A short memoir of my first afternoon in Candler Park, Atlanta, Georgia.
I published my new episode Superman’s Belt Buckle Mar 26, 2019 17:18, please check it out
THE RETURN OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON
A Fairy Tale
Thence, beyond this time, a vengeful orange coloured king with yellow hair named Oswald ruled his people with a heavy hand. The unhappy people spent their lives devising ways to make the king feel happy because in that way he might be persuaded to turn his attention to those from other countries whom he also frightened. King Oswald lived in a fortress with wife Queen Emeralda, two sons, Prince Victor and Prince Wyn and daughter, Princess Lusha.
Every person in the land secretly hated Oswald but were too scared to do anything about it. Even his wife could no longer find anything to love about him. Queen Emeralda knew enough to always wear a painted smile when ever Oswald looked in her direction. Prince Victor adopted the same traits as his father, listened to nobody, believed he was as big a genius as King Oswald professed himself to be. Prince Wyn, however, read books and understood the needs and the feelings of the people.
One day King Oswald overheard Prince Wyn speaking with Princess Lusha in the garden.
‘I wish I knew how to make our father behave better towards our subjects. He is cruel and everywhere I go people are sad and poor. If I were king I would change things. I have ideas from old manuscripts I found in the crypt below the fortress. Lusha, there is a better way, Life was once so much happier.’
‘How do you mean happier?’ asked the princess.
‘In the days before our grandfather there was a golden dragon who filled the world with peace and wisdom, all the peoples of the planet loved each other.’
‘What happened?’ she asked.
‘The dragon was summoned to another galaxy where there was much trouble and strife. He left our kind grandfather in charge and all was well until his death when our father took over and brought cruelty into the role of kingship.’
King Oswald became angry, his skin turned a deeper shade of orange than usual. He sprang out of hiding and shouted at his son,
‘How dare you speak of me, your father, your one true king, in such a disrespectful manner. I am minded to have you locked away in a cold dark dungeon for the rest of your life.’ He looked around and bellowed
‘Guards, guards, come here immediately.’
Two royal guards rushed forward and the king ordered them to seize the young prince. Princess Lusha began to cry as she loved her brother dearly and she said,
‘Please don’t lock Wyn up father, I beg you, let him free.’
The king looked at his daughter, then at the young prince and he said,
‘This is your punishment, I banish you from this kingdom, you shall be transported to the other side of this world where you must stay, never to return. Guards, take him to the harbour, put him on the next ship with the other deportees.’
As the guards took Prince Wyn away, Princess Lusha thanked her father for being merciful.
Life continued under King Oswald’s rule. The people became more miserable as the King extracted larger taxes. Oswald enjoyed starting wars just for the sake of being able to boast about how powerful he was, but, of course, he was not a warrior, as he quickly pointed out, being so intelligent and clever he could not be put into harms way because the people could not do without him. He organised gigantic displays of his might and power with grand parades and colourful tournaments in his honour that everyone in the land were ordered to attend.
After six months Prince Wyn arrived in the most inhospitable land in his fathers territory. The captain unceremoniously discharged him from the prison ship with only the clothes he stood up in, no money, and a gold ring in the shape of a winged dragon given to him by his grandmother at birth. Eventually he found poorly paid work as a stable lad and lodged with the horses. This suited him as he loved animals. By day he looked after a team of large horses used for dragging logs out of the forest. One night he dreamt as he slept on a straw pally ass. A golden dragon appeared and said,
‘Prince Wyn, you must go into the world and let the people know that I am returning. I am a long way away at present but will be back and I need a good person to prepare for my homecoming. Nearby you will find a boat builder called James Butt. Seek him out. Ask him to build a special boat to take you home. Show him the ring I gave your grandmother that sits on your finger. He will build you the finest dragon boat ever seen. You must sail home, stand in the square outside the fortress and read out a prophecy that you shall have written.’
‘Will you be there?’ The Prince asked.
‘No but I will send a sign and all will start to change for the better before I arrive.’
The dream ended and Prince Wyn awoke with sweat on his brow. The next morning he set off to seek out the boat builder. After two days he came to a small bay with a single whitewashed stone cottage, a pile of lobster pots, a dinghy, and a large open sided barn with a slipway down to the sea at one end. Beneath the barn he spied a wooden bench covered with wood working tools and paint brushes and large hunks of pungent oakum. A sign nailed above the door said James Butt, Master Shipwright. A broad man emerged from behind the lobster pots and said,
‘Who you be?’
