Confessions of a Hippy

This recollection of a misspent youth travelling to free festivals is not really Hawkwind-related, though
they are mentioned a couple of times.  I just thought many Hawkwind fans would have had similar
experiences (I did, to a lesser degree) and would enjoy reading this.

The narrator is Mark N - to whom many thanks for providing this memoir!
"SAME THING DAY AFTER DAY - TUBE - WORK - DINNER - WORK - TUBE - ARMCHAIR - TUBE
- WORK -- HOW MUCH MORE CAN YOU TAKE? -- ONE IN FIVE CRACKS UP!"

-Graffiti (circa 1977) on a wall facing the tube line between Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park tube
stations.

Well, where does this sorry tale of excess & debauchery start then?  Placing it in its proper context, I was
brought up in a "traditional" working class family in a traditional northern town - where the liberalism of
the 60's largely passed by unnoticed.  Unless you were deemed to be "officer material" and streamed off to
grammar school, as my school careers teacher succinctly put it:  "Boys, you should aim to be an
apprentice (shipyards/chemical works/steel works - take your choice). Failing that, you can join the
Army.  Girls, Mr Barnard (the typing teacher) will ensure you get a job in an office".  I dread to think what
they told the poor sods down in the "D" stream / remedial class...  However... there were a couple of
exceptional teachers -English, Art & Humanities- who encouraged us to "challenge everything" & "get out
whilst you can".

Which I did - hitch hiked to Devon a week after leaving school & lived on the beach for the summer.  
Personally, I blame the Daily Mirror, my dad's choice of reading, which covered in full scandalous detail,
free festivals from the Isle of Wight festival onwards.  And so it was, I read all about free festivals &
thought, "Yeah, I want to be part of that".  

Windsor 77 (or possibly 78)
Living in Uxbridge at the time, the local paper (I think) held forth about an army of invading hippies at
Windsor (yet again). So I duly trundled off to Windsor for the bank holiday to be met by the massed ranks
of the local constabulary & told to "fuck off home sonny".  So I duly did.  I later found out that a valiant
few had somehow managed to evade said constabulary & hold a festival of sorts in a lay-by.  Better luck
next time.

Somewhere in Wales - May 79
Relying on some grubby handout (run off on an old Roneo machine) picked up in a freak shop, a friend &
I hitch-hiked to Wales.  Could we find this festival?  Well, we got a lift off a guy who was the spitting
double (if it wasn't the man himself) of Eric Morecambe, who, in return for smoking most of my fags
drove around this mountainside on the borders for an hour or so - in vain, I should add, searching for this
festival.  We eventually spent the night camped out on a hillside & despondently hitched home to the far
north the following day.  I met somebody at Stonehenge later that year that reckoned that three people, a
dog & a van turned up in the next valley & had "a jolly nice time camping out for a week".  If my memory
serves me right, it was the week before the 79 election & it was cold & wet.

Smokey Bears - Hyde Park - May 79
Living "up north" at the time, I arranged to meet a friend in London at the demo. Setting off at 6:30 am I
hitched down to London by 3.00-ish. Just as the "Smoke In" -a bunch of freaks in Hyde Park furtively
smoking No.6's & coppers hiding in the bushes- was drawing to an end.  (I got a good lift off a lorry
driver, who introduced me to the delights of Test Match Special, which has stayed with me to this day.  
Indeed, if it's a nice day, I'll take the day off, get down to my local county ground.  Have a quick spliff
behind the score board & I'm all set up for a relaxing day doing nothing but mental maths games -cricket's
a great game if you like maths- as a county match unfurls before me).

