You can't call yourself a hippie unless you were between the age of 16 and 25 in the year 1966. These were the definitive age restrictions my grey haired yurt dwelling crustafarian friend gave me. He then explained how he could cut that down even further, a true hippy attended two crucial events.
Firstly, they needed to be amongst the approximately twelve people who were in an unspecified London club late at night in the early 1960's. There they witnessed a young black American boy getting up on stage, holding the guitar wrong, and then blowing them all away with his music. Jimmy Hendrix's first ever London gig. From my research there weren't about twelve people there, more like 30,000, another qualification for being a hippy is your amazing ability to have 'been there' even though you weren't.
Secondly, you had to be there at the first Glastonbury festival. You were amongst that select band of hippies who made it down to the farm with Michael. Various legends accompany this with the delivery of free bottles of milk, UFO's attending, etc. Again you had to be there or you were square. Speaking to the inhabitants of the Tepee field at the Festival a couple of years ago, they were all there. In my conservative guestimate probably about half a million people were 'present' during this event, despite the official figures being under two thousand.
Why have so many people fabricated these events into their lives? Because without these two events under your belt you don't qualify for true hippy status. In other words to be a true hippy you are in a minority of about one thousand six hundred people. The rest of us are just wannabe hippies. I happily admit to not having been there at either event, and this confounds people, how could I not want to claim to have been there?
In discussions with wannabe hippies all over the world I am regaled with the same legends retold with a blind disregard to the reality - the odds are you weren't there, you probably weren't born for another ten years, you weren't interested at the time.
A lot of people 'believe' they were there, because it gives them street credibility, it proves their worth as true hippies. They've probably told their story so many times they now believe it to be true. Who can remember exactly where they were in 1970? It depends on how much acid you had.
You also need to able to spot the neat symmetry of these two events, the first Glastonbury starting the day after Hendrix's death. Spooky or what?
I guess such myth-making satisfies our need to be seen as leaders not just joiners, to be midwives at the birth, not just bystanders. I guess old punks have the same kind of mythology, being present at the first Ramones concert at the Roundhouse, having a conversation with Malcolm Maclaren about safety pins in 1973.
It is human to want to be different, but I can't help but repress a grin when I meet someone, and they start the sentence, 'well, of course, Glastonbury is good, but nothing like it used to be. You know, I was there in 1970...'Suggest a correction