Tumbleweed Town

Is it time to admit that we’ve now been browbeat

By the crocodile smiles, the lies and conceit?

When they’ve sold the very soil from under our feet

What dire fate do you think we peasants shall meet?

Our plants wilt and the animals choke

As the fetid air slowly merges with smoke 

While we scrimp and save and do what we can

And wonder what life will be like after man.

Continue reading “Tumbleweed Town”

Dazed and Confused

I guess we’ve all said what we want to say,

When all’s said and done by the end of the day,

Are we any the wiser to issues in play?

Can we say we now know as we turn away?

But opinions that are built on shifting sand,

Will soon blow away from the palm of your hand.

And decisions informed by an evil lie,

Deserve only to bend, wither and die.

Seeds of doubt sown, targets they meet,

Short term impact, the life of a tweet.

Our democracy carjacked by suited buffoons,

But we are the ones left looking like fools,

The agents of Capitalism who always blame ISIS,

Are the worst sorts in power in a human crisis,

They moved swiftly to shore up their ill-gotten gains,

Whilst we battled a virus of misery and pain.

Their patronising briefings suggest it’s our fault,

In a way that’s true as we’ve lost the plot.

The science is twisted to fit with their story,

Well, what do you expect from a self-serving Tory?

With bar charts that baffle, a twinkle in their eyes,

The silk-smooth conceit as they spin their lies,

We deserve to be fleeced like sheep on the run,

If we elect as our leaders Putin, Trump and Johnson.

Masters of saying what we want to hear,

Then after they’ve won there’s confusion and fear,

Served up with a large dollop of regret,

For those who survive, what fate will be met?

Lockdown Reflection

I wear the same clothes day after day

My life’s like a blues riff from Purple Haze

Wondering if we’ll escape this ugly mess

I found a four-pack of Guinness in Tesco Express

Get up at midday and go to bed at midnight

Emerge blinking I give neighbours a fearful fright

When I come out on Thursday I look a right mess

To bang my saucepans for the brave NHS

The News is a source of concern and grief

Over 30,000 deaths is beyond belief

Boris tells jokes as the herd is thinned

The economy ring-fenced and neatly trimmed

It’s nightmare on Penn Street every night

I peek through my shutters at the cold daylight

The foxes have been at the bins again

As nature reclaims what we took away

Mask and gloves are new fashion necessities

On my lonely park walk, a snap for posterity

Crows mass on branches and stare like they’ll eat ya

As I wonder if I’ll survive the deadly corona.

man walking in nature

On John Cooper Clarke and The Fall

Ever been dragged to a gig by a mate and had your eyes opened a new and unexpectedly amazing experience?

JCCAs a young impressionable schoolboy in Liverpool during the punk rock explosion of ’77-’78, I was asked by a classmate, John, if I would go with him to see John Cooper-Clarke, as he also wanted to be a punk poet.  I said, “Who’s he?”  …Come on, cut me some slack here…it was March 1978 and there was no internet, only the music press for info…JCC was just starting out.

And so I went to my first ever night club gig at Eric’s in Liverpool, on Mathew Street, opposite the once famous but derelict Cavern Club (it had been closed for some years, before it was revived as a tourist attraction).  It was 7th April 1978 and was billed as ‘The Fall plus Special Guest’ (see attached flyer with JCC autograph!).  The special guest was a lanky Salford punk poet with dark glasses and a mop of black hair – pretty much identical to how he looked a few months ago in 2015 on TV in ‘Have I got News For You’.  The Salford Bard, now being touted as the next Poet Lauriat and with poems on the school curriculum, was unexpectedly brilliant.  I still remember ‘I Married a Monster from Outer Space’, and ‘Kung Fu International’, apparently recorded ‘live’ at that gig and used as a B side.  He was followed by Mark E. Smith and The Fall, at that time a rough punk-imitator band, as most new bands felt they had to be. ‘Last Orders’ was the stand-out track from this early punk thrash.

Erics_John Cooper ClarkeNow, the reason I’ve put finger to keyboard with this blog post is that it just occurred to me that both these unwell-looking acts ARE STILL GOING! Both are gigging in 2015, John Cooper-Clarke down the road in Guildford this week supporting Squeeze.  I loved the last scene of the last episode of ‘The Sopranos’ played out with JCC’s ‘Evidently Chicken Town’.  Now cropping up in TV commercials, the former coke and brown addict is an inspiration to us all in….well….survival.

The Fall, who released their first album the year after I saw them in 1979, have gone on to be one of the most prolific recording acts in British music history.  With 31 studio albums to date, and many more live albums, Mark has tried his level best to bore us all to death.  Although not such a big fan, I was persuaded to see the Fall in the late 80’s twice, and enjoyed both, very different, performances.

One was in a dingy club in Croydon, where, with Brix on bass, they belted out classic and memorable versions of ‘Eat Yourself Fitter’ and ‘Cruiser’s Creek’.  The other was at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (I kid you not) where sometime in September 1988 I was dragged by mate Jimmy to see ‘I Am Curious Orange’ with The Fall on stage with the Michael Clark contemporary dance group cavorting around them to quite brilliant versions of ‘Curious Orange’ and ‘Big New Prinz’ (scan of programme cover shown – anyone else go to this?).  Inspired and innovative…

Curious Orange_The FallWhat impresses me most about JCC and Mark E. Smith is their unshakable belief in what they’re doing – in their art.  They have spanned the late 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and are still batting on in 2015 and, no doubt, beyond.  They must have met virtually everyone in UK showbiz….a kind of anti-advertisement for Manchester.  Keep Away!  It’s all like Beezley Street!  But bizarrely, Manchester and Salford acts like The Fall, The Smith, JCC, Joy Division/New Order (Happy Mondays, Oasis in the 90s)  have all tickled my imagination, tuning me in to a grim Northern outlook that is remarkably tough, resilient and strangely uplifting.  Hell, they’re even thinking of taking tourists there!

I say, Rock on JCC and Mark E. Smith.  You have inspired a generation and now reach a younger audience who see the Punk Era that spewed you out as a kind of Golden Age.  We grew up then, and understood the value of questioning the Establishment and of rebellion…without questioning, without perspective, the country will end up being run by someone like….errr….David Cameron!