Needless to say my friend never turned up but I bumped into Jayne, a radical feminist / anarchist lesbian
who was a friend of friends & whom I had met once (very briefly) before in a pub back home & another
character called Geoff who I also knew very vaguely from the pub.  Jayne, hearing of my dilemma - do I
sleep out in a London park (it was a gloriously sunny day) or start the long hitch home, invited Geoff & I
back to stay at her squat.  Hence followed an eye opener of an evening.  Jayne dragged us off to a party at
which I discovered to my astonishment that gay people were, well, just like people I met every day.  We
ended up somewhere in Covent Garden (before renovation) attempting to get into some nightclub to be
told by the doorman "you (Jayne & friend) can come in, but the two straights (Geoff & I) can't ".  Geoff,
who became a really good friend in the intervening years (& still is 25 years later), & I hitched back on the
following Monday, having sworn a pact not to mention we had been out with Jayne - such things would
have brought about an instant & heavy beating in the town we both came from.

Torness - May / June 79
This was a three-day "no nukes" demo / mass trespass on the then- site of Torness power station (just
outside Berwick) but it deserves a mention.  After a day of workshops (what to do if arrested) I was
having tea at a campfire when this drum-like booming sound came out of the darkness. A minute or so
later three people came out of the darkness & mist. One bearing a "Lambegh" drum, another with a cart
full of firebrands and the third dressed as a ringmaster with a loudhailer inviting us all to "join the company
of freaks".  I needn't say that they all wore disguises, including face paint - which I had never ever seen
before & so, of course, I joined in this Hamlyn-like procession round the site.  We ended up in a field &
watched a display of gymnastics, juggling & fire eating from our three hosts.  The last I saw of them was
as they escorted us out of the gate & slowly vanished back into the mist...  Later that night, I met up with
a really nice group of people from York University & this bloke, one of those people so full of personality,
you just can't help liking them on sight, who claimed to be an undercover copper, as he rolled (yet
another) joint.  We built a campfire on the beach, someone played Ritchie Havens songs on the guitar &
we watched the sun come up.

Stonehenge 1979
A friend & I hitched down from the far north, much to the surprise of people that we would travel that far
for an event (then again there was absolutely nothing where we came from).  Stonehenge, in some
respects, was an introduction to democracy in action, which has stayed with me all these years.  The
"co-ordinators" would call a general site meeting & several hundred people would debate what needed to
be done - organising the stage, bogs, and liaising with the local police, etc..  I'm afraid to say that it was
rather spoilt by one of the Tepee people threatening to pull out  "& if we go, the police will roll over the
site" unless we all coughed up a (considerable) sum to finance the stage.  What really hacked me off was
that I later heard the allegation that some people kept 10% of donations back as a "tithe".  The weather was
OK for most of the week, it did rain heavily one night though - our tent got flooded out (ever tried bailing
out a tent in the pitch black when you are "stoned immaculate"?).  The Solstice itself was fine & sunny;
there was a parade of Wally Smith's ashes round the site, the ritual storming of the gates to the Stones and
people shouting "Wally!!!" (The other version was "Albatross"- usually at 3:00am & "anybodygorranyasid")
There was a "wedding" & a christening in the inner circle led by the (infamous at the time) "Rick the Vic".  
A Church of England vicar who had "dropped out" & whom (I think) was living with the Tepee people.  
(He later wrote an article for High Times, which differed significantly to how I remember the festival!)  As
it was hot & sunny that day, a few people stripped off, much to the excitement of a few passing Italian
tourists, who proceeded to photograph everything that moved.  I remember the "old" naked guy.
Somebody told me that he turned up to all the festivals & stripped off regardless of the weather. Equally
incongruous was an Asian family who turned up in a camper van & duly opened a shop.  Then there was
Rufus, who lived in the basement of Jayne's squat, he who used to wander round naked declaiming "love
& peace, brothers & sisters".  One night, round 3:00am, there we were all huddled round the campfire,
when Rufus appeared out of the darkness, declaiming as usual - stark naked.  Rufus was pretty well out of
it mentally.  Unless he got help, I hate to think what happened to him.  He once took 30 minutes (in the
rain) to roll a joint, which fell apart in a shower of sparks after several draws.  (I later heard he was busted
at Stonehenge 80 - some local coppers found him in possession of a joint, whilst he was having a shite in
the woods.)

