The Woodstock anniversary demonstrates once again that the past is neither dead nor even past. The sixties, in particular, exist as a kind of transcendental present, a moment ever available to be fought and refought.

Thus David Burchell, venting the fuddy-duddy conservatism that’s taken root in the Oz, explains that Woodstock was "little more than three wearisome, mud-soaked days of musical chaos". It’s a sentence in which the two words "little more" bear a greater burden than your average hydraulic crane. Try it at home. The Beatles were little more than a skiffle band; the computer’s little more than a fancy type-writer; the atomic bomb little more than a chemistry experiment. And so on and so forth.