Thursday, April 05, 2007

I remember being given a free shirt....

It was a sunny summer day in Vancouver, BC. There was a big all-day concert at Stanley Park, they called it a "Be-In", I guess trying to re-create the glory days of the hippy movement in the late '60's. There was a whole line-up of local bands, and my friends and I were excited to go.

By the time we got there, more than half of the outdoor space was already filled with blankets and music lovers. It was too nice out to care about being close to the stage, so we happily set up our blanket slightly to the left, two-thirds of the way back. The breeze from the ocean was a bit cool, so I left my long-fringed buckskin jacket on over my tank top.

I was in heaven. I love live music, and I love being with friends, and I love being there wasn't much ruining my day. I felt like dancing, so up I stood, dancing like Stevie Nicks, fringes a-flying in the sunshine. It didn't matter to me one bit that I was the only person in a crowd over one thousand people that was dancing. I danced for the rest of the band's set, totally happy, totally alone.

I noticed up near the front of the stage one particular group of people. Most of them were engrossed in the music, but one man was staring at me the whole time I was dancing. He had on the most remarkable shirt. He was too far away for me to tell how old he was or even what his features were, but his shirt was impossible to ignore...bright day-glo orange, with some pattern that I couldn't make out. I determined to go talk to him once the band was done, and I headed towards him as soon as the music stopped.

"Hey, enjoying the music?"

"Oh, yeah, sister. I was totally grooving on your fringes while you were dancing."

The man had short, curly dark hair and looked to be in his forties. He also looked to be completely under the influence of LSD...I took him for an old hippy who was trying to relive his glory days some twenty years ago.

"Oh, cool. I wondered why you kept staring. Hey, man, that is one crazy shirt!"

Up close it was even better than I had imagined. It was day-glo orange paisley, with bits of day-glo lime, yellow, green...all on a black swirly background. It looked like some crazy black-light poster!

"You like it? Here, you can have it."

He began undoing the buttons.

"What? No, man, I was just admiring it, you keep it!!"

"It's OK, sister, I've got another shirt..."

He handed me the technicolor shirt and reached into his duffle bag for a plain white t-shirt, smiling like a lazy Bhudda the whole while. I thanked him and headed back to my friends and our blanket. They couldn't believe how cool the shirt was, and just shook their heads. Magical stuff like that was always happening to me.

This is a scan of the shirt. It doesn't do it justice. The orange is so bright that it almost hurts your eyes to look at it! But I thought I should include the scan for posterity's sake.


Pondering Pig said...

It really does feel like for one afternoon you accidentally time-tripped back to 1967, when the band, the dancing, the shirt, all would have been normal charming hippie behavior. A great day in the park. Do you remember what band was playing?

Paula said...

I actually do remember two bands that were playing that day, "Brain Damage" and "Hydroelectric Streetcar". They were bands that were around in Vancouver in the late '60's or early '70's, and were still able to pull off a very groovy set!

Kim said...

Awesome shirt! That just makes me so happy! It's actually one of the most beautiful paisley patterns I've seen. Ahh, man, I love your stories, I feel like I'm actually in them sometimes. But only you would dance through while a whole crowd sits on their blankets. It's part of the lovable, I don't care, Paula.

Pondering Pig said...

Hydroelectric Streetcar? That's a perfect name for a psychedelic era band -- imagine them on a triple bill with the Jefferson Airplane and the Sopwith Camel -- but I don't remember them ever making it as far south as the Bay Area. Brain Damage was definitely ahead of their time.

By the way, speaking of psychedelic stuff, Foghorn Leghorn's back, and he's posting more vintage rock memorabilia at his site.

Spoke said...

I think I'll do a photo shoot of your outfits and post them on Stuff I Saw, especially your paisley shirt. Navigators wouldn't need stars or lighthouses...just have you stand on the shoreline!

RC said...

that's awesome...what an incredible story. and a fun memory.

and that, it's loud! I can only imagine it in living color.

papa herman said...

Great shirt! Just tell Spoke that the shirt is not loud, rather that the shirt has volume control and it is set on 11!!

You remind me of the time I was able to give a t-shirt to Excene Cervenka.

From watching 'Decline...' I was aware of her interest (?) in religious tracts. She came with the Knitters to play Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, CA. I had a shirt that read "Jesus Loves You Long Beach." Prior to the set I was able to give the t-shirt to Excene.