let’s look at brian blomerth’s “bicycle day” (a book review)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

BOOKS ABOUT LSD AND PSYCHEDELICS al­ways turn me on—even the bad ones (of which there are a few). Re­cently, I bor­rowed sev­eral books of re­cent vin­tage from the li­brary. Most of them were normal books with lots of words but few il­lus­tra­tions. Then there was Brian Blom­erth’s Bi­cycle Day, a de­light­fully col­orful pic­ture book! 1

The mo­ti­va­tion for the bor­rowing spree was an ar­ticle that I found on­line that dis­cussed a few books about LSD and psy­che­delics. It men­tioned Christo­pher Gray’s Acid Di­aries, a book that I read and en­joyed more than ten years ago and then forgot both the book’s au­thor and its title! Be­cause of this ar­ticle, I was able to buy a copy and, after reading it again, may re­view it here on The End­less Six­ties.

Whether you know nothing about the psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence or have been ex­pe­ri­enced many times, Bi­cycle Day is a col­orful and fun read!

The ar­ticle also rec­om­mended book by an au­thor that I had never heard of! Brian Blom­erth’s Bi­cycle Day is a vi­sual de­pic­tion of Al­bery Hof­mann’s first in­ten­tional psy­che­delic trip on LSD and his more mun­dane trip home on his bi­cycle. As Al­bert ped­aled home, the acid kicked in and the bi­cycle trip turned into the first in­ten­tional LSD trip in history!

Brian Blom­erth’s Bi­cycle Day is a 6 x 9-inch, soft­bound book from An­thology Edi­tions. It has 188 pages that fea­ture 130 im­ages, most of them spread out over two pages.

 

Front cover of BRIAN BLOMERTH'S BICYCLE DAY.

Brian Blomerth’s joy to behold

Here is An­thology Edi­tions’ blurb for this book:

“Il­lus­trator, mu­si­cian, and self-described ‘comic stripper’ Brian Blom­erth has spent years com­bining classic un­der­ground art styles with his bit­ingly ir­rev­erent vi­sual wit in zines, comics, and album covers. With Brian Blomerth’s Bi­cycle Day, the artist has pro­duced his most am­bi­tious work to date: a his­tor­ical ac­count of the events of April 19, 1943, when Swiss chemist Al­bert Hof­mann in­gested an ex­per­i­mental dose of a new com­pound known as ly­sergic acid di­ethy­lamide and em­barked on the world’s first acid trip.

Fea­turing an in­tro­duc­tion from renowned ethnophar­ma­col­o­gist, Dennis McKenna, Brian Blomerth’s Bi­cycle Day com­bines an ex­tra­or­di­nary true story told in jour­nal­istic de­tail with the artist’s gritty, time­lessly Tech­ni­color comix style that is a tes­ta­ment to mind ex­pan­sion, and a stun­ningly orig­inal vi­sual history.”

In his in­tro­duc­tion, Dennis McKenna wrote that the “richly il­lus­trated graphic novel in your hands nar­rates sig­nif­i­cant events in the life of the ‘mystic chemist’ Al­bert Hof­mann. It is a whim­sical retelling of the dis­covery of LSD, pos­sibly one of the most sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tific events of the twen­tieth century.”

Here are a few sample pages:

 

Brian Blomerth: two-page artwork from the BICYCLE DAY book.

Brian Blomerth: two-page artwork from the BICYCLE DAY book.

Brian Blomerth: two-page artwork from the BICYCLE DAY book.

Brian Blomerth: two-page artwork from the BICYCLE DAY book.

Not my cup of acid

The story of Al­bert Hof­mann’s first mean­ingful LSD ex­pe­ri­ence is ad­e­quately told and the art is col­orful and fun. In his in­tro­duc­tion, McKenna states that “the art­work is about as psy­che­delic as it can be without ac­tual phar­ma­co­log­ical en­hance­ment.” But when I look at the pages, I see Peter Max, Max Fleis­cher, Dr. Seuss, and Skip Williamson, none of whom come close to my idea of what con­sti­tutes psy­che­delic art. It’s cer­tainly not what I want to look at while tripping.

If you as­so­ciate psy­che­delia with the San Fran­cisco ball­room poster art of the ’60s or some of the more in­ter­esting artists cov­ered in Robert Mas­ters and Jean Hous­ton’s book Psy­che­delic Art (Grove Press, 1968), then Blom­erth’s art can be a bit like too much of your fa­vorite candy after a while. Now, had Rick Griffin or Victor Moscoso il­lus­trated this book, I’d prob­ably be telling you how I had to keep wiping drool off the pages as I read it.

Nonethe­less, it’s a fun book and a smart book and I rec­om­mend you give it a look-see, whether you know nothing about the psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence (not un­like some of the au­thors of books about about psy­che­delia) or you have been ex­pe­ri­enced (in the Hen­drixian sense of the word) many times.

Whether you know nothing about the psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence or have been ex­pe­ri­enced many times, Bi­cycle Day is a col­orful and fun read! Click To Tweet

BrianBlomerth BicycleDay header 1500

FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is one of many pieces of Blom­erth’s art­work that was spread over two pages in Bi­cycle Day.

 


 

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