‘An Unusual Life’, London & Summerhill 1975

Summerhill School, they say, is the happiest place on earth. It is also the most famous democratic school in the world, founded by the Scottish educator A. S. Neill… Should a child have shown antisocial behaviour an extreme solution could be where a problem child would be made to sit in the middle of the floor in the meetings and other children were asked to remark on their good qualities. When using this approach the child might also be given some form of material gift, to show them that they were loved and trusted. Although most of us at first seemed sceptical about this approach, it worked more often than not.

‘An Unusual Life’. Return to England 1974 – London via Amsterdam.

After half an hour of driving around we arrived in the centre of Amsterdam and stopped by some traffic lights. A small hatchback pulled up beside us on Taffy’s side. Taffy asked me to hand him a brown bag, which I did, while looking over. I saw there were four guys in the car and I watched Taffy hand the bag to the driver. The bag must have weighed two to three kilos. In exchange they handed him an envelope and both parties drove away when the traffic lights turned green. Few words, if any, had been spoken.

‘An Unusual Life’, Africa to Denmark – 1973. Danish Roots and WW2

Freetown Christiania, in Copenhagen, is an area of about 19 acres separated from the rest of Copenhagen by a canal. We lived there for a short while when we first arrived in Copenhagen. There my brother and I made fast friends and picked up the language quickly, hanging out with a group of good natured and mischievous boys we met outside the cultural centre by one of the main canals. With them we would explore the remarkable city of Copenhagen and Christiania, with its dope and crepes selling vans. Through doors left open after parties we would creep into flats, retrieve empty bottles and sell them to the shops for pennies, which we’d use to buy ciggies.

Spain to Switzerland and Timothy Leary. ‘An Unusual Life’, by C. Weber

After we leave Joanna and she and Timothy Leary have started their affair in a hotel in a ski resort, they fly off to Lebanon, a place where Joanna spent time as a teenage celebrity tv presenter. There she shows him the town before they fly to Afghanistan, where their dreams and honeymoon are brutally cut short by U.S. federal agents who arrest Timothy and Joanna. They are extradited to the States where Tim is incarcerated and so begins Joanna’s monumental effort to get him released.

Exile – ‘An Unusual Life’, by C. Weber

The first clear memory I have of the flight over from London to Nice was the check-in counter at Heathrow airport. Dad was schmoozing with the airport attendant who was helping us. A huge smile appeared on the attendant’s face in response to dad’s winning grin, which suddenly dropped as he turned to look down at me and noticed something around my neckline. Apparently the masking tape he’d used to strap the couple of kilos to our bodies had come loose on mine and was riding up over the top of my sweatshirt.