‘BE YE WISE AS SERPENTS AND GENTLE AS DOVES’. JESUS CHRIST.
SERPENT STRINGS AND THE MYSTIC MOISTURE OF INFINITY.
From the dive bar temples, incubating the future, now to the spot where the creative frisson of musical youth boiled and fizzed at the flash -point, and the stuttering strings of the guitar, jolting into electric sparks, igniting gut nylon and steel friction, bending and bleeding in the new stringed dawn…
Now winging on transatlantic currents, blending old and new, past and present, into a lustrous neon vine of electro-acoustic fusions – a baroque tinder box about to spectacularly flair into a panoramic vista – a medieval pageant come alive in a psychedelic garden where pied pipers multi-plied and danced in a daisy chain vine of lyric and lick that coiled around the dry throbbing throat of the world, liberating and lubricating a thousand voices, all singing back to the garden, thank you Joni!
Here we are advanced to the Zenith of the music and the times, and to the nadir of that incandescent, spectacular, overloaded time, and have arrived at a crucial point of departure, a curve in the space-time continuum in our narrative journey, and a cardinal turning point at that. Entering another dimension, a parallel universe existing in the demented time warp blizzard, whirling through the kaleidoscopic Blessed, Blitzed and Bombed out psychedelic sixties. An era that seemed to engulf everything before it. Over which soared, like an eagle with the wings of a dove, the wounding, piercing strings of the guitar.
Accelerating to a point of splendour and overwhelming wonder -and of cinematic glory, indeed an epic moment in the voyage of humanity, to when man first ventured into space and walked on the moon, and where, spectacularly seen from on high, rolling into view for the first time: The magnificent spinning blue-green Earth, our planet, beautiful and beaming, round and glowing, mounting space in the mystic moisture of infinity.
Meanwhile down here, beneath the moon and glowing stars and hurtling planets, and running parallel to that momentous occasion, it seems there also occurred then on Earth, something pivotal, – a dramatic and climatic counter-point, a musical and metaphysical eclipse of sorts, overwhelming and ironic, and full of synergetic strangeness and wonder.
As, in a tangential leap out of body, out of mind and a Magellan like plunge into cosmic consciousness and inner space, where it seemed for a giddy split-second, experienced in a syncronistic simultaneity, overwhelmingly obvious to an consciousness crazed ecstatic youth that, reflected within and without the whole planet, the whole universe was One. And for a few dazed moments it seemed as if we were all united in one vast universal embrace.
In that phantom flash of mischief and mysticism, madness and mayhem; in the nanosecond jolt of psychedelic illumination that erupted like the big bang, exploding out of nowhere, downloading cosmic consciousness into inner space and turning on the dynamo of the whirling cosmos, scattering prismatic beams of light, love and liberation, spinning in a synesthetic stream through the magic lantern of the senses, fusing music and metaphysics, magic and mayhem in a psychedelic spectrum of the erotic and sublime, sacred and profane, melting in a blissful cosmic dance.
As if a cosmic Party were grooving till dawn on Krishna’s lawn, where Mantle clad hippies and dancing merry pranksters, sprinkled microdot droplets of LSD, that fizzed and sparkled into dazzling love bead chains, overflowing from the flower fizzing fountain of liberated libidos frolicking in a psychedelic garden of gurus and gargoyles, charlatans and cheats, prophets and preachers, healers, dealers and drop-outs, libertarians and leeches, heroes, heels, and heads, magicians, and mandalas and mind blown underground freaks, all looped together in a wild Dionysian frenzy, swirling in the sixties psychedelic dust–bowl, releasing a consciousness craze that bounced and buckled around the twin hemispheres of the brain and shook the planetary heads, hearts and minds of a whole generation packed and peaking at the climax of the largest tribal gathering of youth and music anywhere yet seen in the western world – the Magical Woodstock festival.
