5 to 1, baby, 1 in 5

by davebarclay1954

No-one here gets out alive. Welcome dear reader to my latest blog, I really must bring myself up to date with these and force myself to come on here at least 3 times a week to add a blog, even if I’ve got nothing to say (like now for instance) I can blog about that.

I dug up another old album and have been listening to that on repeat play for the last couple of days, the album is Their Satanic Majesties Request, not every track is a gem but as an album they all seem to gel and add to the overall appeal of the entire album. It brings back memories to me of a summer full of fun and sunshine (not too much rain that I can recall in ’67). A time of reflection, with friends, listening to either this album or the other biggy of that year (Blonde on Blonde) or an album by some group or other called Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Oh yes, magical times, my dear reader. There was nothing we could not do, I knew about the “police action/conflict” that was happening in Vietnam, the student protests against the war. My friends and I were all paid up hippies and believed in peace, love, free speech (one each) and free love. The summer of ’67 became known as the summer of love due to the happenings in London, Paris and right across the rest of Western Europe as well as those happening in California and the North of the USA. I spoke to friends I had known for a long time and made new friends that summer. One of these new friends was an American who had just returned from his draft tour of duty in Vietnam and he was telling me of the atrocities of war based on his own experiences. I decided that if only half of what he was telling me was true then war was not something we should be doing (as a race, I mean). I had never thought of being a protest singer until that time, of course I was aware of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel. Folkies one and all who did do protest songs against war in general and in some cases Vietnam in particular. That summer I discovered Tom Paxton, Country Joe and the Fish, Lovin’ Spoonful, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I also had my eyes opened to the wonders of the female form and the pleasure to be got from that exquisite piece of engineering.

When I enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1971 I requested a posting to the South China Sea to see for myself what was happening in the region of Vietnam, Cambodia and all points there. Not a request that was granted, 6 months after I joined up we were advised that no British ships would be heading anywhere near the war zones in Asia (I think this may have been down to the violent protests of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Subsequently I used my last remaining option to leave Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, I was told I could apply to the US Marines if I really wanted to go to Asia and see for myself what was occurring over there. I passed, mainly because I was very anti-war but also because I didn’t want to be sent home in a box. I knew from a few friends that the forces radio in Vietnam had received a much needed shot in the arm due to several DJ’s turning up through the draft and being allowed free reign to play songs that were hits back home.

That’s all for now folks but this may indeed be continued and concluded at another time.