I suppose this is an opportune moment to mention the bogs. As I remember there were the public bogs,
where one could get a wash in the morning and the "open air version" - a series of bore holes. A pretty
dangerous area to be wandering around in when it got dark...  There is a deep & dark memory of
wandering past some hippy, sat on a chair reading the paper... with the seat taken out & a hole dug
underneath.  Bands... no real recollection bar Keith Christmas & band played an absolutely storming set.  
Keith has reminded me that halfway through somebody set off a paper hot air balloon painted with a
Chinese dragon, in front of the stage. Later on, or perhaps the following year, some one had discovered
that if you taped the handles of a plastic carrier bag together, held it over an open fire (so that the bag filled
with hot air). The clever bit was to then set the handles on fire.  Voila!  The bag would rise for a 100 feet
in the air (they looked pretty weird from a distance) before exploding into a meltdown of burning plastic
onto the heads of watching stoners below.)

Nik Turner (whom I didn't recognise with short hair) stood on me as he walked by & "Here & Now"
organised the stage / running order of the bands.  Some band called "Looney Q" took it upon themselves to
disregard the set running & were promptly thrown off the stage by a Here & Now cohort.  An aged relic
from the 60's took offence to this "fascist dictatorship" & grabbed the stage mike to hold forth at length
about this being "the people's festival" until hauled off - probably to have a heart attack.  An enterprising
couple set up "Mr & Mrs Normal's Tea Party". Which consisted of a bell tent, entrance fee 25 pence for
which you received a spliff & a cup of tea.  It was situated next to one of the minor stages. A local band,
whose name I have completely forgotten, where doing extremely bad heavy metal cover versions. The lead
singer launched into a word-perfect recitation of the intro to the live version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird
- "what's that song y'all want to hear?" to shouts of "fuck off & die" from assorted (very, very stoned)
denizens at the tea party.  Needless to say, they carried on regardless & we all headed for relative safety
far, far away from the trashing Freebird was receiving.

I've forgotten who organised it, but there was a circus tent (?) that also held a stage & would hold "light
shows" once it got dark. I have a vague memory of getting too stoned to find our tent & sitting there (at
three o'clock in the morning) watching the 1930's version of King Kong being projected onto the tent
wall.  Getting too stoned to move was a regular event. One awful morning I woke up around the remnants
of a campfire & realised that a biker gang have moved in during the early hours... The term "Oh dear"
springs to mind.  Somehow I managed to slide away.  I think the gang were preoccupied with waking
people up & telling them to "move" - before they drove the bikes over the tents.  Acid was in short supply
(at least in that I failed miserably to find any) though as suggested above, hash was everywhere & I was
stoned all the time.  But... somebody brought on site a big supply of Diconal - a pretty powerful painkiller
(& "drug of choice" as utilised by one Dr Harold Shipman).  "Word on the street" was that you had to
intravenously inject it - which is apparently nonsense; it's an oral drug (though I suspect you X10 the
effect if you inject).  It got so bad, everywhere you went were bodies of people flat out.   Here & Now
resorted to making regular announcements over the PA to request that users do so in a tent rather than
outside.  I think people with children (Sid Rawles' lot brought a tribe of kids with them) had started to
complain about the number of people jacking up in front of the kids.

Well, Stonehenge 79 draws to an end.  By this point we were flat broke & starving.  We met up with some
hippies (who laughed at us urban dwellers unable to cope without a shop) and they treated us to "nettle
soup". The recipe is as follows:  -Mounds of nettles -Water  -Anything else you can find (including an
apple core thrown into the fire but missing the target...)  Boil over an open fire; serve with hand made
chapatti's (wood smoke flavour non-optional)...  I hung around on the Sunday as Nik Turner's Inner City
Unit (version 1) played a set (they had played Glastonbury the day before). It was mainly stuff from
Xitintoday & a version of Brainstorm.  I've heard that the BBC filmed it & it was shown as part of a
documentary, though I have never seen it.  I then had to hitch back north.  The first lift from outside the
gates, decent people had a van & offered every hitchhiker a lift, but got pulled on "sus laws", much to the
bemusement of a couple of Germans who had travelled over for the festival.  Our driver seemed to think
that it was because one of the passengers was an organiser of the "Alternative Miss World" contest (Miss
World in drag). I later found out that the film director Derek Jarman was heavily involved.  I often
wondered if that passenger was Mr Jarman.  I got another lift off some creepy character, who insisted on
talking about flagellation - "tell me, (leer, leer) did they, er, beat you at school"? & who promptly dumped
me in the middle of absolute nowhere (at dusk). Just to compound things, after walking for a mile or so,
another bloke appeared out of the woods & started following me down the road.  Thankfully the next
passing car stopped & I eventually made it back home for a bath & sleep in a real bed.

