FAITH IN NATURE

She said
Put your faith in nature
It won’t let you down.
Along came Katrina
Blew her house right down
So she moved to Texas
To a trailer park
Where the ice storm took her
Froze her after dark.

If you
Put your faith in nature
It will let you down
No one can control it
Gonna let you down
Some folks say the sun is god
God makes forests burn
Rains wash out entire towns
Nature lets us down.

We see
Thousands die from covid
Every single day
Oceans warm, fishes die
What more can we say
Don’t put faith in nature
You can’t manage it
Nature is so random,
Who knows where it hits?

So now
All we can do today
Is to live with it,
Try to make life better,
Just a little bit.
Nature is wonderful,
In so many ways,
But don’t put faith in it,
It WILL let you down

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room 1st March 2021

SNOW MOON MURMURATION

Beneath evening snow moon murmuration,
Hopeful dreams of spring take tentative shape,
Snowdrop flowers quiver, daffodils burst,
Their yellow heads bring the first real colour,
Into the dank, pandemic cloud filled gloom.
Such yellow assaults our burnt out senses,
Orange flecks joyfully intoxicate
As late afternoon sunbeams blow our minds,
As this darkest winter comes to an end.
Soon tulips will dance beneath waking trees.
Tomorrow we will take a warm, dry, walk,
On down the hill to Henllan post office,
Which still offers community service,
The ghouls from Westminster are not here yet.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 26th February 2021.

BENT

Bent Popinjays at “work”

Never before, so blatently,
Have crooked politicians shown
How little they care about truth.
Corruption goes right to the top,
We all know, yet they never stop.
If they came into your kitchen,
If they robbed your biscuit barrel,
Of your rainy day cash savings,
With ghastly smile and silly joke,
Right there, before your very eyes,
You’d punch them on the nose, no doubt,
With no ado you’d throw them out,
You’d kick these bastards down the street,
You’d slap their heads, stamp on their feet,
Never would they rob you again.
Somehow, when they are on the news,
When questioned hard about contracts,
Given willy nilly to friends,
Unmonitored, brown envelopes,
For artificial work not done,
By unqualified, fly by night,
Toffee nosed, silver tongued buffoons,
Who trouser billions of pounds,
You just turn away from TV,
Accept this as normality.
Yet whilst they rob your Jack and Jill,
You must suck on this bitter pill,
They do not care if you are ill,
With your money their coffers fill.
Your cash has gone, your future spent,
Your cookie jar no different,
How foolish, all this trust you lent,
To popinjays who turn out BENT.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 25th February 2021.

STARMERVILLE

Welcome To Starmerville

There is no bliss in ignorance,
Not there in Starmerville,
Diktats reign down from up above,
That’s life in Starmerville,
Their world, filled with indifference,
Rules all in Starmerville,
They’ll never move from hate to love,
Not there in Starmerville
Rules we once made now count for nought,
Torn up in Starmerville,
Forget about democracy,
It died in Starmerville,
Imposed candidates without say,
Lord it in Starmerville,
Nobody listens to the left,
Today in Starmerville,
You can’t speak out, say how you feel,
Not there in Starmerville,
There’s only room for patriots,
Out there in Starmerville,
Wrap yourself up in union jacks,
That’s it in Starmerville,
All my comrades have had enough,
Pissed off in Starmerville,
Times can move on, our hope dies last,
Fuck you in Starmerville.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, February 25th 2021

WHAT ARE LAWS FOR?

Forever Forensic

Elected cabinet politicians,
Behave as though they live above the law.
Worse still petty opposition leaders,
Forget their role and what they are there for.
It is not forensic to back away,
These Tories are not your bosum buddies,
Not your colleagues in your cloistered chambers,
Neither are they worthy recipients,
Of any congratulations at all,
When the law finds them guilty as liars,
We want them held up strongly to account.
The sad truth is that a large percentage,
Of people died because they failed to act.
Stand up strong, call out failures when they fail,
Don’t join them in some cabalistic pact,
For crying out loud get a fucking grip.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 21st February 2021.

ROCK AND TROLL

A short story.

The YouTube link arrived in messenger at 10.00pm last Thursday.  I have not slept since then. When I hit the play button I almost fell off my chair with shock. My stomach felt as if somebody had tipped a gallon of readymixed concrete into it. Some people might feel happy, ecstatic even, to see a major performer at an international event singing one of their songs. Not me, not this song and not by this singer. I watched in horror as the singer nicknamed The Governor took my beautiful sensitive ballad, written for the only person who ever truly meant anything to me, and turned it into an overblown power ballad designed for afternoon Radio Two listening. I felt physically sick at every contorted vocal slide and shriek. He performed it to an audience of 50,000 at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and they went mental as they screamed for more.  Not only had he completely ruined the meaning of the song and turned it into a sickly sweet afternoon screwfest but he did something even more unforgivable in my book.  He failed to mention that the song was mine.  
How dare an international superstar take my song and not attribute it. I watched the video on repeat for about two hours solid as the anger mounted within me.  I determined then and there that I had to do something about it.  I Googled his website and looked for his touring itinerary. He had a couple of gigs in London booked, one yesterday, one today. I bought a ticket for each, not cheap at sixty pounds a throw.  I didn’t know exactly what to do but he had something coming to him.  
The whole idea of revenge took shape as the days passed. Sleep became difficult.  As I lay in bed the pure injustice of what he had done whizzed and whirred inside my brain throughout the nights.  The question of how to wreak my revenge on him grew from the centre of the pit of my stomach where that ache of unrequited love had been born in the first place. Any other song and I might not have reacted so strongly but this one was special.  Usually I can write a lyric in under an hour, sometimes in minutes, but this one had taken weeks to hone and polish and get right. It required me to search deep into my psyche and explore exactly what she meant to me and how much I loved her. No ordinary three minute throwaway pop ditty but truly a heartfelt cry of passion aimed directly at her.  
I rarely perform the song these days because it hurts too much to revisit the memories of that time.  I had recorded it on my second album, which had not sold many copies, but had been critically acclaimed.  At that time it looked as though the band might make it big and I still harboured belief in the efforts of our management to get us the gigs and the airplay needed to propel us into super-stardom.  Such a long time ago now but the memory of Jill standing in the wings as we played is as vivid as ever.  Her winning smile with just a hint of irony drove me on then and haunts me now. The first time I read the lyric to her she burst into tears. She knew immediately that I had written it for her and wanted her to leave Pete, our lead guitarist, for me.
At first she just turned away from me and made it clear that she belonged to Pete and that was that.  Pete knew nothing of this and he even complimented me on writing such a great song and his guitar licks were simply beautiful.  After we had recorded it we played it at every gig and, after about six months, it worked. One night in the dressing room at Dingwalls she told me she was leaving Pete and that she could not stop thinking about how it might be if we became a couple. From then on we moved in together and our life became as sweet as it is possible to imagine. Of course Pete was not best pleased but he knew that there was no going back and he wished us luck.    Our relationship lasted for seven months and ended when she fell down stairs backstage at the Vortex and suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage.  After that we just stopped playing it and the band quickly split up. 
Yesterday I arrived at the Apollo and the place heaved with fans wearing tee shirts emblazoned with phrases such as “There Is Only One Governor”, “The Governor Rules, OK” and “Listen To The Governor”. The smell of popcorn in the foyer overwhelmed me and the amount of people standing outside smoking and vaping added to the noxiousness.  I handed my ticket to the security man who looked like something straight off Venice Beach boardwalk, with muscles that bulged everywhere. He asked if I had any cans, bottled water or food with me, I told him I didn’t and he handed me back the torn stub.  I was through the turnstile and into the bar area where I bought a large whiskey and downed it in one. 
I sauntered over to the merchandise table and there were piles of his CDs and various clothing items but the display board with covers of the latest vinyl release caught my eye. Written on a sign were the words “The Governor will be signing Vinyl Album covers after tonight’s show”.  The packaging for the album looked, I had to admit, superb.  It needed to be to justify the asking price of twenty five pounds.  The front cover featured a portrait of him superimposed over a photograph of the chariot and horses on top of the Brandenburg Gate with the words THE GOVERNOR – LIVE IN BERLIN.  I looked at the back of the sleeve and read the track listing.   There I saw at track 5 on side two “The Girl With The Smile In Her Eyes”.  No writing credit to me, it just said Arr: The Governor.
I could feel the anger welling up inside me.  I walked away from the display and into the auditorium where I took my seat and began working out how to do what I knew I now wanted to do so much.  Hatred had completely consumed my whole being.  The lights dimmed and two thousand adoring fans started to cheer and whoop.  Suddenly a single high powered white spotlight beam shone onto the centre of the stage and illuminated The Governor.  He stood there in his worn industrial denims and checked flannel shirt with a mustard coloured Fender Telecaster slung over his shoulder. He looked like a true man of the people but I knew the truth.  I knew what stood before them to be a lying, cheating cockroach that made a living out of ripping off fellow artists.  The band started to play the first of a string of number one hits.  Overcome with stifling emotion I got up and left.
Tonight I returned to the Apollo, in my pocket a converted ball point pen which housed a super sharp steel stiletto blade.  This time I watched the whole show, tears streamed down my face when he performed my song.  A young woman leaned across to console me but I shrugged her off, I didn’t need her sympathy. The show ended and I went straight to the merchandise table and purchased a copy of the vinyl album. I loitered around in the foyer as a queue formed for The Governor’s autograph, I joined the end. 
Fifteen minutes after he had triumphantly left the stage he appeared at the stall, looking fresh, in a clean shirt and jacket. He smiled and chatted freely as he asked people their names and signed albums.  I edged closer as the queue got shorter with my album in one hand and the weaponised pen in the other. When I reached the table I calmly handed the album sleeve to him. He took it saying “Oh, it’s OK man, I have my own pen. Who shall I make this to?”
I looked into his eyes and said “Make it to Alan Banks, the man who wrote The Girl With The Smile In Her Eyes.”  He stopped in mid signing. He looked at me and said “Wow that is fucking awesome man. We thought you were dead. We have a ton of royalties waiting for you. Why don’t you come with me to my dressing room and meet my manager, we can sort this out. I can’t tell you how glad I am to meet you, such a great song.”
I slipped the pen into my pocket and walked backstage with him as he continued to praise me.
“Don’t suppose you have any other blockbuster songs do you?” he laughed.
“As it happens, I just might.” I replied as he handed me a bottle of what made Milwaukee famous.
Funny how a bit of recognition can make all the difference.
Harry Rogers, edited im the Yellow Room, February 18th, 2021.

SPICE, THE VARIETY OF LIFE.

Huddled beneath rainbow hoodie,
Head bowed, feet bare, he begs, silent.
I see him in shiver alley.
On the way to buy food for birds
I felt such a goodie goodie.
Finches, sparrows, tits and robins,
All friends in my kitchen garden.

Realisation strikes full force.
Here on cardboard square sits a man,
A young man with no belongings.
I would easy spend thirty pounds
On fat balls, nuts and mixed seed.
He has neither home, nor garden.
Open my wallet, take tenner,
Hand him the brown note, he looks up.
“That’s far too much man, far too much.”
Shocked at how well spoken he is,
The words tumble quick from my mouth,
” Do you have a bed for tonight?”
” I don’t, my girlfriend is away.
She is coming back with money,
We will rent a room very soon.”
“Come to my house, I have spare space.”
“I can’t do that, not right now man.”
Scribble down name and phone number,
Thrust paper into blackened hand,
Hurry to garden bird seed land.
Laden down with avian feast
I pass him by on way back home,
“Did you mean it? About the bed?”
Awkwardly I blurt out “Of course.”
See the tears tumble down his face.
“Thanks, I might call you, some time soon.”
He moved in fourteen days ago.
His room is already unkempt,
Empty spice bags litter the floor.
When straight he is quite diffident,
We talk all night when he’s lucid.
Never knew someone with so much strife,
The police woman very kind,
Told me he never saw the car,
That killed him on the roundabout,
He stumbled from the kerb she said,
The Jaguar killed him stone dead,
Not yet thirty, a crying shame,
I don’t know where to lay the blame.
Spice, the variety of life.

Harry Rogers, in the hut, 24th April 2018

Many thanks to Angie for sharing the narrative behind this piece.

FACT OR FICTION?

These are dangerous days,
When it’s so fucking hard,
To distinguish the line,
Between ficticious truth
And new facticious lies.
Questions posed, never read,
Surveillance plutocrats
Reshape human demands,
Influence how we think,
When we think, what we think,
Soon to be where we think.
They rule us by knowing
Who we are, what we like,
What we do, where we go.
We happily tell them
Everything, every day,
Every time we log on.
But it is not the tech,
That fucks up all our lives,
It’s Capitalism
In the most vicious form.
Those who buy our data,
Who mine our very lives,
Undo democracy,
Destroy skills and knowledge,
Plough into the unknown,
Elevate the richest,
Denigrate the many,
Google server goldmines,
Rich veins keep on giving.
Fill our heads with nonsense,
Encourage Q-Anon,
Keep our minds occupied,
Whilst we stop watching balls.
This social media,
Filled with fact…. or fiction,
Will it last forever?
How will we ever know?

