Formative Years

Growing up in London in the late 1960s made an indelible impact.

The city was vibrant and incredibly accessible via bus and underground. I went to high school with a band of desperados keen on scouting the music scene and we found cheap tickets to the Royal Albert Hall to witness Hendrix, Cream, and Simon and Garfunkle.

The school was in its infancy, welcoming students from any background who wanted a US education and could pay the private fees. The freshmen and sophomore classes were combined, with only a handful of girls and a dozen boys. We hailed from Texas, California, New York, Germany, Italy and Sweden.

Our classes were intense, taught by eager Americans fresh from the US with diplomas in hand and anxious to spend a sabbatical overseas. The school had no cafeteria but the upper classmen discovered they could grab lunch and a pint at a local pub, until the headmaster banned drinking at lunch.

We spent weekends combing through the used records and vintage clothing on King’s Road. My favorite group was Pentangle: John Renbourn, Danny Thompson, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Bert Jansch updated traditional folk music with edginess and grace.

While the rest of the world mourned the death of Steve Jobs, the music world felt the loss of Jansch, who also passed away Wednesday. His musicianship influenced Paul Simon, Neil Young and Jimmy Page, and marked my foray into folk music.

When I recall my high school years in London I first remember the music and Jansch made an indelible impact.



About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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