Acid flashback: Tabloid coverage of the Summer of Love was the original fake news
We’re celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Summer Of Love. In this classic opinion piece from October 1989, Kirk Field took the tabloid press to task
To pick up the morning papers and read about one’s social life, garishly splashed across the tabloid sheets, is usually the reserve of politicians and pop-stars. No more. Thanks to the ever headline-hungry ‘gutter’ press (‘we always make a crisis out of a drama’), the urban young can now pop out on a Monday morning, pretty sure that if they were at a major rave at the weekend, they’ll be able to read every gory detail as seen by the Sun reporter.
The differences between a Sun reporter and a normal person are as follows:
1. Sun reporters see double; if there were around 5,000 people there, they’ll print 11,000, and so on…
2. Sun reporters can’t tell what age you are. Now if you’re in your mid-twenties this can be quite flattering, but when you’re 17 or 18 it’s not cool being taken for a 12 year old…
3. Sun reporters can’t count money. If a ticket costs £15, they’ll pay £25.
So after reading the recent Sun article about the Biology rave in Buckinghamshire (and trying to spot yourself in the ‘shocking’ photo of ‘far out’ youngsters), you tend to be a little confused. Surely this is not the same trouble-free festival you spent this weekend enjoying? Let’s look at the facts. (for any Sun reporters reading, ‘a fact’ is ‘the quality of having actual existence in the real world’).
Warehouse parties of any description can hardly be described as a cheap night out. As their popularity has soared and organisation increased to embrace the hire of state-of-the-art sound and lighting, refreshment, security and insurance cover, ticket costs have soared from 500 people paying £5 to 5,000 handing over £15. Now I don’t know about you, but when I was 12 my pocket money just about covered the cost of a Roy Of The Rovers comic and the latest Sweet single (oops, showing my age!) Once in a while I’d do some extra washing up in order to go to the pictures. Even allowing for inflation, £15–£20 is an unrealistic price for an unwaged teenager to fork out.