(A post prompted by redneckprincess describing her son as a “hippie kid” 🙂 )
The Chair stood in the middle of the room. The time had come, as I knew it would, and it was now or never. Or, at least, until the next time. My Dad circled the chair, snip, snip, at my brother’s head. The scissors glinting malevolently in the evening sunlight like the Shears of Zorro. The locks falling.
It was 1968. The year of Vietnam – My Lai, Civil Rights marches, Student riots in Paris, Martin Luther King Jr assassinated, The Beatles created Apple Records and gave us The White Album, Led Zeppelin’s first live gig, ………and I was not going to cut my hair.
This was also, I think, the first time I ever stood up to my Dad and said “No”. You can imagine the tension. “Alan, come and have your hair cut.”
“No, I’m growing it”
“Alan, come. Now.”
“No, I want to grow it.”
……..and so it went on …..for probably about 3 or 4 minutes but it seemed more like 10 at the time. All the while, the stand-off. Eventually my Mum took my side and the chair was pushed back under the dining room table and the Shears of Zorro were put away. Silence fell.
And so it was that I grew my hair, started dressing weirdly and listening to psychedelic music, and their first born morphed into a Hippy Kid. I didn’t develop the bouncy hop of attitude but I knew where I was going. I remember I bought a chocolate brown suede/leather jacket with a bottle green shoulder yoke and cuffs that I was very fond of. I wore it everywhere. Couple this with a pair of purple loon pants and I was stunning. Loon pants back then were flares with about an extra foot of material per leg flaring out across the pavement – not the mild versions you get today which are basically flares.
Some Saturdays I would grab the train to London to just cruise Carnaby Street and the record stores. (One Saturday, I decided I would spend the afternoon at Highbury watching the Arsenal game. This was in the days when you could just turn up at the turnstile and just go in. I recall feeling a bit stupid when I realised that I couldn’t move because the guys either side of me were stood on my trousers ! Loon Pants ! Cool, huh ! )
Then John & Yoko hit………..”standing on the dock at Southampton…….trying to get to Holland or France..” and I would mark my presence at the town disco (what a dated word !) by dressing entirely in WHITE. I didn’t have much luck with the girls at this stage. I guess they didn’t want to be seen with someone who looked like Robin Hood during the day and a tampon at night. But I thought I was cool. I knew the Hippy Chicks would find me sooner or later.
I would wander the streets between friend’s houses carrying my Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, under my arm. My Kerouac, Ginsberg and Wolfe in my bag. Dedicated Follower of Fashion.
If only I’d kept the photos.