Sacred, Sliding , Serpent Strings, ascending and descending, wildly winding, rising like a coiled King, shooting from the hip of the Electric Muse. Orpheus re-strung, high-wired, booted up into the present, with an electric shudder into hyper drive, pulsing through the tremulous psyches of a thousand throbbing bodies, trembling together in a primordial hug, jolted in an harmonic blaze of sound that shimmered and shook like light spattering the soul with splashes of gold skimming on liquid bars of sunlight! Nectar licks, lacerating the skin , peeling the erogenous zones of multitudes of ecstatic pulsing beings, coiled together at the collective hip and melting in the rhythmic heat and solar power of the guitar, strident upon the world stage, emblematic, soaring on transcendent strings, flailing into cosmic riffs with an axis bold as love…
LASHING CHORDS OF CHANGE: The sublime arrows of the Golden Dawn.
Delirium tremors, flash-backs, where it seemed for a strange fragrant moment, flower tipped arrows flew from rhapsodic strings, harmonic harpoons of bliss and love that ripped and stripped us of everything and scored the soul with wild stirrings of magic and melodies of strange majesty, power and wonder.
As if somehow the mighty music hath the power, like Orpheus to shake the trees and awaken all that was good and beautiful, all that lay witheringly dormant and for a tremulous moment brought to the surface, radiant, shining in dance music and song .
‘Too much man,’ as they said a lot back then. Yet when you strip it all down, revolutions are also violent, messy things, and much good is often swept away and destroyed and even love is poison and perilous when it’s blind.
Overboard, blinded in the occult glare, in the prismatic flux, where for a time all things flowed into each other and then out again in the inevitable come down.
Just as everything has its opposite counter -pole, its complementary other, and let me say here, I am only too well aware of the other, so well documented, dark and tormented down side, prevalent as the decade subsided. Stunning in the overdrive into novelty, in the nose-dive into sensation, satiation and saturation -worming in the dank dungeon , in the collective pit of the psyche, slithering through the toxic underbelly of the time – all too soon collapsing in a collective helter skelter come down, – in a black eclipse of drugs, depravity, crime and despair, resulting in murder and mayhem, not mystery and magic, mixing with the collective ‘come-down’ of a generation pulled from the pulpits of occult heights and the dazzling dizzy peaks of Nirvana , briefly glimpsed but glimpsed, never the less.
Those were heady times, high jacked at the extremes by the frothing media, sucked, knuckle-dusted into oblivion, fast descending into chaos, into the abyss, carpet- bagged, over stylized, ripped off, stereotyped and sold; downgraded, diminished and degraded into ephemera and fashion, – a drug drenched chimera, disappearing into the gushing shallows of hyperbole and the misty shadows of myth.
A necessary hedonic purge of the post-war years, some have suggested, and that, in part is true, but only up to a point, that was not all it was, you can be sure. What’s more, its far too sweeping and dismissive, not to say, misleading a statement that over-simplifies, trivializes even, and discards so much that was honest, urgent, vital, necessary, innovative and creative,and that ranged across a vast cultural spectrum.
The super novae exploding over the rolling Earth’s skies, the galactic turning point, where something elemental heaved and struck, like primordial lightning, and past, present and future were churned up in the expanding youth-quake; an inter-stellar cluster, glistening like an exploding tear-drop rolling into splendour in the atomic sunrise beaming in the radiant and thirsty eyes of youth.
Twinkle, twinkle, bright coloured sparks that stop and start, fizzle and dart, glow in the dark and, like fire-flies – depart. Fire-flies, lighting the dark! Flip-flop, hip- hop, over the top! I know, please forgive me, dear patient and indulgent reader, and here pleading guilty immediately, let me absolutely and honestly admit that this also was a generation guilty of many excesses and faults . Indeed, a generation of hopeless romantics, gushing optimism, mind bending naivety and, of course, great needle-stacks of youthful folly!
Though even and ever so long ago now, and there has been many changes since, it behoves me still to point out that the music was only the messenger and the herald of change, not the change itself, but carrying the seeds of change.
