Welcome to the world of writer CJ Stone

by BardofEly

C.J. Stone is an author several books, as well as being a journalist and freelance writer. He is probably most famous for his column Housing Benefit Hill that was in The Guardian.

I first met CJ Stone, or Chris, as the C stands for, way back in my wild youth and hippie past, in a pub in Cardiff called the Buccaneer. We became friends and exchanged jackets - I gave him my green and white-striped school blazer and he gave me his dark navy serge authentic prisoner's jacket, although neither he nor I had been an inmate of such a place. It just seemed the right sort of thing to do, to share our clothes that showed we were rebels!

We got on well and I ended up sharing a flat with him and some other guys. It was my first experience of living away from my parents and being independent. It didn't last, but that bears no reflection on CJ, but more on my own problems with a broken relationship, a job I hated and the consumption of far too many substances legal and otherwise.
But it was the beginnings of a very long friendship which has lasted all these years and has taken both of us through very many of life's adventures and experiences - the good, the bad and the downright weird!

Housing Benefit Hill

Housing Benefit Hill
Housing Benefit Hill

C.J. Stone's Housing Benefit Hill

CJ's cult Guardian column

CJ Stone became a writer and has kept at it, sharing his world with his readers.

CJ Stone's approach is to write it as he sees it, or remembers it - he calls it his "bugs 'n' all" style of writing. I would compare him with following in the tradition of the American "Beats", the poets and authors who lived in an alternative lifestyle and wrote it down for the world to read. One of CJ's heros is Hunter S. Thompson and I can see why.

CJ first got his "big break" as a regular columnist in The Guardian newspaper, where his Housing Benefit Hill quickly gained a cult-following at the time with its tales of people he knew and had met, doing whatever they had to do to get by in Britain. His stories were compiled and republished several years later in the book Housing Benefit Hill, published by AK Press.

From his success with the national newspaper CJ Stone soon got a publishing deal with Faber and Faber, who published his first book Fierce Dancing - Adventures in the Underground in 1996. In it CJ takes a detailed look at the alternative lifestyle in the UK and what those who had been influenced by the '60s were doing in the '90s.

Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground [Paperback] on Amazon

Fierce Dancing: Adventures in the Underground

It began with a small band of Hippies, clinging to the remnants of their summer festivals. Next came Punk, with its culture of anger and rejection. After that Rave, and everyone...

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Battle of the Beanfield

In Fierce Dancing, CJ Stone delves into what happened to the free festivals and the culture that went with them. He writes of the notorious Battle of the Beanfield and the police brutality to the New Age travellers at Stonehenge. He meets with and interviews drummer Penny Rimbaud of the influential anarcho-punk band Crass, as well as doing likewise with rock musician Nik Turner, most famous for his song Silver Machine that Hawkwind had a smash hit with.

But the book opens with CJ's first rave party and his experience with Ecstasy. Around that time he was a regular columnist for Mix Mag popular dance and rave-culture magazine too.

The Last of the Hippies

Last of the Hippies

The Last of the Hippies

CJ Stone's next book was The Last of the Hippies, which was his quest to find out what had happened to a character we both knew and who was known as Piss Off Pete. Pete was an acid-casualty in many ways. Pete was one of many that the '60s lifestyle hadn't helped. He was one who had turned on, tuned in and dropped out, to quote the Tim Leary slogan, all the way, and sadly had ended up in a mental hospital.

In The Last of the Hippies, CJ never does find out what happened to Pete but he takes the reader with him on his journey of investigation along the way. There are his experiences at Glastonbury Festival and of meeting with the British druids, as well as his quest to meet the man believed to be the renincarnated King Arthur.

The Last of the Hippies on Amazon

Last of the Hippies

Part autobiography, part history, part travelogue, this is an account of the author's experiences in that marginal realm, the mythical hippie's heavenly playground, and an inves...

Faber & Faber  / $4.95  $15.0

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King Arthur and the Loyal Arthurian Warband

CJ Stone's attempts to meet Arthur, who had become well known for getting arrested for trying to go to the summer solstice at Stonehenge, landed him in the same police station at the same time as the King, but in a different cell! Eventually CJ did get to meet King Arthur and was knighted into the druid order the Loyal Arthurian Warband, for which he has also contributed his writings.

This led on for CJ Stone to co-write The Trials of Arthur with the King, and which was published by the Thorson's imprint, Element. It's a wonderful book that explains in great depth how a young man who did badly at school but yet was accepted into MENSA, after leading a motorbike gang comes to understand that he is King Arthur returned. How he changes his name by deed poll and forms his druid order to fight for the ancient virtues of Truth, Honour and Justice. And how he went on to become a leading eco-warrior in the UK and the man who fought successfully to get public access at Stonehenge at summer solstice

Besides these books, CJ Stone was writing for The Independent, had a regular column in the Big Issue and has ended up being a contributor to Prediction magazine and the Whitstable Times.

CJ Stone moved to Romania on another quest but he has ended up back in Britain where besides carrying on with his writing he is also a part-time postman. CJ has had a lot of jobs in his time but the one he really excels at is his writing.

CJ has a wonderfully entertaining blog called Ten Thousand Days and I can wholeheartedly recommend him, as an honest and descriptive writer, who spices his unusual tales with plenty of humour as well as political comment. If you're looking for sex and drugs and rock and roll, you will find them in the works of CJ Stone, but you will find much more than that - you will discover the talent of a gifted and entertaining writer whom I am proud to call my friend!

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved. 

The Trials of Arthur

The Trials of Arthur

Looks like a tramp. Says he's a King. Meet Arthur - Warrior, leader and Druid. An ex-squaddie and biker turned spiritual leader and parliamentary candidate. The bearer of the Sw...

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Updated: 10/18/2012, BardofEly
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