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Nick Bollinger saw a familiar scene while putting the finishing touches on Jumping Sundays, his book on the counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s. The Capitol grounds were hoisted with tents and flags. There were signs and dreadlocks, bare feet and the call to freedom, wild dancers and health food stalls.
Occupying Wellington in 2022 was the same as before, but no longer.
As a historian of the hippie era, Bollinger was fascinated by the profession. It is diverted. “
Anti-vaccination ideologies can be traced back to counterculture ideas about alternative medicine and health. But Bollinger noticed one big difference between then and now. In general, the protesters of the 60s and his 70s were concerned with the freedom of people in remote areas such as Vietnam and South Africa. they were altruistic. But in 2022, freedom “was the slogan of individualism.”
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There are other differences as well. Counterculture has remained cohesive as a movement with a common purpose, but the “different” 2022 movement is already fraying.
Further contrasts overcame him.
“I was interested in what happened in the 1970s, and certainly how the police handled the occupation of Congress compared to what we saw in 1981,” he says. “It was an almost conscious campaign to change the image of the police. If they were protesting the Vietnam War or apartheid in South Africa, they would have split their heads.”
Bollinger was speaking at the Ward Christchurch Festival session. Christchurch was his second stop on his 3 city tour. A week ago in Auckland and last Wednesday at his Unity Books launch in his hometown of Wellington.
Survivors and witnesses shared stories and asked insightful questions. In Christchurch included several retired Labor MPs, an artist or two of his, and an elderly Welshman whose commune made him Folk his singer Kat his Stevens neighbor. I was.
Bollinger was also a witness of sorts. Since he was born in his 1958 The end of Wellington’s hippie eraHe remembers marching, radicals at the Resistance bookshop on Willis Street, and hearing the word “counterculture” as a long-haired sixth grader at Onslow College.
“I was challenging society’s conventions sexually, mentally, and domestically,” he says. “It questioned everything.”
Jumping Sundays is an attempt to figure out who these people were, what they wanted, and why their vision went awry.
Music provides a way to enter. Bollinger has worked for decades as a respected music journalist and reviewermost famously RNZ and listeners, and much of the culture was associated with or inspired by music. Consider how you behaved as a person.
“What we did during that period is at least worth documenting and needs serious consideration,” he says. “In many ways, I feel I wrote this for my children’s generation. It might help explain their parents.”
It was a rebellion against those who start wars and rule freedom. Post-war kiwi conformism was a common enemy represented by organizations like the RSA.
But were the World War II generations targeted too easily? Bollinger had occasional regrets when interviewing aging counterculture boomers.
“Some said they were sorry for the way they treated their parents now. As they got older, they saw the rebellious generation in a different light. I thought a little more about how people survived the world wars.
“Sure, they were gray and dull and conservative. Maybe that was exactly what they wanted. They didn’t want excitement.”
Bollinger didn’t experience much of that kind of generational tension. His parents, Conrad and Murray, were left-wing intellectuals and teachers of his scene, the bohemians who laid the groundwork for the counterculture.
Konrad Bollinger served in the Communist Party until he resigned because of the 1956 invasion of Hungary. When he came to Christchurch for a political event, he stayed with Jack and Elsie Locke. And he was spied on by his SIS.
“When I got my father’s files a few years ago, I knew they were tracking every move,” says Bollinger. “The time he left home and where he stayed, even the license plate number of the car that visited us. It seems silly now, but that was the way of the times.”
All this meant that Bollinger “didn’t have much to rebel on the homefront.”
The counterculture tackled a serious problem, but its approach could be irreverent and comical. In New Zealand these words referred to one of his names, Sir Timshadbolt.
“It was important because he was there, he was loud, he was jolly, he was inspiring. In a speech he gave in Albert Park, Auckland in 1969, he was defending the Naked Army. Great rhetoric.” is.”
Bollinger emphasizes that baby boomers grew up in an age of prosperity. Jobs were easy to come by and the counterculture life was good, especially for straight white men. In hindsight, I can see how these men continued to benefit from privilege, even in a progressive culture.
“Some of the straight white men I interviewed were completely unrepentant.
“One of my jobs was to question everything again. Some ideals were very solid. A number of women weren’t cool to say no.
“But some women said, ‘I’m glad there was a lot of promiscuity.’
The James K. Baxter rape case is an example. After Baxter’s letter revealed he raped his wife in 2019, A former resident of his community in Jerusalem revealed When she was 18, he tried to rape her.
“I had to see it, but at the same time Baxter was a complicated person. I don’t think anyone would deny that it happened.”
There have been many gurus in the counterculture, some worse than flawed. Take Bart Potter, leader of the commune of Centrepoint. Bollinger believes that Mr. Asia’s heroin syndicate and Potter prey on ideas derived from the counterculture, and that drugs offer some insight or The nuclear family was not always the best model for people to lead happy lives”.
Bollinger came to an end in 1975, coinciding with the election of Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. Some parts of the counterculture have disappeared or been marginalized, while others have gone mainstream and remained intact.
“Marijuana was no longer just a counterculture sacrament. By then, rugby players were probably smoking cannabis.”
The political movement split. The women’s movement “rightly decided that they could advance their cause without these hippie men”. Maori activists expressed similar views.
His next book is about the relationship between music and national identity. Jumping Sundays is broad and thorough, but a moment at the Christchurch event serves as a reminder that Bollinger’s first and lasting love is music.
Just a quick question about walk-on songs. Should you come on stage for the old Burerta hit, Dance All Around the World?
“The back side of Dance All Around the World is pretty good,” he says in response. “Dance All Around The World was a show for kids. It was like a Trojan horse for them. It’s a complete psychedelic freak out.”
The title on the back cover is “Freedom St Mary’s”. investigate. As Bollinger puts it, it’s wild and loose in every way.
Jumping Sundays: The Rise and Fall of the Counterculture in Aotearoa New Zealand, by Nick Bollinger, $49.99.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/129806992/sex-drugs-and-casualties-the-history-of-new-zealands-hippies.html Sex, drugs and casualties: New Zealand’s hippie history