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 19th February, 2021

DANCING THE HEMPEN JIG

A supernatural short story about Blackwall Point in Greenwich

As he stood on the scaffold on Blackwall Point looking across Bugsby’s Reach, with his bright blue eyes, at the other gibbets on Cuckold’s Point Charlie Hendry was seething with rage. Not only was he about to be hung for something he had not done but these rotten king’s excise men had refused to let him say farewell to his fair Betsy. He could feel the blood drain away from his face as the anger grew inside him. The large crowd were gathered on the shoreline and he could see Betsy standing in the front row, wearing her best red velvet cape, being comforted by her brother Jack as she was clearly in some distress. Standing on the muddy stones at the bottom of the Scaffold stood a man with some paper in his hand and a quill pen, his ink pot rested on the bottom spar. Charlie guessed this must be a journalist waiting to record his last words.
“Anything to say Charlie?” the scribe called up.
“Tell my Betsy I’ll not forget her, and I will do my best to come back and find her,”, he replied, “and tell that lying son of a dozen fathers Ben Beak my soul won’t rest until I get my revenge for what he has done. Neither he nor his family will escape my wrath, no matter that it takes all of time I will wreak my vengeance upon all his spawn. Such a revenant as I will be will stop all hearts when first they see. Mark this well ink man, I am not to be denied my retribution for this heinous miscarriage. “
“You won’t be coming back from where you’re going,” , said the hangman as he tightened the noose around Charlie’s neck, “ain’t no way back from hell!”
The priest began reading out the Lords Prayer and Charlie stared at the rotting corpses hanging in the cages nearby and he knew that soon he would be hanging in a cast iron body cage from the end of a gibbet at the low water tide mark. He knew the fate that awaited him, hung first then face painted with tar and white cotton mask stuck on, left to swing as the tide ebbed and flowed over his body whilst the flesh rotted from his bones. Exhibited as a warning to all who practiced piracy on the high seas. William Kidd, Charles Vane, William Fly, Jack Rackham and many other notorious pirate captains, he knew they had all ended up the same way. Ben Beak had sold his name to the excise men for a pipe of rum, falsely accusing him of being a pirate and robbing one of King George the Thirds war ships moored in the Thames off Greenwich pier.
Charlie looked towards the crowd, shouted out “I am a’coming back for you my sweet lover.” and Betsy stared straight into his gleaming blue eyes as the crowd jeered whist the trap door was released and he fell through with his body wrenching his head and breaking his neck as he struggled to stay alive.
It took a full two minutes before his body stopped twitching and he finished dancing the hempen jig. The executioner and his assistant cut him down, put his body into the body cage, closing the hinges on the arms, legs and head, then they carried him back up the scaffold and connected the link on the top of the head guard to the hook on the chain at the end of the gibbet and there was his final gruesome resting place, swinging in the wind as the red sailed barges and black sailed wherries made their way up the river Thames into the cold sunset on this new years eve of 1799.
In 1999 it was New Years Eve, it was New Millennium Eve. Sir James Beak, chairperson of the events organising committee sat at his desk in his office inside the newly completed Millennium Dome sharing a glass of champagne with his Secretary, Betsy Ellison, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second, her husband Prince Phillip, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie. Two security guards stood outside the office and everything seemed to be going smoothly. There were two and a half hours to go before the opening of the Dome at midnight, the rehearsal had been fraught but they all seemed to know what there respective roles entailed. The fact that the transport arrangements for all the politicians and the myriad of journalists and VIPs had gone completely to pot was something they could do nothing about. Tony’s legacy project was almost complete and there was no time left.
“I must say Tony this is certainly a most magnificent structure. A fitting place to focus the eyes of the nation at this most important and exciting moment. Thank you so much for for all your diligence in seeing it through to this point.”, said the Queen
“Oh thank you so much but I cannot take the credit for all of it, all of the hard work was done by Sir James and his team, I just kept a watchful eye as the project progressed.”, answered Tony Blair
“Interesting place to put the blighter,” said Prince Phillip, “I heard that Blackwall Point was the place where the Pirates hung on chains in gibbet cages in the old days. One used to be able to order a plate of whitebait and glass of porter whilst looking at their rotting carcases swinging in the breeze through spyglasses in the local riverside taverns. Can’t do that sort of thing these days, more’s the pity.”
“Take no notice of Phillip. he doesn’t mean it, do you?”, the Queen said as she shot Phillip one of her withering glances.
“Eh, what? Oh yes, if you say so my dear. Still a most interesting place indeed.”
Just as Sir James was about to offer more interesting information about the site there was a knock on the door and then the head of security came into the room.
“I am sorry to interrupt your majesty,” he said “I am afraid we have received a telephone call saying that there is a bomb planted in one of the tunnels beneath the dome. We do not think there is anything in it, probably a hoax, but, just to be on the safe side, we are carrying out a search of all the service tunnels. We think it would be best if you all came with me and vacated the site whilst we do our check, just in case you understand.”
“How tiresome.” said Cherie, “You would think people would let us have at least one moment of splendor. Everybody has been so horrible about this project right from the word go. The media, the politicos on the left and the right, none of them have had a good word to say about it. I will be glad when tonight is over and we can all move on into the 2000’s.”
“If you would like to come along with me we have two cars waiting to whisk you all away to safety.”, said the security chief
“I had better go down and see for myself what is going on,” said Sir James,”might be a good idea if you came too Betsy. I will see you all back on the platform at midnight for the opening, I am sure all will be well.”
As the dignitaries left the room Sir James and Betsy hurriedly took out their yellow safety helmets and a halogen flashlight from the cupboard in the corner of the room and went out with the security chief.
Underneath the dome there was another world.  The service tunnel network carried all the services needed for a large structure. Water pipes, sewerage and waste disposal, telecommunications cables, electricity and gas supplies, plus a tunnel that led to the waters edge through which special guests could gain entrance by boat when there was difficulty with excess traffic on the roads.
All the service tunnels had been checked within ninety minutes of the call and they had all been given the all clear, nothing had been found, it was looking like a hoax call after all.  James Beak was feeling mightily relieved as last minute hitches were not the best thing in the world for his heart condition. This was going to be his last major project and he was looking forward to retirement. What better way to bow out than such a prestige event where he had nailed the biggest show in two thousand years of British history. He was feeling good about things again, it would not take long to get the Queen and The Prime Minister back into the royal box in time for the opening of the year long Millennium festivities.
The security team came out of the tunnel that led down to the river and reported that it too was all clear although there seemed to be a strange musty smell in the tunnel but they had been unable to ascertain the source.
“Betsy, we had better take a quick look down there just in case there is something that needs sorting out later.” Sir James said.
“OK James, let’s get on with it, we only have 45 minutes to go before the start, we need to hurry.” she replied.
They went through the double set of flood doors designed to ensure that if there was ever a tidal surge on The Thames it would not get into the network under the Dome.  As they walked towards the platform and the landing jetty at the far end of the tunnel the lighting overhead began flickering. They looked at each other and both noticed the sudden increase in the musty rotting fish-like smell. The lights increased in brightness before going out with a loud sputtering noise as if water had got into the cables.  They were in complete darkness, Sir James switched on the flashlight.
“There we are my dear,” he said,” nothing to worry about just a short in the circuit. That must be what the smell is all about, I have often smelt this in the past when old plug sockets develop shorts.”
Before she could say anything there was a loud rending noise in the tunnel wall just to the left of where they were standing.  Sir James aimed the flashlight beam at the wall and watched as small pieces of concrete began flaking off and then larger chunks began to fall to the floor, within five seconds an enormous hole had appeared over six feet high and three feet wide. the surface behind the tunnel wall was composed of old compacted river mud which was giving a much stronger odour of the same rotting fish smell. Betsy was already moving back along the tunnel towards the Dome but Sir James stood there transfixed by what had just happened. As he looked he noticed that the mud appeared to moving, there was a squelching noise and then a whole section of the mud fell away revealing what looked like the outline of a body. Suddenly the shape moved towards Sir James from the hole and he could make out what appeared to be a corpse covered in stinking rotting flesh, it’s face draped with a disgusting piece of cloth with a hole where the mouth would have been. Sir James felt his heartbeat increase significantly as fear took over his entire body and his adrenaline levels surged. His heart went into arrhythmic spasm. Betsy had turned and screamed as she saw the Revenant of Charlie Hendry in all his gory majesty standing in front of Sir James. Then a strange sound emanated from the horrible being.
“Beak, I said I would return and wreak my vengeance on you.”, Charlie Hendry said in a low pitched gurgling voice, ”  Now as you die I will dance the Hempen Jig once more only this time it will be out of pleasure at your passing.”
The figure began twitching and moving it’s legs and arms in the most alarming fashion, twisting its torso into the most abominable shapes and moving ever closer to Sir James as it did so. The last thing Sir James saw before his heart gave out was a large yellow and green eel emerging from the hole in the mask on the revenants face.  James Beak collapsed dead on the floor. The revenant turned and looked up the tunnel towards the quivering secretary. “You don’t be MY Betsy.”, it gurgled and with that he completely disappeared in front of her very eyes. The lights came back on and the tunnel wall was somehow repaired back to it’s pristine smoothness as before. The strong pungent fishy smell had also gone. Sir James Beak lay dead on the floor. Beside him, slithering along the floor towards the steps down to the water was a three feet long yellow and green eel with the brightest of bright blue eyes.

This is a complete work of original fiction by me
Harry Rogers, in my hut, Aberbanc, 14th November 2015

WE PLAYED DOMINOES WITH VICTORIAN CHILDREN

Drank in the sixties with my mum,
In a South London public bar.
Dominoes click on the table,
We’re going to play batchy fives.
Lonnie shuffles, Ghostie buys drinks,
A pint of prawns, some pickled eggs,
And four bags of Smith’s crisps, with salt.
Pegs leapfrog round the cribbage board,
The food and beers are bang on song,
I marvel at end game tactics,
Ghostie and Lonnie are old boys,
Their glee as they win plain to see,
That was the point it dawned on me,
They’d been Victorian children.

My mother, Pauline Elsie Rogers and Johnny “Ghostie” Clemence in the early 1960s.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 17th February 2021.

“GHOSTIE” a short story

“GHOSTIE”

This short story is fictional based on the real life story of Johnny Clemence who my mother Pauline and I played many games of dominoes with in the public bar of the Bricklayers Arms in the late fifties and early sixties.

Ghostie and Pauline around 1961

1944 had one hell of a summer. Greenwich was one of those London boroughs that got a right pasting from the German bombing raids and the local mortuary in St Alphege’s passage was much busier than it had been for a couple of years. This was largely due to the introduction of the doodle bug, Hitler’s flying bomb. I guess you could say that they were the forerunners of the modern day drones, in that they were unmanned aerial vehicles. The people hated to hear the high pitched whine of the doodle bug engine because they knew that somebody was likely to die or, at the very least, get seriously injured in a short space of time.

Johnny Clemence was the attendant at the St Alpheges Field Mortuary and he had been working non stop for 36 hours solid. He decided he would go for a beer in his favourite pub, The White Hart, in Crooms Hill. It was not the closest boozer to the mortuary but it served the best beer in Greenwich by far and that was important in such times of austerity. He was careful not to waste his few shillings of beer money on rubbish and this was just a matter of common sense to him. He walked into the small public bar and there, sat in the bay window, was his best pal Lonnie Manchester. Johnny and Lonnie had grown up together, served in the First World War together and had worked as lighter-men on the Thames until the end of the 1930’s. They were such mates that people used to think they were brothers in their dockers outfits of flat caps, black waistcoats and white mufflers. Johnny ordered two pints of mild and bitter and took them over to the table where Lonnie already shuffled the set of black and white dominoes.

“Alright matey?” said Lonnie

“Knackered.” said Johnny

“I heard there was a lot of action in East Greenwich last night.”

“Yes, Jerry blew the back end off of the Queen Victoria in Trafalgar Road. Luckily nobody was hurt. If the buggers had hit the public bar it would have been total carnage. Apparently the local wood yard sent a van load of timber round there and they have patched it up as best as they could and they were open again at 11.00am and serving cider as usual.”

“This bloody war, it seems like everybody’s so used to it that they just carry on as if it is normal.”, said Lonnie with a resigned sigh.

“I know mate, it’s going on and on. I’ve had a bellyful of it though, I need a break, you know, a couple of weeks hopping down in Kent, or some time at my sisters place down in Lancing. Even a week would do.”

Johnny got his bread and dripping sandwiches out of his coat pocket whilst Lonnie dealt the dominoes for their lunchtime game. They usually played “batchy fives” using a cribbage board to score with and counted the scores in multiples of five. Both of them were experts and knew each other’s game too well and so it was not unusual for their games to go right down to the last domino, and this day was no exception. Johnny won the game by one point, the closest of margins and he picked up the two sixpences they had been playing for and put them into his waistcoat ticket pocket. He lifted up his pint glass and drained the last of the beer.

“Back to the grindstone for me, no peace for the wicked, I’ve got a load of people to get ready for the undertakers to take for embalming this afternoon.”

“OK pal,” said Lonnie, “same time tomorrow, I want to win back me tanner.”

They both laughed as Johnny took his glass back to the bar.

“Sees yer later.” he said and set off back to work.

The afternoon sun shone brightly as Johnny walked past the church and turned down St Alphege’s Passage. The pavement of this small street was made up of old headstones and, if you took your time, you could still read the names of long dead people from the 1700’s as you walked along. Johnny whistled his favourite Arthur Tracy song, “Marta (rambling rose of the wild wood)”, he particularly liked the accordion accompaniment, as he walked into the small park where the mortuary stood in the far corner, next to the children’s playground. By the time he got into the staff room the weather had changed and there was a typical summer downpour. Johnny turned on the radio and tuned it to the light programme, then he put on his white overalls and moved into the main area where the cadavers were stored after autopsy. Johnny had the unenviable task of clearing up once autopsies were completed. He had taken this job after he had fallen between two barges on the river and badly damaged his right leg. He could walk OK and people never noticed his slight limp but he was nowhere near agile enough to hop from barge to barge any more and so had been retired off the river. This was a source of great sadness to him as there was not a day went by that he didn’t miss travelling up and down Bugsby’s Reach on the Thames between Woolwich and Greenwich.

Johnny looked at the six bodies on the slabs in the main Autopsy room, three women, an old man and two young children, victims of the previous nights bombing raid, and he set about carefully sprinkling them with the Chloramine powder he used for stopping stinks, and killing flies and maggots, before he wrapped them in cotton sheets and put them onto the special sliding trays for insertion into the cadaver storage room. By four o’clock he had finished this task and was well into washing down the slabs and scrubbing the floor. He was a stickler for cleanliness and always made sure that when the pathologists and forensic staff came in everything was ship shape for them. He took pride in his work and, even though it was often gruesome, he saw it as something totally worthwhile. He finished washing down at six thirty and was just spreading the Chloramine powder on the floor when he heard the sound of a doodle bug approaching. “Oh my gawd,” he thought “not another load of work.” That summer in London and the South East there were over eight thousand deaths and tens of thousands injured by these terrifying, rocket propelled, war machines. Johnny was glad that he heard this one pass on by but a second doodle bug was right behind the first and he never noticed the engine cutting out. This was the moment that Londoners hated the most because when the engine cut out that meant that the bug was about to drop out of the sky and if you heard the whining stop then it was very likely that it was going to land near you. Johnny was putting the Chloramine away in the storage cupboard when the doodle bug hit the mortuary. He hadn’t heard a thing and was oblivious as the building erupted with a catastrophic explosion.

There were a lot of people in the Lord Hood public house in Creek Road who heard the enormous detonation of the bomb and many of them rushed around the corner to what remained of the mortuary. There was a large cloud of smoke hanging in the air and Billy Cole, the local butcher, said “There is absolutely no way anybody could survive that.”

As he spoke, there appeared a figure staggering through the smoke and ashes. What a ghastly sight they saw as he came towards the crowd. Johnny was covered from head to foot in the white embalming powder. Two women started screaming and Billy said “Blimey it’s a bleeding ghost.” They took Johnny into the snug at the Lord Hood and gave him a large glass of rum. The powder storage room had given just enough protection to save him from the main blast, although his hearing was never quite the same again. His fame as a survivor spread all over Greenwich and Deptford and that was how, for the rest of his life, he became known as “Ghostie”, one of the few to survive a direct hit by a flying bomb in what was called the “doodle bug summer” of 1944.

Harry Rogers, in the old study, 26th June 2013

BENEATH A HUNTERS MOON

A gothic lyric inspired by the beach on the Thames in front of The Yacht public house in Greenwich, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The light so bright
Upon the shore
I find that thing
I had searched for
Behind a rock
Beneath the pier
I never thought
I’d find it here
It called to me
‘Neath Hunter’s Moon
Absurdly white
On silver spoon
Low waves did lap
I snorted deep
Amour filled dreams
Whilst I did sleep
Found Xanadu
Through long lost door
That magic place
Seen once before
Astral lover
Meets with me there
Glinting sapphires
Adorn her hair
But as I lay
Beneath the pier
An elver slid
Into my ear
The eel bit through
Ear drum so tight
As I dreamt on
Into the night
Eel found a way
Inside my head
Whence it would feed
Till I was dead
In Xanadu
Lake did ripple
As I caressed
Astral nipple
Moonbeams did bounce
Upon each wave
Whilst I became
The elvers slave
The tide eased in
My feet were wet
Still did I sleep
Could not wake yet
The eel chomped on
Into my brain
Dream visions then
Became insane
Soon dawn did break
My soul arose
I watched the eel
Slide from my nose
No way could I
Get back in head
From Xanadu
For I was dead

Harry Rogers, 15-10-2019 in Harriboy’s Hut .

