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England: down south

The man's got style

The man’s got style

It was a very good year …

… and in the autumn Robin Williamson was singing his ‘October Song’. Term had started. Theory and ideas took centre stage. Up in London John Mayall and the Blues Breakers had begun to record ‘A Hard Road’. We had a Dansette record player and we listened (often quite seriously) to these different forms of music. We talked about the sounds and the words. The words sometimes opened out onto new ways of thinking – thinking that was off-centre – a kind of resistance thinking …

And when Robin Williamson sang one of the verses of ‘October song’ we understood a little bit more about the prime value and the ecstasy of thought and reflection. He remarked:

I used to search for happiness
And I used to follow pleasure
But I found a door behind my mind
And that’s the greatest treasure.

A door behind my mind? Onto what did the door open? And why ‘behind my mind’? Little by little we realised that we needed to distance ourselves from the chatter and buzz of ordinary consciousness, from the cage of convention.

Footnote: The album ‘The Incredible String Band’ which features ‘October song’ was released in Britain in June 1966. The original LP sleeve used in the UK features a photograph of the band holding up obscure musical instruments.

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