My sixties

The swinging sixties, a lot is written about the sixties and most of it is rubbish, written by people either to young or too old to have actually experienced them.

Lets take that old adage “if you can remember them you weren’t there”, well I was there and I do remember them.

Sex and drugs and rock n roll. Well yes, to some degree in some specific areas of society, but nowhere near as rife as writers want us to believe.

So why am I debunking this era? In fact I’m not debunking them, they were a fantastic period that I wish many generations could experience, but I want to explain why they were so fantastic.

Let us first tell you a little about the generation who went through this era. We grew up in a gray society, our parents wore gray, our houses were gray our cars were, well black, our haircuts were “short back and sides”, we wore “sensible shoes” and “sensible clothes”, and that was it! We were a generation where you were either children or adults, very little, if anything, in between. We were a generation that “should been seen and not heard” We were a generation with no clothes shops, no films were made for us, no records were cut for us, and no thought was given to us! Our writing paper (strange thing to mention but relevant as you will see) was white or you could have white or white, sometimes for the ultra daring you could buy light blue, but that was for the daring or even more daring Airmail letters, yes sending a letter to another country was actually a big and important event and had to be treated with reverence and specially colour coded envelopes, they had blue and red edging no less.

Leaving school for the majority of us was leaving childhood and stepping next day into adulthood albeit as a junior and totally unimportant member of society. We took the bus, underground or train to work and called our bosses Mr never by the first name and he was god! If Mr so and so said do something, you didn’t discuss it, you did as you were told. Women in the workplace were receptionists, cleaners, typists, book keepers, secretaries or tea ladies (yes, they came round with tea at 11 o’clock and again at 3 o’clock) never supervisors or god forbid managers. For those in industrial jobs we wore overalls and sensible shoes. No jeans or t-shirts or sneakers, even if you could find them in the shops, which you couldn’t. Those of us in administration, wore gray or blue pinstripe suits, white shirt and sensible club ties. On Saturdays those working in banks were allowed to wear beige cavalry twill slacks, a check sports jacket and a light check patterned shirt. By age eighteen I was a salesman and was forced to wear a Trilby Hat no less!

So, I’ve set the scene. There we were a great group of youth, all shackled and fettered in rules, regulations and convention.

And then it happened!

It didn’t seem to creep up slowly and start a bit at a time but it exploded on us. It was like a time bomb going off. It was like a mass consciousness where suddenly young people throughout the world all thought and acted at once and the world was suddenly in colour and we were wandering around in wonder and amazement at all the new sounds and new things available to us.

But don’t be fooled by the last sentence, the majority of us were still shackled by the constraints of society.

Suddenly, shops appeared with clothes for us, yes clothes for young people, suddenly we had psychedelic writing paper (remember I mentioned this), suddenly groups with long hair appeared, well by today’s standards it wasn’t really long, groups like the Beatles and Rolling Stones, but for us it was ground breaking. Our superiors a work were livid with us if our hair dared touch our shirt collars or if we dared to let our sideburns grow down a fraction too long and we were immediately dubbed as hippies or worse, worthless or reckless layabouts no less, who would come to no good!

So most of us went along in our gray pre revolution garb and became “weekend hippies”. That’s when we put colour on and let what little hair most of us had down. We wore our Afghans with pride, our bell bottoms with a swagger and started going to newly opened clubs to hear our music and dance (another sinful exercise) Those of us living in London shopped in Kings road or Carnaby street. We went to The Roundhouse at Chalk Farm (then just a skeleton of a building that youth had taken over) to listen to people like Alan Ginsberg read poetry or groups like the The Groundhogs play blues rock.

The world had suddenly become ours! We were, like all youth, full of ourselves, we were going to bring peace to the world and we meant it. We went on “Ban the bomb” marches, we protested, we shouted at the government, we shouted at anybody we felt like shouting at. We were anathema to authority, we were the devil incarnate and grey haired press made a lot of it. We really did want to make a difference, but on Monday morning, most of us went back to work in our gray suits and club ties.

Sex; of course there was sex, when hasn’t there been, but nothing like the amount written and talked about. Once again we were shackled by our conventions. “Nice girls”, didn’t, they saved themselves for the wedding night, kissing and cuddling in the back row of the cinema or car if you were so lucky to have one was the norm.

Drugs; compared with today we were children! Smoking a reefer at a Saturday night at a party was considered daring. Getting hold of it was like trying to find gold, it wasn’t easy, unless you moved in certain circles which of course the majority of us didn’t.

Rock n Roll, now this is an area that exploded, it was like Christmas, a Birthday, and Guy Fawkes night rolled into one. We were bombarded by rock bands, called “groups” then, with every possible sound you could imagine. Pirate ships suddenly appeared on the coast of Britain and the era of the DJ had arrived playing our music 24 hours a day. Whilst the BBC and american radio stations were banning it as lude or suggestive or anti Christian. We were Tamla Motowned, Phil Spectored, Rhythm and Blued, Blue Beated, Ska’ed and Reggae’d. There was East coast, Soul, Folk Rock, The Liverpool sound and so much more. And then came Electric and Psychedelic and we went crazy with the new sounds and experimentation and the press went crazy as well talking about the end of civilisation as we know it, but we loved it, we loved every minute of it.

