I was back at my parent’s house when I was about 23 and my dad brought this up from the cellar. He said he bought it when he was motorbiking around America when he was about 20, back in the 60s, and has kept it ever since (more impressive when you know that my parents moved house around 30 times). I remember taking this book in my hands and staring at it open-mouthed. He explained that the book was designed back in the 60s as a tool for people who were fleeing the cities to live in nature to order supplies to make their life easier. A little like a very early Amazon.com. The text and image-heavy book is crammed with things you can buy and make: from hot tubs to home-birth kits, or from geodesic domes to pickling jars. Each item with a phone number to order the product to be delivered to you, wherever you are. Alongside these diagrams and adverts are poems, psychedelic musings and photos, giving it more of a mystical urgency than you would find in, say, the Argos Catalogue. This book is special to me because my dad kept it for so long, but also because it reminds me of an extraordinary life I could be having somewhere else, in a parallel universe, building geodesic domes and being at one with the earth.
The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools →