Wednesday, 12 July 2017

When the internet proves better than your memory

Now yesterday I was reflecting on that day in August 1970 when along with thousands of others I listened to a host of bands at the Isle of Wight.

The festival and the hill, 1970
It was one of those trips down memory lane prompted by two of my much younger cousins who posted about the Doors.

And quick as a flash I replied with the story making it very clear that I had no intention of searching the Internet to find out what I had forgotten about the Festival, preferring to let my impression of the event be the story.

But I did fall asleep while the Doors played on and so Marisa thought it only fair that I should be given the opportunity to listen to that “lost performance.”*

According to the site they played eight songs, “1. Introduction – 0:18, 2, Back Door Man – 4:18, 3. Break On Through – 4:53,, 4. When The Music’s Over – 13:31, 5. Ship Of Fools – 7:37, 6. Roadhouse Blues – 6:07, 7. Light My Fire – 14:21, 8. The End – 18:18.”

Almost half a century on I have no idea when I fell asleep, all of which will make it fun to listen to again.

And the site also included the date ....... August 30 which again was lost in the midst of time.

A very young me, 1970
Now I still have no intention of looking up the rest of the details of the event, suffice to say I was there, and that pretty much confirms that rather silly observation about the 60s that “if you can remember it you weren’t there.” 

So just perhaps I qualify after all as a genuine part of that era.

And that leads to a serious observation that while the Internet has many detractors it remains a powerful way to follow through a whole range of research projects.

Like many I use gemological sites almost every day to track people, through census returns, street directories and the General Registry Office, and for over a decade I have fallen back on those digitalised versions of long out of print books which sit on dusty shelves in universities across the mid west of the USA.

August at the Isle of Wight, 1970
The purists will of course argue that this is no substitute for holding the original, but when the original is on the other side of the world there is little chance that accessing it and holding it will ever be a reality.

So there you have it, and as I write I am listening to that performance, and have no idea whether it was during Ship of Fools or Roadhouse Blues, although it would e appropriate if it had been Light My Fire, given that my memory was of all the camp fires dotted about the hill where were sitting.

That hill and somewhere there might have been me
The fires glowed against the darkening sky and made the moment magical if sadly not enough to keep me awake.

So thank you to my cousins Marisa and Chris in Ontario for both reminding me of that long lost adventure and for allowing me to listen to what I missed.

Location; the Isle of Wight, August 30 1970,

Pictures; me in 1970 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and at the Festival, 1970, Roland Godefroy,who granted permission to use the image  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 

*The Doors – Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival -1970 – Past Daily Backstage Weekend, 


  1. Ok, sleeping through The Doors I can almost believe, but not Jimi Hendrix.

  2. I know Peter but our driver needed to get back to London