Woodstock: And life in the office today

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MY LIVING ROOM — It’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

(If you’re thinking the little yellow bird in Charlie Brown looks good for his age, stop reading now.)


The film is on TV. I am unlikely to make it through the whole thing. I have tried many times. But each time it does serve up a few new gems.

1. The rejection of commercial priorities:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is now a free concert. The people who are paying for it are going to take a bath, and that’s no hype. But your safety is more important.”

2. The love and peace:

A stage invaded hugs the Canned Heat front-man, Bob Hite. A bouncer comes to take him away, but he’s shooed away. They sing together for a moment. Then the kid takes the singer’s cigarettes and helps himself. He gets a light from Hite.

3. The idealism:

Joan Baez talking about her imprisoned husband: “David’s got a good hunger strike going now with 42 people in the Federal prison, who are not even draft-dodger…”

4. The recognition of changes in regional powers:

A wandering hippy with a guitar explains: “You see that motorbike? It’s from Japan and our instruments too… Everything’s from Asia, man, and we have so much to learn from them…”

And for those who think that the world is no better for it, think of this:

1. CSR and sustainability programmes. Businesses supporting sports teams. Scholarships. Sabbaticals. Wellness programmes.

2. Emission controls. Commercial abuse rarely going unexposed. Fair trade programmes. Ombudsmen.

3. Diversity, commercial freedom, free trade, and greater inward and outward investment in almost all countries in the world.

4. Corporate activism like Ben & Jerry’s (now part of Unilever), Starbucks, M&S all seems to now be ‘good business’ too.

There was a great sense of mission in the 1960s. Perhaps it’s only retrospective now. But my generation who were born then or after, miss that focus and determination. However, maybe some of it has actually crossed over into the Boardroom and open spaces of our organisations and corporations.

That would not be a bad things.

Peace, man.


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