Smokey Bears - Hyde Park, May 80
Having moved to London by then & cultivating the "bleak, northern industrial look" at the time, about 100+
of "us northerners" where living in a series of squats round Kings Cross / Islington.  The look consisted of
dressing in black Levi's, a black donkey jacket, short cropped hair -usually hennaed deep red- & a scarf;
alternated between a Keyifah /an Om scarf.  Bands I remember, on what was a gloriously sunny day, were
Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Accident in the East Lancs Lane & Simon Vikenoog, who was a beat poet
of Dutch extraction, unceremoniously hauled off the stage, still ranting away with his "stream of
consciousness" poem, for overrunning his slot.  (I looked him up on the net - still around by the looks of
it).  Heading the bill was Nik Turner's Inner City Unit (version 2).  V2 had a much harder sound -later
dubbed "Acidpunk"- & they finished the set with a storming version of Watching the Grass Grow  / In the
Mood (Nude) with a roadie, dressed in a silver firefighter's suit, dancing on the stage & instigating a
flower fight - chucking boxes of dead daffodils into the moshing audience.

A bunch of bikers either took it upon themselves or were appointed by the organisers to do the security -
which appeared to consist of lining up in front of the stage & hassling anybody they didn't like.  At the
end, they, the bikers beat up a couple of people just for the hell of it - I have this vivid memory of one of
them, who spent the whole day psychotically staring at anybody who walked past, just jumping on
somebody & laying into them for apparently "looking at him the wrong way".  It rather spoilt what had
been an excellent day.  It was the day Arsenal won the FA Cup, at the time we where all living in this maze
of squats round Kings Cross - the infamous Derby Lodge, which is worthy of another story.  We had
scored a whole blotter of "Red Dragon" (Rumour had it that it was pre-Operation Julie, recycled by a bent
copper).  It was enough for two tabs each & we had this big acid party - blood pouring out the walls time!

For some idiot reason, a few of us ventured out -big mistake!- round the station, as thousands of
celebrating footie fans where spilling out onto the street & kicking off into each other.  To compound
matters, as we were racing back to the party, "Mad Desi" a truly horrible, racist, psychotic (in the medical
sense) character appeared... with a damn big axe. ("Mad Desi" once held 20 odd of us "hostage" in one of
the flats, convinced that we where all "police spies".  His other favourite trick was to suspend people, by
the ankles over the balcony - personally speaking; I trust he's long gone.)   "Mad Desi" proceeded to attack
the windows of his (downstairs flat). I managed to stay relatively calm (by probably denying the incident
was real) though one of our party, who had been on the receiving end of the balcony treatment from "Mad
Desi" & friends, literally lost it in the worst panic attack I have ever seen.  On a nicer note, at dawn, we
ended up on a flat roof making mega soap bubbles with coat hangers & watching them float across the
London skyline (& watching little stick figures dancing on the roof of the next tower block).

Stonehenge 80
A friend from school turned up on my doorstep, having deserted from the Navy!  We put him up for a
week or so & decided we would smuggle him to Stonehenge, at which point he decided that he would be
better off taking his chances handing himself in.  As luck would have it, the day I set off, the dole office
decided they had underpaid me & sent me a giro for £100+.  I had arranged to meet people on site,
having found the tents & a message that they where in the pub in the local town.  Of course by the time I
got to the pub, they had gone.

