SID RAWLE HAS DIED

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!

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “SID RAWLE HAS DIED

  1. Coppe’s own words would make a suitable epitaph for Sid:

    “Loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out … to thy house.

    The true Communion amongst men, is to have all things in common, and to call nothing one hath, ones own.”

    You won’t find that kinda passion in Socialist Worker 😉

  2. I remember Sid very well from the 80′s as he kind of became the ‘self-appointed spokesperson’ for the Convoy which was always amusing.

    That’s probably not fair, he just always happened to be in front of the news cameras every time the journo’s were about-while many of us preferred to chuck stones at them!

    R.I.P. Sid

  3. Spaceflyer

    Bye Sid
    twas well over 36 years since I saw you last but I never forgot you.
    We danced naked with others at the International Anarchist camp in Cornwall in 1969….
    You had a beautiful girl with you then.
    I met you again later that year at a famous squat in London…
    I was a 14 year old runaway hippy chick, searching for answers; you were about 24 years old…
    I remember the muddy nakedness of Windsor free festival….
    my path didn’t cross your’s again, but I never will forget you.
    Best wishes on your journey; I can see you in my minds eye and wish you well.
    S

  4. Ray

    Well I’m buggered! We were only talking about Sid this afternoon. He may have had his faults but he certainly was not lacking in imagination. RIP.

  5. rab c nesbit

    i came across sid at the cosmic carnival against cruise at grenham common.i seem to remember he was very keen to round up as many voluptious woman as he could to his sweat lodge .he would blow on his conch with great enthusiasim to anounce the begining of a session.he defo did his his bit for feminisim as their were lots more wimmin inthere than men.he even refused me entry because i had a lazy lob on and of course it was full.the convoy had come to grenham from stonehenge and to me looked like a mobile drug market with nothing better to do than hang around somwhere until the next free festival where they could goto and sell their drugs.but not sid hetried his best to enthuse people to go to molesworth and set up a peace village. also he was the man who organised the happy campers to unleash their sledge hammers and cutters etc and bring down the perimeter fence.also he went around with a bucket and got the drug dealers to contribute towards bail and fuel costs etc for those who got nicked.definatly one of the last hippies.r.i.p. sid

  6. Janet

    Sorry, first a couple of corrections:
    John Lennon bought Dornish Island and gave/loaned it to Sid.
    Dornish was vacated after a fire started deliberately so Sid’s current lady who have her child in civilisation.

  7. Nick Heath

    I remember reading in the CND paper Sanity in the 1960s a letter from Sid saying that the Youth CND group he was in was transforming itself into an anarchist group. That gave me some sort of encouragement as I myself was in YCND and had just become an anarchist.That’s the first time I came across his name. I saw him recently and he looked in good health. Fragile mortality!

  8. Mairead

    Sid was one of those people who was just around everywhere during my early hippie days. At the Windsor Free Festival (I remember the police coming and smashing through the small tents on the grass like a scythe). At the Stonehenge Festivals. And god knows where else. Just a character that you always saw. I last saw him at a voice camp early in this year. He seemed very happy and contented. It was held at Badgers Barn, the centre that he set up with Jules and his family some years ago (15 years?). What a beautiful place. From just pasture to orchards, nutteries, magical circles, just joyous. What a bequest to the land. And I’ve met some of his lovely young offspring too – helping everyone (including me) at the voice camp, and at the Rainbow camps a couple of years ago.

    Good bye, Sid, you were a one off for sure.

    RIP

  9. Richard Skerman

    Forgive the length, but it saves time writing something new:-

    Leveller
    (Sid Rawle)

    A ginger-headed countryman with a whole lot of gob,
    with the vision and faith to go over the top
    and the strength of conviction to get others to follow
    in whatever mad capers might reshape tomorrow.

    His colours of choice are the red and the black
    and, if he’s a green, it’s the fields not the flag,
    ‘cos the history of these isles he knows better than most –
    to learn what to do and not simply to boast.

    An anarchist leader doesn’t stay at the rear –
    when in a battle, he doesn’t show fear
    and self-confidence will make his comrades feel strong
    if the tactics are good though the strategy’s wrong.

    I first saw this hero on the TV
    when he dug up Hyde Park to make the land free,
    an objective that seemed rather quirky and crude
    but, as an example, showed the right attitude.

    He set up a commune and sank out of sight
    but it’s sure that he never once gave up the fight
    for the next time I saw him was in the Great Park
    when free music festivals provided the spark.

    In top hat and tails he strode cross the site,
    worn over a T-shirt in Parisian stripe,
    battered old trainers and blue denim jeans,
    planning where best to lay out latrines.

    The cops broke it up at the Drug Squad’s insistence
    and thus gave us cause for determined resistance;
    but the forces of order prevailed in that round
    so the revellers moved on to holier ground.

    Between Stonehenge and Wales the convoy evolved
    and no doubt our man was deeply involved
    as, in coaches and trucks, benders and domes,
    the New Age gipsies made mobile homes.

    Since we were ruled by the landed nobility
    the bosses have always feared the mobility
    and anyone poor who escapes the rat race
    and have done all they could to screw us in place.

    Sid was well aware of this fact
    and never was shy to join in and act,
    the newspapers lied – he wasn’t a hippy
    even when he went to live in a tipi.

    But, in a film on the Diggers – a refugee band
    who dug up the commons and squatted the land
    after the Revolution and our Civil War
    and questioned what had the fighting been for –

    .. there was our Sid and a few of his crew
    turned out as Ranters and acting up true
    to the freebooting spirit of the hard line
    who held that helping yourself was just fine.

    I yelled out in joy and with recognition
    at the rightness of this blatant re-acquisition
    of part of our past, which we’ve been denied:
    how often the powers-that-be are defied.

    Sid may be out there still doing his stuff
    but, even if not, he’s done quite enough
    as one who believed, despite lousy odds,
    and rejected all princes, all priests and all gods.

    rs 27-28.8.06

    Hi Ian. Long time. Richard

  10. NEIL SHORT

    Sid was the best father in law i could have wished for and even though things did not work out between his daughter and myself ,he still gave me his time and for this i will always love him , not to mention the 14 beutiful years shared with Anastacia,joshua,luigi and kaia !RIP SID I loved you dearly your son always neil

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