Hairy Start

HAIR

I woke up to the song ‘Hair’ this morning (Feb. 29, 2012) famously from the musical of the same name and was immediately transported to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in December 1969.  I can actually feel the ermine, the butterflies and the tingles plus a bit of a blush.  What, you don’t remember any of that from the show?  Well, let me explain.

In 1969 I was a tiny wee slip of a girl who although a bride of a few months remained pretty virginal in several ways of the world.  Hair has been called The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot.  It was quite revolutionary at the time with its clear anti-war, pro-drug, complete integration and freedom of sex message.

Now the ermine was a coat I wore.  My then sister-in-law Lynne had inherited an ermine coat from an aunt.  The aunt was quite short and for her was knee length but on us fit perfectly in the miniskirt fashion of the day.  We dressed up for the Royal Alex (in those days everyone did) and I encouraged her to wear the coat but she could not as her husband forbade her to wear it for fear someone they knew would see her and think they had more money than he let on to the public.  (I never noticed it in him but I guess he was one of those, ‘I’m so poor’ people.  To what end I am not sure) however……  so I wore the treasure and sat watching the show as I stroked the sleeves and thought..hmmm I was meant to wear ermine.

While many of the critics embraced the revolutionary play it was protested by church groups in Indiana where the issue was not the depravity of the message but the nude scene and city authorities suggested the cast wear body stockings.  Many theatres were closed rather than present the musical.  It was given some dignity by the presence of power.  Princess Anne who was eighteen at the time was seen dancing on stage and in Washington Henry Kissinger attended.

Hair has been quoted as being responsible for the end of censorship worldwide.  Much has been written on its social, cultural and legal impact but on that evening it was just two young ladies stepping out in high fashion to enjoy great music and shocking story and scenes.  This was the very first live production for me and of course I purchased the LP (long playing record for those who…uh never mind), and I am sure that to this very day I can sing most of the lyrics.

So when ‘Hair’ rocked me from the sleepy saddle of slumber this morning, for a few moments there, time travel did exist.

She asks me why, I’m just a hairy guy
I’m hairy noon and night, hair that’s a fright
I’m hairy high and low, don’t ask me why, don’t know
It’s not for lack of bread, like the Greatful Dead, darlin’

Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas, in my hair
A home for fleas, a hive for the buzzing bees
A nest for birds, there ain’t no words
For the beauty, splendor, the wonder of my hair

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

I want long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/h/hair-lyrics/hair-lyrics.html%5D
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spahettied

Oh say, can you see my eyes if you can
Then my hair’s too short
Down with here, down to there
Down till there, down to where it’s stuck by itself

They’ll be ga-ga at the go-go, when they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond, brilliantined, biblical hair
My hair like Jesus wore it, Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son, why don’t my mother love me?

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair

(Thanks to Wikipedia.org)

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. judithhb
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 18:30:49

    We went to see Hair several years after you saw it. I think it was 1972 or 73 in The Opera House in Wellington. Very risque and the show was disturbed by a bomb scare. That was very exciting as there hadn’t been many of those in Wellington. And yes, we dressed up[ to go to the theatre and some of us still do (to a lesser degree though). :D

    Reply

  2. Crowing Crone Joss
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 18:59:16

    it’s amazing how a song, a short piece of music, can transport us back in time to where we can see, taste and smell all that was going on at the moment. And the feelings, oh yes, those too.

    Reply

  3. eof737
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 18:12:32

    I wonder when that happens to me… usually auguring a happy day. ;-)

    Reply

  4. Lenore Diane
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 22:27:46

    Never have I seen Hair on stage, but it remains one of my 3 all time favorite musicals (Rent and West Side Story are the other two.) I remember listening to the LP (yes, I know what LPs are) while babysitting. I loved babysitting for them, partly because they had the record. I’d play it over and over again.
    What a wonderful memory to recall on this – an extra day in the year.

    Reply

  5. Darlene
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 19:00:09

    The local high school put on a production of hair a couple of years ago and it was great. (They omitted the nude scene of course) Loved the music and vintage fashion.

    Reply

  6. souldipper
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 18:43:35

    And now for a little shake back into 2012! That was fun, Chris. Yes, I think that’s where I went to see Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain in the early 70s. One did wear high heels and look pretty!! But I never got to Hair…don’t know why though. Probably my travel biz schedule didn’t quite fit! :D

    Reply

  7. Chatter Master
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 15:44:15

    You make me laugh. Yes, you WERE meant to wear ermine. You are, after all, a queen! Loved this post. Isn’t time travel wonderful?

    Reply

  8. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 14:45:57

    Sadly, I’ve not seen the musical. However, I wonder, in light of your waking up to the song–was it a good hair day or a bad?
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

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