ACID REIGN

Shadow ministers tout final lockdown.
We climb up another steep learning curve,
All last year’s lessons junked, lost, forgotten.
False flags unfurled, run atop Tory poles,
Rabid ultra right calls for total freedom,
Open everything up asap,
Bring back good old British normality,
Let rip the remnants of economy,
Ignore the science now we’ve all been jabbed,
It’s over, we’re back, it’s tickety boo,
Johnson guffaws as he gives good news, but
There are no easy edges in the dark,
Acid reign corodes, slow, but constantly.
We fall, memoryless, into the void.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 15th February 2021

UNBROKEN PONIES

I wrote this lyric for my band, Scene Red, we recorded it in 2013 on our first album Tales From Dolwion on Deep River Records, available on Bandcamp, https://scenered.bandcamp.com/album/tales-from-dolwion . It’s a short memoir of my life as a fourteen year old boy serving after time drinkers in the Bricklayers Arms, Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, around 1961.

3 AM Monday morning
In the Bricklayers Arms
This old pub is losing all its charms
Dad sits at the piano
Playing autumn leaves
I serve two villains
Fresh blood on their sleeves
The weekend’s nearly over
I have had enough
East Greenwich town’s
Getting kinda rough
I’ve got school in the morning
Homework stays undone
I’ll get caned again
That won’t be much fun

Meanwhile,
Unbroken ponies
Running free in Greenwich Park
Unbroken ponies
Eyes shining in the dark

Shining, shining, shining
Shining in the dark
Unbroken ponies
Running free in Greenwich Park

Two geezers spoofing
Drink for drink for drink
Their wives are waiting
But they don’t stop to think
Eddie’s in the old bar
Giving head to a worn out queen
My mum’s drinking brandy
With a bunch of old has beens
I watch the villains
Stitching up their alibis
This pony stands unbroken
Defiance in my eyes
This old pub
Is losing all its charms
3 AM Monday morning
In The Bricklayers Arms
Pretty soon I will be
Outside running free
Running with those ponies
That are just like me

Unbroken ponies
Running free in Greenwich Park
Unbroken Ponies
Eyes shining in the dark
Shining, shining, shining
Shining in the dark
Unbroken Ponies
Running free in Greenwich Park

Harry Rogers, in my old study, 2011

CANNON FODDER

Trumpite cannon fodder lost to reason,
Geed up by this joker without lipstick,
Await their fate in the criminal courts.
Dark full length crombie, tiny leather gloves,
Clenched in wild mid air gesticulations,
Urgently preaches his dark denouement.
Suitably wound up his rabble march off,
On Capitol Hill they do his bidding.
The Don watches Fox from the dark, white, house
As he polishes favourite driver,
He sees the futile maul come to a halt,
Where they soil the nest of democracy,
Before they return to their hotel lairs
Boldly exultant even as coup fails.
Who knows if this is the start, or the end?
At Mar-a-Lago Don”s golf cart awaits,
He waddles obscene from fairway to green,
He blames his poor chip shot on his caddy,
Seventy four million folk believe
That this orange pultroon is their daddy.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th February 2021

WISHLY THINK OF CHANGE

Scream as those bent politicians
Run everything into the ground.
Education reduced to CV ticks,
Wishly think of what we would change,
But it is not what we would do,
It’s more like, how can we do it?
Truth, hard to tell in these strange days,
Untruth, the enemy of truth,
Finds easy traction every where.
Plutocrat vampires suck life blood
From us whenever possible,
Deeply infect society
With overt acquisitiveness,
Before they cash in, whilst crashing
All long term hope, for short term gain.
The what, the where, the when, the why,
Important things to consider,
Above all this though comes the how,
It’s time for us to organise.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 12th February 2021.

IMAGINATION ABOVE FEAR

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”

– Ursula Le Guin

Fear trumps depression and drives us into acceptance of a completely dystopian reality.

Everywhere we turn there are people who are weighed down by depression.
The Covid-19 pandemic means this state of being affects more people than usual.
There are many aspects/types of fear, currently the world is consumed by mass paranoia induced by the media and the politicians over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twelve months of twenty four hour rolling news largely dedicated to spreading news that points up the failure of most Western capitalist governments to get a handle on what was a forewarned inevitability has ramped up serious levels of mental health problems.
There are different things to be frightened of as a result of this virus and the confusion that surrounds it.
Covid and death,
Poor Government,
Capitalist Greed,
Fake news,
Forced isolation,
Further destruction of certainty,
Social unrest,
Populist exploitation of fear of the other,
The fear of being alone,
Euphoria deliberately manufactured for political purposes leading to dashed hopes again and again.
How do we overcome the underlying fear?
Build in your mind the future you want,
Find others with similar interests,
Where ever possible work with those on the points where your interests cross.
Be ever aware that there is much to do to build a better world.
Envision that world as a place beyond war, inequality, Racism and Injustice.
The name of that place is civilisation.
The raison d’etre of civilisation is the emancipation of mankind beyond the shackles of false political ideologies and artificial religious prisons.
Many people talk of human civilisation as if we were already civilised. We’re clearly not.
How can we call ourselves civilised when, as a species, we continue to resolve disputes through primitive ritualised military means?
How can we claim to be civilised when there is such gross inequality between the richest and the poorest?
A world where multi millions of the population live a totally precarious existence, never knowing where their long term future lies, where their food will come from, where they will live, and where often it is dangerous to think for oneself and question the status quo, is not a civilised world.
A world where human rights are trampled on by rogue Randian states run by criminal power mad sociopaths is not a civilised world.
A world where capitalism is the dominant arbiter of power and economic exploitation is not a civilised world.
A world where the United Nations fails to ensure justice for the global oppressed is not a civilised world.
What we need to strive for is global emancipation for all, the utilisation of the common wealth of knowledge and skills for the betterment of all, only then can we claim to have achieved Civilisation.
To build for that dream of civilisation is one way to overcome state induced fear and depression.
There is a better world, if we can imagine it we can build it. Let’s go forward and build a socialist civilisation together.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 11th February 2021.

IT’S NOT AS IF NOBODY KNEW

It’s not as if nobody knew,
Brokers vaunted their shorts with glee,
They pimped profits stolen from you
In newspapers, and on TV
Decked in golden debauchery,
Luxury yacht marinas locked,
Gated to keep the people out,
Economy clock still Tik Toks,
As we have fun truth comes clearer,
Deflation dies, inflation rise,
Super crash moves ever nearer,
Once digital traders fall down,
The rich will all have fled your town,
Only crypto currency left,
Paper money gone up in smoke,
Pandemics come, but when they go,
That’s when start of darkness begins,
We stay in doors, take eyes off ball,
The biggest crooks have robbed us all,
Chickens struggle home to their roost,
There’s no economy to boost.
Nobody remembers too much,
About manufacture, and such.
Education is frowned upon,
Celebrities run marathons,
This ain’t no time to run in parks,
We won’t see much, when it’s too dark.
Who knew? Deep down all of us did.

Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 10th February 2021

BIRDS

THE HOBBY SWOOPS DOWN
FROM A CLEAR BLUE SKY
IN AWE I WATCH IT
TAKE A SWIFT UPON THE WING
IT’S FLYING SO FAST
I CAN HARDLY MAKE IT OUT
MEANWHILE OVER THE FENCE
I HEAR A BLACKBIRD SING
SPARROWS AND DUNNOCKS
ARE BUSY IN THE HEDGE
A MAGPIE TAPS THE GLASS
UP ON THE WINDOW LEDGE
OUTSIDE IN THE YARD
THE SEAGULLS AND THE CROWS
ARE PECKING PLASTIC BAGS
FOR ALL OUR OVER THROWS
I GET TO THINKING
ABOUT SOMETHING THAT AIN’T RIGHT
HOW COMES THE BUZZARD
IS DRIVEN OUT BY THE KITE?
BY THE DRY STONE WALL
HERE COMES JENNY WREN
COAL TITS AND FINCHES
ARE AT THE NUTS AGAIN
SWALLOWS AND MARTINS
SCREECH AROUND THE HOUSE
THIS TIME THE HOBBY
IS TEARING UP A MOUSE

Harry Rogers, 28th February 2011, revised in the Red Bedroom, 9th February 2021

CATKINS

Catkins are out in Aberbanc,
Spring edges ever closer by,
Nature is uncontrollable,
However much humans might try.
Soon it will be clear bright Easter,
Buds will burst in total glory,
Birds will fledge as usual,
And we’ll read a different story.
Some daffodils already out,
New life is a joy to behold,
TV doom mongers continue on,
Vaccines, floods and the icy cold.
Sure things are bad, they’re always bad,
If that’s all we ever look for,
But when warm sun plays on our back,
We will know there’s a better score.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 8th February 2021

HEY, VINCE, GET OFF MY RADIO…

Vince said some people have got to be rich,
It’s just part of the system we live in.
This then is one of the many ploblems,
The way in which millions accept this.
Schools don’t, on the whole, teach the history
Of how the landed gentry got their land.
Or rather how the gentry stole our land.
Tribal leaders through murder and pillage,
Through naked, homicidal, plundering,
Robbed common people of the common weal.
Later they fought badly amongst themselves,
Which led to creation of bandit kings,
Who in turn passed laws to enclose more land.
All this led wealthy landowners to trade,
In what they wanted, to make more money.
Slavery brought extremely high returns.
For two hundred years these faux aristo
Bullies plied their crass,miserable, trade.
Through countless generations a system
Built mainly on exploitation and fear
Made creation of inequality,
Pain, and misery inexorable.
This is a crime against humanity,
Kings and theives do not have a divine right
To plunder, kill, nor to emiserate.
This system, this capitalism stinks.
Vince and his neo Liberal cronies,
Spout Lockean bullshit all over town,
Whilst Leviathan thrives inside their heads.
Well Vince, people’s eyes have sprung open wide,
Some people don’t have to be rich at all,
Not if we don’t bloody want them to be.
So take your new book, stick it where it hurts,
Get the fuck off my morning radio.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 7th February 2021

CORRECT LINE?

Is there such a thing as the correct line?
I hear comrades everywhere debating.
Nothing seems to waste so much precious time,
As socialistic procrastinating,
Loudly in lecture halls and student bars,
Ideas clash about what is to be done,
Some come to blows over dead superstars,
A few look upon this as good clean fun.
Meanwhile transnationals laugh up their sleeves,
They plough on, hardly believing their luck,
Not caring what any “lefty” believes,
We fight each other. They love it. We’re stuck.
If we only, just once, joined together,
Perhaps we might win, once and forever.

Harry Rogers, Pencnwcau, Aberbanc, 15/09/17

SAND RUBIES & SEA GLASS EMERALDS

What is it I dream of post covid?
I don’t really want an awful lot,
Sit in the shelter, look out to sea,
Fish and chip paper rest on my knee,
Watch children search above the surf line,
They’ll hunt all day long for beach jewellery,
More than a year since I saw the sea,
The gannetts, the gulls, and the plovers,
I want an Italian ice cream,
Pistachio, in a cone, no flake,
To look on as kids display their hoard,
Sand rubies and sea glass emeralds,
It’s not too much to ask for is it?
I’ve complied, I need a small reward.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 5th February 2021.

RIDE ACROSS THE PONDEROSA.

Come, let’s ride across The Ponderosa
On warm sunny morn summer ninety three,
Gallop down track on black Irish draught back,
Wind tears at my hair, loud hooves pound the ground,
My friend Guy and I join in with our kids
Saddled up in the centre of Sheffield,
We ride single file on roads out of town,
Who knew horses farted as much as they do?
Through Crookes Valley to open land, then back,
Feed apples and carrots to our ponies,
Then call in for croissants at Hunter’s Bar,
We’re back home before the Archers begins.
Read The Observer, drink fresh French coffee,
Some life, back in the last Millennium.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 5th February 2021.

THE ABRACADABRA FALLACY

Somehow we all constantly focus on the end of the pandemic, that moment when when some sort of miraculous vaccine will come forward like the cure for polio and take us to a resumption of normalcy.  Ever since the second century the word Abracadabra has been used on amulets as a magical word against diseases. In the second century AD it was believed to be a cure for malaria,  Serenus Alexander, a great admirer of Serenus Sammonicus, ordered the word to be written in the form of an inverted cone, and declares it to be of virtue against all diseases.
“Thou shalt on paper write the spell divine ABRACADABRA called in many a line, Each under each in even order place, But the last letter in each line efface, As by degrees the elements grow few, Still take away but fix the residue, Till at the last one letter stands alone, And the whole dwindles to a tapering cone. Tie this about the neck with flaxen string, Mighty the good ’twill to the patient bring, Its wondrous potency shall guard his head And drive disease and death far from his bed.”This is the same kind of guff we hear now from the Covid-19 denying spiritual anti vaccine brigade. Their denial brings on the disease by leaps and bounds. To waltz through the world in maskless bliss ignores what we face over the coming year. make no mistake, the just in time fetishism adopted by neo liberals in most democracies in the running of their public services only works when dealing with factors that we already understand. Introduce a rogue element into the equation and just in time won’t work, there is no time to play catch up. The health services across Europe and the USA are banjaxxed because the extra capacity needed to cope with a pandemic just isn’t there. All the historic attempts to rationinalise the British NHS, to slash costs, to privatise through bringing American style practices through the back door via Blairite blue sky thinking, the inevitable destructive folly that is commissioning, the crisis created by PFI debt that cripples the finances exponentially are managed within a creaky Heath Robinson structure that just about  delivers a health service free at the point of need.  Add in a crisis such as Covid-19 and everything goes out the window. The reason we are having lockdowns is, in large part, due to the fact that most of the politicians just cannot face the collapse of neo liberalism and the threat of years in the wilderness that would be their fate if the NHS completely fails on their watch. This is not just an attack on Boris Johnson and his cronies, though they are the essence of ineptitude, it also rests squarely with all those centrists on all sides in the house of commons who wholeheartedly embraced Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Margaret Thatcher’s doctrines. This means that there is no contingency capacity to deal with the reality of a rampant Corona virus. The economic knock-on effects of trying to manage this situation with fire breaks, control of what businesses can and cannot sell, the collapse of agriculture in the USA, the destruction of tourism, the decimation of hospitality, the societal fragmentation, all of this and much more can be laid clearly at a catastrophic failure of management at a macro level. We all KNOW the maxim failing to plan is planning to fail. We also know that the British government carried out an emergency planning exercise only a couple of years ago that looked precisely at the effects of a corona virus pandemic and yet they failed to implement it’s recommendations. This is a truly scandalous set of events. They might as well have issued every household with Abracadabra triangle to post on their front doors and amulets to wear in the street. It’s not the fault of the people that we are in this mess, it’s a systemic crisis brought about through the implementation of the ideology of greed. Abracadabra? Unfortunately it’s impossible to magic a pandemic away, it always has been.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 26th October 2020.

DO YA GO DOWN DEPTFORD ANYMORE?

Do ya go down Deptford anymore?
Do ya? Do ya?

Do ya go down Deptford anymore?

Think back forty nine years
The summer of seventy two
Stalls on the High Street
A few Rock Steady sounds

Mooch down Douglas Street
For a glass of Sarsaparrila
On the steps of St Pauls
A couple short and tall
Both of them know
It’s the last throw
Throw of the dice
It’s the last throw
Of confetti and rice
The decked out Daimler waits
Girls look on through the gates
Flashbulbs pop then hit the floor
The priest is none too sure

Do ya go down Deptford anymore?
Do ya? Do ya?
Do ya go down Deptford anymore?

