How are things in El Dorado, Now that the curtain has drawn back? Have you found all of the fool’s gold, The meth, the cocaine and the crack? There’s nobody left to score it, Since Corona came down the track.
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold Y’all been chasing Fool’s gold
There is no more Ambrosia To feed your artificial gods. All your rock stars and their shite words Have been devoured by techno hogs, Power brokers now rule nothing, The people have let loose the dogs.
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold Y’all been chasing Fool’s gold
Things now can change for evermore, Behind the masks we all get real, If we want to love each other We tell the powers how we feel. We stand together on the streets Shout it loud, we will never kill
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold We will not chase Fool’s gold
El Dorado El Dorado How are things in El Dorado?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, midnight 3rd August 2020.
New new Labour with new leader spouts new policies about new normal and yet nothing new happens. Just the same old same old from the same old crew, whichever way they dress it up, there’s nothing new! New direction from new Boris, reborn post covid, new baby, new diet, new phrasebook, new lies. Soon the thing they set out to do will be done, we’ll be gone from the EU, with no deal. For me and you there’s nothing new! Same old same old from the same old outlets. Normally the level of anxiety remains static at just above normal but in the new normal anxiety levels are abnormally high. No matter what we normally do there’s nothing new, only more of the same. S.N.A.F.U.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Wednesday 29th July 2020
Today there was so much shit in the air, That old fan finally gave up the ghost. Careerist lawyers have all blown a fuse, Now their shenanigans are in the news. Stand by my window, look up at the stars, Focus on Mars, try to collect my thoughts, Is this the moment for left versus right, To smash socialism inside the courts? Parliament’s empty of popinjays, They have all gone home for their holidays. BBC scrabbles round for bones to gnaw on, Comrades stand firm now, there is a war on. All the lost jobs, through Covid and Brexit? Yesterday’s chips and nobody gets it.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 1.00 AM 25th July 2020.
After new normal is over Where will there be birds left to sing? After new normal is over Will we believe in anything? When tundra has melted away, On the brightest hot April day, Too late for singularity To be born in time to save us. Clocks have already struck thirteen. No time to dream of could have been. Pristine armour, unused truncheons, Boxed up bullets, racked up rifles, All locked away and useless now. Empty roads, nothing on TV, No internet, nor mobile phones, Not since daily temperature Got stuck at one hundred and four. Somewhere, in an air conned bunker, Inexorably almost dead, Dwell the last of the bourgeoisie. Everyone else already gone, Victims of Covid-fifty three. Only cephalopods remain To see the beauty of sunsets Across darkening smoke filled skies. We had the choice to abandon Fossil fuels, but we just blew it. One chance, and we didn’t take it. Evolution is ironic.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, midnight 21st July 2020
Here come sporadical lockdowns, The latest order of the day, Leicester one day, your place the next. What powers are needed for this? Are there any sporadic apps? Or are these just the random thoughts Dreamed by wily spad conjurers Who have to give their ministers A semblance of something to say In order to confirm that they, In their wisdom, actually Do something, or do anything. In the vague hope that chaos theory Will somehow come to our rescue, These dark prestidigitators Foist their sleights of hand on us all Daily. As media trumpets Blare out latest tossed off press release, Funded by magic money trees We all slither down on our knees, Smeared and mired in Tory sleaze. Wild campers pitch tents everywhere Furloughed workers stand down and stare, Weeks go by as the deadline nears, All are filled with sporadic fears Somebody said six million, That’s just a random estimate. No-one really knows how many Will draw universal credit, Welcome to Sporadicity.
Revisit the seventeenth century Hang Abracadabra outside your house Invent new magical spells for our times, Boriscadaboris might do the trick. Sniff nosegays, dance Ring-a-ring-a-roses. Judges try cases in nightingale courts, Up on Blackheath soon football will restart, Witness the show world versus the real world. Amulets and incantations abound, Rat flea Covid deniers run around Through shopping malls and half filled bierkellers They utter naive cabalistic charms, “Let’s take control of the invisible, Slow down, push down, control, don’t hang about, Roll out the Nuclear lock-down option.” Bring on magical inexactitudes. Well, whatever we do, just don’t tell the truth, Get back to work, we do not need real proof.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, Sunday 19th July 2020.
