The coolest address
For me 1967 was both the height of the hippy movement and also the year in which the hippy idea died. I was 19, in that year and a part-time hippy. I had a flat at number one Upper Rock Gardens, which I thought was the coolest of addresses; I think I still do. During weekdays, I would catch the bus, which stopped a few yards away, to go to my job as a ward orderly at Southlands Hospital, in Shoreham. By coincidence it was the hospital in which I had been born.
Impressing my friends
I had little money, but also nearly zero responsibility. I often had friends round to my flat, especially for a coffee. Having been to the Cafe Continental at the bottom of North Street, quite a few times, I was familiar with those clear glass cups and saucers which were very fashionable at the time. I bought some of these and hopefully impressed some friends with my coffee percolator and my Pyrex coffee ware. White coffee was made with Coffee Mate, powdered milk. Costa’s would have wept.
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Earning myself a pint
Evenings were mostly spent in The Cottage; a very popular coffee bar well documented here on the website. When we could afford it, my friends and I would go for some beers in local pubs. I sometimes played blues piano in some of those pubs and earned myself a couple of pints. Brighton was a great place to be in the late 1960s. On the weekends I donned my flared jeans, white tee shirt and pink cord Levi’s jacket. I tied a bright, Paisley band round my head, which kept my long hair in place and which was also ‘cool’.
Wandering on the beach
My flat was very close to the seafront and in the summer of 1967, I would wander down to the beach and spend a few hours either laying in the sun, or wandering around the seafront, chatting with other ‘part time’ hippies and with some full time ones too. It was all pretty harmless but strongly idealistic. We really did think the world was about to change. None of us would have known what to do if it had.