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A Spiritual Narrative - Part One
I was born at 3:50 in the afternoon of 7 October 1955, close to the inauspicious source of west London's famous Goldhawk Road, and my first home was a somewhat cramped menage occupied by my parents, a violinist and singer respectively, and a few of their friends, all of an artistic persuasion I believe, in Bulmer Place near Notting Hill Gate.
My brother was born two and a half years later, by which time my parents had been able to afford their own house in Bedford Park in what was then the London Borough of Acton. And genteel suburban west London was characterised by a homespun simplicity in those days that we can only dream about in our own deeply troubled age.
By 1963, with my brother and I safely ensconced in the French Lycee in opulent South Kensington, radical social change was very much in the air; although in truth it had been for some years, especially in Britain in America...and arguably since the rise of Rock'n'Roll and youth culture, whose watershed years were 1955-'56. But for all that, Britain in 1963 was still apparently in black and white, and the first shaggy-haired Beat groups fitted nicely into this charming and innocent time of Norman Wisdom pictures, the Home and Light Services, with their dignified, well-spoken presenters, coppers, tanners and ten bob notes; at least that's the way it seems to me in retrospect. It was a long, long time ago...
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