I recall the exact moment Aged seven, nineteen fifty four, When I moved out of childhood. Out to lunch with Auntie Barbara, In Kennards swanky restaurant. North End, Croydon, Department Store, I sit opposite Auntie B Look around at the finery, Post war women in hats and stoles, Silver cakestands, profiteroles, Seamed stockinged legs, mingled perfumes, Permanent waves, waitress service, Heady stuff for inquisitives. I don’t remember the main meal, “Would you like something for dessert?” She says, passing me a menu. The choice is vast, ice cream sundae, Banana split, Apple dumplings, Even Knickerbocker Glory. I fixated on these two words, Crème Caramel, sounds exotic, “I’d like a crème caramel please.” “Are you sure dear, not an ice cream?” I insist on Crème Caramel. Cornucopias of Ice cream Piled high with wafers and syrups Sail past our table as I wait. Eventually mine arrives. A small white china ramekin Filled with glazed, almost burnt, sugar. Inside my head I’m mortified. I don’t let on, I smile sweetly, Aunt B looks on, in sympathy. I pick up the teaspoon and crack, Sugar shatters like broken glass, Cream coloured custard oozes forth, Scoop some into sceptical mouth. I learned that it’s not the biggest Nor the flashiest that is best. Now sixty five years further on There’s only one dessert for me, Crème Caramel, brulé of course.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, Saturday 18th July 2020.
I wrote this short story in my hut on a rainy afternoon a couple of years ago. Recently I recorded it and sent to my old friend Ashley Cadell in Melbourne Australia. He added the background music and produced the final product. To listen just click the link below.
Leonard Cohen takes my mind to a hunt. In the woods I’m not sure whether he is The hunter, nor when he is the hunted. He is self assured, dangerously so. His future has arrived with a vengeance, He’s not here, but imagine if he were. An avalanche of hidden invective, Each and every verse carefully crafted, Mirror polished to reflect cristal clear, Chaos landslides slip abstractedly by. The earphones help me to realise why He had fingers on the pulse more than most. In raincoat with beret, arrow and bow, Len strode through the flames, on fire yet unburned.
Harry Rogers, In the yellow room, Friday 17th July 2020.
See the anti vaxer shitehawks Feed at the middens of despair. They pick at fake crusty wishbones Rave baseless drumbeats through dark air. Wiser birds watch them eat their fill As they feed each other false scraps Stripped from carcus that makes us ill, They howl when caught in their own claptraps. Locked in gardens, we smell the rose, Marvel at depth of scent supreme Such hot weather sharpens the nose, We sniff reality through dream. Snarky flea bit politicians Try to avert the world mind’s eye Towards old warmed up new cold war Their agenda studded headlines Seek to keep us up till half four. Forget patchouli faerie folk With flying fanciful false flags On dragon breath they soon will choke, Covid as real as plastic bags. One hundred years ago we saw Pandemic kill far more than war Stop these silly invocations, Instead bring inoculations.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 3.00am 17th July 2020.
Now we watch as West Side Story Becomes Night of the Living Dead There’s no time for Morning Glory Not since Sars got inside our head We stand masked up at the bus stop, Somehow still find the time to queue, Before we shuffle to that shop Where police serve the people’s stew. Covid bulletins are long gone The MPs don’t know what to do, The whole world hums funeral songs This corona ain’t fucking flu At start of end of first lock down We bathed in the light of false dawn Virus deniers yelled cross town We’re scam victims of fake news porn Second waves crash on urban beach Tsunami floods each chicken shed, No more teachers are left to teach, We’re now the West Side Living Dead.
Half past five in the red bedroom, 15th July 2020.
Don’t bring me your mythology Your clapped out ideology For I can watch your wars no more Don’t quite know what a god is for Except to drug the people’s mind With one true way, an only kind, Of being young or being old Whilst others stuff our mouths with gold To ensure we do what we’re told For if we don’t they soon will scold, Not quite enough to set us free, You can’t be you, I can’t be me. Dont need fake beings up above, Together, all we need is love In sixty seven John was right There really is no need to fight. So you be you and I’ll be me, Together set each other free.