As you will remember they where two roads leading to Stonehenge - the main road, which took a mile
extra, but more cars, or a back road, which was shorter but less traffic.  As it was getting towards dusk, I
decided to take the short route.  After getting a short distance from town, I saw a car approaching me in
the distance.  Standing there hopefully, I stuck out my thumb & glory be, the car stopped a short distance
up the road.  As I ran towards it all the lights flashed on - it was of course a Police patrol car.  I have to
say, the DS bloke was pretty nice, after the obligatory search back at the Station, they gave me a cup of
tea, a fag, an apology (!) & a lift back to the site.  Funny thing was he reckoned that "nobody smokes on
my patch, we've busted them all" - yeah, tell me another one.

The following day I scored some most excellent acid - orange barrel. As the rush kicked in, all I could do
was sit down on the Iron Age hillocks at the back of the site, listen to some Rachmaninov being played at
maximum volume from a sound system & watch this magnificent psychedelic sunset. (At one point the
line of trees turned into a silhouette of a herd of elephants, which started to run round in this gigantic
wheel).  At some point round midnight, having discovered that I could still walk, I came across these little
red dots floating around this campfire, closer inspection revealed all these people dancing round a fire &
waving joss sticks about.   Later on, we all sat watching satellites / shooting stars / UFO's zipping across
the sky whilst I became earnestly involved in conversation with two (tripping) young women, that "yes,
the universe really was an inverted pudding bowl, painted black & if you looked closely enough, you could
see the strings the stars where attached to".  Just one of those little, spontaneous events, which made
Stonehenge so unique.  The last memory I have of that particular trip was standing round a campfire at
8:00 am (ish) some 13 or 14 hours after dropping the tab, still too wrecked to speak, watching blue, red
and green squares, circles and triangles appear on peoples faces.

The Solstice, a week or so later, passed without incident - bar somebody grabbing the mic, as literally
thousands of cars were entering the site & shouting:  "The revolution has started, Downing St is under
attack, Stonehenge has been declared a refugee camp, and the ley lines will protect us ..."  A friend of
mine later related the story of how he heard the broadcast just as some "Orange Barrel" was peaking. He
spent a rather confused night...

Band wise, Inner City Unit played a couple of sets, Nik Turner played flute with a band called Entropy & a
couple of Hawkwind bods turned up & played as an ICU/Hawkwind crossover - WindHawks??  Bar that,
ain't got a clue who I saw, apart from Spacemen 3 & the wonderfully monikered "Psycho Hamster meets
the Killer Doughnuts from Mars". If memory serves me correctly, the latter played something like an
all-night, five-hour set, as nobody else would take the stage.  I think I saw Ruts DC do a set, though after
being on site for three weeks or so, everything became a little blurry round the edges.  Pertinent to this
story is the biker gangs - mainly from the South West, who would turn up in force & colonise a section of
the festival for themselves & woe betide anybody wandering into it (see above).  During the latter part of
the festival Crass turned up & were listed to do a set on the Saturday night.  Rumours started to circulate
that the biker gangs where making noises about it being "their festival" & the punks could, er, "go away".   
At one point, whoever was organising the main stage made an announcement that "we needn't be worried
by Crass, you can easily recognise them, and they are older than us & dressed all in black".  Consequently
I 'dined out' as they say, for months afterwards with a couple of Crass fans of my acquaintance on the
fact that I had chatted to the band round a campfire.   

There was probably a fair amount of politicking going on between the groups. I remember talking to a guy
from Release who were considering leaving before the Saturday night.  (Can't remember if they did or
not). In retrospect, rather foolishly, I scored some "Ying Yang" blotter, on the following Saturday.  I knew
it was going to be good when after about an hour, I got that "electric taste" in my mouth & similar to "Fear
& Loathing... "The sky suddenly rendered open, on good acid, I always had this thing that the sky was
made out of jelly & the horizon was the jelly skin, & all these Pterodactyl type creatures started flowing
out of the hole in the sky.  Some friends had accidentally acquired this guy (from Manchester I think) who
latched onto them. He was spending the whole day scoring anything & everything in sight. I think his
intention was to take his stash back to Manchester.  I bumped into them all, my friends also having
decided to take some acid &  needless to say, this bloke, who had never, ever done hallucinogenics before
had scored some orange barrel... and taken two tabs...  I have some destroyed-synapses memory of
stumbling round yelling about the "fucking bats man, fucking skies full of them" & one friend shouting,
"fucking forget the bats, man, looks what's over there..." At which point we decided to have a cup of tea...

