Here and Now 1977

page 2

Jonathan Barnett writes in 1994:
The free festival movement of the 1970's was utopia in action. Food, music, fun, all cost nothing. you could do what you liked as long as you didn't harm anyone. The sun shone in the Midsummer month. There were streets and stages and shops and side-shows and the centre point was a great pyramid that was the main stage.
Here & Now were the musical heroes of the free festivals, and they established the free music circuit which was a reaction to the general unpleasantness and greed of society and the music business in particular.
The band travelled in a bus which had been converted into a living and sleeping and eating accommodation. They owned their own P.A. and equipment truck and everyone worked for free so touring expenses were non-existent. The roadies and the girls took a collection, and the £50 or whatever was enough to fuel the band and bus to the next gig.

 
Steffe having electric fun in a dome at Stonehenge 1977 or 78 - pic : Jerry Levi (Jezza!)
Some of the audience during Here and Now show at Glastonbury Free Festival 7/7/1977 pic :Jezza  
 
Ano getting a bit carried away. pic : Jezza
   
 
   
 

Again, the burning everlasting summer passed in a flash. The rain and cold came back and we'd rahter burned our bridges at Latty road. We took up an extremely kind offer to shelter at festival band Thandoy's Norfolk retreat.
in the chilly damp weeks that followed, there was still no word from Daevid. Even though we were a battle-hardened unit in our own right, the uncertainty, coupled with the onset of another nine months of miserable weather, was unsettling everyone.

Tempers were fraying, and after one altercation too many, the gentle Twink found he'd had enough and left the band, kindly leaving us his bus. Keith the Bass put forward the also gentle Gavin as his replacement, and he was duly elected. His synthi maelstrom would soon earn him the name Gavin da Blitz.
Ironically, Daevid surfaced days later with a whole set up in place. A British-French tour was being organised, and by October we had all met up at Harry Williamson's place in North Devon for rehearsals.

We combined much of the music we'd been playing as here & Now with Daevid's new and old material and Planet Gong came to be. By November the tour was under way

By this point Suze was singing as well as dancing and she was joined by Ano Wombat. Marie-Clair de Lune danced and sometimes so did Trissy (Janet's seven year old daughter). After a few gigs we were joined by Gilli Smythe on space-whisper.
It was a totally different world. For one thing we simply weren't used to playing concerts... not ones that people came to, anyway! Somehow Here & Now used to flower in the summer, in the open air. Secondly, we weren't used to performing every day, or for that long at a time (nearly two hours - totally exhausting if you're the drummer!). We tried to do the tour in Twink's bus, but it just couldn't bear to be in France without him. It broke down and refused to be mended

Choir of Angels.

Planet Gong live in 1977

L to R:

Suze, Ano, Gilli.

In France though, we had more time between gigs to get to know people a bit. Meeting all these old mates of Gong was a treat... not to mention the food!

fh [reprinted from the 'Gospel of Free' booklet].

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