I was born in 1949 so the sixties came about at exactly the right time for me.
I was fourteen when the Stones and Beatles blew the world apart and I grew up with them.
At sixteen I was reading Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs, listening to Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Ray Davies, growing my hair, developing a finely tuned social conscience, and cultivating a horror at the way the world was run and discovering an alternative way of living that was far more colourful, meaningful and fun.
We lived in the shadow of the bomb in the chill of the cold war.
I thought there had to be a better way.
The world I inhabited was boring, racist, hypocritical, elitist and highly conforming.
At sixteen I had a motorbike, freedom and my thinking was dominated by sex, love, girls and music. We talked endlessly about the Stones, Pretty Things, Animals, Kinks, Yardbirds, Beatles, Downliners Sect, Nashville Teens, Mojos and …….. Music was king.
As my hair grew my rebellious attitude proliferated and I found myself suspended from school quite a bit.
My parents despaired. They wanted me to get a good career, earn lots of money and have the lifestyle they had dreamed of. They couldn’t understand why I did not agree. I wanted freedom, girls and rebellion. We rowed a lot.
At sixteen I had no idea what I wanted to do in life aside from the fact that I wanted to live, love and eat up the world.
School went by the board. It was a side event.
I had already decided that I did not want any part of the war machine they called society. I did not want to be in a career where I prostituted myself for money to purchase houses, cars and status crap – to mortgage my life away. I did not want the boring, pointless, hypocritical life of the previous generation. I did not want to be part of that machine that was bulldozing the world. I saw it as self-destructive, selfish, greedy and empty. Happiness wasn’t to be found in ownership. It was to be found in friendship, love and experience.
I saw society as immoral. I wanted out. That brought me into conflict.
In 67 I had hair below my shoulders and was living in London and going out with the most amazing crazy woman and life was good. It consisted of parties, friends, gigs and craziness. We sat up nights rapping, playing music and laughing. That was living.
We knew life was about experience – not cash.
We had little money. We hitched everywhere, lived on air and grooved. I was at college and did a little casual work to buy albums, get to gigs and eat.
The music scene was brilliant. The underground, with its alternative culture philosophy, was underway with Bands like Hendrix, Cream, Family, Traffic, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Free, John Mayall, Tomorrow and Soft Machine playing at Middle Earth, the Toby Jug, Klook’s Kleek and the Marquee. There were free festivals and revolution in the air. We all wanted something better. We trooped to Les Cousins to hear a fiery Roy Harper, Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Jackson C Frank. Bands came across from the States with their brand of Acid Rock – Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Mothers of Invention, Love and the rest. There weren’t enough hours in the day.
For me the sixties meant a totally different, alternative way of life with different values. My world rocked. Between 67 and 71 life was a riot.
What does the sixties mean to you?