WOODSTOCK: GARY B. FITZGERALD WAS THERE, BITCHES!

Just another rock festival in the 60s.  Tore up the tickets.  Dummies.

Woodstock

At first, no one believes that I actually went to Woodstock.
It’s like I was at Gettysburg or Waterloo or something.
I’m beginning to feel like one of those poor old war Veterans
tottering along in a small town parade. But, hey, I say,
I was only seventeen and back in ’69, what, with the Fillmore,
San Francisco, Viet-Nam and the revolution and all, to us
it was just another concert. All the kids from school went.

But the memory never fades. It was really neat seeing
all those different weird people just like us, with bell bottoms
and long hair, who felt like us about music and the war,
about America. I remember all those old freaks and hippies
who came in painted busses from California with tambourines,
with feathers and beads and long gray beards.

But the spirit started long before the concert,
during that big traffic jam, all sitting on our cars.
We passed stuff up and down the line for miles,
shared everything. I had a big bottle of Mateus wine.
I had a swig of this and a puff of that but my bottle of
Mateus never came back. I really loved that wine, too.

So then, I always explained how expensive it was,
how I bought tickets for two for three-days
only to learn that I didn’t need them anymore…no gate!
Free concert! Far out! We all tore up our tickets.
The second day I lost my girlfriend. She tripped out
with some guy from L.A. and split. In teenage terms,
an expensive foray. I got home with no tickets,
no girl, no money, no Mateus but, certainly, no regrets.

Years later I learned that the tickets we had so gleefully destroyed
were now a collector’s item worth a small fortune.
A costly summer overall. But a pittance when compared
to the loss incurred in now knowing my distance from
that day, and in having to acknowledge that my beard
is also long and gray.

Copyright 2009 – Gary B. Fitzgerald

Advertisements

5 Comments

  1. Aaron Asphar said,

    October 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I wouldn’t blame it on your beared – the youth of today are even more hopelessly distant from that day. I remember watching a programme on it, and a baffled passer bye, a “social simpleton”, said “the’re all looking for something but they don’t know what it is”. Profoundly true – a last gasp of being for-itself.

  2. Poem/Link support said,

    April 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER
    THE WONDROUS WOODSTOCK MUSIC FAIR

    I remember, I remember
    The wondrous Woodstock Fair;
    In August, ’69, it was,
    And all the Heads were there;

    Four hundred thousand made the trip,
    So Walter Cronkite says.
    To groove the Who, the Grateful Dead,
    Canned Heat, and Joan Baez!

    I remember, I remember,
    The traffic unforseen
    That clogged the lanes for countless miles
    On Highway 17;
    And even while I write this verse
    I fear there is no doubt
    That many drivers still are there
    Attempting to get out!

    I remember, I remember,
    That groovy, swinging scene,
    That field of wheat that soon became
    An open-air latrine;
    And how it warmed our happy hearts
    And filled us with good cheer
    To know the farmer wouldn’t need
    To buy manure next year!

    I remember, I remember,
    The way my nights were spent;
    The pleasure when I bedded down
    Inside my little tent;
    And how I found, on waking up,
    That all men were my brothers;
    That I’d been joined throughout the night
    By forty-seven others!

    I remember, I remember,
    That bleary, bombed-out mass
    That wandered ’round the countryside
    Freaked out on hash and grass;
    Not all of them, I wish to say,
    Possessed a glassy stare;
    A few, in fact, could still recall
    The reason they were there!

    I remember, I remember,
    That cataclysmic flood
    Of rain that tumbled from the sky
    And turned the Fair to mud;
    And how the crowd threw off its clothes
    And mingled in the bare,
    Until the place looked something like
    The final scene from “Hair!”

    I remember, I remember,
    The wondrous Woodstock Fair;
    But wait—I haven’t told you of
    The rock that I heard there;
    I’d really like to fill you in,
    But much to my dismay,
    The closest that I got to it
    Was seven miles away!

    Frank Jacobs (from MAD, issue 134, Apr 1970)

    http://home.roadrunner.com/~woodstock1969/text/I_Remember.txt

  3. November 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Before there was Woodstock, there was Gettysburg:
    The ‘Address’ giv’n was badly panned,
    By a paper in Harrisburg:

    https://www.scribd.com/document/184197750/Patriot-Union-Editorial-1863-On-the-Gettysburg-Address

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      The politicians, the carnage…it would be hard to be historical then…

  4. noochinator said,

    January 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    “Rudolph the Red” by James Lileks

    It’s the time of year when people start pouring politics over holiday classics. The real hero of It’s a Wonderful Life was Mr. Potter! Scrooge was right!

