Growing up in Hereford in the 70s I was surrounded by alternative radical influences. Hereford had a thriving music scene that grew out of the hippie era–and Hereford was well known for its hippies! There were gigs at the Flamingo, at the art college and various venues. A place for meeting up and hanging around was Buzz Music in Widemarsh Street (now a car park; how unsurprising!) This brightly painted music shop was a candle to us young impressionable moths. You could go in and listen to records all day, drink coffee, smoke and smoke, and still not buy anything. There were real rock stars coming and going and as Buzz Music expanded into PA hire for major rock tours there was a real feeling of being at the centre of the counter culture. Once Buzz closed down there were all sorts of rumours that the PA hire was more to do with smuggling for a certain Mr H Marks (nice!).
There were several pubs that took on the role of centre of counter culture too. The Saracen’s Head was famous for its cheap cider and hash dealers, as were a few others in the town. There was a real feeling in the air as the 70s progressed, that the ‘straights’ were losing the argument … and then punk happened! All of a sudden, instead of a few long haired hippies noodling on guitars representing our counter culture, we had aggressive loud youths shouting about it and how anarchy was going tear down the state! Youths were getting political. The punk movement faded into the mainstream but from it came a new kind of political awareness, namely that the ruling classes are corrupt and full of self serving rich crooks getting richer! This was a radical view in ’77, but today it’s what most people think.