‘I am Prince Wyn and I have been asked to command that you build me a boat.’
‘Asked to command have you? Well I don’t takes a lot of notice of commands, I only builds what I wants to build and when I wants to build. Why should I build for you?’
The Prince was about to reply when the man’s eyes fell upon the glinting golden dragon ring as the Prince held his hand out. He immediately took the young Prince, clasped him in a powerful embrace and said,
‘I’ve been expecting you for some considerable time, at last we can gets away from the madness. Come inside, I have crab and lobster and fresh made bread a plenty, we have much to talk about before I starts the work.’
The shipwright worked diligently for three months and Prince Wyn helped where he was needed. In between times he wrote the prophecy. Eventually they launched the boat. The clinker built boat stood proud and sleek made from the finest juniper and cedar woods, and at the prow James had carved a magnificent dragon’s head and neck covered in sheets of gold leaf. Two giant rubies in the eye sockets radiated a bright red light. All was ready, they toasted each other’s fine work with cups of mead. Prince Wyn carefully rolled up the vellum scroll on which he had written the prophecy and tucked it into his shoulder bag.
‘Come to my homeland James, I may need help with navigation, and besides, I like your company very well.’ said Prince Wyn.
“No I have much to do here, you will not need me now, the boat has magic properties, the Dragon Eyes will guide you home, all you need to do is let it lead you over the waves. Tarry no more young man, you have work to do.’
Once more they embraced and the Prince clambered aboard the boat. No sooner had he sat down at the stern when a strong wind blew up and the boat sailed across the bay. Prince Wyn turned and waved at the shipwright on the jetty.
The boat ploughed through the waves at incredible speed. The Prince arrived back to the harbour after only three and half months. A few merchants and sailors stood on the quayside as the dragon boat sailed into the harbour and drew up alongside King Oswald’s Royal mooring. The small crowd immediately gathered alongside the magnificent craft and marvelled at the strange light shining from the eyes. Prince Wyn threw a rope to one of the sailors, pushed a gangplank out, and sprang ashore. He spoke in a steady voice,
‘I am Prince Wyn, I bring a message for the people, follow me to the square outside the main gate to the royal fortress.’
A buzz of conversation spread amongst the crowd as Prince Wyn headed purposefully up the lane from the harbour towards the fortress. A few young sailors ran ahead spreading the word that something important was about to happen. By the time he arrived many people had gathered and the noise level rose as more came running to hear what he had to say.
King Oswald sat in his counting room with a Cappuccino as his Chancellor read out the latest figures from the treasury. Suddenly he heard a large cheer from outside, and he turned to look down into the square. He saw the large crowd and immediately ordered the royal guards to disperse the unauthorised gathering. He dismissed the Chancellor and hurried to the balcony in his main chamber that overlooked the square.
Prince Wyn stood on the steps outside the Fortress with a crowd of more than three hundred gathered at his feet. The royal guard marched out of the fortress and observed the Prince as he unfurled his scroll. The crowd fell silent and he began to read in a clear voice,
‘Herewith find the prophecy of the return of the Golden Dragon. At first there will appear in the distance afar, a small twinkling bright shiny golden star. No one will recognise this portentous sign, nor realise how blindingly bright it will shine. As it gets closer there will be panic and fear and nobody will know what’s about to appear. Flying serenely on high, way, way up above, shimmering, sun like, with peace and with love. The richest, deepest, darkest, crimson most red is found at the very centre point of the heart. This is what makes it the true colour of love. The flickering flames tinged with the colour of love will spill with a terrifying sound from the Dragons golden lips and sweep majestically across the green swards of the land, bringing the return of the very sweetest form of peace, where all the varied flags and pennants across the world will bow down in obeisance before the highest golden standard flying. When all the women and children in the world will stop cease to weep and cry, when all men will lay their weapons down and all people shall join together hand in hand in hand, when all endeavour shall be turned towards the purification of the oceans, the cleansing of the air and the healing of the land. Then shall we know that the new age of the Golden Dragon has arrived and the beginning of the end of the misunderstood days of mistake has started and the making of true civilisation will, at last, have begun. Thus will be that great magical day when we behold that mystical beast imbued triumphantly with the strongest powers of peace and of love. Then shall we behold the true magnificence of The Golden Dragon. Thus prophesy I, Prince Wyn, true servant and devotee of the bringer of happiness, peace and love.’