Three old drunken scrumpy boys
They stagger down Broadway
Head towards Carrington House
Someplace for their heads to lay
Young mudlarks splash in the Creek
Old Billy Bleach fights the law
Totters flog a bent antique
Lewisham boys try to score
Jamaican patties on a stall
Some cab drivers ride shotgun
Hippy trippers ten feet tall
Paddle in the Brookmill sun
Students are all fussy
There are no new builds
The Oxford Arms is buzzy
With tales from Crossfields

Do ya go down Deptford anymore?
Do ya? Do ya?
Do ya go down Deptford anymore?

HarryRogers – 2/11/2012, revised 3rd February 2021

DREAMY FISHPOND AFTERNOON

Another dreamy fishpond afternoon,
Shubunkins and Koi lazily glide out,
From depths of lily pad shade to surface,
Father checks out the aeration system
All is well, he scatters flakes of food,
Then gently feeds marshmallows to big blue,
This very old fish was first in the pond,
Must be almost thirty five years ago.
Dad holds pink cube in finger and thumb,
This champion koi takes it in his lips,
Gently slurps it down, and moves slowly off.
Such memories do not fade easily.
Dad’s long gone but there are still dreamy carp,
In the bottom of his treasured fishpond,
Hope I see them once more, with marshmallows.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 2nd February 2021.

BANKSTERS SHANGRI-LA.

Bo lives down in Deptford Town
With nouveau riche executives
Things seem crazy, they churn round
Young turks trade in derivatives
Long gone the old Centurion
The Mercury, Nobles, The Broadway cafe
Eels mash and liquor at Manzes pie shop
Knickerbocker Glories at Rossis, No way!
The old geezers spike
At Carrington House
The Edward Street stables
For the rag and the bone
The state cleansing centre
For the flea and the louse
The Art Deco palace
That was Odeon
The Dockers, The Costers,
All of them gone
We now have to listen
To posh gangsters Lah-di-dah
Whilst the rest of us sing
Some old Squeeze song
Deptford is becoming,
The banksters Shangri-la
Yeah Deptford has become
The banksters Shangri-la

Copyright: Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th February 2011, Revised in the Red Bedroom, 2nd February 2021.

DANDELION WINE

A song lyric based on a tragic event near Greenwich Park in the 1970’s.

He keeps photos and perfumed loveletters
In a black and white Moroccan box
In a trunk at the back of the attic
Secured by two silver locks
Once a year, round about harvest time,
He gets them all out for a read,
He never stops thinking about her
That old wound continues to bleed
It was always the end of the summer
They bottled the dandelion wine
She said it was almost like drinking
Pure essence of golden sunshine
Then came the day, momentous day,
The day they drank out of their head
All the way home laughed in the car,
Hit the lamp post and she was dead
He won’t go walking
In golden sunshine,
Don’t go drinking dandelion wine
He keeps a flagon of dandelion wine
It starts glowing near to harvest time
Dandelion wine
Dandelion wine
Don’t go drinking
Dandelion wine.

HARRY ROGERS, Pencnwcau, JULY 11TH 2012

WINDFLOWER

The seed arrived
Without warning
On an unknown
Foreign Zephyr.
Deposited
Itself, neatly,
Between dry stones.
On spagnum green
Softly nestled
For duration
Of summer warm
Swollen with dew
Bursting upwards
Searches for sky
Seeks out sunshine
Stalkly groping
Stronger each day
Budly bursting
Cerulean
Bluely special
Shiny dawning
Unexpected
Glory morning
My windflower

Harry Rogers: Tea shop in Newcastle Emlyn, 8th May 2018

JAB, JAB, JAB.

It’s time to call a cab,
To take me to the lab,
Powder nose with a dab,
Sideways crawl, like a crab,
Beware your Jabberwock,
Your monster down the block,
He sleeps till twelve o’clock,
He can’t roll, he can’t rock.
But he can jab, jab, jab
Beware your Jabberwok
He’s gonna stab, stab, stab
Beware your Jabberwock
In your back, stab, stab, stab,
Sciatic jab, jab, jab
Want pain to stop, stop, stop,
Please fuck off Jabberwock,
Can’t stand your, jab, jab, jab.
All down my leg, leg, leg,
Comes in waves, jab, jab, jab,
I’ve got to beg, beg, beg,
Stop, stop, stop, Jabberwock
Stop, stop, stop, jab, jab, jab

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 29th January 2021.

THIRD MILLENNIUM

Tell me what happened to the world we knew.
We partied hard in nineteen ninety nine.
We thought the future would be better new,
That everything was gonna work out fine.

The man sold us rhetoric filled with hope,
We really thought a change was gonna come,
We sucked it in like it was real good dope,
Rose colouring the third millennium.

Lift those tinted glasses,
See the new world for real,
Three drones flew every hour.
Signed sealed and delivered,
DARPA kept on growing.
Man child Trump don’t change things.
Put America first?
He only made things worse.

As the tweet laden crisis sharpened up,
Propaganda mongers spouted their lies,
Worldwide politicians supped the same cup,
Whilst peddling their shared bent alibis.

So far don’t like the third millennium,
Can’t stand hand wringing armchair narcissists,
Nor the paranoid neo Nazi scum.
Who’ll help us all if nobody resists?

Hold on, what’s this we see?
Amongst the advertising,
Out on the streets a sea,
In flowering uprising,
Brave people, young and old
They march together, strong,
Their story will be told,
Peace, justice, love, belong.

Harri Rogers, Aberbanc, 23rd January, 2017 Revised 28th January 2021.

MORE FRONT THAN BRIGHTON BEACH.

(July 2020)

He’s got some front, flanked as ever
By the regulation two flags,
He parrots Allegra’s smooth words,
Sticks to the script, stays on message,
Takes full responsibility
For all his governments actions.
Sets out to convince us of their
Hard work since start of pandemic.
Appears contrite, seriously
Mouths words of sorrow for the dead,
More than one hundred thousand dead,
But he doesn’t say he’s sorry.
No apologies for those missed
Cobra meetings back at the start,
Nor his dithering decisions,
Herd immunity fiasco,
The naked braggadocio
As he strode though parliament,
Whilst he ignored social distance,
How he caught Coronavirus,
Then spread it through his office staff,
Who, ad infinitum, passed on
To unknown legions pre lockdowns.
Cygnus report findings ignored,
Profits before health, business first,
Ignore warnings until too late.
Now new spad lies are spun each day,
Thus, his annus terribilis
Ruined, glorious Brexit
Dreams turned into deepest nightmare
Brings him to this sad point in time.
Please send in removal lorry,
Get him gone, for he ain’t sorry.

Harry Rogers, in The Red Bedroom, 28th January 2021.

THE SUN IS GOD, AGAIN.

All the signs point us, look,
Back through the mists of time,
Lessons long forgotten,
Now seemingly sublime,
The world awash with oil
That no-one wants to buy.
We turn our attention
To power from the sky,
New, sleek, temples arise,
All glass, all glitz and chrome,
Sunshine that we bathe in
Heats up our modern home.
We heed those old shamen,
The sun is God, again.

Harry Rogers: Aberbanc, Sunday July 16th, 2017. Revised in the Yellow Room, 28th January 2021.

MY CABIN ON THE CLIFF

Every day I tell myself
I’m gonna fix those stairs,
Fix those ramshackle stairs
Leading to my cabin,
My cabin on the cliff.
But you know how it is,
When you’re panning for gold,
You put everything off,
Until you are too old.
Mountain stream rushes by,
Falls into pool below.
Next door the wreckage of
Panhandler Johnny’s hut,
Clings on precariously
To the shale walled cliff,
Whilst golden aspen trees
Shimmer in Autumn sun.
Stand, knee deep in water,
Nobody there but me,
Search hard for golden flakes.
I look at my cabin,
My wilderness log home,
God how I love this place.
Happy on my own with
My cabin on the cliff.
Don’t cha know that I’m an
Old, gold, panhandling man
Little darlin’ I’m an
Old, gold, panhandling man.

Harry Rogers, in the hut. February 23rd 2017.

IT CAN BE ALRIGHT AGAIN.

I wrote this song lyric awhile back when I was in Atlanta Georgia in 2017 for a dear friend who was grieving the loss of her loving husband. I have revised it today, hope to record it soon, who knows when but soon.

Life is hard in a railroad town
Lots of things there to bring you down
The clunking and the clanking steel
The donking bells are all too real
The whistle blowing all night long
Fucking up your favourite song
Engine giants busy hissing
On the platform someone’s missing
But
It can be alright again,
It can be alright again,
It can be alright again
Yeah
It will be alright again
If you step up onto the train
The train can be your salvation
You must get up onto the train
You must let it leave the station
Take that journey to somewhere new
Along the track that leads to you.
Oooh that journey to somewhere new
Along that track that leads to you
Oooh it can be alright again
Gonna be alright again
Yeah it can be alright again
It’s gonna be alright again (to fade)

Harry Rogers, In Doctor Bombays Underwater Tea Party 2017 and The Red Bedroom, 26th January 2021

IN THE 1953 GARDEN

One fig and two pear trees
Asters and raspberries
Small pond, a rockery,
Tall hollyhockery,
Fork with one broken tine
Above the railway line.
Watch goods trains steaming by
Eye stinging smuts fly high
In 1953
My father’s aviary
Full of budgerigars
And broken pedal cars
A crazy paving path
My mother’s carefree laugh
The queen ascends the throne
On tv in our home
My brother gets knocked down
I watch him spin around
On coronation day
As we went out to play
The ambulance comes quick
Whilst I am feeling sick
To tell my mum I ran,
She left me with my nan.
We sit out in the sun,
She cuts a sticky bun,
Pours me some Tizer pop,
She even drinks a drop.
Pink blancmange and jelly,
Horse drawn coach on telly,
Queen waves through crowds at me,
And Richard Dimbleby.

Harry Rogers, in Harriboy’s Hut, 7th February 2017



HERON BY THE QUAGGY

There’s a heron by the Quaggy,
Across the road, in Brookmill Park.
He stands on one leg in the snow,
Soon be snapped by my old friend Bo.
Someday perhaps I’ll see it too,
When next I visit old Deptford,
That feels a long way off today,
As we’re all still stuck in lockdown,
We wait for all clear siren sounds,
Politicians swim through treacle,
Mistakenly blame the people,
Who don’t play by their confused rules.
Down here, two fifty miles away,
As last nights snow begins to melt,
On radio I hear the fools,
Play pass the parcel with the buck,
There is no desk on which it stops,
As Pritti now sends in the cops.
Not one has the ability
To take responsibility.
Perhaps to Frog House I will bring
My friend good cheer in next years spring.
I hope the heron is still there,
In twenty two some pints we’ll share.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 24th January 2021

WALK BY THE ISIS….

Walk by the Isis,
On warm summer day,
Down to swimming hole,
Swing out on the rope,
Drop into the pool,
Nineteen eighty four,
Know that I’ll never,
Forget this moment,
Water grips so cool,
Exhilaration,
Swim upstream aways
Pull new goggles on,
Watch Perch fins flutter,
They hang suspended,
In exposed tree roots,
Beneath cut away,
River bank channels,
Where they wait for prey.
Friends frolic in pool,
Perch watch on, unmoved,
Meanwhile, in Orgreave,
BBC News team
Shoot famous footage,
Which they called battle,
After fake edits,
Where state violence,
Still waits for justice.
I remain mindful
Of events that day,
Seems sometimes these things,
Just don’t fade away.
D’you know what I mean?

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 24th January 2021.

I DREAM IN DAYLIGHT

Close eyes under shadowy trees
Dappled light plays across my face
Chapel bells jangle inside head
Motor boats plough on through the lake
Lizards skitter over the path
Warm sun on rheumatic back,
Scent of Borromean jasmine,
Ice cubes bob in a glitter spritz,
Children laugh and dance on the street,
Mountains beyond turn pink at night,
Pompeiian puppet show still bright,
All this from a dream in daylight,
Rain falls, eyes open, I’m  in Wales.

Harry Rogers, revised in the yellow room, 23rd January 2021

OLD BILL PHILOSOPHY

Never a day did I understand why
In Hendon your average new copper
Was taught to refute Karl Marx and reply
With arguments put forward by Popper.
The state must have been really full of fear,
Afraid that they might come a cropper,
Paranoid about revolution near,
Injected philosophical stopper.
Still stirs strong wind of transformative change,
Pendulums swing, seeds fall from the hopper,
Sprout new shoots in far corners, green and strange,
Where plods on beat hear latest jaw dropper.
Someday the force will become a service,
For all the people, not just the churlish.

Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 22nd January 2021

I BEG YOUR PARDON?

Two million dollars, it all goes away,
Crimes, misdemeanours, so long as you pay.
A message to Rudy, just give him a shout,
One of his goons can help you sort it out,
Rampant corruption, it is so obscene,
Give four five money, he’ll wipe your slate clean.
Like Nixon he’s gone, he had to conform,
Says he will be back, in some shape or form.
Proud boys and boogaloos strut on the street,
They threaten still in the teeth of defeat,
Yesterday Joe put hope above their hate,
Decency rises, it’s almost too late.
Starlings murmurate above confusion,
Have all the fakes gone? Was it illusion?

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 21st January 2021.

HOPE IS A’GLIMMER

Hope fills our lights a’glimmer
As we get up from our knees,
Darkness cannot get dimmer,
Something floats upon the breeze.
Comes a realisation,
To bring true socialism
All socialists have to do
Is behave as socialists
With each other, comradely.
It’s time to ditch lifelong scores,
Not to scratch old battle sores,
Randian fascists, outdoors,
Ignore all of our old laws,
Don’t give society figs,
Only individuals.

Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 19th January 2021.

AUSTERITY DEJA VU

Austerity, default mechanism, Used by capitalism to maintain
Status quo, where the wealthy stay wealthy,
And the rest of us have to pay the bills.
Sharing concepts alien to the rich.
Neo-Liberal adage is writ large,
“What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own”.
Pandemic expenses rob one and all,
Reality shows who’s going to pay,
Austerity laws soon back now to stay.
We must prepare for the battle to come,
A harsh world awaits, we see it elsewhere,
Plutocrats aren’t philanthropic people,
The idea of welfare means nothing to them,
The law of the jungle where strong survive,
Randians and crooks are running our lives.
Get ready, new normal won’t be jolly,
We’ve got to struggle like never before!

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow room, 19th January 2021.

RIVERS FULL OF PIKE

Minnows keep dying, swallowed up by pike
Who believe freedom means do what you like.
Rivers are swollen with pike on the feed,
Predators strip hope from people in need.
Sickness is rampant, leeches feed off it,
Out of death rattles they make a profit.
From test, track and trace that does not exist,
To anti vaxxers who peddle scotch mist,
Lynch mob storm troopers on Capitol Hill,
Those venal racists, whose flags make us ill.
Twitler is happy now his days are done,
This monster pike will still shout out he won,
His rag bag army, the Trump lunatics,
Believe it’s seventeen seventy six.
As Joe sweeps by in his new armoured car,
Some say that this is a re- run Weimar.
Let’s hope it ain’t and sanity returns,
Don’t make us watch as America burns.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th January 2021

MARZIPAN AND MARMALADE

Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade

I will make you cake today
Gonna bake you cake today
Cake to take your breath away
Gonna bake you cake today

Fold the mixture in a bowl
Like some gentle rock and roll
For my sweetest baby doll
Bake this cake to steal your soul

Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade
Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade

Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade

Forget about old four five
Take the honey from the hive
Skipping to the kitchen jive
Baking makes you come alive

I will make you cake today
Got to bake you cake today
Cake to take your breath away
Gonna bake you cake today

Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade

Sticking marzipan
With sweet marmalade.

