Sid Rawle collapsed and died at the Rainbow camp at Rodwell on Tuesday evening.Writing about Sid is not without problems with the swirl of rumours over the years and knowing what’s fact and what isn’t but there’s no doubt with Sid’s death it feels like the end of a certain era of hippiedom. I first met Sid on an Aldermaston march in 1967 when he was leaduing his Hyde Park Diggers to cultivate central London and perhaps he’ll be best remembered for his role as a Ranter in the film ‘Winstanley’. Sid didn’t act he just appeared to play himself with his distictive voice he was a dead ringer for Abiezer Coppe. Then there was the Windsor free festival, the first Glastonbury, the whole free festival circuit, the Peace Convoy…….Sid was involved in all of them. Paul McCartney bought Sid an island off the Irish coast to establuish a commune and he eventually had to be airlifted off suffering from hypothermia. He was a regular at anarchist bookfairs and was the man behind Tipi Valley near Llandeilo where he lived for years. he organised the Forest Fayres in the Forest of Dean and briefly joined the Green Party…….where there was even wild talk of him becoming one of their principal speakers! That would have been a cracker. I last saw Sid many years ago in the incongruous surroundings of Membury Services on the M4 – we looked and shrugged at the absurdity of it.Sid burst into song in the carpark….DIGGERS ALL’………Give my regards to Abiezer Sid.
It seemed appropriate to learn of Sid’s death at the showing of Greg Hall’s SSDD at the portobello fim festival last night. I also saw Tony who founded Knockabout Comics,Lee Harris who’d hung out with Leary and Cleaver in Algeirs. the geezer who started the first Head Shop in Portobello Road…….OLD HIPPIES ALL!