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Altered State, Updated Edition: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House (A Five Star Title) Paperback – November 1, 1998


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Paperback, November 1, 1998
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Product Details

  • Series: A Five Star Title
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; 2 edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852426047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852426040
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matthew Collin has worked as a magazine editor, a foreign correspondent, a broadcast journalist and a features writer. He has been the editor of the Big Issue, the Time Out website and i-D magazine. His prevoius books, This is Serbia Calling and Altered State are also published by Serpent's Tail.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2000
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Excellent, informative history of the rave scene in England... everything is in here: how influential Ibiza was to the scene, MDMA and its history, smiley faces, baggy pants, all the main players and djs... it brought back a lot of happy memories of my raver days in NYC in the early 90s. A must read for those interested in this scene especially the beginning which shows that it all started in America: Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage, Frankie Knuckles's Warehouse parties, Dr. Shulgin and his MDMA studies... Britian took it to the next level in the 80s beginning with the Summer of Love and raves and was then past back to the US in the early 90s: Frankie Bones and the Storm raves, NASA, and the rest. This book tells you all about it!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ballard on April 16, 2000
Matthew Collin (with contributions by John Godfrey) has provided a clearly written and very detailed discussion of the drug Ecstasy's effect upon people, their goals and politics, and upon society. Mr. Collin does *not* stress music. Instead, Mr. Collin discusses music as part of Ecstasy's effect upon people.
Mr. Collin describes Ecstasy as "the euphoric peak of a lifetime". One's first Ecstasy experiences are strikingly empathic and stimulating. Tactile and verbal communication are delightful, and dancing and music acquire their own lives. Ecstasy's sensory and empathic effect combined with its related clubs, music and dress codes make it especially attractive to first-time drug users.
With continued use Ecstasy users lose the initial ecstatic feeling. To regain the original ecstatic feeling users first try larger Ecstasy doses. Within a year larger Ecstasy doses fail, and users try other drugs (cocaine or amphetamine-like Ecstasy variants). Once lost the ecstatic feeling is gone, but the user now is using hard drugs. And organized crime often accompanies hard drug sales.
The chapter "Techno Travellers" is intriguing because it discusses Ecstasy users' impact upon English politics and society. Groups of working class Ecstasy users (like the "Merry Pranksters" documented by Ken Kesey) believed that occupying public and private property and that providing deafening music was their right. They dropped out of society, acquired expensive vans and sound systems, and hosted shows and festivals. The travellers joined compatible environmental and political groups' demonstrations, their sound systems providing "a focus of attention".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
"Altered State" is the most interesting and affecting book I've read on Ecstasy Culture so far. Collins' mapping of the history of various scenes against the trajectory of the ecstasy experience (honeymoon / diminishing returns/ excess /disillusionment /comedown /reintegration) is original, intelligent and, like most good ideas, blindingly obvious. Unlike many commentators, Collins doesn't allow himself to get bogged down in cod-mystical tripe when describing the scene. Neither is he glib or superficial in his analysis,treating the phenomenon with the respect and seriousness which - at its best - it undoubtedly deserves. Most of the major players seem to be covered (strangely, though, the Orb are not even mentioned), although I'm sure there are more than a few people who would question the amount of attention lavished on Spiral Tribe. Still, as Collins is quick to point out, his version is merely his "mix" of events, and should not be regarded as definitive, as no text could be (nice get out Matt....:-) ). If you've ever wondered about the scene, this is the second best way to get to the heart of the matter. As a history for the nostalgic, it's second to none.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2004
As someone who "came of age" in the club culture of Austin, Texas in the mid-1980s (Halls, Stephanie's, 606), I have been quite surprised that the Dallas (Starck) and Austin dance subculture has not been fully explored in many books as "ground zero" for the ecstasy-fueled rave movement that developed in Europe during the late-80s and early 90s. Although MDMA had been around for a while, if it wasn't for a chance meeting between a certain Austin DJ and one of Britain's top new wave bands after an Austin concert, England's 1988 "summer of love" might not have happened (or at least it would have been delayed for a few years). That "three days of love" on Lake Travis had a tremendous influence on the social history of youth over the next twenty years! The book mainly focuses on Britain's experience with the rave and dance subculture. However, it is the first few chapters that I find so fascinating . . . the development of MDMA and its infusion into the mainstream population through unassuming college students who had no idea they were guinea pigs for the multitudes to follow. Well worth the read, especially for those of us who experienced the phenomenon first hand.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Curt on April 16, 2000
Recommended to me by a friend. I have read all the books on our culture, and found this to be the most informative, historical, and unbiased description of the Rave culture. I was also quite suprised that the book dealt more with the actual culture of ravers, and didn't spend so much time on drug talk. Interesting discussion of the role the Alcohol industry played in the criminalization of ecstasy. Gives a lot of food for thought. A definite MUST HAVE.
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