Tonight sees the opening, in London’s West End, of the revived 1967 musical Hair reminding us all, lest we forgot, that we are still stumbling around looking for our slippers in that early dawn of the Age of Aquarius.
I know that it is astrological bunkum but this bit about the Age of Aquarius does stay neatly in the mind. I am not taken in by the Moon being in its 7th. house as the song tells us but I still thrill to the idea of a New Age, possibly without too many New Agers in it but, bless ’em, I am more on their side than not.
“When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Yesterday I was writing about the long 20th. Century’s history of genocide and murder and it doesn’t take much of a leap of the imagination to guess why, in 1967, so many people wanted to see a new age dawn.
“Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation
There were idealistic, young crystal-influenced, hippies in Amsterdam in 1967 who were born when the city was occupied by the Nazis and little Anne Frank was dying in a concentration camp. No reason to doubt their sincerity when they sang for harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding.
The terrible waste of Vietnamese and American lives at that time added an new urgency to the desire for peace to steer the planets.
This was the time when an amiable old codger in a suit, British Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, introduced legislation that liberalised homosexuality and abortion whilst also abolishing the archaic right of the Lord Chancellor to censor theatre productions. Hair, with its tasteful, brief and subtly lit nudity benefited from Mr. Jenkins’ liberality. Some of the show’s lyrics might have suffered some rude cuts too without his help.
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
It all sounds so quaint and innocent now and I am sure there will be much room for tittering at the new production but, in its own simple and wonderfully melodic way, Hair did speak not just for a generation but for all of us who continue to hope that future “tribes” can find intellectual, sexual and spiritual freedom in a World that can so often still feel pre-Aquarian.
Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in
The sun shine in.