Perhaps I have already swerved too far out on these philosophical and historical excursions, as I can sense a familiar rippling across my skin, an irritating prickling sensation, emanating from the hot snort of derision, rising irritation and mounting impatience, pressing on the perspiring break-pedals of suppressed outrage and disgust!
As even perhaps now, long ago, you have grown bored and consigned this to the dustbin, scoffing, take off the faded rose tinted, tie-died spectacles you’re wearing grand-daddy o, and muttering new age drivel, pop philosophy soap and self-indulgent mumbo-jumbo. I exaggerate, ironically and mildly and lightly of course, here and there for dramatic and comic effects, but that is permitted, else what else is imagination for?
And as reason, courage and optimism insists, I must continue under the fierce, critical lash of your scorn and pity, by repeating, with a word to the wise, if you please, that if you do sense such prophetic things exist in music and verse, just as Plato himself and perhaps a few eminent others observed a long time ago, ‘When the mode of music changes, the walls of the city shake’ and shake they did, and came tumbling down as the old and decaying are swept away and something new is born, whose time has come.
Now looking back, and with some dramatic irony and DYNAMIC historic precision, witness erupting in Britain, two generations later, – in the pulse of a baby’s heart-beat, rising in the rhythmic re-shuffle, pounding on the dance floor, bellowing out in the echo-chamber of time – a new synthesis – an increased tempo, as if to parallel the times, swept forward by the dynamic dancing, double helix, upwardly mobile DNA evolutionary spiral, and the newly minted techno -turbine turntables of evolutionary Rave culture and the DIY shamanic dancing Acid-house generation of the eighties and nineties, raving and partying into transcendent bliss, optimism and the second summer of love and soon hip-hopping around the planet, into the new millennium and the cybernetic techno – dawn of the internet.
Finally near the end of my philosophic ranting and retrospective explorations, and not too ponderous, I hope er, literary excursions in time travel. Now to get a little sentimental, poetic, mystical even – and, no doubt, a little pompous to boot. Time to tinkle once more , the fairy bells of memory, and if it serves me well, add a touch of novelty and charm, with just a twist of humour, brevity and justness, – philosophically justified that is – it seems to me, in light of an crucial and important and unjustly over-looked, to my mind, historical neglected – and for some, no doubt an uncomfortable and irritating reminder of those supreme optimists; indeed those long, long un-appraised,unappreciated and unrepentant and liberated Botticelli angels and Pre-Raphael look-a likes , those very fine, long flowing haired, now ancient weird scruffy looking wizards and Bisto kids look-a likes,
Indeed those very shocking, romantic and daring, idealistic and mind-blown, hookah – puffing, Godfathers of the green, eco-warrior -new age traveller gypsy cyber punk- acid-house raver and conscious clubber of to-day. Just those irrepressible, relevant salt of the Earth, pipers at the gates of dawn hippies, pointed out back then, far out and twinkling still, in an orbital sunrise, ever coming around again, in the ever radiant golden dawn: The immortal Hippies.
So on it passed , the great revolution had come and gone , had done its work and split. Something vital happened: Spiritual awakening, Occult revival, Youth-quake, cultural revolution, Cosmic Quest, psychedelic circus , musical renaissance, orgy, sexual liberation, war, revolution -a new frontier in science and psychology, the global village paradigm shift, where a common collective species consciousness emerged for the first time. All these things.
Something had shifted, change had come, but back then but no one was exactly sure what it was?
A time for many when it seemed as if the planet shook and consciousness trembled in the cultural jolt, and we were all little stunned from the initial fall-out, – from the prismatic shock, splitting everything open like the atom, and then vanishing like the dawn disappearing into mist, into infinity, into relativity, scattered into a trillion fragmented parts, but before bolting into the beyond, leaving open an invisible door, a karmic hoof-print left on galloping time, and an indelible sniff of the ineffable that’s laced in the legacy of a transcendent riff and the lashing chords of change, thrumming on the slashing strings of an electric guitar. Music Ho!