Pencnwcau, 2nd January 2018.

MOONBEAM TO EMERALD DRIVE

Emerald Drive calls to me
That back porch amongst the trees
Refreshed anew with chilled tea
Shoot politics upon the breeze
Sweet Georgia night air alive
With music and hoot owl calls,
Talk of nights with Deep Blue Sun,
Grateful Dead, Atlanta fun,
Of peace and hippiedom days,
How media changed our ways,
How new algorithms rule,
The subversion of freedom,
An anarcho fascist tool,
Tweeted by White House demon.
Now all I can do is dream
Of Ice cold beers from Athens,
On astral plane fly moonbeam,
Please take me back to Athens.

Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 15th January 2021

IMPEACH THE ORANGE

Impeach the orange,
Drag it through the courts,
Squeeze until pips squeek,
Get all juicy bits,
Peel open in dock,
Probe segments through pith,
Take the wrung out husk,
Remove zest for life.
Comb through plantation groves,
Weed out fungal fruits,
Clean democracy,
Replant justice roots.
Check all mandarins
For cross infection,
Hope lemons and limes
Solve citric questions.
Crush the tangerines,
Ice up mint Juleps,
Brand new cocktail hour
On Capitol steps.
Slowly reawake,
Struggle up off knees,
Drink no more cool aid,
Avoid fresh DT’s.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 14th January 2021

HARD FALLS THE RAIN

This dog in a manger “free world” leader,
Deranged as he orchestrates true chaos
Whilst he persistantly tells the same lies.
He cares not about how many will die,
Such collateral damage is to him
A price worth paying to avoid justice.
Misled people believe propaganda,
Attend organised rallies and demos
As if invited to Sunday picnics,
Like Eisenstein’s sheep they devour fake manna
By the shovelful, minds totally blown.
What they fail to realise is how
Completely they have been rooked and gulled,
Stitched up to provide artificial fronts
For the death of their democracy.
They send millions of campaign dollars,
To keep the demagoguery afloat,
Soon will be a time no-one has a vote,
The confidence trickery still will shine,
They’ll believe the dictatorship benign.
Amerika televised great again,
I cry as I watch, and hard falls the rain.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th January 2021.

INSURRECTION MIND MASSAGE

Coups and insurrections, all plotted up
Over years of greasy mind massages,
Tweeted to hungry, fevered, acolytes,
All eager to have their prejudices
Polished, and honed, by the demagogue.
Lies are tools in this faux relationship,
Poisonous slogans, memes and banners,
Disseminated by Potus four five,
Infected social media for years,
Encouraged growth of nazi militia,
Fanned the flames of vile racist terror groups,
Stormed the Capitol in fake show of strength.
How strong the constitution? Can it hold?
How much storytelling is left to be told?

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th January 2021.

JULIAN

Julian, unconvicted journalist,
Banged up on his own in Bellmarsh chokey,
Solitary confinement, no contact,
Twenty three hours a day all alone,
His fellow colleagues in the media,
At The Guardian and the BBC,
Are all still at work, protected in law,
No charges for use of information,
From the self same sources as Julian.
Justice is nowhere seen to be done,
An innocent man treated as guilty
For doing his job when he showed us truth.
Torture is illegal, so judges say,
Yet when they use it we all look away.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 11th January 2021

HAVE YOU SEEN ENOUGH?

Let’s not forget.

My poem for Grenfell

Clambering cameraman shoots it all,
The contorted refrigerator door,
Melted cistern hanging from bathroom wall,
Dividing panels black ash upon floor
Fired plastic grease streaking bare concrete,
Empty twisted spare metal window frames,
Exposed mattress springs, revealed bed stead feet,
Blasted patterns wrought by spurting gas flames,
Metallic skeletal homeware litter,
Rooms no longer clearly defined spaces,
From kitchen see cracked ceramic shitter.
Outside broken ashen tear stained faces.
Post the classic black and white images.
Very contrasting, have you seen enough? 

Aberbanc: June 23rd 2017.

SURFING SARGASSO HURRICANE WAVE

I’m overcome by realisation.
By the life lived by a woman, Ella.
Known as Jean Rhys she short circuits my mind.
Brought up short in The Wide Sargasso Sea,
I am knocked off my sleek sex waxed surfboard.
A hurricane of understanding comes,
Climbing back on my board, bracing for the
Giant third age wave, rolling over weeds,
Ready to be ridden in clear sunlight,
Towards shining, swirling, vortex centre,
Where the flotsam and jetsam disappears,
Sucked into deepest blue water below,
To forever swim amongst eels,
Never escaping dark, green, reeds.

Aberbanc – Easter Monday 2017.

TIME TO SPEAK OF LOVE

Down through the woods at Penbryn
On the way yr llan y mor,
In my head Erik Satie
On Socrates and Phaedrus,
As they look for beauty spot,
To discuss all forms of love.
What better place than this gorge,
Where brook runs through ancient ferns,
Majestic trees, rocks that babble.
If ever there was a time
To speak of love it is now,
When leaders rouse the rabble,
As blood drips from tiny hands.
We need healers most of all.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 7th January 2021.

HIDDEN BY THE SUN

Reality is hard to see,
So difficult to comprehend,
Every truth is blotted out
By solar energy beating
A cosmic swathe through retinal
Pathways, that obscure ability
To focus sharply on reason.
Brilliant scintillas block off
Actual dark, dreadful, pictures
Of the world seen by aliens.
A nightmare, hidden by the sun,
Glimpsed darkly, once in a blue moon,
During total solar eclipse.
Doesn’t last, lying sun soon shines.

Pencnwcau, 9th April 2018.

ALWAYS COMING BACK

I’ve been all around that old music track
From doo-wop to be-bop, still I come back
Always seem to be coming on back
Forever I seem to be coming on back

Coming back to the Dead
Won’t get out of my head
I am always, always,
Coming back to the Dead

Where the strains of Pretty Peggy O-0h
Echo on the wind from Fennario
We keep on trucking down the road we know
To Sugaree along from Jack a Roe

Coming back to the dead
They’re stuck inside my head
I am always, always
Coming back to the dead

Harry Rogers, in The Flying Biscuit 11th August 2018.

ONLY SUMMER DREAMY

I am only summer dreamy,
As the snow fills up the garden.
Sometimes it is important, to
Wander the banks of illusion,
Along the stream of consciousness,
Be able to escape reality,
Without direction from others,
Who would manipulate our dreams.
Arts are often informative,
Influential, pleasant even,
But when wrong hands control vision
Then we are taken into realms
Of fake escape, not true daydreams.
Be one of Sati’s dreamy fish,
Swim in a pool fueled by freedom,
Fed by pure imagination,
Driven by self instigation.
Allow boredom a little space,
Half close your eyes, now remember,
Clifftop walks in any weather,
This is the route to Xanadu,
Where you can truly walk with you,
Or anyone you choose to do.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 4th January 2021.

SWIFT FLIES THE WIND

Swift flies on the wind
Into my window
Falls stunned to the ground
Lies there, upside down,
Gently pick it up
Stroke its head with care,
Iridescent, black,
Spark of life slowly
Returns, this bird’s back.
It opens its eyes,
Stares straight into mine.
I open my hand
Hold the swift. up high,
It flys in the air,
Soars up to the sky
I smile as I watch
Freedom fly away,
It’s a perfect way
To start a new day.

Harry Rogers, In The Red Bedroom, 3rd January 2021.

THE GHOSTS OF CORONA

Remember how last Easter
Ministers dilly dallied.
On yachts in Estapona,
Ghouls plotted up giant scams,
They haggled over lease terms,
Stock markets dipped, then rallied,
Adopted fake personas,
Rules changed by spad epigrams,
Dodgy test track trace geezers
Ripped off, then cashed and carried,
As the ghosts of corona
Haunted through videograms.
Yet still it is not over,
No-one dances in clover,
Vaccines stream in from Dover,
Too late to curb corona,
Many ghosts of corona,
Mourn the ghosts of corona,
Brand new ghosts of corona,
Cry for ghosts of corona.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 2nd January 2021.

HIGH ON THE HOG AGAIN

Will we ride
High on the hog again?
Will we ride
In sun, and wind, and rain?
Will days come
When we forget the pain?
Will we ride
To Canada by train?
Those old friends,
Lost in twenty twenty,
Never hugged,
Spaces now seem empty.
See those bulbs,
Beneath the acer tree,
Sprouting now,
That we will never see.
Dunnock chicks
All fluff upon the lawn,
Scrabble for
A place amongst new born,
This new year
Hard not to be care worn,
Up the plot
Tis time to plant new corn.
We must ride
High on the hog again
Though we cried
In wind and sun and rain
Come let’s ride
We’ll gallop through the pain
We shall ride
High on the hog again.

Harry Rogers in The Red Bedroom, 1st January 2021.

ROBINS DON’T EAT BIRDNUTS

Goodbye cruel year, I’m glad you’ve gone away.
Out of my bedroom I watch as sparrows,
And blue tits, hop about in top branches
Of the red berried cotoneaster.
They queue in turn for the nut dispenser.
Sometimes they wait whilst two fat woodpeckers
Eat their fill in a highfalutin way,
As if the birdnuts are their property,
Strong arming smaller birds out the picture.
It’s not cold enough for the birds to eat
Any cotoneaster berries yet,
Perhaps in mid January they will.
Meanwhile hundreds of people die each day,
We’ll all be vaccinated come Easter,
So news editors blare in their headlines.
By then we might bury forty thousand
More coronavirus nineteen victims.
The madness of twenty twenty goes on.
Meanwhile a nuthatch arrives, pluckily
Shoulders greedy woodpecker to one side.
If we could emulate nuthatches,
And shove bent politicians to one side
Perhaps new normal might just be better.
Robin Redbreast watches and sings alone,
Spring ain’t far off, he doesn’t like bird nuts.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, December 31st 2020.

DANCE ALONG….

Dance along edge of disaster
In hobnail boots whilst stupified
On heady fumes of Brexit deal.
People seriously question
Parliament’s ability
To make a correct decision
About health and safety issues.
Tens of thousands dead so far,
Spreaders are rife across the board,
Schools, full to brim, collapse each day,
Staff and pupils self isolate,
Again and again and again,
Hospitals pushed to the limit,
Rules that change on weekly basis,
Track and trace that will never work.
False hopes are raised about vaccines,
Cabinet goons claim victory
Against covid before it’s won.
The whole charade was bound to fail,
From herd immunity madness,
All the way through on off lockdowns.
This is no disaster movie,
Families are losing loved ones,
Each bad move Tory shit mistake
Echoed by Starmer, fucking fake!
Pandemic news gets worse by hour,
All this shit to regain power.
Mutation infects really fast,
The race is lost, the future’s past.
Still at least we ain’t got no-deal,
The hero’s done it, so unreal,
Pupils will train to test themselves,
The troops stand by to webinar,
The time to save so many lives,
Came and went in the blink of eyes.
Health experts cry catastrophe,
Still we are nowhere near the peak.
One year on and nothing can work,
Except for a total shutdown
Of public, private, everything.
No more deaths, zero tolerance,
The only way we can survive.
Some say fears are paranoia,
Maybe Boris needs a lawyer.
I wrote of pandemonium,
Nine months ago, right near the start,
Now army stands in every city,
If I’m not wrong, there won’t be pity.

Harry Rogers In the Yellow room, 30th December 2020

SATIE IN THE CLOUDS

Erik Satie flight of fancy.

A sky dancer in the cloud,
Helmet speaker turned up loud,
Erik Satie fills that space,
Black cat smile across their face
Short term, perfect Christmas hit
Dreamy Piccadilly fish
Dart, squirm, glissando gliding,
En parade, out of hiding
Swoop and plie upside down
Live fantasy above ground
Freedom total, excentrique,
Fly high Montmartre musique freak.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom 26th December 2020.

SUNSETS AND GOLD ROSES

All those long lost, still, warm, thick summer days,
When butterflies struggle to flap their wings,
Ants retreat down into cool deep dug nests,
Birds shelter beneath leafy canopies.
When the air is as an old overcoat,
Engulfs your body, and fills up your lungs.
When thin clouds form above valleys below,
Imperceptible wisps and swirls at first,
Pressure rise and heat pulls moisture from earth.
As billowed white pillows turn darkest grey,
That thick earthy smell of rain on the wind,
Before the storm at the close of the day.
This is how it feels at this point in time.
Climate change, and economic failure
Joined in an obscene troilist tango
By a souped up, mutating, pandemic,
Are on a crash course to global meltdown.
This, the collapse of capitalism,
Was never forecast to happen this way,
Never in one almighty, chaotic,
Cataclysm of human stupidness.
Who can comprehend the sheer negligence
Of elitist global politicians.
The fucked anarchic internet structure,
Infects people’s minds with software somas,
Leaving them in thrall to techno wizards,
And their addictive artificial worlds.
Such atomisation negates action,
At the very moment when mass revolt
Is needed far more than ever before,
People are enslaved to online servers.
In the real world thin veneers peel away,
Destitute nouveau jobless, brought low by
Furlough, lockdowns, floods, fake news, false prophets,
Bamboozled by naked complexity,
Cannot survive without charged up smartphones.
When we should all be coming together,
Millions of thumb twiddlers clutch consoles.
Whilst public services vanish into
Private thiefdoms that suck our coffers dry,
Gamer junkies wind up almost insane,
Burnt out by adrenaline addiction.
Meanwhile, all around, the latest version
Of the new world order is fucked this time.
MSM looks like a Matrix remake,
All frontline services stretched to limit,
Yet, despite all of this, how we long for,
Stormclouds to break,rain and hail to cease,
That line of red tinged gold to appear on,
Horizon, and slowly explode into
Giant sunset where roses tinge with gold.
To attain this we need revolution.
Xanadu has to be more attractive,
Than Fortnight, Fifa, Scrabble or TikTok.
If we cannot tear these people away,
Sunsets and gold roses? Not anymore.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room 25th December 2020.

NEW MUTANT DEAL DONE

New, last minute, mutant rabbit deal done.
Life in Boris’s hat unbearable,
By the time rabbit was finally pulled,
Mounted on stilts in order to stand,
Full blown brexiteers wept crocodile tears,
Drowned sorrows in lake of duty free beer,
Finshed off last of Bulgarian fags.
Nations Health wrapped in ragged union jacks,
The unkempt blonde smiles as he shafts the hacks,
Guffaws, as he searches cleverdick lines,
Jolly and jokey don’t wash anymore,
People ain’t stupid, they know the score.
Rain floods the valleys, free school meals don’t come,
Who gives a shit about deal getting done?

Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 24th December 2020

GLAUCOMA

Beneath the yoke of shimmering tension,
Swim in placid waters of hopefulness.
Only now understand reality
Of incipient creeping glaucoma.
Long term daily surf must be curtailed,
Projects need to be worked to a finish
Whilst light shines bright and ideas stay lucid.
Today, sat in hospital waiting room,
Alone, hear nurses share thoughts of closure,
Wards and wings shut for unknown period,
They complain about chaotic actions,
Management come under their scrutiny,
It’s all so matter of fact, so expected.
I’m lost in reflection of where this leads.
Long term it is scary, I need to read.
Thoughts of eyesight failure flood my mind.
I have half a dozen things to finish,
Plus a myriad of pieces to start.
Young African docter puts my head straight.
Take eye drops for three months, reduce pressure,
Come back for review, we’ll assess options.
This diagnosis concentrates my mind,
Mortality floods into consciousness.
I have choices to make, pages to fill,
My ability to trip through the past
Is very fragile, and time limited.
This moment, a point to turn on, erupts.
Tonight deliberate, sleep earlier,
In the morning, action, I have the tools,
There’s no time to lose, I have marks to make,
Change has come, and I must move along.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 21st December 2020.

