All You Need Is Love, really

It was used in the opening ceremony, its been used as a theme to warm up the crowds in the Olympic Stadium for the past eight days, will it make an appearance at the closing ceremony tonight ?

The summer of ’67, this song WAS the Newquay holiday, two weeks in a place so far away that it seemed to take days to get there, we’d set off so early on the Saturday morning that it was nearly Friday and we stopped at Banbury to park next to the famous cross and let my father have “a kip” for a couple of hours, it was still dark then so christ knows what time we’d left home, maybe it was Friday.

Newquay was packed that August and something about the “summer of love” had brought a hippie element to the place, as a ten year old it was like a magical place to go on holiday, far better than Scarborough and it seemed like every second shop was selling tie-dye shirts, long sleeved grandad vests, and t-shirts with logos, you stepped inside those shops and usually some corkscrew-haired chick with heavily made-up eyes that seemed to stare beyond you and into another galaxy would be serving behind the counter, the air was thick with incense from a thousand joss-sticks and everyone under the age of 25 seemed to be, well, not quite on this planet.

“Bloody Hippies” was my fathers most used phrase of that fortnight, I was only ten but I wished that I could be a bloody hippie in Newquay that summer, and then in the second week something magical happened, it was like the incense had finally infiltrated my fathers brain, or maybe it was the fact that every shop doorway that you passed was playing either “All You Need Is Love” or Scot McKenzie’s “San Fransisco” on their record players but finally he relented and allowed me to buy, with his money, yes, HIS money, money that was originally destined for beer and cigarettes, a long sleeved t-shirt in red with a blue stencilled number “O8” on the front, the hippy chick behind the counter approved, put it in a paper bag, took the money off my father and wished him “love and peace man” and he just stood there flabbergasted but refrained from telling her she was a “bloody hippy” and we walked back out onto the street where my mother and Auntie Joyce were laughing at my father for having been in one of those new fangled “boutiques”.

I wore that shirt every day for the rest of the holiday, it was the height of hippy fashion, all I needed was a pair of loon pants with embroidery but I didn’t push my luck, there was no way that I’d get him back into a boutique and as for embroidery on my jeans – he’d have rung for the police if I’d suggested such a thing.

As Ringo says, “it was for love, you know, it was for love and bloody peace again, a fabulous time…”

We who were kids in the 1960s were so lucky to have been there.

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