The early 70s were a hotbed of sects, sub-sects, enclaves &c across the board from the Angry Brigade to the Yippies, Of the thousand-and-one types of hippy that spontaneously generated during the period, history has ignored Wally, the 'laughing Rock and Roll Movement'. In the days before New Age Travellers had been invented, Wally upset the authorities in the Stonehenge area with the now familiar list of bugbears - illegal camping, free festivals, squatting, and other such things that no-one other than authorities and people living within a quarter-mile radius of such people are ever much bothered by.


The Wally war-cry - or, rather, peace-cry - was 'Wally - the laughing Rock and Roll Movement, spearhead tribal clan entrenched, to Arthur's banner. Best mates with all'. And this latter statement was largely the case, with the notable exception of the Department of the Environment, and the shadowy We Love Amesbury Brigade.


Wally first came the attention of the local media when the eight-strong group were taken to court in 1974 for camping illegally at Stonehenge, in tents made of PVC stolen by a former amusement arcade manager from Whitley Bay *. 'God wanted Wally to camp at Stonehenge' reported the Salisbury Journal. Spokesman Wally Hope said 'we have a very high religious motivation - from Flower Power to Sun Power' - citing Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi and 'a mystic poet of the Oglala Sioux' : but God's powers were as naught compared with the High Court and Wally's 'Garden of Allah' was hastily abolished, yoga meditation camp and all.

Their argument that Stonehenge was public property was rejected, and doubtless their laid back approach precluded them pushing it too strongly anyway. Again the Salisbury Journal caught the flavour of the proceedings, Wally Hope painting the defeat as a victory : 'We won. We'd have won whatever happened. We were playing with the Ace of Hearts. The judge told us that we were 100 per cent good people We have won because we made friends with him. We made friends with our lawyer. We made friends with you reporters. What more can you want out of life that to make friends?'; another Wally, Wally Egypt, sat outside the courtroom blowing bubbles. Occasionally 'she broke into song accompanied by a tambourine strapped to one ankle'.

Where would Wally go? Wally Wonder said that they would move the camp five yards to a track 'which he says is common land and therefore "fair game".' Every day is a Sun Day according to the Wally worldview and Stonehenge was where they wanted to pitch their wigwams. 'How would they get there?' enquired the Journal: "we are going to fly man" said Wally Hope.


Wally claimed that 'the police and the army are our best mates'. But the same was definitely not true of the We Love Amesbury Brigade. Amesbury is a sleepy market town in South Wiltshire much frequented by soldiers stationed on Salisbury Plain - there not really being anywhere else to go to buy chips and drink beer. It is not the sort of place you might immediately associate with internecine warfare and paramilitary terror campaigns. Enter the We Love Amesbury Brigade. A Wally squat in the town was singled out for the attentions of said organisation, being attacked one night in May 1975 with 'milk bottles, iron bars, and even an old kitchen sink'.

Who were these sink-wielding vigilantes from the sticks? The people of Amesbury kept their secrets: doubtless because no-one really knew. The police made no comment. Probably because they neither knew nor cared. The local disco denied all knowledge. Presumably for the same reason. The Salisbury Journal found a witness: 'One woman who heard the noise of the raid says she believes it was local lads, but is saying no more'. A veil of silence descended melodramatically over Amesbury. A permanent one, as it would appear: no-one ever heard a peep from the We Love Amesbury Brigade again.


The Journal gives us a valuable insight into the Wally way of life.

The Wallys moved instantly, to two condemned houses across the road:'We don't want to scrap', they said 'We don't wish anyone harm. We just want to live in peace'. They offered to repair any damage to the offending house, and 'loved their enemies': 'At the moment it is all cool. We don't want any trouble started up. We aren't going to tell the police who they are'.

Wally were soon back raising hackles at Stonehenge, but displaying a similar magnanimity. The druids celebrating the 1975 summer solstice at the famous stones were treated to an aural wallpaper of rock and roll, courtesy of Wally who had decided to hold their own celebrations in the form of a free festival. Illegal, of course. But the police were content with the behaviour of the revellers, and a local landowner was presented with a £60 collection made by Wally, to go towards the cost of repairing damaged fencing. The landowner, local magistrate Jack Wort 'thought it was a very happy gesture'.


The press coverage of the Wally activities in 1974/5 is relatively light hearted, and mutual relations between Wally, and the local people and authorities largely seem to have been tolerant and respectful, even mildly endearing and sweet. Very much in sharp contrast with the over-policing and violence of the 'beanfield' eighties. What became of the laughing rock and rollers and their child-like expressions of goodwill? After 1975 the media attention disappeared, punk rock being the new Satan, and history reveals no more. Perhaps you can supply the missing pages? Any ex-Wallys or companions of ex-Wallys are welcome to send their knowledge and anecdotes.

*that's another story.


2nd December 1999 - The Salisbury Journal once again proves itself the key source for information on Wally. Columnist The Badger confesses to a personal knowledge of the golden age of Wally: "Sometimes they would venture as far afield as The Cadena Cafe in Salisbury's Blue Boar Row... One particular specimin was called "Doc Wally" - why, I don't know, he was clearly in need of urgent medical intervention himself. A man so ravaged by drugs and drink that his teeth had fallen out, he had a pronounced speech impediment and his favourite phrase was "It was a hell of a hassle, man". Such was his tenacity, combined with a profound stutter on the letter 'H', that verbalising his catchphrase was quite a long and drawn-out procedure". At a 'gig' at Salisbury's City Hall, Badger was "approached by a Wally who introduced himself thus: "My name's Wally... Titus Groan Wally. The skin's fallin' off me face, man". He felt that if I bought him a Southern Comfort he felt it might alleviate his condition."

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