so i return to what certainly is there....
i was doing a websearch for something completely unrelated to the interests of this site-actually which bands in the 70s had played at a particular youth club i was associated with.
i found a reference to the particular youth club which led to something quite unexpected-an article about the local youth sub sulture in the late 60s and early 70s.the hair on the back of my neck rose as i recognised what was being described as my own experience.i got an even bigger jolt when i read quotations from myself.this is a bit like meeting myself coming back,or perhaps it is.at one point in the piece i recalled an incident i was involved in at the windsor free festival in 1973.
i looked further and found a website that not only recalls the festivals but includes in its archive section transcriptions of the daily newspaper(2 sides of A$ or foolscap)that was distributed most if not every day at the festival.
i found evidence that i had obviously contributed to the writing and distribution of these ephemeral pieces.
the introduction to the documents comments on how times have changed but how the newssheets reflect a variety fo approaches and styles.
what however,was mowst striking for me was something very different and that i believe is relevant to this site and the kind of issues it takes for granted if iut does not address.
i was among the first people to arrive at the festival site.and there can only have been 50 or so people there when the police made the poor calculation to attack us.most of us were strangers to each other personally,but identified together firstly as "hippies"and then in immediate solidarity when we were attacked.
my recall which might be faulty is that the police drove a vehicle at speed at us in a copse of trees.i remember a young woqamn scrqmbling away as the police sped towards her.tehir actions were ill judged because somehow most of us there acted together in shaking and then ogverturning the truck,leaving officers dangling in their safety belts.
i remember being shocked,distressed and angry.soon we evicyted the police from the site,and tried to keep it that way for the rest of the festival.
within hours numbers of festival goers had increased substantially and by the next morning me and friends from our "arts lab"joined with otherws from another project,based in north west london got together to produce the daily bulletin.
the focus of the bulletin was very much on practicalities-it talked about availability of water,food,milk and facilities,safety,services,the quality of the hallucinogens and how to get and give help.
all thes years on,the memory and rereading the material brings home some important realities that the daily ideology pumped at us by politicians and press and others play down and over-ride.
it was an instant society brought together by common"identity"of culture and interests.at times there was a direct,common enemy-in the form of the police.somehow a lot of strangers came together to assist each other beyond family and indeed the usual communities in which we lived.most were hipppies,some were travellers(pre new age,but not of the traditional traveller communities)there were some anarchists,including well known figures including ubi bill dywer and sid rawle who were prime movers in "calling for"the festival and "organsing"some key elements of it.there were a few revolutionary socialists like myself.most of the tribe that came together were very young,and many like myself quite inexperienced.
im still struck by how we worked together over that posssibly 10 days experience.whole earth fire brigade who showed up with pale green vehicles which included water tanks and a fire engine,provided water.ther were eventually very rudimentary toilets.the white panthers provided cheap if not free food.relesae provided help and advice and aid to those with drug or other health problems.there were displays by some sections of the peace movement.HARP and paper tiger did the daily bulletin.
we may not have cdovered evrything but we tried.i do not pretend that the arrangements were the best or that they could have been permanent but for me it demonstrated that we di not need pioliticians,officials,experts,or the piolice to order us around.we were demonstrating our ability to take control of our own lives and make our own decisiomns.
we even found a way to deal with "political differences".ubis proposal that we move the festival to virginia water failed-somehow outvoted-not in ballots or even hands but in that people,through their bums and feet chose to stay.
we were mostly very young but in john holloways words this demonstrated a crack,a fissure in society.it remains to this day for me a living example of how "we" can "do",and we dont need to be ruled over.
im glad i stumbled over these documents,and grateful to the old assocaite/friend,roger hutchinson who transcribed them to the website.i am only sorry that i believe he died last year.
he will not see the racks widen.i hope i can go on contributing to making the bettre society that those that "do"deserve,and id like not just to see it come about but to live it.
not just a glimpse to which i have been lucky to add several more but hopefully something more evolved and evolving,and permanent.
we are not yet,but we are coming.
one evening quite late