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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pink Fairies and Festivals

walk don't run
Tinsel has asked me to run off some more special June 1st 2005 ITs for her to take to a Beanfield memorial day .... you can read it here, but it doesn't look the same, too long, but only 4 double sided A4 pages in print.
Tin reckons its the best thing I've ever wrote. To get u=in the mood I am listening to the Pink Fairies What a bunch of Sweeties and if I can find it there bit on the Glastonbury Fayre triple album - the one that folds out into a huge pyramid- Uncle harry's last freak out live from 1971.

Which is why I never went to Stonehenge. That for me punk was an abyss crossing moment, a restructuring of ideas. So if we go back to 1974ish, I would have loved to have gone to Stonehenge with my afghan coat and talked about reading Moorcock and the Floyd and taken the electric kool aid acid test and listened to the Pink Fairies (or Hawkwind) riffing away into eternity... but then between 16 and 18 I put away all my old albums and started buying punk singles. neat neat neat, White Riot, How Much longer and all the rest. Talking bout my de- generation...

Now, thanks to Tom Vague www.historytalk.org and a bit of mature reflection, the abyss was just a small step forward, punk was not year zero it was the continuation of the revolution by other means. As early as 78, Mark P and ATV were on tour in a hippy bus with Here and Now and played Stonehenge. Picture of them here

And yet. Was it radio caroline? Offshore pirate radio, survived the Marine Offences Act of 1967 by shifting over to the Dutch side of the North sea... although I can just remember listening to a pirate radio station (which one? a caroline I am sure) anchored in the Irish sea near the isle of Man in 64/5 ish. Anyhow, there was a pirate station in the early seventies 74/5 and it promoted the wally Hope vision of Stonehenge as 'loving awareness' . Sure it did. Can't have imagined it?

And... must have seen an advert in Sounds (music paper) for a festival at Combe Martin and sent off and got a load of stuff about it... but was about 500 miles away so I never went. instead I bought the galtonbury fayre triple album and listened to it instead, along with Jefferson Airplane's After bathing at baxters which I found through reading a book about 'acid rock' in the school library and got my brother to buy on when he went on a school trip to London in 74. next year I bought the first two Velvet Underground albums just to balance it all up.

Pinki went to Stonehenge (see Pinki and the Druids blog) and so did everyone else 82/3/4. Tony was even on the Peace Convoy which went from Stonehenge to greenham in July 82, an event which pinki always said pushed Greenham finally into being all women although Sasha says it happened earlier that year (see her two books on greenham).

So we come to 1985. By that time I was living full time with Pinki and so would have been dragged kicking and screaming to the festival... but of course it never happened. Instead there was the Beanfield. Min was there, and so was American Lisa, who was upfront of the convoy with Willie X.

There had already been Nostell Priory in 84. I remember Max, who was a mate of Mark's turning up at 103 Grosvenor Avenue in a really bad state after being beaten up/ arrested. And for folk like me who had pre-punk memories, there had been Windsor in 74. [Windsor- free festival in Windsor park which was trashed by the police].

Bit of cyclical process. Yer counter-culture gets a bit too strong and starts to be seen as People Against Goodness And Normalcy (film ref, Draghunt, PAGANs) so has to be knocked back into subculturalism and generally given a good kicking. Which is what happened in the Beanfield.

Earlier in feb 85 there had been the mass eviction of Molesworth peace camp - 'biggest peace time army action ever' -and mike heseltine flew in in a chopper playing the Ride of the Valkyries - "I love the smell of napalm in the morning- it smells of ....Victory". And the miners strike.

Tricky one, the Sheffield anarchy centre crew who squatted on camden road were not very miner friendly - miners used to come in and beat them up. (Allegedly: surely no such event ever really happened..?) All that is solid melts to air, as they say.

Beanfield was June 1st. Police gave ‘hippies’ a good kicking. End of story? Not quite. Next thing we (me Pinki plus Sky aged 2 in pushchair) turned up at Jubillee gardens by County Hall to go on a people’s march/ walk to Stonehenge. We had already done 120 mile anti nuclear walk from Sizewell to Molesworth in April, but Stonehenge one was not quite so well organised. We had to start again from peace pagoda in Battersea Park. We lasted a couple of days but had to give up near Bracknell - not suitable for children.

We tried again, getting the train to Westbury and climbing up to Bratton hill fort and white horse on solstice eve where a mini festival took place. It rained and we did not have a tent. We went home the next day. At summers end we travelled with American Lisa in her car (engine held in place with a length of rope) to a meeting at Greenfield farm just outside Glastonbury. We stayed for two months, living in a bender and talking about festivals, anarchy and the convoy.

There were maybe 200 people (travellers) living there, double refugees - from molesworth and the bean field. It was not punk, it was the previous generation, not sixties (apart from Sid rawle) but early seventies mainly. Willow (C.J.Stone/ last of the Hippies mentions her) Carely Barley, Bruce, Willie X and many more. Thursday nights were bad, dole cheques and drink. One night woke up and heard someone wailing and crying in the field. I went out and found her, she was a healer (but not Carol) and there had been an ‘incident’ - drunken idiot tried to drive off in a bus, almost hit some tiny children, been hauled out and given a beating, she had had to patch idiot up… too much for her to take. I helped her back to her truck and tried to heal the healer. Slowly she came back to herself, remembered her name, who she was… “the horror, the horror”

Other healer, Carol, said to me (as osrics tentacles played on site )“ We need you, we need a magician”. But the wind came up in late September and blew our bender down and so we went back to London. Pinki signed up for Hackney College - Philosophy, Sociology and Politics A levels. In 86 she got a place at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).

But also in 86... More Stonehenge. See Pinki and the Druids. And Glastonbury. Can’t quite remember how, but from our Glastonbury days the year before got to be ‘performers’ at the festival - earth mysteries field.
Make sense. What does it all mean twenty years on? Why the June 1st 2005 IT? Read it !

It is all bollocks. I have read through so many critiques and sociology lectures about it all, but so what. The reality is that 20 years ago on June 1st 1984 the police kicked the shit out of a bunch of people and put an end to a dubious expression of alternative values and culture. Arguably it was never a viable counter culture, but it (the festival) was the biggest manifestation of what might be. A drugged up world? Or a green world?
We have the drugged up world anyway. Even here, in a small rural town ( little more than a village really) we have our heroin addicts shoplifting and dying. Even here, our green world is one stage further removed as global supermarket giant Tesco get ready to rip £17 million a year out of the local economy and into global capital space….

As my special edition of IT (International Times) says, “We are the dead”. George Orwell/ 1984 and David Bowie/ Diamond Dogs quotes. And T.S.Eliot/ The Wasteland… “I had not thought death had undone so many” .

Self- consciousness, self awareness. History of the future.

I will run off a few copies (30, 50, 100?) of the June 1st 2005 special Beanfield memorial edition of International Times.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading Joe Strummers Biog by Chris Salewicz and didn't realize how much of a pot smoking hippy Joe really was !the punk movement ended up being absorbed into everything anyway but i didn't realise its roots were from what it was rebelling against .I remember Stonehenge in 83/84 as being mainly a drug dealers convention with Hawkwind thrown in.But a few punk bands played there under smokey tarpulins .It was more like butlins for anyone on who was on dole and wanted to escape the city, Junkies were generally not tolerated and "burned out" and everyone was scared of the Hells Angels who were rumoured to enjoy pulling punks out of their sleepin bags to beat them up whilst they slept.I never saw Mark Perry there but generally found ATV to dramtically go downhill after their brilliant early stuff, and hanging out with hippys and doing acid is probably to blame.

11:16 pm  

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