The Dropouts - a new book I am writing

by BardofEly

The Dropouts is an autobiography looking at what it was really like for many people who listened to Timothy Leary and turned on, tuned in and dropped out.

ntroduction to The Dropouts
This is just the introduction to an autobiographical book I am working on that I am sure I will find a publisher for. The memories are coming fast and it feels therapeutic writing them down.
It was Charles Manson who inspired this book. I was watching him rant on a video one day and he was talking about how Timothy Leary got it all wrong and had been advising the young people badly. Manson was saying that Leary was telling them to “turn on, tune in and drop out” but what were they dropping out into? Manson was claiming that he came from the world of the “dropped out” and it was bad, very bad. He wouldn’t recommend anyone wanting to be part of it.
What he was saying made sense to me because I was one of the teenagers who had listened to Tim Leary and my life went downhill afterwards. It was bad enough to begin with – I was a shy and lonely boy who never fitted in anywhere - but reached its lowest points ever. Not only that but many of my contemporary dropouts are no longer around. They all died young of drink and drugs, broken hearts and insanity, suicides and self-destruction.

Bard of Ely as he once was

Steve Andrews aka The Bard of Ely 1973
In the early 70s
In the early 70s

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By the age of 16 I had gone to my first pop festival, which was that last performance of Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green in Bath Football Ground. I had long hair, the beginnings of a beard, tie-dye t-shirt, beads, bangles and smelled of patchouli oil. I listened to John Peel, smoked pot and hitch-hiked. I was a hippie dropout!

My headmaster at Canton High School was regularly sending me home because of my long hair and “disgusting growth on my upper lip” but I was glad! I hated it in school and wasn’t worried if I passed my A-Levels or not. I wanted no part of “straight” society. I was a teenage rebel with a cause- I was one of the alternative society who were getting together a new world of love and peace and freedom.

Do your own thing

A motto of the alternative society

But my big problem of being painfully shy never went away, though I was starting to think it had due to my use of drugs. Not only that, but I was beginning to find that the alternative society was not as it was presented. There was just as much bad stuff going on and just as bad people.

As I say, I was idealistic and I went headlong into the world of doing your own thing and being proud to be a freak. Over the years my youthful longings became my worst nightmare. I have survived but many I knew haven’t done so. This is a story of why dropping out wasn’t really the answer at all, and some of the ordeals and insanity I have seen along the way. I was looking for peace and love but never found them, and I was hoping, like so many, to change the world, but all I did was changed myself from a lonely and unhappy young man into a mentally ill and unemployable one.

Pot-smoker to drug addict

Cannabis can lead to other drugs

I went in a short space of time from pot-smoker to drug addict seeing a psychiatrist and on Sickness Benefit. By my 21st birthday I was living back at my parents' house, on the sick and didn't even want to see anyone on my birthday. I was feeling prematurely old and doubted I would ever get to the age of 30.

In this book I present some of my memories, and some of what I can still recall. I have a lot of missing pieces due to my drug abuse but the basics are here and the characters and incidents are all real. This is a book about why being a dropout never really worked for me and how it was the end for many others. It is actually easy to drop out but far harder to drop back in as I found out and I have tried!

I write this as a 59-year-old musician and writer who struggles to get by. I live in a cheap apartment with a cat as my companion and wondering what my future holds in store. My life is very much day to day. This is how it has turned out for me but I know I am one of the lucky ones. I never found my dream but I found a lot of nightmares along the way. In this work I will be introducing you to some of them and some of the dropouts I have known.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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Updated: 11/15/2012, BardofEly
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Mira on 11/15/2012

Wow! I think it's a great idea, to write a book about all those times, yourself, and people you met along the way.

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