May I assume many readers will have experienced this - deciding to get together a cup of tea when the
initial rush is just peaking on some good acid?  Good, then I can leave the ensuing shambles to your
imagination...  After being chased off the tea stall by some hippy kids shouting "what's three times six, five
times seven", (these kids having some inbuilt radar to spot what condition we where in by then), we
chanced upon a stall selling amyl nitrate a 20p a hit.  To his credit, the guy selling the stuff did explain
exactly what is & what it did.  Did this put the Mancunian off?  I think not, indeed he took this MASSIVE
snort (getting his money's worth).  Ever seen anybody get pole axed? This must be the nearest thing to it I
have ever seen.  Poor sod never knew what hit him.  I met him the next morning, me in some appalling
comedown state (never could handle the day after a good trip all that well) whilst he was still white-faced
& looking pretty shaken.  He reckoned that he spent the rest of the night hiding out under a van, too
scared & paranoid to move as all these creatures & slithery things ran around the site.  By that point the
acid was really kicking in & I decided that this guy was going to do my head in with antics like that.  So I
wandered off down to the main stage.

ICU where just starting a set, I remember a couple of us climbing up the inside of the Pyramid stage &
sitting at the back, looking down on the band. (As Judge Trev Thoms kicked into "(who stole the fucking)
Gas Money."  The next couple of hours, I think I just wandered around until for some reason I ended back
at the main stage, round midnight where a band, I thought it was Crass, but evidently I'm wrong, were
playing & a couple of bikers jumped on stage, punched the singer and commenced to smash everything
up. The rest is pretty confused; I can recall seeing people being chased across the field & beaten up -
some acquaintances from the Islington gay punk contingent were pretty badly hurt.  I later heard that they,
the bikers (to be fair I suppose, a group of them) just set about attacking anybody with short hair who
looked vaguely punkish.  I'm not too sure if this played a part, but some enterprising farmer had brought
(at least) a tanker-full of really potent home made, cheap (he was selling it by the gallon) "scrumpy" on
site.  One of the many disparate groups attending the festival was the squaddies - who would sneak in
after dark (I'm sure that the Commanding Officer would have banned them from a 100 yards of us lot).
The squaddies took to the scrumpy, well, like ducks to water. Quite often round dawn, you would see
squaddies frantically trying to wake up comatose mates from round dying campfires.  Mega-freaked by
this turn of events with the biker gangs (but hey, I survived tripping in Kings Cross, in the company of
this guy who would fight anybody if they looked at him the wrong way), the dilemma was, do I grab my
stuff at 1:00 am & beat it (into the arms of the local constabulary, who were gathered en masse outside
the perimeter & I guess that DS guy was just waiting for me to foul up)...or stay?  

As luck would have it, I bumped into a bunch of hippies running a "chill out" session (long before clubland
got in on the act), whom recognising my freaked out state called me over & calmed me down by feeding
me rice & beans, a joint & a cup of tea - to whom I shall be eternally grateful for their kindness & if they
ever read this A BIG COSMIC THANK YOU.  Really appreciated.  Round 4:00 or 5:00 am, I found myself
back at what was left of the main stage.  Some guy, who deserves the most enormous respect possible (&
again a big thank you) had pulled together a scratch band, got the generator working & started playing
again.  Whoever he was, he deserves respect for having the courage to get on stage & sound off on "how
this was the people's festival & we don't want no fascists wrecking the place".  Braver man than I (at that
time, a veteran of several 1970's anti-Nazi rallies & pitched battles with the NF), I have to say.

