Dave Tomlin – Tales From The Embassy

Communiqués From The Guild of Transcultural Studies 1976 – 1991

One night in 1976, a group of squatters entered the Cambodian Embassy in London, an opulent building that had remained empty for two years following the bloody revolution of the Khmer Rouge. For the next  fifteen years, this peculiar residence would play host to the Guild of Transcultural Studies, an open platform for creative monomaniacs, radical metaphysicians, poets, prophets and exiles.

These humorous, perceptive, and deftly crafted vignettes boast a thinly disguised cast of provocateurs, including John Michell, earth mysteries sage and fortean, Nicholas Carr-Saunders, author of Alternative London, beat poets Harry Fainlight and George Andrews, playwright of The WarpNeil Oram, countercultural photographer and journalist John “Hoppy” Hopkins, and Sir Mark Palmer, aristocrat-turned-gypsy-traveller and male
model impresario.

Through 220 short narratives, Dave Tomlin sketches many of the wild characters and memorable incidents of these years 1976 to 1991 (with vivid flashbacks to West Africa and the London Free School in Notting Hill in the 1960s). By setting up a ‘Guild of Transcultural Studies’ Dave and his fellow squatters invented an effective aura of respectability that was an object lesson in instant tradition, and enabled them to play host to musicians from Morocco to Pakistan, poets, prophets, exiles and refugees from many countries round the world from Chile to China. The descriptions of periodic encounters with various arms of the diplomatic service, both home-grown and oriental, are often hilarious. Above all, the Embassy provided space for creative monomaniacs and radical metaphysicians to act out their visions. A vivid portrait of a more leisured age which allowed eccentricity to flourish.

Artist, writer and musician Dave Tomlin was a founder-member of the seminal free-form folk group Third Ear Band. A constant presence within the London underground scene, he founded the Guild of Transcultural Studies in 1976 and contributed to the International Times.

Dave Tomlin
Paperback
210 x 148
ISBN: 9781907222566