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Stonehenge: Celebration And Subversion' by Andy WorthingtonSTONEHENGE

Celebration and Subversion by Andy Worthington (2004)

For more info see www.andyworthington.co.uk

Primarily focussing on how modern society has interfaced with this monument, particularly since the current revival in the Solstice gathering that began with Wally Hope and Co. in the 1970's.

The social and political, rather than the archaeological and architectural, are Worthington's interests in this book, and all the more refreshing for it.. Worthington's personal connection and passion with Stonehenge is the essence here, rather than a dry nuts-and-bolts job.

Like squabbling separated parents, arguing over the custody and access rights to a child, the State and the Counter-culture have frequently clashed over the ownership and meaning of the Stones. What the State has seen as a quaint relic of bygone days, something to look at but not touch, devotees of the Stones regard it as a living spiritual power, to be embraced and celebrated, often whilst naked.

Such fundamental differences came to the foreground during the 80's, brutally and bloodily. But what happened there was only a reflection of the what was going on everywhere else. Worthington thankfully expands beyond the immediate vicinity of the Stones and covers the rising punk/protest movements that made up a lot of the numbers every June 21st. Phil Russel , aka Wally Hope, and his inspiration to, amongst others, Crass and Spiral Tribe show how far the ripples spread. With Thatcher's fading star and the mutation of the Tories into neo-Labour we've seen the monument once again play host to large, peaceful gatherings every year .Worthington ends with a brief run-down on the proposed future of Stonhenge - will The Man build the a motorway beneath it? (nb. No, not for now - plans shelved see SchNEWS 506) Will the days of the Festival return? Will Arthur Pendragon ever get a proper job? 

In 2005 a follow-up book 'The Battle Of The Beanfield' was published, edited by Andy Worthington, bringing together an archive of articles from the time, as well as graphic photos of events around the violent police attack on a traveller convoy travelling to Stonehenge for the summer solstice in 1985. www.andyworthington.co.uk/battle.html

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