Blow those whistles louder, Before they come for you, Let not them stuff your gob With gold to shut you up. Shout it from the rooftops, Tell us all that you know, If you’ve got the emails, Flood them to the net. Copies of the contracts? Tweet them from dawn to dusk. Write truth in your memoir, Spill the beans with gusto. Bent ministers and spads? Please kick them where it hurts. Time to clean the stables, Flush all the crooks away, Throw them to the lions, Cummings and baby Gove, Let’s take them down today!
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Saturday 11th July.
Steer Kharma, forensick, at despatch box, Mewls as Haystacks gang shoots fox after fox. Cummings has stolen all Jeremy’s clothes, To wave them beneath New New Labour’s nose. Forests of money trees bloom at the bank, Quantitavely eased with clink and clank. Billions of pounds are drawn at a stroke, Millions of workers now left for broke. Advisory rules now go up in smoke, Health ministers stats now called out a joke. The track and trace app? A pig in a poke, Changes in benefits soon to revoke, Dole queues grow longer, this mess is severe, Still, grab a meal deal, don’t say it’s austere.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Friday 10th July 2020
Here, in the disunited fiefdom, where a man with what looks like a storm blown stook of straw on his head rules the roost, us mere mortals have been offered a meal deal instead of a new deal. Up to ten pounds a punter to cover 50% of the cost of eating a meal out every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as a way of enticing us all to get back into socialising whilst at the same time saving the businesses of restauranteurs and publicans. Meanwhile Covid spikes all over the place and we learn that indoors two metres is not much of a defence against an airborne virus. Jenny and I are staying right here harvesting our raspberries, weeding the vegetables and reupholstering the old sofa bed. Still, the muse of the iambic pentameter is ever present as the sonnets pour out of my fingers and into my phone at an alarming rate, and I am surprisingly jolly. The birds are as busy as ever, swallows and swifts swoop over the hillside lunching on the wing and woodpeckers use our nut feeder as a crazy kind of swing. Life is precious. One love, companero.
Who wants to be a Blairite millionaire? Exploit Labour voters without a care. Denigrate socialists everywhere, Start needless wars, cultivate silly hair. Lord Blunkett spouts tosh on Radio four, Whilst our Rebecca is wheeled out the door, Mandelson unsheaths his back stab once more, New new Labour now shits over house floor. In Gaza families quiver in fear, As the keys to their houses are stolen, Some of us shudder as we shed a tear, The future does not look quite so golden. Pander to petrolhead racist bullies, Electable in post Jezza woolies?
Please tell us where the buck stops, if you can. The powerful deny it is their man. Whenever there’s a crisis it’s the same. Politicians will never take the blame. Haystack bonce points to owners of care homes, These shitehawks from Westminster catacombs, Irresponsible power at the top, However can we make false spinning stop? Pass the blame, fend off shame, guilt trip others, It will be our fault, sisters and brothers. No one’s job is safe, the walls tumble down, Once again we turn our gaze to the crown, TV and Radio stand complicit, Funny how the bucks never stop, innit?
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, Monday 6th July 2020
Can you tell me how Long is a moment? Eight point four six seconds at start of match? Eight mins forty six seconds knee on neck? Is it one hundred days during lockdown? One thousand one hundred days since Grenfell? Is time elastic? Can a moment stretch? Some moments expand, Some moments contract, Twenty seven years since Stephen Lawrence, Murdered at bus stop? Is that a moment? The years since Brixton, Toxteth, Notting hill? The centuries of slavery subsumed Into literature slowly consumed? These transitory periods of time, Are these all just moments that don’t matter?
Harry Rogers, in the Red bedroom, Sunday 5th July 2020.