    Eh. If you really want a Christmas story that can be ruthlessly ruined with political meaning, look no farther than Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a stop-motion children’s holiday special that has delighted generations with its gender-fluid elf who runs away with a bullied ruminant.

    Every problem society had in the later Sixties can be traced back to the corroding influence of the show’s treatment of those who ought to be respected….

    Start with Santa. In Rudolph, Santa is a cruel, narcissistic, lazy boor. The evidence:

    1. When his elves assemble to sing a song of fealty—“We Are Santa’s Elves,” which has the forced gaiety of a song expressing love for Kim Jong-un—Santa rolls his eyes and looks cross, leaving halfway through the performance with the comment that it “needs work.” Half the elves probably think they’re going to be sent to the labor camp. Oh, wait, the whole place is a labor camp.

    2. When Santa goes to visit the newborn Rudolph, we see that the reindeer’s parents live in a cave. Rudolph’s father is a crucial employee in the toy-distribution system, so he has to be high up in the organization—but there’s not a stick of furniture in the place, and as far as we can tell Rudolph was rudely birthed on a cold stone floor.

    Does Santa suddenly realize that his workers live in squalor and fall on his knees to apologize? Nope: He sings a song. About himself. How he is old Kris Kringle. He’s the king of ding-a-ling. Rudolph’s parents stare at him in mute horror; it’s like the CEO of the company showing up at your child’s christening, calling himself a completely different name, and announcing he is the monarch of bell sounds.

    Then Rudolph’s schnozzle-merkin falls off and his nose glows red. Santa is horrified to see this defect and makes himself scarce; it’s a wonder he doesn’t tell Donner to smother the foal on the spot and make something that doesn’t sicken everyone with a revolting deformity.

    3. Let’s talk a bit about Santa’s quality-control procedures. Now and then an elf screws up when making a toy—a train has square wheels, or a Jack-in-the-box has the wrong name. Obviously the elves are protesting work conditions with these passive acts of sabotage, but that’s another issue. What does Santa do with these toys?

    A. Fix them, since he has a sophisticated toy-construction facility at his fingertips.

    B. Ship the sentient Misfit Toys to a gulag run by a winged lion who keeps them from leaving.

    The second, of course, and here we meet another compromised authority figure: this lion guy who has a castle. He’s called Moonracer because of course that’s a real lion name. More likely that Santa called up a pal and said, “Look, I need you to look after these defective toys so I don’t get sued by the end users. Normally I’d have them scrapped but they’re all conscious and self-aware, and I don’t want it to get out that I’m feeding Bob-in-the-box to the woodchipper, if you get my drift.”

    Sure! Sure! Can I be king of the island?

    “Yeah, whatever. Just make sure they don’t—“

    Can I be King Moonracer?

    “Seriously, Ed? Look, this is just a temporary gig until I find out who’s screwing up on the line.”

    I want to be King Moonracer!

    “Fine. Be Duke Starzoomer for all I care, just—“

    I will make a royal crest and a throne and I will be King of the Sad Toys for you, Santa. I will not let you down.

    “Ed, it’s strictly contract work—1099, you get what I’m saying?”

    At the end of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, all the misfit toys are dumped without any repairs on kids all over the world, which is something Moonracer might have done. But he was more concerned with lording over his icy island, posing on his throne like the prettiest king you ever saw.

    As a kid, you don’t pick up on these things. When the big storm hits the North Pole and Santa says, “Well, looks like Christmas will be canceled this year,” you believe he’s sad. You never think: A guy who lives in the Arctic has no contingency plans for bad weather? The problem would seem to be adverse atmospheric factors such as wind and low visibility; a red nose on the end of a reindeer would be like a flashlight taped to the stern of an airplane. It’s not that bright. It’s not as if Rudolph’s nose goes on and people stagger back screaming, “My eyes, my eyes, I can’t see!”

    No, Santa realizes he has run out of excuses and has to go through with Christmas after all. Rudolph destroyed kids’ faith in Santa and placed it in counterculture figures such as Yukon Cornelius, a drifter who has “outsider” status because he is literally outside all the time.

    And let’s not forget the narrator—Sam the Snowman, voiced by Burl Ives, a folk singer who was probably a Commie. Do you remember the song he sang? “Silver and gold, silver and gold / Kulaks are hoarding them, so I’ve been told.”

    It’s all there. No wonder Woodstock happened.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: