Lambert & Stamp, the documentary film celebrating the lives of The Who’s managers, is now out on release across the UK – and the archives on this site have played a small but significant role in the production. I’ve previously mentioned that my dad (festival electrician Ken Blake) took some unique cine film of the 1969 Isle of Wight festival, including footage of the Who arriving by helicopter. That footage appears in its full glory in Motocinema’s new film.
The Who’s arrival – after a tense standoff over money with the festival organisers – is also celebrated in a slightly fictionalised form in When Dylan Sank The Isle of Wight (formerly 69ers):
“The arrival of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon was certainly epochal, but that happened on television, in grainy black and white, whereas the Who were coming in full colour, up close and personal, and their arrival would be followed by something a lot more exciting than a few slow-motion bounces.
No-one anticipated that impending appearance more keenly than Maurice. More than once he checked the integrity of the plywood H, conferring with none other than Bill Foulk, long-haired sibling of Ron and Ray and according to Maurice the one guy who really knew his stuff about the progressive music scene, not that he seemed that keen to impart much knowledge to Maurice. There was a palpable anxiety amongst the waiting throng, such had been the brinksmanship exercised by Kit Lambert, the Who’s whizz-kid manager, so that the moment a flying speck appeared on the horizon was one of high drama, a drama intensified as the red copter came close enough for the words TRACK RECORDS to be read on its side. Here was an image to daunt the afficianandos of the folk movement: an alternative new world of blatant self-aggrandisement, the aggressive, tech-savvy, whirling force of the go-it-alone independent label come to blast the stuffed shirts out of the record business. Down it squatted, like a capitalist arse onto the face of the festival, its downwind fearsome, till the plywood H began to shake, then suddenly disintegrate, fence panels flying upwards like blown litter. Maurice’s face turned ashen as wood smashed into the rotor blade, staggering the copter and threatening to turn the world’s loudest band into a flaming fireball. Somehow the pilot got the monster down safely, but it was a scowling Daltrey who climbed out amongst the circle of onlookers, followed by an equally glowering Moon, Townshend and Entwistle.
Maurice Moss silently slid his autograph book back into his pocket.
“Good one, Maurice” said Scott.
“Shut up, Rayner” hissed Maurice. The downforce of the helicopter had swept his hair back into an impromptu short-and-sides, and suddenly he was once more that short-trousered firstie with his hands jammed into his pockets to protect his crotch from that ancient tradition known as knackering.”
Either paperback or e-book of When Dylan Sank The Isle of Wight can be found here.
I’ve been promising for a long time to post the home movie I have of the 1969 IOW festival – and finally, here it is. No sound, unfortunately, but at least it is in colour, as opposed to the uniformly black-and-white footage available on youtube. The vid shows the Edgar Broughton Band, Free, The Who (including their helicopter landing), the arena including the huge ill-fated disco tent, Marsha Hunt backstage, and the scene the day after, including yours truly at 14, lamely attempting humour. Speaking of which, 69ers has had a uniformly excellent reception so far: now I’m looking forward to appearing at Isle of Wight (Newport) Waterstones on Monday 27th June, 7pm (with supporting musicians!), and Southampton West Quay Waterstones on Thursday 30th June, 12 till 2pm.
For those who can’t see the above due to record industry censorship, here is a second version with a soundtrack from my current music project:
69ers is now in production and should be ready for sale in about a month: I haven’t decided the exact launch date yet, but it will certainly be before Dylan’s 70th birthday as planned. The cover is shown here (click for larger image) and I’ll post details of where the book may be purchased shortly.
Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday is on May 24, 2011. With that in mind, I’ve made a radical decision: after 56 titles published by publishers large and small, I am going to self-publish. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the outstanding one is that publishers’ lists are planned so far in advance these days that I’d be lucky to see 69ers out before 2013. The whole process of self-publication, on the other hand, can take less than two months, i.e. in plenty of time for Bob’s birthday, when interest in the 20th century’s most celebrated singer-songwriter will undoubtedly be intense.
As I’ve had such a great response to this site, I’m keen to involve visitors with each stage of publication. For example, I’m currently designing a cover: I’ve enquired about the rights to Roger Jackson’s iconic image from the 1970 Isle of Wight festival. I don’t believe there is a better image to immediately alert potential readers to the content of the novel – maybe someone disagrees?
My initial plan is a print run of just 1000, with the aim of selling most of these online. That’s well short of the numbers my books usually sell, but as I have to pay for all the costs up front, and I am not a millionaire, I am erring on the side of caution. Again, I’m interested in everyone’s opinion, particularly that of writers who’ve taken the self-publication route.
I’ll also be honest about costs. In the spirit of 69 – or some of it – I don’t want to rip people off. I want them to read this book.
. . .was the slogan of the 1969 Isle of Wight Pop Festival, the UK’s first great outdoor music festival, featuring Bob Dylan, The Band, The Who and Richie Havens. I’ve created this site while researching and writing a novel about the festival. I was there, wiring up lights as a 14-year-old, but I’m keen to hear from anyone else with a story to tell about the event – or from people who weren’t there but have some link to it.
I’m putting up weblinks to anything I can find about IOW 69, and I’ll discuss the progress of the novel, provisionally called “69”.