Saturday, September 04, 2004

A Tired Hippy Wannabe Remembers

I once wanted to be a hippie. It was perhaps the first counter culture I came into contact with in my small village in rural Australia. At school my nickname was 'Hippie' and when I escaped from the High School regime I got myself some tied dyed pants and wore them religiously when I wasn't working at the local hospital as a trainee nurse- I came into contact with Art students at the end of my first year as a student nurse and quickly decided they were having more fun than I was in the gynecology ward. I remember once driving to the coast with this group in their purple station wagon and listening to The Doors 'Moonlight Drive' as the moon rose over the Pacific Ocean. I was sold.......even if it was 1987! I grew my hair, went to university to do an Arts degree, started writing poetry and had a paisley shirt especially made by a friend. A year later I discovered punk and it all started getting very mixed up to what I was.....such fun. The above image is from 1995 when I was living in a share house and visiting the Sydney College of Art as "a non-enrolled person who used the equipment" (a sort of visiting student). It was the culmination of the many years of absorbing counter culture as I had finally started producing it: an installation performance group, a fanzine, poetry readings,journalism and looking funky in fake leopard skin. This has all come upon me just now as I found the CBS archive online and they have a wealth of short films about the original hippies. I would not say I was ahippie now (and I hope nobody else does) but they were definitely an important moment and I don't think the original hippies even really subscribed to the whole hippie image themselves. Maybe the beatnik and hippie node was all about the production of image rather than the consumption of it. Once you manage this all you have to worry about is the media defining and manufacturing you.

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