Swinger's Guide to London reissue

by Modculture 29 June, 2010

Swingersguide

Ok, it's a long story, but an interesting one that could mean a reissue of A Swinger's Guide To London by Piri Halasz.

I've never seen the original, but when trying to find a copy, I managed to get in touch with the author, who wrote the book as a junior writer for Time magazine in 1967. It was intended as a guide to swinging London for American tourists – places to go, the people, how to fit in etc. Sections like  'How Not to Look Like a Tourist', 'What Newspapers and Magazines to Read', 'Where to Find a Party' and 'Culture' gives you an idea of what to expect.

Anyway, I've still not seen an original, but a short while back, the author got back to me, saying she is looking to reissue the book herself in the US. Obviously as a nostalgia piece, but one that should be of interest to anyone with a fascination of the era. I'll keep you posted.

Swinger's Guide to London listing on Modculture

  • scoobydubious

    I have an original copy of this book which I found in a Virginia thrift store 25 years ago.

  • David Walker

    Any good?

  • scoobydubious

    Haven’t looked at in years (and it’s not in front of me now) but my recollection is that there were some cool mentions of clubs and clothes shops, with off-hand name-drops of, say, The Action liked to shop at “Hung On You”. etc. Also a nice map showing all the hotspots.
    Obviously very dated in tone (sometimes comically so) with some cringe-worthy fawning Anglophilia going on.
    As mentioned, it did seem to have a “split personality” in terms of it’s intended audience. Did it want to be a visiting hipster’s guide to clubland, or a midwest American housewive’s guide to English social customs?
    I guess it’s a bit of both. It’s probably fascinating reading for 60s buffs on both sides of “the pond”, but for different reasons.

  • David Walker

    Cheers for that! Yeah, speaking to the writer, it seemed like she wanted to write one book, the editor another, so it ended up as two books pushed into one, which probably explains the way it falls between two stools when you read it.
    With the sound of it, might get itself a niche market as a quirky/retro curio, as long as it’s priced cheap.

  • scoobydubious

    I doubt that any verbatim reprint would go beyond a first printing. Other than nostalgia/retro obsessives, I can’t imagine Joe/Jill Normal of 2010 having much interest in time capsule lists of clubs that existed 45 years ago. Or being fascinated by ancient social customs and wildly outdated and irrelevant tourist info about how to ride the bus.
    But everyone here would no doubt dig it. I did.

  • The author was the one who wrote the famous “Swinging London” piece for Time Magazine:
    http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19660415,00.html
    The book is a lot of fun. (Very expensive and hard to find.) But of course from what everyone who was there describes, Swinging London was over even before the Time article came out.
    To Modculture – I can scan in the Time Magazine article if you don’t already have it.
    Cheers,
    Tracy
    Portland, Oregon

  • scoobydubious

    Not hard to find at all in these days of the interwebs…www.bookfinder.com

  • I’m happy to report that “A Swinger’s Guide to London,” originally published in 1967, is now back in print (as of November 2010). Every word is as in the original, though the jacket is a new design & the map of “The Scene,” originally featured as red, white & blue endpapers, is now a black, white & gray frontispiece. The original publishers wanted lots of names & addresses, so I did my best to supply them, but my private fantasy was that someday people would want to come back to read this book, in order to find out what with-it Londoners were really like in the ’60s, so yes, it’s a bit of both approaches, and, since some people still seem willing to pay up to $50 for a used original hardcover, I must have been doing something right. The price at amazon.com for the 2010 paperback reprint is $16.95; at amazon.co.uk it’s L11.11

  • A Jones

    I have an original copy signed by Piri Halasz