Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Reflections of a hippie chick

England is big on summer music festivals. There's the Carling Weekend Festival here in Reading and Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival and tons more. Ten years ago, I would've been out there ecstatically dancing in the rain while avoiding other revelers' lit cigarettes and their projectile vomiting (which follows after drinking and smoking and dancing all weekend, or at least it did in my day -- fyi, I was never the one smoking or hurling; instead, I was the chick sober enough to actually be annoyed if someone spewed on my shoes).

But now I'm 37. As I watched news reports of summer festivals, I realized the whole thing just doesn't sound appealing anymore. I still love live music, but the whole getting-crushed-while-needing-to-pee-but-unwilling-to-
lose-good-spot-by-stage thing went out with my 20s and never returned. Lots of things went out with my 20s -- like working for peanuts and dating Army guys -- but that era has ended, and good riddance!

I enjoy live music, and will go to a show if I'm sure there will be comfortable seating and clean toilets. My husband will go if I don't make fun of him for putting in ear plugs so all that big, loud music won't hurt his wittle ears. God, we're old.

The ironic part is I have often been called a "hippie chick," and this is in the real world where no one knows I've dubbed myself "Groovy Yank" online. It's probably because I have long hair, go light on the makeup, dig mood rings (and still use words like "dig"), and love poet tops and tunics. One guy (with shoulder-length hair who looked rather granola himself) once asked me if I was conceived during Woodstock. Which is unlikely, as my boring parents were home listening to Johnny Horton albums while all the cool people were watching Hendrix and getting sick on the brown acid. But he had a point ... I was born in April 1970, and Woodstock was in the summer of '69 ... OK, so my parents weren't actually AT Woodstock, but I could've been conceived while it was going on. Which was a nice thought, until I checked the dates, and Woodstock was only eight months before I was born. And yet another interesting-yet-misleading claim to make over drinks at bars died.

But it's just as well, as I'm not a true hippie -- I'm like a nouveaux hippie. I'm the kind of hippie that would've gone to Woodstock and danced in the mud, I just wouldn't have been naked or stoned while I was doing it. That behavior is best reserved for private times, like holidays with the in-laws if your husband continues to forget when your anniversary is even though you've been married less than a year. (You listening, sweetie? You'd better set a reminder on your cell phone. Wait, what am I thinking -- you'd better read the manual and figure out how to use your cell phone, then set a reminder -- Dec. 19. Either remember that, or we'll have a family Christmas you'll never forget.)

But the music-lover and hippie in me can still appreciate how awesome it is to have so many good music festivals in one small country. I think it's great in theory, if not in practice (at least not for this aging hippie chick). I may gripe about the cost of living and the NHS and freakin' roundabouts (grrr!), but when it comes to music, England rocks.

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