Magic Trip (15)

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The Independent Culture

This nostalgia squib left over from the fireworks party of the 1960s will make you feel either very square or very bored, and possibly both.

Patched together by documentarists Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood from 16mm footage shot by Ken Kesey and friends, it charts their drug-fuelled cross-country trip from California to New York in 1964 to see the World's Fair. Kesey, flush from the success of his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is master of the revels on a psychedelically-coloured school bus where partner-swapping and acid-tripping were the order of the day (and night). The problem with the first is that we barely know who these people are, so their frantic promiscuity has no meaning; the problem with the second is the universal one of drug chronicles, that being that the experience of the stoned, however magical for them, is just a big bore to the onlooker (see Hunter S Thompson). Survivors will say that they were pioneering a new way of living, but that merely renders their delusion sad as well as stupid.