I finally got round to reading Groupie by Jenny Fabian and Johnny Byrne. This book, first published in 1969 quickly achieved cult status for more than one reason. Not only it was the first detailed insight into the groupie phenomenon and the world of sex, drugs and Rock n' Roll, but it was also the first time the quintessential sixties slang was used in English literature. As Jonathon Green wrote in the preface to the 1997 edition: "Groupie" gets 22 citations in the Oxford English Dictionary from "downer" to "trippy" and "spliff" to "uptight", a mini-lexicon of Sixties-speak (p. iv).
The book itself is a fictionalised account of London's sixties underground music scene by real-life groupie Jenny Fabian. I say 'fictionalised', but there's very little actual fiction in the novel - the names of bands, members, places,etc. are probably the only departure from reality. And everybody knew who the musicians in the novel were, anyway...Here's a list of the names in the book and their real life equivalents...
Satin Odyssey = Pink Floyd (Ben = Syd Barrett)
Big Sound Bank = Zoot Money's Big Roll Band
The Transfer Project = Dantalian's Chariot (Davey = Andy Summers)
The Savage = Eric Burdon & The Animals
The Dream Battery = The Soft Machine
Jubal Early Blowback = Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation
Relation = Family (Joe = Ric Grech, Grant = Family's manager Tony Gourvish)
The Elevation = The Nice (Andy = David O'List)
The Shadow Cabinet = The Spooky Tooth
The New York Sound And Touch = The Fugs
The Jacklin H. Event = The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Sam = Mitch Mitchell)
Unlike Pamela Des Barres's I'm With The Band, which was written from a perspective of a few decades, Groupie was written and published within few months in 1969. It can be seen as an advantage - all the events were still fresh in author's memory. But it can also be a disadvantage. The book is almost like a diary - there is not much of a story developing here, and the plot does not progress towards any sort of conclusion. It is strictly an account of what Katie (Jenny Fabian, obviously) does, without much of an introduction or ending. The book does not end - it cuts off, more like. Still, it provides a great insight into psychedelic underground of Swinging London. Most of the events in the book take place in 1968. It starts off with a graphic description of Katie's one night-stand with Ben of Satin Odyssey - Syd Barrett, literally days before his departure from Pink Floyd, who was already in a very bad mental state. Throughout the book, Katie has many one night-stands with various musicians, but she also has three 'regular' boyfriends - first it's Davey (Andy Summers), and then, when she moves in with Relation (Family) she has a love triangle with Joe (Ric Gretch) and Grant (family's manager Tony Gourvish). Some of the musicians are portrayed by Fabian in a quite a positive light, others less so. She was clearly infatuated with Andy Summers (Davey in the novel) - and she describes their affair as happy and harmonious.