We gathered on the Common
were searched at the gate
for illicit chairs –
no dispensation for me.
We watched the ukulele rap duo
and waited for the voices
our bums on beanbags
on rainbow pallets
sun on my back.
A reverie t-shirt blurs into view
and the world music beats in my head.
Man in a wig, humouring me:
Remember the 60s?
I do, I say.
I remember lying under plastic sheeting
in the drizzle
on the Isle of Wight –
waiting for a disappointing Dylan
my musical poetic hero
gone in a brief hour
before the long night of sitting on the pier
watching the boats fill with hippies
not in wigs
but wet and bedraggled.
But gathering here
walking pet balloons
drumming lids for kids
Roy Hanney weaving his sound magic
I sit in the shade on the grass
and wonder if I’ll ever get up again
thanking heaven for strong-armed strangers.
Arms around the Child
dancing in the skies
to Los Hombres Paul
and the tenor sax call
watching lampshade hat kid dancing
fat belly, not Melly
ska dogs saxophones
twisted tearooms run out of spoons
stir your tea with a wooden fork
and watch two men embrace
on a wind-filled lime green sofa.
Sea-side postcard family
lounge on the bank
bellies wobble in time to the music
as they swig from lager cans.
Fulsom Prison Blues to sing along
and watch the swing dancers swing
move on to seek out
the yellow submarine,
finding James relaxing in the early evening sun
and Chris Mackenzie
a nice surprise
blessing the rains in Africa.
Wouldn’t it be nice, says Brian,
to do this all again,
to gather here next year
but I was taken back again to the sixties
and realised that maybe
festivals have to be a thing of the past for me