September 9th, 2005

This IS me (by schwitters)Default

We Are Stardust

It's Bob Dylan/Martin Scorsese season at the National Film Theatre:

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to tonight's screening of Woodstock: The Director's Cut. There will be a half-hour interval at approximately 8:20. Enjoy the film, and don't eat the brown acid."

I went along partly for the music and partly for the footage of 1960s Youth enjoying itself. My admiration for the kids who sat through three days of the real thing in a sea of mud knows no bounds; a three-and-a-half hour film in the relative comfort of NFT3 was tough enough, despite the opportunity to slip out for a Whopper Junior during the intermission.

Music first. Joan Baez sending shivers down your spine; Country Joe and his Fish cheerfully subversive ("Listen people, I don't know how you expect to ever stop the war if you can't sing any better'n that!"); Crosby, Stills & Nash squinting at the 500,000-strong crowd like deer caught in headlights; Grace Slick looking prettier than anyone should at that hour of the morning. Plenty of acts I didn't recognise until the credits (so that's what Sly & the Family Stone look like!) and even some names I didn't know, leading me to Google Richie Havens later.

Three hundred hours of footage were whittled down to leave only the most perfect moments, and there were many of these. You start out laughing at the interviews with local residents, indignant or indulgent, and the oh so serious, oh so stoned youngsters, but soon you're laughing with pleasure at the sheer joy captured on camera.

Shaving in the lake; nude Frisbee; sliding through mud; eating watermelon. Small naked children engrossed in games, oblivious to the adults taking drugs and practising yoga around them. A mongrel timidly licking the ear of an equally worried-looking sheep. The bloke cleaning the chemical toilets, with one son somewhere among the festival crowd and another in Viet Nam.

Wonder where they all are now?
  • Current Music
    Flying High - Country Joe & the Fish