Friday, August 11, 2017

“That’s when I went right off the whole drug cult.”

The Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson, on the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love,": "Flowers in Their Hair." "Remember the Summer of Love? No? Lucky you.":
.... George Harrison and his wife visited San Francisco at the height of the Summer of Love. They wanted to see Haight-Ashbury. They walked the streets and quickly drew a crowd of flower children.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had been released just weeks before and, as was said, blown minds the world over. And here was one of its creators come to bestow a Beatle blessing on the counterculture of the Haight. The perfect alignment of man and moment, prophet and place: The photos taken that day, writes the rock music historian Joel Selvin, “became the single most enduring image from the city in the Summer of Love.”

From behind Harrison’s famous heart-shaped sunglasses, however, things looked different from what he’d been reading in the press.

“I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place,” Harrison said years later, “with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs....

“I could only describe it as being like the Bowery: a lot of bums and drop-outs, many of them very young kids who’d dropped acid and come from all over America to this Mecca of LSD. It certainly showed me what was really happening in the drug culture. It wasn’t what I’d thought​—​spiritual awakenings and being artistic​—​it was like alcoholism, like any addiction.”

The Harrisons wandered toward the park. The crowd grew and pressed in. When Harrison declined a joint from one of the hippies, he sensed a rising air of menace. “You’re putting me down, man,” said the offended flower child. Harrison’s limo appeared and his party ducked in, headed for the airport to fly to L.A.

“That was a turning point for me,” Harrison said. “That’s when I went right off the whole drug cult.”....