Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back, and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play……
And so another year, albeit an extraordinary year politically, winds to its close, these winter months seem to beckon out to our pasts with Christmas cards from long-forgotten friends and “We must meet up soon!” scrawled hastily at the bottom of each such card.
We never do meet, unless of course, out of the blue, some organised “reunion” is suggested. I am well used to the constant invites, dinners, commemoratives, and other functions put on by my old school. It's one of those independent schools that relies heavily on active fund raising in addition to the fees paid by the parents of the current students. I still live near the school, as do many other friends from my time there and so these “reunions” have no real meaning or shock value.
BUT about two years ago a recently retired close friend of mine from university, with spare time on his hands, took it upon himself to track down each and every one of our “crowd” at college.
Our college, at Oxford, was always renowned for producing free-thinking individuals, and back in the 70s, we were at the forefront of political activism against, and often in conflict with the University as a whole, with demonstrations, sit-ins, and occupation of University buildings. We believed we cared. We were largely long-haired, left-wing hippy types. We defined ourselves by the albums we liked to be seen walking about with clutched under our arms.
To be hip, cool albums were as follows:
Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd (a great cover for rolling tobacco on, etc.)
American Beauty, Grateful Dead
Astral Weeks, Van Morrison
Sailin Shoes, Little Feat
Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons
Any Hendrix, or Led Zeppelin
The Captain and Me, Doobie Brothers
Exile on Main Street, Rolling Stones
Bowie, and Desperado, The Eagles