The crowd cheered mightily whilst King Oswald stood on the balcony becoming angrier by the second, so angry that his skin turned the colour of a tangerine. He rushed to the sill of the balcony and screamed at the Guards,
‘Arrest him, arrest him, he is a traitor and a false prophet, it’s all lies, there is no truth in what he says, the words he uses are fake, it’s all fake.’
The guards looked at him and then back at the crowds, many of whom they knew as their friends and family. They stood their ground and disobeyed the Kings orders. King Oswald, apoplectic with rage, shouted again,
‘I am your king, you must obey, seize the traitor and bring him in to me now.’
At that moment there began a total eclipse. The planet’s largest moon swiftly moved in front of the sun. The crowd fell silent.
King Oswald, dumbfounded, knew this was clearly a significant omen. At the moment of totality the people looked up into the dark sky and there they saw a twinkling speck of gold and they knew that the horrible years of austerity were almost at an end. King Oswald was no fool, he ran inside the fortress, tried to persuade his wife that they had to leave now or else something terrible would befall them, but she refused and told him that if he left now he would have to go alone, only Prince Victor stood by him and together they rode out of the servants entrance behind the fortress never to be seen again. Rumour had it that they lived in a deep impenetrable forest where they raised pigs for the rest of their lives. Prince Wyn called Queen Emeralda and Princess Lusha onto the steps as the moon moved across from the sun and the light flooded back into the world, and the people cheered as he embraced them both.
The Golden Dragon duly arrived one month later, to a forest of ancient flags and pennants that the people had been saving for just such a day. The people elected Prince Wyn as the new president after it was decided that there would never be a royal family ever again, and, as far as is known, there never has been since. The whole world lived forever and a day in perfect harmony.
Armistice Day 2018, the centenary of the end of WW1. What a strange day. The usual dirge like tones on the BBC Radio Four coverage of the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month as the wreaths were laid at the cenotaph. Not long afterwards the MSM swung into action and launched the inevitable attack on Jeremy Corbyn for wearing the wrong kind of coat and too small a poppy. Surely everyone now sees this kind of tabloid attack for what it is, cheap, shoddy and laughable. As he stood, surrounded by a bevvy of haute coutured war mongering murderers responsible for untold numbers of atrocities, as a man who has spent his whole life supporting peace campaigns he must have revelled in the irony. Of course the size of ones poppy is far more important than sanctioning millions of deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. Also, having ones rain hood out is a much bigger insult to the dead than those politicians who continue to broker massive arms contracts whenever and wherever they can across the globe. Such hypocrisy is startling but this is after all a symptom of the fear felt by the establishment of a Jeremy Corbyn led government. Meanwhile in Paris French leader Macron publicly slaps Trump in the face by lecturing on the difference between nationalism and patriotism whilst in Warsaw a massive demonstration orchestrated by Nazis is attended by the head of state and other government politicians. All this whilst I sit constipated and convalescing from a hernia operation last Tuesday that is ameliorated by codeine and paracetamol. I read in The Sunday Remainer (The Observer) that the MOD are now developing drones that can take autonomous decisions on whether to kill or not, something I have been writing about for the last thirteen years, ironic on the centenary of the end of the war to end all wars that new fangled killing machines are being developed for the very self same politicians who wear the larger poppies, believe in nuclear weapons as deterrence, and are draped in tailored mourning clothes. After a plate of frozen berries ( defrosted), muesli and plain yoghurt at lunchtime I finally have a shit after six days of discomfort, but I still feel sickened by the historical stench of wars past mixed with the fear that something awful is brewing in the very near future. All this and Charlton Athletic scored away from home in the FA Cup first round at Mansfield Town thus earning a draw and a place in the second round draw. See, I told you it was a strange day. Sleep well comrades, whilst you can.
Live first take demo recorded at the Cwrdd open mic session at Caffi Iechyd Da in Carmarthen.