I was asked if Doctor Who could take me on a journey in his Tardis where I would choose to go, but when it came to seriously thinking about it I was stumped. I considered the periods of history that I knew something about and dismissed them one by one.
· The Roman invasion of Britain with me in a toga surrounded by lusty Italians – censored.
· The Battle of Hastings – I would probably end up having to sew the tapestry.
· The Boston Tea Party – drinking the tea before they could chuck it in the sea
· The opening of Crystal Palace, the Tardis crashing through the glass roof – Queen Vicky would not be amused.
· Joining the French Resistance in the Second World War – my Yorkshire accent would give me away at the first allo allo.
None of those were tempting. The two things that put me off the most about traveling too far back in time are that women were second-class citizens until recent years and I would not voluntarily visit those times. Plus people ponged, they did not wash very often and I cannot stand the reek of BO on others or myself. I would really stand out from the crowd if I took my toiletries and probably be burned at the stake as a witch, would Doctor Who rescue me I wonder.
After much deliberation I decided upon a time since I was born, the weekend following August 15th 1969 and Woodstock. Frivolous maybe, but that and the Band Aid concert in 1984 both left a great impression on me. I’ve still got the Band Aid concert on video somewhere so I can watch that again and go there in kind.
I was in my early teens when Woodstock happened. I had a little transistor radio and used to listen to the pirate stations when I was tucked up in bed at night. Hippies had come on the scene a couple of years earlier. I can remember laughing at my older brother when he got a flowered tie, but life evolves and I was wearing beads and bells not long after Woodstock.
I remember watching the television news that weekend. Seeing 400,000 dirty, longhaired, disheveled, drugged up hippies dancing to the music or sitting spaced out in the mud. The newspapers were full of pictures and articles about this crazy event that brought a sense of astonishment to millions of others worldwide. The concert was about love and peace, but I can clearly remember Woodstock showing me a sense of freedom that I had not known existed.
I cannot exactly say why that weekend in history impressed me so much, I have never been interested in being spaced out, but I would dearly love to go back in time and see some of the 31 bands performing.
Day one commenced with a Richie Havens set which included the Beatles classics Hey Jude and Strawberry Fields. It ended with Joan Baez singing the freedom anthem We Shall Overcome. I wonder how many times that has been sung in protest since.
Day two included sets from Santana, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Creadence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly And The Family Stone, The Who and Jefferson Aeroplane. Can you imagine seeing and hearing all of those great acts in one day – unbelievable?
Although Jefferson Aeroplane ended the day, next to last the Who, performed 24 songs. More by far than any other act at the mad extravaganza. Some of which were I Can’t Explain, Tommy Can You Hear me, Pinball Wizard, I’m Free, See Me Feel Me, Summertime Blues, Shaking All Over, and of course My Generation. Heck that was my generation; I can feel it now when I hear the music of my teenage years. I remember racking up my pinball scores with Pinball Wizard playing in the background.
Day three started with Joe Cocker singing Delta Lady ooooh I can hear his gravely voice in my head. Fourth up was Ten Years After, and following them The Band. Later on Blood Sweat and Tears and then last Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, must have been before Graham Young left the band.
The fourth and last day started with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Everything’s Gonna Be Alright. Next up was Sha Na Na whose numbers included Jailhouse Rock, Wipe Out, Who Wrote The Book Of Love, Duke Of Earl and At The Hop. Can you imagine after three days of drugs and sex and roughing it being roused by rock and roll.
Last to play because he always refused to precede anybody else was the great Jimi Hendrix. I’m not into analysing music or tracks but I know what I like and that man was one heck of a guitar player. He ended the crazy party with his 16th number of the day Hey Joe.
What I am wondering right now is why on earth I have so many of the goodies played at Woodstock on Vinyl and nothing to play them on and be able to take little nostalgic trips backwards whenever I want. Time to start building up my CD collection I think.
As a bonus for being good and not shocking Doctor Who by dancing naked in the corn I would then ask him to take me to the present day to see what happened to some of those who attended Woodstock.
Now that would be interesting. Only yesterday I saw a guy who used to attend the same hippy parties as I did. He was well into anything that blew his mind and by the time he was 20 Graham was a wreck. Now his hair is a foot shorter and he was wearing a smart conservative business suit. What a difference 30 odd years makes!
To end my trip I’ll list a few facts that I found out about Woodstock on the Internet.
It cost $ 6.50 for an advance ticket for one day. In 1989 one was sold for $ 8,000
500,000 Frankfurters and Hamburgers were eaten on the first day.
Santana were paid $ 1,500, the Grateful Dead got $ 7,500 and the Who got $ 11,200.
It cost $ 1 for a Hot Dog and $ 1 for a loaf of bread and a quart of milk.
Three tracheotomies were performed.
A hit of Acid or Mescaline cost $ 4 and an ounce of Marijuana cost $ 15.
Only 33 people were arrested on drugs charges yet 500 freaked out on bad LSD trips.
450 cows mixed freely with the campers for 3 days.
Only 600 Portaloos available.
Back in my time I remember seeing the Woodstock movie that was released in 1979, maybe it would be a good idea to see if I can get hold of a copy and see if my trip still looks far out man.