Cocktails, ginger ales, Ipa, Lager, Pale, Wine and Whiskey, how ever can it fail? From 6.00 am one can drink from a pail, Down Covid river we merrily sail, Go out on the booze, you slick alpha male, Let’s see just how many end up in jail, Meanwhile spaff away, so says Daily Mail, Wetherspoons and buffoons shall make a sale, Public servants all a-quake and a-quail, Stay now at home, hit the head of the nail, They’ll lock drunks away, without any bail, BJ and his pals pursue holy grail, In my garden watch as bird eats a snail, At least snail won’t eat my curly kale.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow room, 1.00 a.m. Saturday 4th July
My Labour Party membership is at an end. I decided to put down my thoughts on my Labour Party Membership in 2020. It is important to say that in 2003 I resigned from the Labour Party over the decision by Tony Blair to take Britain into illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the following years I involved myself in the activities of the anti-war movement. It was not when Jeremy Corbyn was put forward as a leadership candidate that I decided to rejoin the Labour Party, rather I rejoined the party to oppose the election of David Miliband as leader and the continuation of neo liberalism in the higher echalons of the party, I rejoined to vote for Ed Miliband. Currently I still hold a membership card, indeed I am also the elected Chairperson of Ceredigion Constituency Labour Party. Since I joined I have paid close attention to political events inside and outside the Party. As a left wing socialist I was delighted when Jeremy Corbyn became the leader and the membership set to and produced the impetus for the 2017 election manifesto. Despite the actions of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, both in launching the failed leadership bid and consistently working against the wishes of the membership the party almost won the 2017 general election. At that time I knew there were some problems in the Party administration but I put that down to ineptitude during a period of great change. Having read the leaked report on anti-Semitism I now realise that I was wrong. Paid workers in the General Secretary’s office alongside large numbers of the PLP systematically worked to nullify my and tens of thousands of party members efforts to bring about a Labour victory. Reading this report is a sickening experience, but those who haven’t read it are now disbarred from having sight of it. Since reading it and also watching the party slowly move away from socialism under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer I have become increasingly uncomfortable. The introduction of a range of decisions designed to further undermine and smear my good friend and comrade Jeremy Corbyn has been difficult to take. All around me good comrades from across the whole of Britain have already left the party. Other good comrades still in the party are saying stay and fight, don’t leave because that’s what Starmer wants you to do, stay and hold the line, we can still get the manifesto policies implemented, unity is strength, and other such epithets. Some say the only way to defeat the Tories is to stay in the Labour Party, it’s the only show in town. To all these pleadings I have been struggling internally to dampen down the pain I feel following the defeat in the 2019 General Election. I tried to stay staunch, working alongside my excellent comrades on the CLP Executive Committee here in Ceredigion.
I did believe that we were on the road to building a truly significant local alternative social, economic, and community development strategy for the people of Ceredigion. Recent events within the the Labour Party heirarchy have dented and now, finally smashed my belief to smithereens. It isn’t just the decision to sack Rebecca Long Bailey on spurious charges of anti-Semitism, though that is a disgraceful enough episode, nor is it the fact that it is impossible to have any political influence in the decision making process of the Labour Party due to the pandemic lock-down, nor the latest attack on left wing members by Swansea MP Nia Griffiths where she outrageously accuses all comrades who have supported RLB of being anti-semites. It took a conversation with a dear friend of mine to make me stand back and look dispassionately at what I really feel about my ongoing membership. All the blandishments from different sections to stay and fight actually feel painful to me. As if, to paraphrase my friend, I am being blackmailed into staying in an abusive relationship. Tommy Cooper used to tell a joke about a man who goes in to see his doctor and says “Doctor, every time I go like this it hurts.” to which the doctor replies, “Don’t go like that.”. I have always believed that if you are doing something that hurts you should stop doing it. Being in the Labour Party has become too painful to bear so now is the time to stop hurting myself. I have no respect for the leadership, or belief in their strategies or actions. My relationship with The Labour Party as an organisation is over. I hereby resign.
Countdown To Carnival, fourth of July, Jokers are wild, medics break down and cry, City street parties now are so hot Lockdown sacrifices gone and forgot Sun shines on the beach, drunkards spew and fight Pent up frustration raves on through the night. Respect for security thinly stretched Ochlocracy no longer seems far fetched Oi, you there with the blond haystack hairstyle Who claims to be a fit prime prime minister Fit as a Butcher’s dog in such short while. You and your clique are really sinister, Fake power, no responsibility, Your actions deny true ability.
Be careful that you Don’t breathe in Blue Air, Make sure you don’t go Dancing toe to knee It’s dangerous So dangerous Blue Air Blue Air So dangerous So dangerous You can’t be yourself Life’s a pantomime Looking behind you Looking beyond you Blue Air Blue Air It’s dangerous So dangerous Target on your back So invisible You can’t know it’s there Waiting behind you Blue Air Blue Air So dangerous So dangerous When the knives are out, And the lights go out…..