I remember coming down, sat on the stage as the sun rose, thinking "fucking hell, I've really fucked up
this time."  I managed to grab some sleep & woke up to a drizzle, the bikers had departed en masse & the
whole site was a smelly tip - compounded by a comedown hangover. There was a really awful band -
"White Feathers" (?) playing in the rain at 10:00 am to nobody & a fistfight broke out round a campfire -
over who owned a pan. So I grabbed my stuff & hitched back to London.  One of the lifts was from a
"geezer" type bloke from "sarf Lundun mate", who had spent a couple of days on site, checking the place
out. He held forth on Thatcherite free market principles (& selling various substances & goods at mark up
prices to the assorted masses).  I guess him & his mates moved in pretty quickly once they realised the
opportunities.

Not all the bikers where like the above.  A couple of days before, I wandered past a group of bikers (from
South London) as dawn was breaking.  The bikers were prising open with an axe, some car batteries.  A
biker came over & said "excuse me man..." leading me to assume he was going to say "have you got 10
pence" - you could not travel 10 ft without been stopped by somebody asking for cash / fags / drugs.   
However, to my pleasant surprise, he said "would you like a try of this" producing a MASSIVE home
made bong - with a double headed pipe to boot, from behind his back.  Turned out they have just arrived
(round 5:00 am to avoid the police) complete with several weights of some extremely good quality Red
Leb & freebies were the sales pitch.  I was sooooooooo stoned I was hallucinating...

Smokey Bears - Hyde Park, May 1982
It poured down, about 100 people turned up & the PA system was abysmal. Enough said.

Kings Cross Benefit Gig
Psycho Hamster, having lost the Killer Donuts suffix, resurfaced in late Summer 81. There was a benefit
gig (pay what you could afford on the door) held in a deconsecrated church in Islington (half way up
Pentonville Rd, on the left if you are travelling up the hill) on behalf of a local squatters group.  I walked
past the site a month or two back - it's now a business centre,  Headlining were (as ever) ICU. To make
this one more interesting, they rigged up a projector - with 50ft images of Judge Dredd & other 2000AD
characters projected onto the back wall.  Needless to say, the police raided us. Apparently they received
complaints about the noise from some two miles away!  (Well, it was 2:00 am) Nik Turner negotiated one
more song - a 20-minute version of "Amyl Nitrate" - which normally ended with a version of the theme
from the 60's TV show "Bonanza". This time, it also segued into "Johnny Todd" - a Liverpudlian folk song,
which was adapted as the theme for (the 60's TV show) Z Cars.

Postscript
For various reasons, I never went back to free festivals after that. However...

(a) My partner did her PhD on a longtitudal study on drink, drugs & stress in medical students & house
officers. Having read the questionnaires (& shouted "Call that drug abuse?  When I was a teenager etc...")  
I did offer up some of the above as anecdotal evidence for her doctorate, but she refused on ethical
grounds!  

(b) A couple of years ago the Halifax bank used a photo from Stonehenge, with Sid Rawle's centre stage in
the Henge itself, as a billboard ad for mortgages.  Sid Rawles, as quoted in the Guardian, claimed that he
had no knowledge of the ads until people started hassling him about how much money he had received
from the Halifax.

(c) I'm into the concept of book circles (spreading the word about good books) & book kharma in a big
way.  May I recommend,  "The Dark is Rising" by Susan Cooper. The sort of thing us aging acid heads
who were at Stonehenge appreciate   A good review can be found at
http://www.greenmanreview.com/dark_is_rising.html   And a wonderful website dedicated to Susan
Cooper can be also be found at: http://www.thelostland.com/darkbook.htm  I found my (hardback) copy
for 25 pence on a jumble stall & read it over a week or so whilst on holiday.    

(d) A couple of years back, my partner and I took our daughter & her friends out to a countryside centre
for the day.  We made wicker & tissue lanterns, ate vegetable stew & chapattis cooked over a campfire
and all trooped of into the woods, accompanied by a story teller, at dusk, with lanterns lit.  The spirit of
Stonehenge lives on...
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