A blog by Patrick Crozier

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June 02, 2004

Vashti Bunyan and the 1960s

Imagine you live in the Outer Hebrides. One day you get a computer and an internet connection and the first thing you do - like everyone else - is google your own name. You don't expect much. Why should you? But you get page after page. And slowly you are reminded of that album you recorded in 1970 which even you had almost forgotten.

Seems it hadn't quite disappeared without a trace. A few copies did saunter off the shelves. And over the years those copies were listened to. And over yet more years those copies, now dog-eared, got passed round amongst the clog and dungaree-wearing cognoscenti. And with the advent of the banjo-powered PC, they started building their own websites and raving about your album. And now, the whole world knows.

Except you.

That's what happened to Vashti Bunyan whose "Just another Diamond Day" I've just been listening to on the stereo. My sister bought it for me for Christmas and I think it's marvellous. A guitar, her voice - her beautiful voice - and the occasional accompaniment. She would also appear to have been a very pretty woman - which helps.

It makes me sad. Partly, because old photographs of pretty women do make me sad. Unavailable, see? But it also makes me reminisce (wrong word - wasn't really there in the 1960s now, was I?) No, it evokes the late 1960s. Hippies and tie dies and dogs and country farmhouses and colour TV and Jimi Hendrix and the idea that anything was possible.

This, of course, is nonsense. The vast majority of mankind just went on as they always had: going to work, paying the mortgage, putting food on the table. The number of people actually involved in the 1960s must have been tiny.

The thing about the 1960s is that it all ended in 1970. 1970 seems to have been far more than just a change to the second digit from the right but a real cut off. 1970 is when the 1960s got nasty. Charles Manson (yes, I know, it was 1969) and his family. The Beatles (again, 1969) split up. Troops on the streets of Ulster (er, 1969 again - where is this argument going?)

Ah, heck - just buy the album.