Harry Rogers, Past Midnight in the Yellow Room 26th June 2020
Sir K welcomes the Tory Lockdown thrust, Uptick high street sales of discounted stuff, Wetherspoon boozers must now make a crust. People are ready to ingest this guff? Union jack briefings just ain’t effective, Mothball the lecterns, put experts away, Leaders united, easing invective, Not laws, just guidance, what more can they say? From two to one, leave your name at the door, Burger house cinemas open once more, Not quite the same as it once was before, Rife abnormality, stuck in our craw. Next door they’re mowing, watch as swifts follow, New bugs on the wind, so hard to swallow.
That old ill wind now blows ever stronger, Whilst the food bank queues grow even longer. The furloughs and bailouts will all soon end, But just like Viv we have to spend, spend, spend. Look to the city, brokers do fiddle, Watch as they play both ends against middle. Someone just called for a giant hoover, Covid, they said, is boomer remover. Super superlatives fly from hip lips, World beating software will solve our hardships Privatised whiz kids on heightened day rates Are new barbarians, there, at our gates. Charging us fortunes for things that don’t work, Ministers theive as they quietly smirk.
Turn that old t-shirt into a face mask, Get on train with The Beatles on your face, Soon only a Dune Stillsuit fits the task, Public transport now total smile free space, Pubs get ready to open doors again, Menus can be scanned onto your smartphone. Without Android or Apple, well, what then? No beers, no meals, carry on home alone? Processed meat workers go down like ninepins, Hairdressers ready to shear lock-down locks, High street store windows sport clean mannequins, Stock market braces for new fiscal shocks. With secateurs and saw I start to prune, Ain’t gonna be normal anytime soon!
An economic calamity comes Said a radio presenter today, Watch the Chancellor struggle with his sums, Quantatively easing pipedreams away. Rags and calumny fall from Tory lips, False promises bring incredulity, From home cooked meals to greasy fish and chips The lock-down ends without human pity. We must cram children back in classrooms small, Labour Lords crawl out from obscurity, The second wave now looms above us all, No fiscal vaccine brings immunity. Theatres are closed but tragedy plays on, The tinted spectacles are almost gone.
Harry Rogers, In the red bedroom, Sunday 21st June 2020.
From alert level four To alert level three Now we start panicking About economy. Let’s reopen the schools, The pubs and restaurants, People meet in bubbles, Wear masks upon the bus, Stay home and watch football, All one metre away, We scrap the test and trace, Soon we’ll have the finest, Test and trace in the world, Expect teachers to teach, Only those who turn up, Can’t go down to the beach. Us fogeys, locked away, We don’t know what to say, So we fill bird feeders, The woodpeckers need nuts. Soon all do what they like, We wait for second spike, Or the permanent spike. In the nineteen sixties Janis succinctly said, “It’s all the same fucking day man!” She was not too far wrong.
Harry Rogers, 2.00am In the Yellow Room, June 20th 2020
Somebody has to do it, You know? Red, white & blue it, We watch as Johnson blew it, Whilst, mostly, we go through it, The Tim Tam suck, don’t chew it, Union Jack jet? Who flew it? Globally we outgrew it. Murdoch’s chums will review it, Donald tries to outdo it, Pandemic? Oh, just screw it. They told us they would do it, Now lockdown’s dead, eschew it, Still, we all fucking knew it, Austerity? Renew it.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, Thursday 18th June 2020.
You can go to Primark or Debenhams You can’t go visit your dads or your mums. Did you hear Boris’s spud headed spad Spilling his Durham beans in the garden? The whole country tuned in to his blather, Together we say, “We beg your pardon?” The things we hate most are fucking liars, Piled high on Westminster funeral pyres. Cornered with cabinet floor paint on hands Drive through bluebells, oh the sheer arrogance. The sun shone so kindly there by the lake This then is the truth some claimed to be fake. Get out our wallets, Covid is stopping, So soon we can all go fucking shopping.
A nest of incestuous investors Lies behind cloak of bombed out BJ Hand grenade drops through Brexit pill box slit Wounded spads analyse pin puller disguise Desperate to find who will benefit Us cannon fodder voters, smoke in eyes, Watch in stunned terror as panto unfolds, No-one shouts Look Behind You, in the wings Waits latest parvenu, heart all a quiver Soon, on centre stage, where he will slither, Highwayman new shouts Stand and Deliver Fresh spads snivel as the people shiver. Democracy turns to patrician mauve I really do hope it’s not Michael Gove.
