Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Great Speckled Bird 1972-04-10 / Hot times in Hotlanta

Up for your perusal today a scan one of the more highly esteemed underground papers, The Great Speckled Bird out of Atlanta.

You can check out what looks to be the official site of the paper here. This site has news about reunions as well as links to some photo galleries and a history of the publication.

Also I’ll point out a couple of nice retrospectives on The Bird and its times, the second link being from the sort of publication that has grown out of the underground press movement what I think they’d call these days the alternative press.

Back when I had the good fortune to live in Athens, GA, I always enjoyed my time spent in Atlanta, a city which most definitely has its own unique flavor. Some vestiges of hippie culture remain in Atlanta but midtown which once flourished with counterculture types has been since been built over with skyscrapers, high end condos and the like. Hippies everywhere had to deal with a lot of strange looks and stigmatization from the mainstream, but I have no doubt in my mind being a hippie was especially rough in the South.
The first couple pages of this issue attest to some harassment from the authorities:

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I think my favorite piece in here is from a writer from Orlando that has witnessed Disney World come to her hometown. We all resent development and the erosion of natural features in the environs of our youth, so I understand the bitter tone this writer has taken. Certainly much of the natural wonder of Florida has been lost in it’s development. I highly recommend Peter Mathiessen’s Killing Mr. Watson trilogy as an account of the exploitation of one of America’s last frontiers. No doubt, having Disney invade your town would be completely surreal…

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I always like in these underground papers when you see a collision of cultures. In this issue, we see a bluegrass fest invaded by hippie youth. The comments of the performers and country types about their new-found hippie audience is great. There was a lot of investigations (and appropriations) of roots music during the 60s and there still is a very real appreciation for old country and bluegrass among the hipsters of the South. It certainly sounds like a good time was had by all this year:

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Some of my favorite parts of these papers are the strange letters you can often find. This kind soul puts out a warning, having fallen for a quick con, watch out ye naïve flower children!

Lastly, a cartoon from the UPS on American exit strategy from Vietnam. You better believe this is still part of our exit strategy from Iraq. Backup for Iraqi security forces is going to come in the flavor of air power…

You can get the scan of this entire issue of The Bird here .

Big thanks to McCoy for editing this issue for me. He’s a fellow magazine scanner who has been doing a grand job editing my magazines while I laze about the pool. Hopefully I can pick up the pace of my posts here to get the good stuff he’s been helping with up here as well as a the growing backlog of magazines I haven’t had the time to post yet, oh my! Tomorrow, a fresh scan of one of my favorite pulps, 10 Story Book.

Stay Cool,


1 comment:

Uncle Aaron said...

Thanks for posting this copy of the underground paper with the most beautiful name and masthead.