TOUGHEN UP.

Third Purge in my lifetime,
This one the biggest yet,
Fed by social media,
As bad as it can get?
Looks worse than the last one,
Driven on by revenge,
Ed defeated David,
That’s when the seeds were sown,
Progress got bloody nose,
Took challenge of the left
For granted. Arrogance.
No fucking chicken coup,
Nor David Cameron,
Could match rampant desire
For change for the many.
Shadowy Mandelson
With full time spad plotters
Worked day in and day out
To destroy the flower
Of Socialism
Before ere it could bloom.
Comrades toiled endlessly,
Despite hidden platoons
Of trolls, scabs and grasses,
Agent provocateurs,
Student politicians,
Wreckers, every one,
Sniveling party hacks
Determined that only
Their crew can occupy
The role prime minister.
Such arch conspiracy,
With all the media,
Bourgeois establishment,
Bellends in Parliament,
They plowed on with vigour,
Lies and accusations,
Grew bigger and bigger.
Lost second election,
According to their plan,
Led to a new leader,
A diligent law man,
A true knight of the realm.
He promised unity,
Stood proud on ten pledges,
Then, forensically,
Filletted every pledge.
Those hid in the shadows
Primed him with new weapons.
Anti semitism
Used to smear the decent.
Audacious, and corrupt,
Manipulate the rules,
Treat party volunteers
Like children and like fools,
Fake investigations,
Lead to faux suspensions,
No membership debates,
Discussed through CLPs,
People chat down the pub,
Share thoughts on Instagram,
Facebook, Twitter, TikTok,
Zoom, Youtube, and email.
This is now deemed fair game
By creepy party hacks,
Those bent apparatchiks,
Using techno weapons,
Dodgy Algorithms,
To sift through daily lives
For the slightest hint that
You might support the whip
Being given back to,
An honourable man.
Today it rained non stop,
Expect it will again
Tomorrow and all week.
In new year, after rain,
Peace and Justice flowers,
One door closed, another
Well and truly opened.
Toughen up, Toughen up.
That’s what Tony told us,
Bloody well toughen up…..

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 20th December 2020

“HAVE A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS” he said.

Have a merry little Christmas,
So long as it’s really little,
But it’s all up to you and yours,
Stood at the Downing Street lectern,
The haystack bonce says stay indoors.
Not a word for dead or dying,
For families ripped up by grief,
Not once admit any mistakes,
His bonhomie beyond belief.
The death count still rises each day,
In Thamesmead there’s no Xanadu,
Witness fake TV piety,
The judgements down to me and you,
Freedom loving society,
Choice is ours, to live or to die,
Its up to you, to laugh or cry
Nation heaves resignation sigh,
Then wave yet more loved ones goodbye.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 17th December 2020.

YOU CAN NEVER KILL IDEAS

You can’t discuss anything that the party doesn’t want you to discuss.
You can’t discuss any decisions that say you can’t discuss what the party doesn’t want you to discuss.
How does it feel to have a non speaking part in an undergraduate student Amdram society production of 1984?
Labour party members are treated like children by the general secretary of the party.
This car crash is happening in slowmo.
It’s unreal, as if the extreme centre have forgotten the groundswell of support for Socialism when Jeremy Corbyn was first elected as party leader. The hundreds of packed public meetings, so full they had to have overflow meetings.
Where does Mandelson and his crew think all those comrades have gone?
They’re all still out there, wanting a party prepared to involve the whole membership in defeating the Tories.
These neo liberals in the PLP who failed to work for a Labour victory in not just one election, but, unforgivably, two general elections.
Twice these traitors allowed Tories back into power, snatching defeat from victory in an effort to defeat socialism.
What they fail to realise, as they cling desperately to the shrinking wreck of a Party Labour has now become, is this plain fact.
You can gag your own members, you can make false accusations, you can suspend people on spurious grounds, you can expel local volunteer executive officers, you can remove the whip from MPs but there is one thing you can’t do no matter how hard you try.
You can never kill ideas. Socialism is not one person, or a party membership, to be slaughtered on the alter of mammon.
Socialism is a belief system whose time is coming. Forward to Peace, Justice and Democracy in a Socialist Republic.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 16th December, 2020

UNTANGLE THE WEAVE.

Court cases loom as web tangles the weave,
One more incentive for people to leave,
Structure now ruined by those who deceive,
Forensic pragmatics no-one believes.
PLP head without body can’t breathe,
Gather together, there’s much to achieve,
The old way is dead, don’t turn back to greive,
Stand up united, our hearts on our sleeve,
We have the future, it’s ours to conceive,
We’re on the brink of a daring big heave.
There’s more to celebrate than Christmas Eve,
Together let’s fight for justice, for peace.

Harry Rogers In the yellow room, 14th December 2020.

TOXIC TEACOSIES?

Gunboats And Turkeys, No deals and lockdowns,
Large brown envelopes,
Toxic teacosies,
Oven ready myths, sovereign cock ups,
These a few of B.J.s favourite things.
Steal all the kudos for vaccinations,
Pose as the saviour, fake acclamations,
Bizarro Churchillian behaviour,
Snuffle and snigger, thrust trust far and wide,
Behind candy floss, things are sinister,
No warp speed bunkum from over the pond,
Brings back belief in our “Prime Minister”,
This blonde chimera should really abscond.
Cornish harbours ring with fishermen’s cheers,
Whelk loving boozers enlarge all our fears.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th December 2020.

KAFKA’S IN THE CORNER…..

Ordered satsumas, got easy peelers,
Mandarins much sweeter than sacharine.
Watch party leaders put out their feelers,
Search too hard for political vaccine.
Wail every day about democracy,
Rule we can’t discuss the freedom of speech,
Kafka’s in the corner, he brews the tea,
Can’t tell it like it is? Ain’t that a peach?
Meanwhile the Johnsons, Sunak and the Goves,
Filch gigantic fortunes from the kitty,
Whilst daily people catch Covid in droves,
As Brexit shorters start to rook the city.
This morning sparrows gorged on our berries,
Lorries queued up on roads to the ferries……

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 12th December 2020

Whatever Happened In Paris?

Nineteen sixty three, I’m fifteen.
We lay in the warm Paris Sun,
Watch svelte young people on the rings,
Turning somersaults in the air,
Cool jazz, sultry Francoise Hardy,
The sounds of Piscine Deligny.
I sip at cold rose d’anjou,
Beside me a stolen copy
Of Miller’s Tropic of Cancer,
I dream of future shiny, bright,
With all the other wild children,
Wide eyed ingenues, sped out mods,
Beatnik boys, hot coffee bar nights.
The sun beats down on Pont Neuf stairs
As I throw pigs feet bones in Seine.
Angel John drawing constantly,
Sketchbook full of Parisian girls.
One late night at Aux Trois Mailletz,
We watch as our cold beers turn warm,
Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon
Play Pigalle Love all night long.
John says Ich Bin Ein Berliner,
We say Nous Sommes Parisienne.

Harry Rogers: In Harriboy’s Hut, Aberbanc, 21st February 2017

COLD BLOWS THE WIND

Cold blows cancerous wind from evil den,
These are not lions, neither are they men.
Thugs besmirch our game whilst they boo the knee,
One more sick day in F Troop history.
Such cretinous shits, with borrowed salutes,
Who only act in packs, with blood on their boots,
Are vile, stupid, nazis through and through,
Coarse fronts, but we are many, they are few,
Fake football fans think they rule through fear,
With twisted logic, their pathetic cheer,
So last millennium, such stupid boys,
With clapped out chants and fat, farty faced noise,
Those swastika tattoos, that razored hair,
We never liked them, though they don’t, WE CARE.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 6th December 2020.

SING OUT LOUD

Sing out the good news, by this time next year
This could be over, we’ll live without fear,
It’s sad that many died along the way,
But we ordered vaccines, now you must pay.
All our Tory friends have done rather well,
Selling fake systems that took us to hell.
We’re halfway through what looks like a mad plan,
To turn UK into Afghanistan.
Convince the people its all their own fault,
Then turn on each other and pay them nought.
Across the pond it’s exactly the same,
Bent politicians high on the blame game.
No one can leave so don’t call a cab,
I Roll up my sleeve, prepare for the jab.

Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 5th December 2020

SITGES DAYDREAM

Sit in the shade with Jenny in Sitges
Drink afternoon tea at the Jazz Cafe,
That’s all I want to do in twenty one,
See clear shafts of sunlight through the palm trees,
Eat crisp thin lemony almond biscuits,
Sip orange infused lapsang suchong tea,
As gentle warm air wafts over my arms,
And Billy Holiday songs softly play,
I really need to action reverie,
In paradise South of Barcelona.
Break away from Covid paranoia,
Enjoy my eighth decade whilst I still can,
With the love of my life there by my side.
At least we’re still allowed to dream, aren’t we?

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 4th December 2020

HAIRCUT?

A haircut, I’m gonna have a haircut.
Talking Heads is open, appointment made.
Get up early, eat muesli, fruit, yoghurt,
Shower, drink tea, put on Black Pink Floyd tee,
Canadian woolen hat, best jacket,
The scarf from the V&A Jen bought me,
My phone is charged and I have my Facemask.
Out in the yard stands Citroen Picasso,
Reliable, our eight year old workhorse,
Never lets me down, always starts first time.
Turn key, engine starts, splutters, then stops.
Turn key again, but there’s nothing doing.
I call Green Flag, mechanic on their way.
Phone Talking Heads, cancel my appointment.
Open bonnet, Mechanic looks and says,
” I know what’s happened here, you’ve got a rat.”
He removes cover, reveals the fuel pump.
There’s a hole the size of a one pound coin
In the side of the black rubbery gland.
“It’s a common problem in modern cars,
Rodents are eating the rubber fuel lines.”
Loads my car on trailer, drives it away.
Dismayed I Google rodents and fuel lines.
Bam, up it comes, rodents eat car fuel lines.
In effort to go green makers moved from
Petro chemical plastic fuel lines
To soy based flexible tubing systems.
Turns out all rodents love to snack on soy.
A massive globalisation problem.
Rats, mice, and squirrels, make our cars go phut,
Nowhere near moment I get barnet cut.

Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 3rd December 2020

ESCAPIST SURRENDER MONKEYS

Watch Hannah and her pals prance upside down,
A ring a rosie hurtle towards the ground,
Captured in mid joyous moment, aloud,
Flip the photo, whoop as they dance on the cloud.
Adrenaline fueled these are not junkies,
But true escapist surrender monkeys.
Up there where nothing else truly matters,
Except fragments of fun as time shatters.
I get it, the buzz, honestly I do,
Understand what it is to fly anew.
How could sky divers ever get enough,
Such magical frolics, this is good stuff.
No wonder they fly, again and again,
Away from the world, from Covid, from pain.
I’d love to join them, in envy I am,
As I see their photos on Instagram.

Harry Rogers, In The Red Bedroom, 1st December 2020

THE FORMALITY OF NORMALITY

THE FORMALITY OF NORMALITY

What we once considered normality,
Far far back in our scrambled consciousness,
Whizzed by learning curve through formality,
Well ruined by buzzword pretentiousness.
Normal is no longer the paradigm,
Life is abnormal, unbalanced, insane,
Non compos mentis, unstitched, out of time,
Beyond the realm of Tory parlour game.
We both live and breathe in our eighth decade,
Largely isolated for ten months gone,
We work our garden with our rake and spade,
Whilst newscasters blare out the same old song.
Birds fly and sqwawk, moles leave copius mounds,
Beyond the fake world we hear normal sounds.

Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 1st December 2020

A POSTCODE LOCKDOWN?

A Postcode Lockdown? Lottery lockdown?
Pottery lockdown? A Tescoed lockdown?
Alfrescoed Lockdown? Chocolate lockdown? Barbecue lockdown?
A jigsaw lockdown? A boardroom lockdown?
A lockin lockdown? A locked out lockdown?
Westminster lockdown? A Tinder lockdown?
Judge Rinder lockdown? A Brexit lockdown?
Poetry lockdown? Royalty lockdown?
A socks down lockdown? A misch masch lockdown?
A crisis lockdown? Jesus wept lockdown?
Chimney swept lockdown? A landscaped lockdown?
Decorate lockdown? Separate lockdown?
Heaven’s gate lockdown? Empty plate lockdown?
Fundraiser lockdown? War hero lockdown?
Every bloody gawd blimey kind of lockdown,
Except for, of course, a zero lockdown!

Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 28th November 2020.

LOCKDOWN 1984 STYLE

Lockdown? Exactly what is a lockdown? It is a ubiquitous term used these days to cover a range of covid related rules and regulations. The trouble is, in my view, none of these are really lockdowns. I just read that all schools in the Cardigan area are closing down for a fortnight. This is an example of running around like headless chickens. Closing schools in a hyper local lockdown without implementing a full scale total lock-down with a complete strategic plan to ensure everyone is safe for a defined length of time is nuts. Zero Covid is the only way out of this tragedy. Ceredigion was considered the safest place in the UK vis a vis Covid-19 infections. Not any longer. Ceredigion County Council are blaming local people for spreading the virus through parties and raves. It’s depressing to watch politicians and their advisors flounder about, in the hope that the vaccines will soon come on stream, and bale them out. Teired systems have failed, the artificial lockdowns have failed, the firebreaks have failed. The waneing of immunity amongst those who have been infected by Covid-19 is extremely worrying as this means that people can catch it again, even after vaccination. Those countries that implemented severe zero covid lockdowns for short defined periods, such as Vietnam, have reaped great rewards in that their mortality rates are minute compared to here. Of course economies that put profits before people have seen ever increasing rates of infection and deaths. Parliament was warned but the political leadership decided to sit on the findings of an emergency planning exercise. How the Tories are still riding high in the polls after this total fiasco is beyond me. The use of the term lock-down is newspeak for cock-up, what we needed was a proper Zero Covid Strategy, its almost too late….. Sign this petition from People’s Assembly Wales.

Harry Rogers In The Yellow Room, 23rd November 2020.

RED POETS IN MERTHYR

Bohemian rebel rhymesters,
Revolutionary wordsmiths,
Who hold shiny truth filled mirrors
That reflect real and imagined
Worlds, ideas, remembered futures,
Forgotten unlived histories,
Desired justice in the now,
These are the chroniclers of dreams,
The uncloakers of mystery,
Who can see more than what life seems
The metaphorical jugglers
Of iambs, meters, heart felt rhymes
Joyous one minute, sad the next
Able to tell it like it is
In myriad forms day by day.
Cry freedom for those who cannot stop,
Who automatically express
Their extradimensional truth
To power each time they write words,
Rant multiverses in the street,
These are the ones we need to meet,
Seers who understand pain and love,
Pull snarky scales from screen filled eyes.
Forget leaders, bring on Poets.

Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 22nd November 2020

SCHLOCK DOWN.

