Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Perry Robinson: The Traveler

Certain people became martyrs of the sixties, people who actually killed themselves when the ideals of the times didn't turn into reality. The folksinger Phil Ochs was one of them. I met Phil briefly in the mid-1970s when he came to a birthday party for my dad at John Fischer's loft. He came late as I recall, and he seemed very nice; we had a good rapport, but we didn't get to talk too much. My image of him is just at that party, very beautiful. Later I read his biography, and I was surprised to learn that when he was young he was a very talented classical clarinet player.

He's one of the guys that you can call a martyr in a sense, because he died for his beliefs; he hung himself in April 1976 because he felt there was no hope. But even after Phil died Bob Bonick kept the tradition going, and Changes was still a revolutionary kind of place. They used to go up in the balcony and have seances for Phil, but I didn't hear that they ever got him.

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