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White Rabbit Books: Richard Norris, Strange Things Are Happening

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White Rabbit Books: Richard Norris, Strange Things Are Happening

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About

This event will be 18.15-19.30 followed by a book signing.

Richard Norris will be discussing his autobiography, Strange Things Are Happening which documents his journey through the music industry including his work as remixer, writer and producer.  Embracing a psychedelic lifestyle along the way, this is a funny, improbable and frequently wild journey down the rabbit hole. Richard will be in conversation with Daniel Dylan Wray.

Leafy St Albans is an unlikely starting point for one of the great psychedelic/acid house musicians of his generation, but, like so many others who brought radical change to the counterculture, Richard Norris’ story starts in the suburbs.

Strange Things Are Happening documents his journey from punk through the emerging DIY indie culture to producing the UK’s first acid house album, Jack the Tab; being one of the only unsigned artists to grace the cover of NME, to being one of the first faces on the scene at Shoom and Spectrum during the 1988 Summer of Love; finding international fame with The Grid in the early 90s, to working with Joe Strummer and a cast of thousands as a remixer, writer and producer.  Embracing a psychedelic lifestyle along the way, Strange Things Are Happening is a funny, improbable and frequently wild journey down the rabbit hole. 

Richard Norris has been involved in almost every aspect of music and its business for many decades. This is an insider’s tale of inspiration and collaboration, working with some of the most iconic artists in music and beyond. We travel to basement acid parties in London to ten thousand strong raves in Ibiza. From Amsterdam with Timothy Leary, to Tijuana with Shaun Ryder and Joe Strummer, on a bumpy ride in Joe’s beat up 1955 Cadillac, to the customs hall at Heathrow with Sun Ra, Top Of The Pops, LA film sets, around the world and back again. Strange Things Are Happening is a celebration of creativity and passion, of chance meetings turning into lifelong friendships, and of what is possible with an independent spirit, with an open mind and heart. Not quite Do It Yourself, more Do It Yourselves – a testimony to how small groups of people can affect and change the cultural landscape; a story about doing what you love and being eternally curious; about the inevitable occupational dead ends and wrong turns that happen when you jump in headfirst, and what is learnt along the way.

Richard Norris walked into the Rough Trade record shop aged 15 with his first seven-inch single under his arm. The shop bought the entire pressing, paying for it out of the shop’s till. He then visited John Peel at the BBC, who played the single the next day. He’s worked in and around music ever since, as a musician, writer, producer and DJ. That first single, by The Innocent Vicars, led to further post punk DIY excursions, culminating in working for cult psychedelic reissue label Bam Caruso in the mid 1980’s, as well as co-editing the label’s magazine: Strange Things Are Happening.

After interviewing Psychic TV’s Genesis P.Orridge for the magazine, the pair co-produced their take on psychedelic dance music, Jack The Tab, in 1987, preceding the Acid House explosion of 1988. He went on to form the Grid, with Soft Cell’s Dave Ball. The duo created 10 UK hit singles, including the Balearic classic Floatation, one of Andrew Weatherall’s earliest mixes, and the million selling ‘Swamp Thing’. The band also collaborated, produced and remixed many other artists, including Brian Eno, Happy Mondays, Pet Shop Boys and more. Norris went on to collaborate with The Clash’s Joe Strummer, and later work with Erol Alkan as Beyond The Wizards Sleeve, whose remixes include work for Tracey Thorn, the Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp, and many others. He also formed his own psychedelic project, the Time and Space Machine, which toured and remixed artists including Warpaint, Tame Impala and more. Just before lockdown, he started the Music For Healing series of longform ambient music, which has had a phenomenal response. People have written to him saying the music has helped with depression, bereavement, anxiety and stress. Babies have been born to it, and it’s even helped an insomniac dog get to sleep. Norris continues to write, remix, produce and perform on a regular basis, with a new Grid album and tour planned for 2024 and beyond.

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