I guess Dylan got into my dreams because he figured briefly in this documentary I was watching about Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I hate those guys. Firstly because they wrote such sappy toonz and secondly because they got to live in Laurel Canyon in the early Seventies and I didn't. Dave Crosby was being interviewed in the present day and he's this old guy with straggly hair and a blotchy neck and I found myself warming to him in spite of it all. "Were you the political conscience of your generation?" asked the interviewer. "No," said Crosby. "I was never that smart."
Joni Mitchell wandered in and out. They played a clip of her singing Woodstock- the anthem of my generation. David Geffen was interviewed and said that he and Joni never actually made it to Woodstock (except in spirit). They read headlines about 60,000 people wallowing in mud and felt they could find better uses for their time. So they retired to a swanky hotel suite and Joni wrote the song there- banging it out on the old Joanna- which was probably a Beckstein. "We are star dust, we are golden/ And we want to get back to the garden."
My friend Stephen Bann (now Professor Stephen Bann) introduced me to that song. He was the last person in the world to take an interest in youth culture, but those lines I've quoted resonated with his passion for 18th century gardens and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay (see below).
He introduced me to all that stuff and I introduced him to Kipling and William Morris- so it was a equal friendship even though he was a lecturer and I was just a student. While Dave Crosby was smoking "big ones" and reclining in his hot tub with members of his harem, Stephen and I were poking about the churchyards of East Kent collecting 18th century verse epitaphs for a book that got written but never published. It would have been a cool little book. We even had a friend of Stephen's- who was a professional photographer- take pictures for it. But our paths divided and...and ...and...