Saturday, June 9, 2007

SUMMER OF LOVE + 40

It's time you walked away
set me free I must move away leave you be...
time's been good to us, my friend
wait and see how it will end
we come and go as we please...we come and go as we please...
that's how it must be
Here in crystal chandelier, I'm home
too many days, I've left unstoned
if you don't mind happiness
purple-pleasure fields in the Sun
ah, don't you know I'm runnin' home...don't you know I'm runnin' home...
to a place to you unknown?
I take great peace in your sitting there
searching for myself, I find a place there
I see the people of the world where they are and what they could be...
I can but dance behind your smile...
I can but dance behind your smile...
you were the world to me for a while
-- "D.C.B.A. " by Paul Kantner, Jefferson Airplane



Wow, besides "The Sopranos" finale (which my son is already tired of hearing my digressions and speculations on) suddenly the Summer of Love, 1967, is popping up in the media, as a culutral icon of the Summer 2007. 40 years ago this summer, I was a 12 year old, the age that my younger daughters are now, and I was an elementary school kid at Holy Name on (as we referred to it) 9th avenue. Music of the era made its way to my consciousness thanks to the radio and the lps that my older sister, then in high school at St Brendans, brought into the house.Although the music and the culture were exploding around me, it would still be a few years until I started writing and pursuing publication in earnest as a student at Bishop Ford HS and before I began to select and buy music much less dare to make critical assessments of it.. But then, back in 1967, I was still an elementary school brat at HNS (or, as our Windsor Terrace crowd later referred to it in our rebellious teen years, at "The Mission"). Music was everywhere, New York City, at least the mainstream and parts of the city locked into the media maelstrom, was undergoing waves of change, but Brooklyn, my Brooklyn, was still dormant.I grew up on 17th Street between 9th and 10th avenues. I remember a young couple moving into the basement apartment of home across the street from us. He had the hip look, long hair and beard, dressed for business during the week if I recall correctly, but most noticeably, on the weekend wore jeans and high leather boots, the first time such cool and radical fashion probably trod these Brooklyn streets.. We referred to him simply as "Cow Man" and I sincerely hope that we were not teasing or mean to him, although, children being who they are, we probably were and came off as dumb Brooklyn urchins..He lived next door to the "Stretzelmeyer" (pronounced by us as "Stretchemeyer") home, which was a remnant of old Brooklyn, a large Victorian house, like we live in now in Flatbush, but it was on a large piece of land, fenced in from 17th street to Prospect Avenue, behind a fairly high grey fence..two elderly ladies lived there, largely out of touch with the rest of us Irish, German and Italians working folks who had moved into the neighborhood in succeeding waves. We would see them occasionally when a ball went over the fence and they were patient enough to allow us into the yard to retrieve it..I imagined the house and the sisters were from "Arsenic and Old Lace" and I assume the house had been there from the 19th century when Windsor Terrace was more open land, farms, etc., and the brownstones and row houses of 17th street and beyond had simply grown up around them. That reminds me of another childrens' book, about a little cabin in the woods, that becomes a small home, and is eventually dwarfed by the City structures and skyscrapers built around it. Years later, when the homes was taken down and new construction was built on the site. The home and fenced in land were easily replaced by four or five attached homes on 17th street and an equal number around the block on Prospect Avenue...But the Summer of Love to me at twelve years of age in Brooklyn was a brand, a distant concept, almost a vision, something perhaps aspire to, as I got older, as though perhaps with time, and movement out of my parents' home and sphere of influence, I too could dare to step into this new world of music, excitement and Love...As always,

Speak memory...

2 comments:

  1. the best piece of writing the human race has ever seen!!! keep them up, ur just as good as norman maller!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like how u have sevral topics in your writing that you are talking about. A good writer(like urself) is able to have sevral intersecting topics and alternate between them without making one more overpowering then the next.
    keep em comming, i look foward to reading your new blogs when they come out

    ReplyDelete

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo