Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer of Love ; Winter of Discontent


An eruption occurred from the active crater of Ruapehu, destroying Dome Shelter and expelling a large volume of water from the lake. Volcanic mudflows cascaded down several major valleys. One lahar swept through the Whakapapa Ski Area and destroyed the kiosk near the Staircase T-Bar which lay in its path. No one was hurt as the mudflow occurred at night.


A party surveying the crater rim saw the lake surface bulge, then burst skyward. Two of the men were drenched with acid water, blasted by choking ash and toxic gas and bombarded with rocks. One of the observers died from coronary thrombosis.

One of New Zealand’s finest poets and most controversial figures, James K. Baxter was often at odds with a society unable to face its disturbing reflection in his work. As a dramatist, literary critic and social commentator, Baxter often judged New Zealand society harshly, yet always from the perspective of one intimately involved in the social process.

He discovered his Auckland niche in a cluster of run-down squats in the suburb of Grafton. Number 7 Boyle Crescent, where he settled in Easter 1969, became a drop-in centre for drug addicts. Baxter, adopting the Maori transliteration of his first name, ‘Hemi’, set about counselling and attempting to establish a Narcotics Anonymous organisation similar to AA. His appearance—barefoot, bearded and shabbily dressed—attracted the attention of both media and police, who suspected his motives and morality. He put the drug users’ side of the story in ‘Ballad of the Junkies and the Fuzz’, and also published a selection of twenty years’ verse in The Rock Woman (1969), but poetry was not his main focus. By August 1969, the Boyle Crescent period had ended and Baxter was heading for Jerusalem, to begin his commune.

By August 1972 Baxter was drained, physically and emotionally. He sought refuge on a small commune in Auckland. On 22 October he died of a coronary thrombosis.

Woodstock Music & Art Fair (informally, Woodstock or The Woodstock Festival) was a music festival, billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm during the Northern summer of 1969.

Sound for the concert was engineered by Bill Hanley, whose innovations in the sound industry have earned him the prestigious Parnelli Award."It worked very well," he says of the event. "I built special speaker columns on the hills and had 16 loudspeaker arrays in a square platform going up to the hill on 70-foot [21 meter] towers. We set it up for 150,000 to 200,000 people. Of course, 500,000 showed up." ALTEC designed 4-15 marine ply cabinets that weighed in at half a ton apiece, stood 6 feet straight up, almost 4 feet deep, and 3 feet wide. Each of these woofers carried four 15-inch JBL LANSING D140 loudspeakers. The tweeters consisted of 4x2-Cell & 2x10-Cell Altec Horns. Behind the stage were three transformers providing 2,000 amperes of current to power the amplification setupFor many years this system was collectively referred to as the Woodstock Bins.

Max Yasgur refused to rent out his farm for a 1970 revival of the festival, saying "As far as I know, I'm going back to running a dairy farm." Yasgur sold the farm in 1971 and died in 1972 of coronary thrombosis.

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