Friday, 13 February 2009

1984 continued - dazed & confused into 85

.... Nenthead, Silver Moon Gathering, August 84 ...
Now here's a thing about memory. I thought my chronology for the summer of 84 was Molesworth, Cantlin Stone then the Silver Moon, but I've just read Rosie aka Dodoze's account of Nenthead which says the Convoy went to Molesworth after Nenthead. Well there you go, my memory is crap! Not really a revelation I suppose.

So, checking the chronolgy on, I went to Cantlin Stone, then Nenthead, then Molesworth. Well, that's that sorted. The second point gleaned from Rosie's account is that there was trouble at Nenthead, which I was blissfully unaware of at the time. We did only go for the weekend, so presumably this kicked off after we'd gone.

Well back to my personal memory retension programme ... arrived at the site after a bumpy ride from Tyneside in the back of someone's transit van and blagged our way in as striking miners. How the hell the guy on the gate fell for that one I don't know, as I'm sure we looked very much like a van full of hippies. Who thought of doing that and why (I don't think the entrance charge was very much) I don't know - not me, guv.

The site was on the sloped side of a small valley, with a road running along the top, and was divided by gullys running down the side of the hill. The first impression was of a crazy market place. It seemed everyone was selling stuff, mostly acid & mushrooms from what I remember, and after partaking I don't remember too much. My first ever tab kicked in as I sat watching Big Amongst Sheep (I think it was them) while the ground undulated underneath me. There was a guy with an ice cream van who I couldn't look at for too long as he started to look like the stuff he was selling - strawberry red face and white fluffy hair. An evening round the fire finished off with a spot of teleportation to the local mushroom tea store and then .... blank. Waking up with my feet in the fire place, and a gorgeous hot and sunny day. We walked to the local village store and I filled up on several mars bars. I remember there was a police van parked on the top road with a couple of local bobbies watching the proceedings, but don't recall any bother over the weekend. Bands? Wouldn't have a clue, didn't seem to be a priority, but there were a couple of marquees with people playing I think. Mostly the weekend was a haze of acid tinged mental wanderings, soaking up the very weird atmosphere. And I can't remember leaving this one either!

And then, so other people's memory tells me, it was off to the Green Gathering at Molesworth (see previous post)....

... I went back to Molesworth later in the year with Russ & Sheila in an old Busby BT van. The atmosphere was a bit subdued as I recall, but kind of relaxing. Maybe it was October, as it was getting cold. The free food tent was great, with a raven or crow that perched wherever, totally oblivious to the noise and commotion. And a couple of people, one with a sitar(?), playing old Irish & folk songs. They struck a chord with me as I was just starting to listen to Planxty, and starting out on the long road of Irish Traditional music (still there). I remember drifting off to sleep across the front seats of the van with them playing around a camp fire really softly (was it Lakes of Pontchartrain?). Wonderful. And Eirene, the peace chapel, with loads of stuff cemented into the walls, like the harmonica which you could still play as it sat in the wall. Think it was this visit where the wheat was harvested for Eritrea. The next visit was in February 1985, two days after the eviction. We heard almost straight away, don't know how, and hastily arranged transport down, only to find everything over and done. A few people had set up a small camp at the gate, can't recall who, but the Quakers were still there. And I went back one more time, to the big CND organised demo, where we wandered round the razor wire perimeter closely shadowed by military police on the other side. With all the later concentration on what would happen in Wiltshire that June, I sometimes think that the Rainbow Village at Molesworth and the eviction there goes quietly forgotten, which is a shame. Try searching for it on the web ...

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