Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hal Capone's guns don't h'argue

I had a tiny spat with that doyen of the dylanoligists Michael Gray on the true class nature of the 1969 Isle of white festival here.  Michael is the author of the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia,  "Song and Dance Man", and "Hand me down my Travelling Shoes" as well as countless scholarly articles on Dylan. So you need to be alert to question his judgement.  He contends that there were thousands of "working class" youth at the Festival. My judgement , although I wasn't there, is that hippydom and the festival by association was largely middle class.

Now this is not an issue which will trouble many people I grant you, and it maybe a question of emphasis.  However to say that Prince Buster hasn't been as influential in the great tide of human culture as Jimi Hendricks, one needs a particular point of view. In our  house Prince Buster and the classic "O Carolina" by  The Fokes Brothers here has been the centrepoint of many more parties than Jimi's  "All along the watch Tower".


  1. Wow Anon

    I really appreciate your thoughts

  2. Think I'll go for a walk

  3. my cousin went to that concert and he was at a grammar but me at college at the time, both working class really, but the stones concert in hyde park in 1970, which i attended, was full of middle class ppl IMO so i think the point he makes is not borne out by the evidence...its too sweeping a generalisation...and anyway what do americans even know about class they ain't got any!? oh dear, better take a walk...

  4. Hi Peter
    The substantive question for me is, was the hippy philosophy a middle class phenomonen?
    I am prepared to concede that some of the kids and artists at IOW came from working class backgrounds. Many working
    class kids who went to grammar schools and art schools were exposed to middle class culture and went on to become middle class.
    What Thatcher and Blair described and eulogised as social aspiration and social mobility. My own experience of working class skinheads who began to appear round that time was that they hated the hippies. Then the punk revolution put all the old hippies out to grass.
    and of course many of the hippy generation went on to become bastions of the establishment.

    What was the intellectual and philosophical grounding of the hippy movement? Eastern spirituality, a rejection of consumerism,
    a rejection of war, and a belief in 'doing your own thing". The day when the festivals put up fences and started charging
    saw and end to the hippy dream.

    Michael Gray btw is a brit.

  5. thanks joe soon as i said that about americanos i knew he would be a brit good old sods law in action once again! LOL well yes to all you say Joe of course that's how things went, there was an eastern spirituality element and smoking weed and tripping out of course but then there was also the strong anti-business and strong "feel the vibes, man" approach to just about everything which meant considerable cynicism about politics and business people on one side, OR very strident Marxism and Trotskyites on the other. "Come the revolution," as you will recall was a very common phrase along with 'do your own thing' and "too much far out!" so yes those were interesting times alright! man! i also think the hippies kind of pretended they were classless which was a bit of a joke cuz most of them were educated and from middle class homes...