York from her native New Mexico in 1999 and was evidently ...

The other page: the books you should take to Glastonbury

You’ve packed the wellies and the wet wipes – but which titles should accompany them in your rucksack?Let’s not tempt fate, but at the time of writing, this year’s Glastonbury looks set to be a relatively sun-soaked experience, very different from the mixture of Brexit misery and mud that characterised last year’s festival. With any luck, these words will be read by people spending long, languid hours sitting on the grass, staring into blue skies – and, from time to time, reaching for a book. But what to read? Start, maybe, with one of the best music-based texts of the last two years: Playing The Bass With Three Left Hands by Will Carruthers (Faber). A beautifully written memoir of the time when the author was a member of the neo-psychedelic bands Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, it portrays musty-smelling bohemia in the thrillingly unlikely environs of Rugby, the privations of being ...

Paul McCartney by Philip Norman review – the Beatle finally gets his due

Norman was one of the commentators who made popular the idea that John Lennon was the key member of the Beatles. In this flawed but powerful new book he admits he was wrongPhilip Norman’s biography of the Beatles, Shout!, has sold more than a million copies. Published in 1981 soon after John Lennon’s murder, it was buoyed by the wave of nostalgia that ensued – the first stirrings of the over-the-top Beatles worship that is now an immovable part of popular culture all over the world. Norman delivered arguably the first literary look at Beatledom: the book divided their career into four parts – Wishing, Getting, Having and Wasting – and told the story in gleaming prose. But Shout! has one big drawback: a glaring bias against Paul McCartney, who was portrayed as a kind of simpering egomaniac, and a correspondingly overgenerous view of Lennon, who, Norman later ...