Harry Rogers, in the red bedroom, Monday 25th May 2020.
Chomsky’s Dog chews papers in the background Every now and then makes a growling sound Naom proselytises without pause Dog scratches purposefully with all claws Advice for activists flows out freely Words spoken softly yet no less steely Offers hope for future generations Twenty years to save the fate of nations Wretched theives and crooks, wrecked economy Post Covid climate, lockdown anomie, Our world in danger, soon we will be toast, All now take action, don’t give up the ghost. He is compelling, get up off our knees Shred Tory lies like Chomsky’s Pekinese.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, Pencnwcau, 24th May 2020
Afflicted with addiction to power Vote with nasty right in new concensus Such news disconcerts me by the hour Perhaps Blairites are non compos mentis Whoever can reason for such madness? Strange bedfellows, bold enough to say Keep asylum seekers filled with sadness, Pander to the basest racist today Clap now for points based immigrant carers Phase out free movement, enlist unemployed, Conscript the workshy, we hear the bearers Of Brexit promise to the overjoyed. My radio sails through open window Enough of shitty BBC lingo.
Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, Aberbanc 19th May 2020.
Teifi, afternoon, flash of bankside blue Kingfisher searches elver wriggles new Beneath Henllan bridge otter, trout in paws, Crunches his lunch whilst Senedd makes bad laws Guided by science there will be no tests Crashed trees block the falls, robins fill their nests Nurses in London block Westminster bridge Vulnerable kids stare at empty fridge Birds sing louder, the skies are bluest blues I burst into tears at the newest news Tenants evicted as they lose their work MPs and the spads won’t give up their perks Sun sets brighter now, we are past the peak So Boris tells us, when he deigns to speak.
Go down to Creek Road, get drunk on free beer, Walk through Greenwich Park, shoot a fucking deer Venison’s better than cheap minced beef pies Share surplus with neighbours, what a surprise
Oh the things that we do when we are poor
Take rod to river, hook stale bread on, Cast into slipstream, then pull out a swan Play bird as it flys up high in the sky Then kill it and pluck it, try not to cry, To roast in oven cut swan into four One more of the things we do, when we’re poor.
Go down Tesco’s fill up trolley and pay Go out to friends car, stack shopping away Go round aisles again load exactly the same, Plus one pack of brillo, forgotten, you claim With first bill in hand you’ve already paid Thus shopping’s half price, good game that, well played.
In desperate days we ignore the law, Oh the things that are done when we are poor.
Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 23rd April, 2020.
Today I watch a video report of fucking Covid-19 denying murderers in California on the way to their personal raptures who have forgotten their own sky god commandment, thou shalt not kill. Idiots. I am angry.
Meanwhile in Hackney a thirty year old Sri Lankan single mother incinerates herself in the back garden during lockdown. I am crying.
Elsewhere a young English father is locked down with his wife and son unable to take him to McDonald’s for his fourth birthday party. He tranforms his kitchen into a mock up drive through take away with himself in a YouTube video on the tv in their kitchen. The child is happy with french fries and chicken nuggets. His wife loves the ingenuity of it all. I laugh and cry at the same time.
I feel twitchy, never has there been such social fragility in all my 72 years. The Brexit talks pale into insignificance as the rise of populism grows daily. Italy is on the brink of leaving the EU. You can smell something ancient in the phrases that are bandied about. Phrases such as ” It’s the media that’s the cancer, all their news is fake.” and “All the politicians are useless, all they do is lie.” and “China is to blame.” Even the middle classes are dazed and confused by the consequences of the lockdown as their jobs also disappear and they slip into negative equity. I have read about a similar situation in my collection of 1930s left book club publications. I lie in my bed unable to sleep easy.
