Sitting thinking this morning, about the events that have taken place over the past few days, I was reminded of this quote.. “What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?” – Ralph Ellison
I decided to look back over the past 55 years or so. It is a rather humbling experience when we get totally honest with oneself. I guess we all, at some point, go.. “If only I could go back and do it all again?” Well, the sad reality of that is”No ! we can’t” It’s a bit of a bastard really, because pretty much all of us at some point will have thought like this. Recently retired, or more to the point, semi-retired, I’ve begun to do some soul searching. Now, that’s no easy thing for me and I can finally admit to this… I’ve looked at the events that have taken place throughout my lifetime and the influences that have furrowed deep into my soul. When I reflect, I am often reminded of that iconic Dylan song from 1964… “The times they are a changing”
The Sixties were dominated by the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Protests.. There were the assassinations of US President John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King,.. There was of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and finally ending on a good note, with the first man stepping foot on the moon . Of course we lived through turbulent times, however, most of us were oblivious to the international events taking place. We were far more interested in music, cars and fashion. For a lot of us, we were coming to grips with our personal growth… We were beginning to understand what it was to be a ‘teenager’ and our future was being molded. Most of us were beginning to grow, influenced by events happening around us. The Vietnam War, Civil Rights, Dr Who and Star Trek. We remember the birth of the ‘mini skirt, catapulting Mary Quant to international acclaim. Many of the conflicts during the 60’s could be considered to be part of the ongoing cold war between the East and the West .. ( Communism — Capitalism ) Many believe the closest the world has come to a World Wide Nuclear War was in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.. John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States From January 20, 1961 till his assassination on November 22, 1963 at Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed the lives of the African Americans minority by ensuring equal rights for all… The Charismatic Martin Luther King, who was a civil rights advocate and exceptionally gifted speaker , followed other great leaders throughout history. He used non-violent means and together, with the power of speech, managed to create change. Through his influence, he created a strong following. He was assassinated in April of 1968 By James Earl Ray. The Sixties also bought the space race to new heights. It ended with the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969 when Neil Alden Armstrong and Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. became the first humans to land on the Moon fulfilling the American Dream to place a man on the moon before the Russians ( Space Race ) The words spoken by Neil Armstrong “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” now written into history for future generations to come.
This was also the start of the skateboarding era . Some surfing enthusiasts in California were frustrated by the weather and put roller skates on the front and back end of wooden planks…the rest, they say is ‘history’
Music played a big part in my life and the influences of those years are still very much with me to this day. Music began to diversify and more sub-genres emerged as the worlds of R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll became more profitable. It became easier to classify types of music in a very specific way with psychedelic, surf, folk, roots, hard rock, Motown, Acapella, all becoming recognizable in their distinctiveness. Music became a huge influence on the younger generation and was used to define the lifestyles of rockers, hippies, and protesters. The music of the time often reflected the changing social norms of the decade like the fight for civil rights for minorities and women and the anti-war movement. The British Invasion also made its mark with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as two of the most popular bands emerging from the decade, gaining worldwide notoriety and popularity that has lasted up to the present. There are many many other bands that have remained very much with me to this day.. Sadly, we have seen the demise of many great artists in the past couple of years.
How the ‘times have changed?”