As Jon walked through the
woods, the path suddenly seemed unfamiliar. He
knew every track, so was surprised to become lost.
He found a road and planned
to follow it to a familiar landmark. Soon there
was a town, though not one he recognised.
Hi, man, said a
Jon turned to see a guy
with an afro hairstyle; sunglasses; a coloured,
fluorescent, paisley shirt; a wide polka dot tie;
bell-bottomed, velvet trousers and platform shoes.
Where is this?
The stranger proffered the
joint he was smoking. This is the Fabish
Community, he answered. My names
Jon inhaled and returned the reefer. Good
Youve heard of
the Amish, replied Zak. They live as
if in the seventeenth century. Fabish hang out in
the nineteen-sixties. He gestured towards a
Triumph TR4. Ill drive you to a moon
twentieth of July 1969. The Yanks are landing on
They drove along the main
street. The Art Deco cinema was showing Doctor
Zhivago. Next week it would be Easy
Rider. Moon parties had begun: Voodoo
Chile sounded from a window; Sgt.
Peppers from another; I Cant
Get No Satisfaction from a third.
Jon noted that everyone was
in their late teens or early twenties. His own
reflection in the visor mirror revealed his
transformation to that age forty years had
Jon followed him inside,
where a guitarist was singing the final bar of The
Times They Are a-Changin. The musician
offered the guitar to Jon, who performed Sloop
John B and Streets of London before
passing the instrument on.
A girl wearing a Mary Quant
mini skirt; heavy, black eyeliner; long, false
eyelashes and pale pink lipstick approached Jon.
Im Saffron, she said.
Your songs really sent me.
Saffron took Jons
hand and led him upstairs. Its OK,
she said, Im on the pill.
Afterwards they lay sharing
a joint. Why the nineteen-sixties?
optimism, Saffron answered. The
decade started with the Aldermaston marches.
Authority and government were questioned
there was Vietnam and the killing of Martin
Luther King, but young people found a voice;
there were demands for freedom and equal rights
for women, homosexuals and minorities. The decade
ended, like a grand finale, with the first man on
the moon and Woodstock. She paused.
That enthusiasm and hope would never be
recaptured. In later years, life would never
again seem so simple nor feel so good.
There was a shout from
downstairs: Neil Armstrong was about to climb
from the lunar module. Jon and Saffron hurriedly
dressed, rushed downstairs and crowded with the
others around a small, black and white television.
The speaker crackled:
That's one small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind.
The group excitedly watched
the first exploration of the lunar surface.
After the transmission,
Saffron led Jon outside into the dawn light. She
pointed to a gap in the trees. That path
will take you home. She looked into his
eyes. Although youll never find your
way here again. She kissed him.
Alternatively, you can stay with me.
Reading Lost Horizon
as a child, Jon never understood why Conway and
Malinson had left Shangri-La.
He was not going to make
the same mistake.