How can we call this a lockdown?
It’s a total cheap faux knockdown,
Only half way round the blockdown,
It’s another B J schlock down.
Everybody’s put the flags up,
It is good news week for a change.
Are we being sold a new pup?
Three vaccines at once? Is that strange?
I’ll be down the quacks, rolled up sleeve,
Waiting for me life saving jab,
I truly do want to believe,
I don’t wanna go to rehab.
I need to be sure that it’s safe,
Tested proper, know what I mean?
Like a lickle soldier I’m brave,
Push the plunger, get the stuff in.
The anti vax crew can get stuffed,
I want to hug my kids tightly.
This nightmare? We’ve all had enough.
Let’s all sleep sound again, nightly.
Chaos that follows this lock-down,
As people crowd onto the streets,
Shop for the ultimate knockdown,
Turn victories into defeats,
How long will it take to rollout?
Will the millions stand in line?
It’s gonna be very cold out,
Can we get it out there in time?
This feels like a long distance race,
We’re told that it will be world class,
What if it’s like test, track and trace?
Another BoJo special farce?
These worries, they spin round my brain,
As I watch these crises unfold,
Shall I go up London again?
Suddenly I feel very old.
At this late stage in the saga,
They’ve decided to test teachers,
Holding this mirror gets harder,
Can’t recognise all the features,
Key workers look very worried,
The leader still has his socks down,
This whole thing feels so hurried,
Once more it’s a botched up schlock down.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 20th November 2020.

WHIP AWAY!

In the party, the mighty party,
The liar sneers tonight,
Near the village, Westminster village,
The liar sneers tonight.
Hush the party, don’t fear the party,
The liar sneers tonight,
There’s no future, no Labour future,
The liar sneers tonight,

Whip Away, Whip Away,
Whip Away, Whip Away,
The leader sneers tonight.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 19th November 2020.

CAUGHT IN YOUR OWN TRAP

Stakes are raised, tension ratchets, Jezza’s back.
Group of MPs threaten resignation.
Forensic lawyer, now caught in own trap,
Can’t risk a legal investigation.
Tonight Labour politics lie shattered,
Allusions become stark reality
A number of banners now look tattered,
The ghost of Pasok brooks finality,
Big blue spad slinks away from Downing Street,
Number ten butternut self isolates,
Bowie like he reinvents with each tweet,
Starmer should have stormed through the bloody gates,
But he never seems to ram the sword in.
Sing out loud now, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!!!”.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 18th November, 2020.

TABLE FOR ONE AT RONNIE’S.

Watch brand new documentary movie,
Ronnie Scott’s Soho Jazz Club brought alive,
Rollins, and Davis, Nina and Ella,
Jimi and Georgie, Van the Man and Chet,
They all played there whilst all of us went there.
One time in London, at a conference,
I needed music to empty my head,
Arrive at club to see Madelaine Bell,
“Table for one sir?” they ask at the door.
Say “Sadly yes.”, hand over a score,
A waitress is called, she’s half of my age,
Leads me in through the crowd, down to the front,
Seats me at table on edge of the stage.
I’m at the table for one at Ronnie’s.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 17th November 2020.

HOW FIT IS THIS BUTCHERS DOG?

Canst tell me, how fit is this butchers dog?
Eats scraps and trimmings of beef, sheep and hog,
Overfed heavy cur, can’t jump a log,
Sling him off a cliff, same as Gogmagog.
Another fortnight now squirreled away,
Ignore news media, tweet night and day,
Fat orange golfer has shewn him the way,
Don’t answer questions, faff, bluster, and play.
Buy time with new spads locked down in bunker,
Zoom hot and cold as enemies hunker,
Sack all and sundry, such a strong junker,
Quaff drafts of power, lurch ever drunker.
Hoards of people still say “He’s such a card!”,
In truth his new normal’s too fucking hard.

Harry Rogers, in the red bedroom, 16th November 2020

MONEY TREES AND ALGORITHMS

How is it possible to cut down saplings before they’ve even been planted? Well apparently in the magic money tree orchard in the realm of quantitative easing it is not only possible, but it is essential. Why is it essential? Because if you don’t keep filling the fruit baskets of capitalism then it will disintegrate. It may do this in any case if society as a whole fails to deal with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may be that the current round of lockdowns works perfectly, the R number reduces, hospitals are able to function effectively, employees go back to their old ways of working, bankruptcies are reversed, people stop dying, the pubs reopen and we all sing We’ll Meet Again as we get blue blind paralytic drunk at the greatest national celebration since the end of the second world war. In my view this is as likely as The Snowman surviving an after hours lock-in at the local sauna.
You can see the fear in Rishi Sunaks eyes as he extends his furlough scheme until the end of March next year. How can this possibly be enough whilst the schools are still open? Will the economy be able to expand in any meaningful sense over this winter? Entrepreneurs appear on our screens bleating about their pain with not a single word for those now imprisoned within an unfair and vicious benefit system who are expected to continue searching for non existent jobs on a paltry below subsistence income with no access to furlough schemes. Schools are moving into ridiculous scenarios where full time teachers are absent due to infection and year 12 and 13 pupils become increasingly indisciplined as supply teachers and assistants lose control. To call what’s going on a lockdown is absurd, viruses pay no heed to school gates, there is significant evidence from epidemiological experts across the globe that pupils are spreaders. It cannot be justifiable to put educational staff, pupils, parents and the public at risk.
We have to watch as the policies from the different governments in the UK chop and change with such a plethora of rules and regulations. Confusion has ruled throughout the life of the pandemic to such an extent that it’s hard not to believe that such chaos is deliberate.

Then, the spindly spad with the giant black rucksack hit the news again, briefly. The master of Tory mayhem has had some kind of falling out with the leader with the haystack on his head and 24 hours later Cummings went. Nobody it seems is indispensable, even if they believe they are.

Meanwhile, over on centre ground, a different bucket of mackerel sits on the table awaiting beheading and gutting. The Labour Party heirarchy have decided that now is the time to implode whilst they still have time before the next general election to sweep the mess under the carpet. The continued belief in the mythical broad church by so many Labour Party members is utterly astonishing. Let’s recap a little here. The election of Ed Milliband annoyed the extreme centre in Progress to such an extent that they deliberately hung him out to dry in the 2015 general election campaign. When he duly lost that election and resigned as leader they were cock-a-hoop and held a Progress leadership slate video conference which was disgusting. Of course there was no talk of the left as the Campaign Group were seen as an insignificant rump. When Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring he was not taken seriously. The centrists didn’t mount a serious campaign on social media, Corbyn did, largely through his son Seb, who managed his media campaign. Jeremy was the only candidate to put a join the Labour Party button on his web page. This was a master stroke as tens of thousands did and duly voted for him, leaving Mandelson and his Progress cronies in total disarray, and filled with rage at the failure of their slate. Clearly they were left behind by the Corbyn online campaign and the sheer volume of Jeremy Corbyn mass meetings across the UK. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership the extreme centre began to seriously organise against him. Jeremy of course had hundreds of thousands of supporters and they duly defeated the chicken coup. The left in the party consisted of around four hundred thousand comrades, many of whom had rejoined for Jeremy. What I personally found difficult to come to terms with was the way in which Momentum set themselves up as the voice of the left and then behaved in an exclusionary manner throughout the following period of Jeremy’s leadership. Momentum never had more than thirty thousand members at it’s height and yet behaved as if they were the left in the party. This has led to a real problem both at leadership level and throughout the party in my view. Jon Lansman created a fiefdom that I and many other leftwing comrades just couldn’t buy into. Many local parties saw massive increases in membership levels but somehow that massive increase was not turned into mass action campaigns in local communities, too much attention was paid on how to fill positions within the party. The whole thing felt like a massive NUS conference. I won’t discuss my feelings about what happened at local level, suffice it to say I and others were never completely happy whilst we were in the party. What is happening now is tragic but not unexpected. It feels very similar to when the Militant Tendency and other left groups were expelled by Kinnock. I came back to Labour for Jeremy, who is an old friend and comrade of mine. He is being treated in an appalling manner both by Starmer and those “left” opportunists around him. There is no way back for him, and nor me. I am happy in Left Unity where we are small but solid in our politics. Now the attacks have widened, CLP Chairs and Secretaries along with leftwing branch activists are being suspended for daring to discuss Jeremy Corbyns suspension. The extreme centre are even now using keyword algorithms to trawl through leftwing Labour Party members social media accounts for evidence of support for Jeremy Corbyns position on anti-Semitism. Such chicanery is worthy of an insane headbang session in the oval office of the White House. I am not alone in my despair at the actions of the extreme centre in Labour. There will be a plethora of books written about this time I’m sure. Meanwhile I will work with like minded comrades to foster socialism in what time I have left. As for Cummings….. he’s yesterday’s chip paper already.

Harry Rogers, musing in the yellow room, 15th November 2020

FIREBREAK

A Passport to Cymru won’t get you here
The bridges are closed so don’t you appear
Stay back in England, across Irish sea,
Don’t bring the covid down here to me,
You’ll ruin the firebreak we’ve just been through,
We’ve done our bit, now it’s all up to you,
Put on your masks and keep off of the streets,
It’s time to get real, don’t shop now for treats,
But something’s not right, we’re led by a fool,
Why are our children still sent off to School?
Teachers and assistants, cleaners and cooks,
All now in danger, it’s bad as it looks,
All of the rules, strung out, fully loaded,
We still won’t be near to zero covid.

Harry Rogers in the yellow room 4th November 2020

PRISING THE WHELK FROM ITS SHELL

On road to Rome in Georgia state,
Trump, pumped up with drugs and steroids,
Exhorts goons to intimidate,
As he scratches his hemorrhoids.
This final day of campaigning,
For a further bout of madness,
Is no longer entertaining,
Riven as it is with badness.
We will need a giant needle,
To Prise obese, stubborn, whelk out
From the shell where he does wheedle,
Lie, prestidigitate and shout.
He’ll wriggle, he’ll struggle, cry fake,
But in the end he’ll have to go,
Revealed as a broken snowflake,
Blown by the wind from Ohio.

Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 2nd November 2020.

NO TIME TO STAND AND CRY

Now is no time to stand and cry
Neither appease nor pacify
Extremists spit upon our head
They will not stop, they wish us dead
Media amplifies the sound
That emanates from centre ground
The righteous on their carpet ride
Deliver social suicide
They trawl through tweet and email box
With grubby hands turn back the clocks
How easily these ghouls are vexed
By words taken out of context
Deliberately on they plough
To slaughter one more holy cow
Point the finger, spin out the lies
Phoenix New New Labour arise
Soon will come corrupt aftershock
They’ll fade away just like Pasok.
Comrades fear not, let’s dry our eyes
It’s time for us to organise.

Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 1st November 2020

SMOKE BUSH GLORY

It’s three in the morning on Halloween,
Watch Donna the Buffalo with the herd
Out in the wide world things aint too tidy,
But Tara and Jeb brought love right on back
Three years since we met at get off the grid
One of the best gigs that I ever did.
Outside the smokebush glows bright in the rain
In the field gentle dawn flowers again
It’s perfume sweet as the song from robin
Who gives a jot about being locked in.
Hold hands together now, wait for the sun
Soonish it will come and we shall have fun.
Meanwhile let’s search for the best in each day,
Come with me my love let’s go out and play.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 31st October 2020.

BASTARD BABY BOOMER

I’m a bastard baby boomer
Waiting for covid remover.
Born out of the second world war,
I will not lie down on the floor.
Dad wounded in Arnhem battle,
Fighting nazi shittle shattle,
Eaten up with PTSD,
Never found the way to tell me.
Still, I trundle on life’s highway,
Try to make sense in eighth decade,
After years of struggle so game,
Now seemingly to take the blame,
For crimes committed in my name,
By extreme centrists without shame.
Those faux bourgeois sucker uppers
Who conned our mamas and papas.
I’ve spent my life left of the fence,
Unshielded by fake innocence,
I fight on for justice comrade,
You can stuff your naive tirade,
I’m now a consumate Zoomer,
I’m the bastard baby boomer.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 30th October 2020.

THE ABRACADABRA FALLACY

Somehow we all constantly focus on the end of the pandemic, that moment when when some sort of miraculous vaccine will come forward like the cure for polio and take us to a resumption of normalcy.  Ever since the second century the word Abracadabra has been used on amulets as a magical word against diseases. In the second century AD it was believed to be a cure for malaria,  Serenus Alexander, a great admirer of Serenus Sammonicus, ordered the word to be written in the form of an inverted cone, and declares it to be of virtue against all diseases.
“Thou shalt on paper write the spell divine ABRACADABRA called in many a line, Each under each in even order place, But the last letter in each line efface, As by degrees the elements grow few, Still take away but fix the residue, Till at the last one letter stands alone, And the whole dwindles to a tapering cone. Tie this about the neck with flaxen string, Mighty the good ’twill to the patient bring, Its wondrous potency shall guard his head And drive disease and death far from his bed.”This is the same kind of guff we hear now from the Covid-19 denying spiritual anti vaccine brigade. Their denial brings on the disease by leaps and bounds. To waltz through the world in maskless bliss ignores what we face over the coming year. make no mistake, the just in time fetishism adopted by neo liberals in most democracies in the running of their public services only works when dealing with factors that we already understand. Introduce a rogue element into the equation and just in time won’t work, there is no time to play catch up. The health services across Europe and the USA are banjaxxed because the extra capacity needed to cope with a pandemic just isn’t there. All the historic attempts to rationinalise the British NHS, to slash costs, to privatise through bringing American style practices through the back door via Blairite blue sky thinking, the inevitable destructive folly that is commissioning, the crisis created by PFI debt that cripples the finances exponentially are managed within a creaky Heath Robinson structure that just about  delivers a health service free at the point of need.  Add in a crisis such as Covid-19 and everything goes out the window. The reason we are having lockdowns is, in large part, due to the fact that most of the politicians just cannot face the collapse of neo liberalism and the threat of years in the wilderness that would be their fate if the NHS completely fails on their watch. This is not just an attack on Boris Johnson and his cronies, though they are the essence of ineptitude, it also rests squarely with all those centrists on all sides in the house of commons who wholeheartedly embraced Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Margaret Thatcher’s doctrines. This means that there is no contingency capacity to deal with the reality of a rampant Corona virus. The economic knock-on effects of trying to manage this situation with fire breaks, control of what businesses can and cannot sell, the collapse of agriculture in the USA, the destruction of tourism, the decimation of hospitality, the societal fragmentation, all of this and much more can be laid clearly at a catastrophic failure of management at a macro level. We all KNOW the maxim failing to plan is planning to fail. We also know that the British government carried out an emergency planning exercise only a couple of years ago that looked precisely at the effects of a corona virus pandemic and yet they failed to implement it’s recommendations. This is a truly scandalous set of events. They might as well have issued every household with Abracadabra triangle to post on their front doors and amulets to wear in the street. It’s not the fault of the people that we are in this mess, it’s a systemic crisis brought about through the implementation of the ideology of greed. Abracadabra? Unfortunately it’s impossible to magic a pandemic away, it always has been.

Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 26th October 2020.

FACE FACTS AND CHANGE

Nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

Let’s face it, we have a problem,
A problem with democracy.
Politicians speak on the stump,
Sell us all kinds of apple pie,
Only when we vote these demons in
Do we find out how much they lie.
Focus on personality,
The abilty to sell stuff,
Divorced from our reality,
The gilded tin, the powder puff,
Make what never was great again,
Put fishing top and housing last,
Move quickly on, hide up the pain,
Sweep past away and do it fast
With faff and spaff and chunder
Bring on new Dominic blunder
Roll out the iron sheet thunder,
Split all our old dreams asunder.
Ignore what they said they would do,
Each day one more shock of the new,
Mix up the red with the blue,
Spring chaotic bling wrecking crew.
No free school meals outside term time,
Democracy? I call it crime.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 22nd October, 2020.

