Monday, 6 September 2010

Remembering Sid Rawle

I first went to Stonehenge free festival in 1981. I didn't know any Sid Rawle but I did get to score some dodgy acid and see Hawkwind.

Time passes, I settle down then un-settle down and the first I get to hear about Rainbow Circle camps is in 1990 at Sunseed in Spain from Tara and Steve who are running the place at the time. I thought "that sounds interesting" and so it was that I landed up with my kids in a field at the healing camp at Upper Hill. The first I see of Sid he's bawling at Ra who's up in a tree house. (Sid was always bawling and shouting back then until he found out he was diabetic - once that was sorted he was a lot more mellow and likable).

The camp was all a bit much for a council gardener from Derby - hundreds of people, a bit chaotic, women screaming - "sorting out their stuff" I would learn. Personally I spent a lot of my time wandering the woods and fields, dipping back into it now and then. But anyway I go to a few more camps and slowly it starts making sense and over the years I get myself a proper education in everything from transactional analysis to how to fly a spaceship and all points in between.

I started to understand where Sid was coming from at a workshop he was running in the big lodge. I can't remember what the theme was but he was throwing stuff in the fire and doing incantations - ever the showman/shaman, then up in the woods, something about the glass always being half full, half empty. I can't remember much more, I was smoking a lot of dope at the time and was staring into the sun, trying to get information. Probably should have paid more attention but learning is a curve yeah?.

Anyway with help from some wonderful people I eventually get to sort out a bit of my own stuff. Make many friends and a few lovers; probably got a few peoples backs up from time to time but that's life (deal with it). Then the split...yadda yadda...Sid and Bernie set up Rainbow 2000, time to make a contribution and I end up crewing. Led the occasional meditation to Dusty Springfield or maybe it was Abba.

One day I'm mooching round the site near Jules's dome and in the hedge bottom I find an old Forest Fayre t-shirt. "You can have that" says Jules, "we've got a bag full of 'em somewhere". Of course it didn't fit, it was too big - it was Sid's.

Sid wouldn't drive, he preferred to be chauffeured around. One time I was driving him all round the west country, trying to drum up support for the camps which were losing money at the time. We were in Jules's old rover and the engine was screaming. "It has got a fifth gear y'know" says Sid. After that it was plain sailing. I learnt a lot of little things like that from Sid. Not rocket science, just cruise control and stuff.

The land behind the bungalow at Blackthorn Farm was just a hayfield back then. Sid had planted some fruit trees which he wanted me to prune but I couldn't be arsed. He didn't seem to mind, he probably couldn't be arsed either.

Groups of people eventually start behaving like families. Someone has to be mum and dad and Sid and Jules fitted that role - Sid with his natural air of authority and Jules with her infinite patience. Which was just as well with all us children acting out and forever demanding their time and attention. Never judgmental, never trying to tell us what to do, letting us learn from our mistakes. But a time comes when you have to leave mummy and daddy and get on with your life. I've only made flying visits to the camps in recent years but have always been welcomed back with open arms.

So now Sid's gone back to the light and all that. No-one will ever be big enough to fill his boots, or his smelly t-shirt. The Rainbow family carries on.

There's some "proper" obituaries to Sid here and here.

1 comment:

tim holland said...

Thatnks for that blog; I've driven him round the forest looking for sweat lodge stones, lots of good memories of being part of something special.