Still, the sun is shining this week, yesterday it was the same temperature in Antarctica as it was in Los Angeles………
I have been sat in front of our TV as 24 hour coverage of this pandemic unfolds for weeks now. I am over 72 years old, I am not supposed to go out unless it’s absolutely crucial. At first I watched all the bulletins as the prime minister and a variety of high faluting experts stood at lecterns flanked by carefully folded Union Jack flags with the white background and red cross of St George clearly and deliberately to the fore. The early strategy where herd immunity was considered to be the way forward, where every bulletin encouraged everyone to wash their hands every time they touched something but otherwise everything carried on as normal, the roads were full, the trains were full, the airports were full, sports venues, bars, gigs, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, political meetings, all functioned as ever. This laissez-faire approach was allowed to continue for weeks despite the fact that the government knew in advance that the country could not handle a pandemic such as this because it had participated in an emergency planning exercise, Operation Cygnus, which spelled out exactly what would happen in the event of a virulent respiratory virus running rampant through the world. One question sticks in my mind, if the government knew that the exercise showed that the NHS was under staffed, under equipped and under resourced, why did they not address these issues? What is the point of spending millions of pounds on full blown civil and war emergency planning exercises if you’re not going to take any notice whatsoever of the advice given from the plethora of front line experts, strategists, and senior civil servants involved? And yet, despite all the delay, as the daily death figures rise exponentially, as the economy falls into a slough of despond, as draconian measures curtail freedom of movement, somehow large numbers of people put their faith in the newly elected prime minister, one Boris Johnson. This man who eventually encouraged us to adopt social distancing, made us aware of the dangers of shaking hands with anyone outside of your in house family, and then promptly ignored his own advice, shook hands with all and sundry including a wardful of Covid 19 sufferers and finished up in ICU narrowly avoiding his own demise, some people believe that he is some kind of hero of the people. How can this be the case? He had been infectious for some considerable time and yet continued to bustle around in Westminster and elsewhere, in all kinds of meetings where he will have put untold numbers of staff, colleagues, acquaintances and contacts into harms way. A monumental case of don’t do what I do, do as I say. It’s unacceptable behaviour of anyone, let alone the Prime Minister. The daily broadcast with the Trump style flag frame moved further backwards, where substitutes run through the same sets of statistics that are designed to show how well the country has carried out the government strategy continue unabated. Ministers come and go and continuously state the obvious, the roads are empty, the people, on the whole, obey the rules, all is hunky dory as long as we remain in lockdown. And yet, and yet, PPE levels are disastrously low in hospitals and care facilities, meanwhile health ministers say the government response is phenomenal. Health workers are told not to use equipment unnecessarily. Economic forecasts say that the crisis we are heading into is massive. The number of unemployed in Britain is set to head North of three and a half million. The current universal credit system that penalises those people who have fallen into poverty is not going to be accepted as sufficient by people who have done nothing except lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Current levels of benefit will not meet family commitments. Only a government prepared to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion by the richest could address this future catastrophe. The country currently is being run in a totally undemocratic way without adequate parliamentary scrutiny. These are scary times and we now appear to be trapped in the middle of a classic Catch 22 conundrum. Stay locked down, save lives and crash the economy, or ease the lockdown, save the economy and bury a lot more people. Either way it’s a grand disaster. At first I wasn’t sure whether this was just a straight folk devils and moral panics scenario with the government and the media cooking up a false flag emergency to get the ruling class in a position to carry on austerity led business as usual. Now that the death levels here are not falling it is clear that the reality of the situation is that we have an incompetent government, unable to act in favour of saving lives because the economy and their pals in the City of London come first, above human lives. The Prime Minister is possibly going to stand down due to viral fatigue, he will likely be replaced by Raab or Gove, either of which, in my view, are strictly second division when it comes to leadership. It’s a giant deprression filled mess which only ends in tears whatever the outcome, and whenever the end of lockdown occurs. Many people won’t be here to see it, for some of those death might be a blessing in disguise. The aftermath to this ain’t going to be pretty. I’m getting older by the day, there ain’t much I can do about this shitshow. I would like to be able to drive my partner Jenny down to Llangrannog Beach for a pub lunch and a walk by the sea this summer, but the chance of such a simple pleasure looks ever more remote.
Looking out through lockdown windows The world in view is too sombre My mind wanders to pastures new To party times with good old friends To singing in the Poppit dunes, Picking those lost forgotten tunes. Of how we’ll change the world to come A glass half full for everyone The gig economy we’ll shun, Eugenicists? We’ll make them run. Hold hands together down The Strand, Spill wine to our favourite band, We’ll dance together after dark Like lovers smooching in the park All this for future enquiry Written now in my dream diary.
