Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Novelty Headgear Report

This post has taken a little while to arrive. There are three reasons for the delay:

1/ I’ve been waiting for Pat, who rashly let it be known a few days ago that he had some pictures of Knebworth somewhere. Of course this necessitated finding them first – and Pat has many more important things to do with his life than rummage through boxes in the garage just to keep me happy.

He came through. Thank you, Pat.

2/ The arrival of the pictures kicked off a technical crisis with the scanning technology that’s far too boring to go into here.

3/ The arrival of the pictures kicked off a minor emotional crisis that I’m still trying to get to the bottom of.

Let’s try.

These pictures make me sad.

Say what?

That’s what they do. I’d never seen them, you see. So I haven’t had 31 years to get used to them, like so much peeling wallpaper that’s been around so long you don’t even notice the pattern. These came through as fresh and startling as if they’d been taken yesterday.

There’s not much there, for the disinterested observer. A crowd scene, with people trudging past the corrugated iron on their way to the undoubtedly terrifying toilet facilities. A man I don’t know holding up a sign that indicated singular bad planning on his part. Someone else eating an ice cream cone and wearing a knotted handkerchief on his head, for all the world as if he was sitting on the beach at Skegness.

And then there’s a shot of the legendary Jesus, leaning on a railing at the front of the crowd. Which is where he always was, at every 70s rock festival I ever attended. Always came alone, always the first to idiot dance, always wore a kaftan. Here he’s stripped down to his swimming trunks to impress a passing lady, but I’m sure he didn’t arrive like that. Besides, it was a hot day. I hadn’t realised how hot till I saw these pictures.

Those pictures I can cope with. They’re like something out of Pathe News: a disembodied clip from the history of our times.

The others are more problematical. There’s Paul and Mark F, side by side and lost in thought. There’s a back view of Stuie, sipping Coke. There’s Yaya, blurry and grinning. There’s Pat himself, in a truly 70s yellow shirt. There’s Andy Bunny, picking his way through the crowd in his finest Easy Rider shades. There’s Penny, who I didn’t realise was even there, leaning on an unknown shoulder. There’s Libby knitting, as she so often did, even at rock gigs. There’s my brother’s floppy leather hat, right next to Sizi Pargeter’s equally daft woollen headpiece. There’s Flash, modelling not one but two silly titfers (we forgive him on account of him being from Newcastle and all).

And there’s Libby again, asleep against your correspondent’s pale and interesting torso. We were in love once, in a way you can probably only be when you’re 19 years old and barely able to understand what relationships mean. But I think by now we were just hanging on to the threads.

It didn’t ruin the day. Why would it have? But seeing these things again now, suddenly and without much warning, makes me want to run stumbling backwards through the dark wood, scattering faded snapshots like fallen leaves. So I can find my way more easily next time.

Music fans will remember there was much else to be joyous about on the 20th July 1974. And you’d be right. All the visual evidence Pat could muster lies at the bottom of this very long photoblog. We’ll get back to the narrative when the Allman Brothers have finished their set.

And yes: it was a semi-religious experience. Even without Duane…


Blogger Ms Mac said...

A different world!

6:32 pm  
Blogger DeltaCharles said...

A different world? Not.

Another time, another place (check the billing, Van the Man's there), fer shure, but same world.

I am the same age as Tony Blair. His world is my world. I would prefer that my world is his world, but I didn't enter politics. That is democracy.

What I find so intriguing about this blook is how it illustrates the frailty of memory. That frailty, generally, enables our democratically elected governments to get away with fucking blue murder. I'd like to encourage Mark in this venture in order that perhaps some people's memories may be sufficiently jogged that they may register some outrage at what is currently being perpetrated in the name of the "electorate".

And not only that, I defy anyone to propose a current rock-and-roll band to compare with The Allman Brothers, or Little Feat (but they weren't at Knebworth so I guess they don't count).

8:48 pm  
Anonymous Caroline M said...

Beautiful Mark...yes the past can make you lie back and weep sometimes...

Of course, it wasn't all sunny days at concerts, but y' can all seem so much less complicated wasn't, natch.

And great photos.

9:51 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Aw. Thank you.

9:57 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

I take no credit for the photos, by the way. All Pat's work.

10:01 am  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Errr, Delta. Little Feat definitely DO count.

I believe Tony Blair plays guitar, too. We're that sort of generation...

10:02 am  

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