WHERE HOPE MEETS FEAR

That place where fear meets hope,
Fire break, hot-spot, shielding,
New Deja vu circuit
Breaking the virus chain,
Bonfire night, Halloween,
Postponed during the clamp,
Keep schools open for some,
Close libraries and gyms,
Shut universities,
Pubs, gift shops, and campsites,
We all pull together,
Except for Welsh Tories
Who will politicize
Covid endlessly with
Hyper local lockdowns.
People before profit
Is our rallying cry,
We’ll pick up the pieces
One bright day, by and by,
Meanwhile stay safe, stay home,
Keep one eye on the stats,
Other on Boris and
His asset stripping rats,
Feels like last days of Rome.
The poor, and the low paid
Will bear the brunt again
Sticking plaster fixes
Won’t bring relief to pain.
Universal credit
For those who lose their jobs,
Cannot meet commitments.
Whilst knobs debate the R,
Lists of rules grow longer,
Save pubs, eat out, stay home,
Lock down, wear masks, obey,
Pursue a policy
Of equal misery,
If you’re not confused now
Wait on, you soon will be.
Make us blame each other,
Sister grass up brother,
The rich will cop for nought
Blame us, it’s all our fault,
We did what you told us,
Perhaps we will again
This is what they wanted,
The ghouls in number ten,
Like slick rugby players
Pass the ball so quickly,
Maintain power without
Responsibility.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, October 20th, 2020

THE CONJURING – a modern gothic short story.

The Conjuring (A Modern Gothic Short Story)

I sit in the darkened room at Madame Marta’s Edwardian villa in Swiss Cottage. Seated around the large, round, antique mahogany table I see eleven other people, like me, wearing silver masks and long red robes.  I have no idea who they are, this is the first time I have ever attended a conjuring.  The house itself exhibits gothic features, it is built in the style of a mid nineteenth century Italianate villa from the Borromean Islands on Lago Maggiore.  The castellated tower which widens with height, is topped by a cloistered walkway, decorated with green and gold images of Chinese style dragons. It impressed me greatly when I arrived, and I found myself in the room at the centre of the cloister when the door opened five minutes ago.  Madame Marta enters the room carrying an ornate basket containing a number of golden jewel encrusted amulets with red dragons inscribed on them.  The dragons are attached to black ribbons.  She also hands out some short, thick, black candles. She instructs us to all take one of the amulets and tie the black ribbon around our waist with the amulet image facing outwards.

Madame Marta attaches great importance to this saying, “The requests that you make here will only be answered if the dragon is facing away from you. If the dragon faces the wrong way then your desire will be reversed and that could be extremely dangerous.”

She then passes a burning taper around the room so that we each, in turn, light our allotted candle. At this point a heavy, cloying, perfumed aroma fills the room and I begin to feel slightly swimmy as I breathe it in.  The characters on the ornate tapestries around the room appear to dance before my eyes.  I am in a state of astonishment and am quivering all over.

I am not sure what this ritual is likely to achieve, to be honest I have always thought of the supernatural as somewhat of a hoax.  I am only here because a friend at work told me that they knew of a sure fire way to get revenge on a bully or anyone that had mistreated you.  When she had mentioned a conjuring I had laughed but after a few minutes of her sincere advocating my curiosity was aroused.  She had given me Madame Marta’s card and thus here I am.

Focusing clearly, my memory takes me back twenty years and I see myself as a frightened eleven year old boy, sat as I await the electric enter sign to come on and usher me into Mr Jenkins’s study to face yet another ferocious beating with his cane for nothing more than failure to my homework. I recently took my eldest son along to view the local comprehensive school and was shocked to see Ronald Arthur Jenkins installed as the new head teacher. The very sight of this old bully brought back all my fear and pain, and reawakened my desire for vengeance. I determined that there was no way on god’s earth that my son was going to this school all the time Jenkins is head. Something has to be done.

Now I feel very strange indeed, I can smell the colours in the tapestries. Madame Marta takes a folio sized grimoire into her hands.  This ancient book is covered in what looks like emerald green lizard skin, although I cannot be sure. She opens the book and begins to read from it in a language I do not understand. 

We sit in silence until, after five minutes of reading aloud she stands and speaks; “Rise now.  Take hold of the hands of the people either side of you. Slowly beat a rhythm with your right foot upon the floor in time with my handclapping.”

We do as she instructs. After a while she speaks again “Chant the following words over and over until I command you to stop:-

Please come to us

Prince Astaroth.”

The chanting and the sound of the feet beating the floor has the effect of sending Madame Marta into a trance like state. She begins to utter soft urgent phrases in that same unknown language whilst moving her arms back and forth above the table.

I continue chanting and, combined with the rhythmic nature of the stamping, soon find myself entering a higher state of awareness, everything in my field of vision is assuming a sharpness.  Then, slowly at first, a small undulating cloud is forming in the air above the centre of the table.  From whence it emanates I cannot ascertain.  I am thinking to myself that this is a very neat trick. The cloud is getting larger and moving strangely whilst hovering in the same position. It is so large now that I can’t see the other side of the table; Madame Marta is hidden from view.

Suddenly she makes a long, loud, howling moan, then shouts “Stop chanting. He is here. He is here.”

As I watch the cloud clears, and there floating before us is a red dragon with a man sized demon sitting astride the beast with a writhing python in one hand and a wavy edged dagger in the other.  I feel shocked and frightened, and feel my legs getting wet as I realise I am pissing myself.  It looks so real. I stand paralysed whilst Madame Marta reaches forward with a shiny black onyx bowl and holds it beneath the dragon.  The demon bares it’s oversized set of pointed teeth in an horrifying grimace and looks around the circle before drawing the dagger slowly across one of the dragons feet. I can smell the stench of his vile breath as he leans forward with the knife. A bright red stream of steaming blood falls from the wounded creature into the waiting bowl. A few seconds later Madame Marta places the bowl on the table and bows low whilst uttering more words in the strange language. The demon stares at her with a definite lascivious look, and then, with a sudden loud noise, is gone.

“Prince Astaroth has gone but has left us with enough dragon blood ink to carry out the rest of our purposes here today. Please join me in thanking him by repeating the following words.”

“O Mighty Astaroth”

“O Mighty Astaroth”

“We thank you for your gift.”

“We thank you for your gift.”

“We shall repay it back one day.”

“We shall repay it back one day.”

“Thank you all, now let us move on to cast the spells you have come here for today.”

Madame Marta moved to a Chinese painted chest in the corner and opened a drawer from which she drew twelve sheets of the finest goat vellum, twelve black sharpened ravens quill pens and twelve lengths of black silk ribbon.

After handing these items around she then said. “Write the full name of your target nine times on the vellum using the dragon’s blood ink. Cover the name with your wish or command written nine times. Roll up the name vellum and tie it with the black ribbon. Moving back and forth from left to right, make 4 more knots in the ribbon – there should be five knots in total – including the one holding the rolled name vellum.”

I have no idea what the others are writing down on their vellum. Possibly some of them are seeking to bring a lover to hand for cheating on them, or are hoping to influence the decision of a judge, or maybe their boss is bullying them and they want it to stop, I don’t know, and, as I won’t see any of these unknown people again, never will.

I dip my pen into the dragon’s blood and start writing across the sheet. Nine times I write Ronald Arthur Jenkins in very shaky hand.  I remember clearly vowing to myself that I would one day have my revenge and this time is now. I look at the nine lines of his name and begin writing across every one TAKE THIS MAN TO PURGATORY AND CANE HIM FOR ETERNITY.  As I write I feel the satisfaction growing inside of me whilst the fear I felt in the demon’s presence diminishes with every word. As I finish I feel positively radiant.

As soon as the last person ties the final knot in their ribbons Madame Marta says “I have prepared some special oil for you and you must take it home with you and fill these lamps with it.  Light the lamp and place the vellum scroll in front of it.   Every night for nine nights you must sit by the lamp and say the following five times:-  

O Mighty Prince Astaroth

Who entered the mountain and tied

Up the beast with your ribbons,

I beg you to tie up and dominate [insert name of target].

Mighty Prince

Help Me in my quest

Great commander of the forty legions,

For the oil which you will consume today,

For the oil which nourishes this lamp,

For the wick which burns away all impurities,

I dedicate this Lamp to you,

So that you may relieve me

Of all my Miseries

And Help Me to overcome all Difficulties.

As You dominated the beast beneath your feet.

My Prince,

Grant me that [insert target’s name]

May not live in Peace.

In this way Lord Mighty Astaroth,

Grant my Petition and Eliminate My Misery.

Once the lamp is lit you must keep it burning throughout the nine days and add more of my oil as it burns so that it does not become extinguished. You must also be sure to wear the amulet of Prince Astaroth as a lamen whilst chanting the prayer to the Lord Of Truth.  On the final word of the fifth chanting on the ninth day your command will be executed and all will be well. I thank you for attending the presence of the most mighty strong Prince among all the spirits, O Mighty Lord Astaroth, he that giveth true answers of things past, present, and to come, and can right all wrongs and discover all Secrets. Please enter your cubicles and get changed in silence and respect the privacy of everyone else here. Here are your lamps and bottles of oil, have a safe journey home.” With that she hands out some small brown paper carrier bags and leaves the room.

I quietly get changed and, seeing none of the other participants I go home.

As I drive I try and work out in my mind what happened in the conjuring. Did the demon really manifest itself before us or was it a sophisticated technological trick involving a hologram?  I am unsure, it had seemed so real, the smells, dragon blood ink.  Whatever happened I am now determined to see the process through and will light my lamp to Lord Astaroth tonight, after all I have just handed £1750.00p over to Madame Marta.

After keeping the flame lit for nine days and nights, and chanting the prayer to Lord Astaroth five times every night, the whole spell is now woven.  I have not determined how I will find out whether it has been successful or not but I feel strangely elated at the prospect that it just might have happened. 

This morning I see my friend at work.

She says “How are you Johnny?”

“I have never felt better.” I reply

“Did you go and see Madame Marta?”

“I did.”

“How was it?” she asks

“I am not sure. It blew my mind a bit and made me question reality.” I reply.

“OK, I will see you at lunchtime for a full rundown, laters!”

“See you in the canteen at one.” I say.

I go to my desk and there I find the in tray piled high with correspondence and newspapers. I pick them all up and place them in the out tray as I figure that anything of any real import will be bound to come back to me eventually. As I lift the pile today’s copy of the local newspaper, The Kentish Mercury, falls to the floor and lays open at the inside page where I look down at the headline which reads “Mysterious Disappearance Of Local Head Teacher, Police Baffled.” The first line of the report says Ronald Arthur Jenkins, Head Teacher at Deptford Comprehensive School, disappeared in a puff of smoke during Assembly whilst speaking of the dangers of magic in modern society.”

I sit down in my chair and strange wave of intense calmness sweeps over me, at last I think, I have revenge. I give thanks to the one and mighty Prince Astaroth.

2117 words.  Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, in the hut, February 2017 

MILLWALL OR CHARLTON?

Who do you support, Millwall or Charlton? Being brought up in East Greenwich this was a difficult question for a young boy in the 1950’s. It’s important to say that I have been a football fan from the get go, unlike my dad. He was a musician and his sole interest in life was the study of chord sequences on keyboards of various kinds. We never watched a match together, live or on tv.  We had a very early nine inch black and white television with a large magnifier screen on the front of it back in 1953 and I used to secretly watch  night time football matches on it when my mum and dad were out playing gigs in Croydon venues including The Star in Broadgreen and The Bridge Hotel on Spurgeon’s Bridge, where I was born in 1947. This illicit night time TV watching was not easy as I will explain. I was a resourceful seven year old and would stop at nothing to see late night television, especially if it was football. My grandfather on my Dads side owned a large four story semi detached house, 75 Wellesly Road. My mum and dad, my brother Bruce and I occupied the top two floors, my uncle Phil and Auntie Hazel the first floor and my great grandparents lived on the ground floor. An extended family. Bruce and me were not allowed out of our bedroom at night. There was a hook and eye on the outside of our bedroom door put there to keep us effectively locked in to stop us from creeping downstairs to the front room where the telly stood. I soon sussed out that if I slid the cardboard cover of a Marvelman annual through the gap in the door and frame I could knock the hook out of the eye and we were free. My parents must have known because eventually they took the doorknob off the inside of our bedroom door and that pretty much ended our escapades. Anyway, I remember very clearly one time watching a BBC outside broadcast of a night game from Molyneux featuring Wolverhampton Wanderers in a floodlit European cup match. I think Kenneth Wolstenholme was the commentator. Tremendous. Watching a match with large crowds cheering their team on was exotic, Bruce and me were hooked. The black and white image was not very good on this early tv. When ITV was launched as the second channel loads of TV engineers travelled the land converting old sets to be able to receive the new signal. Our tv was not able to be converted. When the engineer came to our place he tried but we ended up with BBC pictures and ITV sound or vice versa. Watching BBC News with the Murraymints advert sound was surreal. Bruce and me were devastated, we never did get to see Popeye in our house, we had to go round to our friends houses and watch there. Anyway the engineer left our house defeated, and we didn’t get ITV. My aunt and uncle downstairs did and my brother and I were allowed to go down to their flat on Sunday afternoons to watch Robin Hood. That was it. Still, despite the poor tech, football had us enthralled. When we moved to Greenwich we both went to Meridian primary school where every playtime the boys went football crackers. two teams of twenty a side rushed frantically back and forth across the playground. It was joyous. Some of these boys had tremendous ball control of a tennis ball. Once in while we would use a full sized plastic practice football, it was mayhem, totally anarchic but just about the best fun. These kids were either Millwall or Charlton Athletic supporters, and most of them used to go to watch one or other of these teams every home game. Quite a lot of them used to go and watch both teams. It was cheap entertainment in those days, especially for youngsters. The first time I went to a live match in 1957 I was taken to Coldblow Lane to see Millwall. Not by my dad but by my mum’s boyfriend Cyril who worked part time behind the bar at the pub and lived two streets away from the Den. Standing on the cop was thrilling, Millwall supporters are very vocal. I loved it. The very next week, Saturday 21st December, aged ten, I went to the Valley with my brother and a crowd of other boys from school. Charlton Athletic were playing Huddersfield Town in a second division match. Both teams were relegated from the First Division at the end of the previous season so this looked like being a big game. Bruce and I stood on the open terrace opposite the grandstand and watched as the Charlton players ran out onto the pitch to the sound of ” When The Red Red Robins Come Bob Bob Bobbing Along.”. Johnny Summers stood on the sideline smoking a cigarette. The twelve and a half thousand fans all cheered, the referee blew the whistle, Summers stubbed out his fag and stepped onto the pitch, and the match kicked off. After 17 minutes Derek Ufton, a Charlton player, was carried off with a dislocated shoulder. Charlton were down to ten men, there were no substitutes in those days. By half time Huddersfield were leading two nil. Charlton pulled a goal back just after the start of the second half but Huddersfield town were rampant and with twenty seven minutes left they were leading 5-1. Many supporters left the ground but me and Bruce stayed on. What happened next remains vivid to this day, Charlton scored five goals and led six five, with nine minutes to go. Five minutes later Huddersfield equalised, six all. In the last minute Charlton scored again, the referee blew the final whistle. The Addicks had won 7-6. Johnny Summers, the legendary Charlton forward, had scored five goals. The loyal Charlton fans invaded the pitch and carried the Charlton players back to their dressing room. A short time later the players came back out into the main stand to celebrate with their fans. After that amazing match I became a confimed Charlton fan, still am. Sixty three years later I am still bob bob bobbing along. Millwall or Charlton? Come On You Reds.

Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, October 15th, 2020