It’s bizarre to sit and watch images and words flash across the myriad of screens each of us own at this time early in the third millennium and watch with a sense of horror as the major cities of the globe descend slowly into a state of anarchic pandemonia. Each city has the potential to a greater or lesser extent to metamorphose into, what Milton named as the Capital of Hell, Pandemonium.
What sickens me the most is the realisation that there is absolutely nothing I, or for that matter you, as individuals can possibly do about it. The major news media outlets are busy trying to portray the Covid 19 pandemic as just another major news story that can be presented to the people in the same old time honoured fashion that they done since the birth of Television. However, this time the story is too big for corporatations to control. Little snippets of truth about the sombre reality of this dreadful situation are poking out and are revealed on a daily basis. The never ending howling of ambulance sirens echoing along empty streets, the conversion of skating rinks and other civic amenities into makeshift temporary morgues, the requisition of football grounds and other sports stadia and conference facilities as sites for massive health treatment and combined hospice style centres. All this clearly visible for everyone to see but once the full horror of this disease takes hold then it is right to ask the following question. For how long can the media hold the line and continue to showcase reports that, it’s true, show the level of distress the people will be suffering?
To watch as country after country pass Draconian legislation enabling them to take extreme decisions when it comes to social control is alarming and will precipitate outbursts of fear, paranoia and anger. In Europe this might be easier to control than elsewhere, and in particular the USA. At the same time as we were stocking up with pasta, lentils, rice and canned vegetables, there were queues around the block at all gunshops and purveyors of ammunition across America. With politicians in leadership positions making difficult decisions on a a daily basis the pandemic is hard enough to deal with, but to have somone that makes last minute decisions based on his gut instincts instead of listening to experts in a plethora of important fields as President of the USA is not only frightening but is also indicative of the fragility of the whole geo political system of governance.
In my view The United Nations should be convened and should take over the handling of this crisis. It is too big for crazed egoist individuals to be allowed to have control over the future wellbeing of billions of human beings through the creation of artificial states of emergency designed to prop up their own deformed political, and often corrupt, ideologies for their own gratuitous economic gain. I doubt this is going to happen until after the grisly masquerade has played out and the whole world has to clean up in the aftermath.
The plural of Pandemonium is Pandemonia. Unless there is a global approach to dealing with COVID-19 it’s quite likely we will witness the emergence of a whole swathe of cities that, for a significant period of time, will become replicas of Pandemonium, the Capital of Hell. I hope I am wrong and Trump is right when he posits a miraculously speedy recovery. Somehow though, judging by recent history, I doubt it.
Millions of Brazilians Have witnessed all these scenes before Paliamentary pantomime Has locked down everybody’s doors The army ringed now around London Stock markets fall down through the floor There’s no knowing where this leads us The MPs bluster on, so sure Their nationalistic reactions Echoed loudly on radio four Butterfly show goes on and on No dreamliners fly anymore We are told it’s for our own good For the aged, for the poor Evoke the spirit of the blitz Best wishes from second world war Spout about spiritual health Whilst televising martial law Soon round up any dissidents Is that what this is really for?
Harri Rogers, in the red bedroom, Pencnwau, 19th March 2020
Now, see the vengeance
Reaked on the many.
Shone up for one day,
Like fake silver plate
Polished away, through.
Truth? Justice? Honour?
These tattered flags fly
Blown on the rubbish
Tips alongside rolled up
Banknote snorting tubes
Discarded by spads
With Randian lies.
Whilst they “Get IT done”
We drown on sun drenched
Flood plains developed
By slick racketeers
Who sail sunseekers
All over the globe.
Infects me and you
As well as the few,
Who will more likely
Stand within six feet
Of a carrier
In an airport queue,
Nature in action.
Too late, all fall down,
Red in tooth and claw,
Hail natural law.
In the red bedroom
28th February 2020.
NO MORE WILD SIDE
There is no wild side to walk anymore
All is normal now, we all know the score.
Sky God worshippers lay down holy law
Virus, hurricanes, capitalist war
Perfect storms rage together, globally
No wild side to walk, not for you and me
This is how it ends, locked in misery
No wild side to walk, not for you and me.
Take a walk
On the wild side
Walk the talk
No more wild side
Wild Side No More
Wild Side No More
All normal now
All normal now
In the yellow room,
28th February 2020