Our world had changed from gray to rainbow, from the mundane to the possibilities and we were the kings and the ones who were going to make the changes.

But then we grew up, we married we had our 2,5 children and we put our dreams aside, we forgot the excitement, we forgot our music, we forgot the colours as commercialism and bureaucracy took them over from us.

But we did make a difference, we bought choice to the young and new ideas and new thinking and we woke the world up to being one place for all mankind. So please don’t let apathy stop what we started, stand up and make your voice heard!

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Who’ll tame the raging wolf in us!

Who’ll tame The raging wolf in us!.

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Who’ll tame the raging wolf in us!

Wolves, vicious snarling, blood thirsty creatures howling at the moon as if in prayer for a new victim or are we actually psychologically talking about our own tendencies?

Some years ago, researchers were studying Wolves whilst in captivity and made some disturbing discoveries we can learn from.

Like humans, wolves are also known for their strict hierarchical observance. There are the leaders, the Alpha male and the Alpha female and then there is the strict pecking order. Just like in our society. In the wild their natural tendencies are to live in small tight knit communities spread over large territorial areas and are largely harmonious with one another and cooperate to hunt to feed the pack, perhaps like original man 10.000 or more years ago. If a young wolf gets out of hand the Alpha male soon puts him in place, just like the tribal leader did all those years ago.

When the pack starts getting larger it naturally divides itself into smaller groups each going there separate ways with an Alpha pair and move into it’s own territory, again perhaps like humans did in times past.

Some years ago Canadian researchers created an artificial territory for a pack of wolves and placed them into it. The resulting discoveries were quite disturbing.

First of all, the harmony in the group started to suffer and more and more fights were recorded amongst the wolves. The clear hierarchy dissolved into chaos.
Another disturbing factor was that the wolves health; despite, medical care and being well fed and watered, began to deteriorate and their fur started falling out and become very mangy. But even worse, they started attacking the researchers who were caring for them. Despite their reputation wolves very rarely, if ever, attack humans in the wild. The last know recorded attack by a wolf on a human is more than 100 years ago. Wolves normally live long healthy lives in the wild but not in captivity.

The conclusion of this research is quite obvious, wolves are not meant to be fenced in.

Do we see the same with us humans? Ten thousand or so years ago we lived in small family groups foraging the land in search of food. As we evolved we took to living in small communities farming and raising cattle. As time went by our communities grew larger and we fenced ourselves in, rather like the wolves above and we started squabbling over who owned what and who should be the chief.

Today in the 21st century we are fenced in by rules and regulations. We are living in more and more over populated areas. In our inner cities we are seeing a similar effect happening amongst us as with the research wolves. Our society is slowly but surely breaking down, we have become more and more violent, our health is getting poorer despite better medicines and hospitals but worse, is the evolution of militant groups, gangs, extremists of one sort or another, all wanting their share of the cake and willing to kill for it but not having the possibility to take their tribe to new lands. Perhaps it is time to be taking a lesson from the penned up wolves?

What to do about it?

As I see it; it’s not a matter of left or right wing, capitalism or communism, racism or multi culturalism, it’s a matter of common sense. Of understanding that if we don’t work together and change our outdated thinking our outdated laws and our outdated bureaucracy, like the wolves, we will be at each others throats until the last man standing.

If you were expecting me to come with an answer, I haven’t got one. Except that our chosen leaders had better get their heads out of the sand pretty damn quick or we will all suffer the consequences of over crowding, lack of education, poverty, famine and ultimately war.

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If only

If only I had stuck to the route we took last year.
If only we had stayed at the same hotel we found last year
If only we stopped before we were tired instead of trying to go further
If only we had stopped at the hotel the GPS took us to, instead of going on
If only I had kept the bag in front of me
If only I could do it all again!

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Darkness and Light

Have you ever given a thought to this.

No matter how much darkness there is, it can never extinguish even a single spark of light and yet light can extinguish even the darkest deepest darkness.

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There is no such thing as a Coincidence!

Some years ago I read, “There is no such thing as coincidence”. I, like many reacted straight away by thinking yes but what of that chance meeting with an old friend this morning or what of my buying the same something or other as my cousin. But then the writer went on to talk about seeds and Oak trees. He explained that Oak trees don’t just materialise one day into massive great kings of the forest. No, there is first a seed which lands on the earth buries itself and lies there dormant for a while until it finally starts to shoot up out of the earth and grows into that mighty Oak.
In just the same way, that “coincidental” meeting with a friend is the result of many small occurrences, which slowly, rather like the ball in a pinball machine point you in a direction that finally ends up with your coincidental meeting.

The “coincidental” car crash.

We get up out of the wrong side of the bed one morning. On our way to work we give the finger to a neighbour who has by accident pulled over a little to quickly in front of us, the neighbour in turn calls you something or other unpleasant and puts his foot down on the accelerator, narrowly missing another innocent car, this driver gets rather flustered at the incident and turns into a road without stopping or signalling and crashes straight into another car causing severe damage. Coincidence?

It’s all connected in one way or another

 

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A prayer to our new Government in waiting

A prayer to our new Government in waiting.

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