Thursday, January 11, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

I wish Roger McGough had published his autobiography while I was at university. Actually, I wouldn't have touched it, because even if I had made a habit of reading books during the course of my English degree (I didn't) I was still in my hating-poetry phase (as opposed to the I-leave-poetry-alone-it-leaves-me-alone phase I'm currently in) so the life story of an old poet whose work I wasn't familiar with wouldn't have been top of the list. But still, I really wish some (alright: all) of the people I went through uni with had read this:

When flower power drifted across the Atlantic from California in the late sixties many young people grasped the ideals of freedom and gentleness that it seemed to enshrine, but I was old enough to be cynical. What may have begun as a peace movement initially, an antidote to the horrors of Vietnam, had become a fashion show. It was fun, but essentially mindless. If I sound slightly jaundiced, it’s not because I’ve got jaundice, or because I believe that as a decade it is often misconceived, so powerful are the images of the period, but rather that I regret the false sense of nostalgia that passed into the tribal consciousness of young people. They inherited, many of them, a sense of loss, an ‘if only I’d been there’ sort of yearning. What was exciting about the sixties for me was that I was young, and there’s never a better time to be young than when you’re young.

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