Sunak sees Starmer’s anti-social rant Then raises stakes and Trumps him with his kant. Send out Govey Govey onto TV, With silver spoon to stir sugary tea. Talk of bad behaviour in all our towns, Seriously, how can we stand such clowns? They tested parliament for cocaine, Found traces all over, not heard again! Anti-social MPs do lines out back, Did not test Boris party sites, how slack. Journos and spads spin lies jointly crass, New wizard wheeze? Focus on laughing gas. Everywhere we look, everywhere we turn Laws pile higher, waiting for us to burn.
In shadow behind Guillotine Tumbrels began to roll. Revolution on streets again Flames warm cockles of soul. Royal visit quickly cancelled, Bordeaux is out of bounds, On Twitter I watch videos Revel in protest sounds. Only one hundred miles away From our parliament People riot when leaders say They’ll take away our rights. Here we all knuckle down each day, We never stand and fight. En France they burn down their town halls When times become too hard, Whilst we agree to play by rules, And sweep out Royal yards. We slave whilst our billionaires Kit out their super yachts. Stolen money from private shares, They keep the fucking lot. New days will dawn, They’re coming soon, We’ll take away Their silver spoons. Vive la revolution Vive la revolution, Recherché, recherché, Vive la revolution.
New New Labour is distastefully slick In so many many ways, I feel sick. Not just Sir Smear wrapped in union jacks, Nor plunges of knives into comrades backs, Those lies fed to hungry media hacks, Nor those pledges scrapped post leadership win, Smarmy greetings to welcome back traitors, Sly installation of old Blarite shite, Denial of help for workers on strike. Though all of these things truly bad enough, It’s their belief that they can win power If they all mimic Tory personas, And treat working class folk as total fools, That really, really, pisses me right off.
They keep it in their family These spivs who take the piss, Gonna give his dad a knighthood, Or so the papers say. Modern faux aristocracy, Behaviour as if kings, They ignore Machiavelli Don’t understand his Prince. They wallow deep in privilege, Take all of us for fools, Don’t care that we are watching them, Whilst they break their own rules, Nicolo knew well what happens, When we are unhappy, The more those Johnsons fill their boots, The further will they fall.
Harry Rogers in the Melon Sorbet Room, 8th March 2023
Taboo nights with Celia And friends in Capel Iwan, Nevermore will we spend time, On fun so palsie wowsy. Cardigan rock and roller, A jiver through and through, Energy legendary In all things that she would do. Bro Emlyn Peace and Justice, CND and Amnesty, On streets flew banners up high, Wore her heart upon her sleeve. At work she’d been a midwife Her whole life filled up with care. If you never had enough You knew Celia would share. Those times when Cee would phone me, Heard that twinkle in her eyes, She knew how to get her way, Cee knew how to organise. Now that she has gone away Our glorious activist, We’ll not forget what she did, Our Celia shall be missed.
A strong wind roars across America There’s a whiff of something bad in cool air. The political sewers have collapsed, And cars drive into Trumpholes everywhere. Thirty confederate flatbed pickups, Convene way out on highway eighty five, Old glory flags aplenty fly up high, Wide eyed frightened wasps, dead yet still alive. We drive past quickly, leave them all behind, Head on to a dazzling future Off Grid, Beyond their hurricane that nasty blows, These Jones’s don’t know what it is they did. Still is this morning once tempest is quelled, Peace rules over madness across our world.
Harry Rogers, 521 Harold Avenue, Atlanta 24/08/2017.
Flattened ninth evening as Nablus in flames, So called settlers play crap Apartheid games. Ignored by our media, something’s wrong, Truth, peace and justice don’t seem to belong. Sixty six protesters dead, one each day, Israel’s democracy blown away, Hundreds more imprisoned, locked up in chains, Then tear gassed in cells to add to their pains. Knesset degenerates for all to see, Whilst they debate “bring in death penalty”. You don’t have to be a sharp eyed eagle To work out how to make murder legal. Meanwhile our media wastes precious time, Diverts our gaze from slaughterhouse crimes.
Shafts of bright light through umbrella slats race
Our moment real, we forget the fakers
Smiling as sunbeams play across your face
A brown dog that looks like our long lost Grace
Runs into the surf with our merrymakers
See, our children, dancing in the green bay
Your eyes gleaming as you say “Lovely day.”
“Yes.” I reply, thinking of time takers,
Smiling, as sunbeams play across your face
Clouds drift across, sunlight fading away
Smells of coffee and almond cake bakers
See our children, dancing in the green bay,
Smiling, as sunbeams play across your face
Harry Rogers: In The Hut, 4th July 2016
I wrote this poem after a free writing exercise during week five of the creative writing course sessions I attended in 2016 at Aberystwyth University. I used the writing prompt “In the distance.” from a selection in the handout. I also chose green bay from the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle. The following is verbatim what I wrote in that session:-
In the distance, dancing in the green bay, the children squeal with pleasure as the rollers rise from their ankles to their waists. The smell of lemon tort and coffee drift across the terrace as we reminisce about those childhood days. For once you look happy as the sunbeams play across your face through the slats of the umbrella. A dog that looks just like our long lost friend runs into the surf with the kids and I see a hint of recognition in your eyes followed by a slight frown as you realise it cannot be him.
A blonde back-bench Aluxe hides in full view, Drips mischief into ears of acolytes From old school Brexiteer society, Hopes beyond hope to poison Sunak’s well. Hasta Nunca baby, Windsor knot tied, Your uncooked bun in oven has rotted, Lies fly blown in historical dustbin, New Chef cooks up Cordon Bleu recipe. It’s time this shitty careerist fucked off, He can no longer use parliament As his very own personal plaything, His gaslighting days and nights now over. Thing is though, are we being fooled again? After all new boss is still a Tory!
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 28th February 2023.
Things would be so much calmer If we never had Kier Starmer, Nor those goons at Panorama, Yup, life would be a Brahma. But that ain’t gonna happen, He’ll make a pledge, break a pledge, Surround himself with liars, Push good comrades off the edge, Set light to socialist pyres. Announce another relaunch, Build new castles in blue sky, Welcome back traitors who flaunt Their facility to lie. Trot out in desperation From all our televisions Shout loud across t’nation, He’s got these five new missions. Emboldened by online polls, He dreams of future landslide, His army of Twitter trolls, Commit Corbyn homicide. He’s no media charmer, An idiot in armour, Yeah, life would be a Brahma, If we never had Kier Starmer!
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 27th February 2023.
Ten years ago my good friend Marc Gordon and I were doing performance poetry gigs as The Chilly Dogz. We got paid to do a gig in Merthyr Tydfil and with the fee we booked a day at Studio 49 in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, on 14th February 2013 where we recorded an album of love songs called Ripples In The Water. Here are those songs in MP3 format.
All remember Nagasaki Never forget Hiroshima Now we stand and cry together On the beach at Fukushima This is where we meet our Nuclear nemesis The fuel companies are lying Political leaders are lying Certain scientists are lying Just keep right on lying Chernobyl partly melted down It killed a million people Fukushima is much more Deadly for the Japanese But that’s not where it ends It’s only the beginning Pollution in the atmosphere The Pacific ecosystem Is well and truly fucked Mutant mammals birds and fishes Turn up all around the globe We’re irradiated, we don’t EVEN know All remember Nagasaki Never forget Hiroshima Now we’re standing together On the beach at Fukushima We’re all in it together On the beach at Fukushima
I feel a presence as I clean my shoes, Alone, yet watched, I am not on my own. On my radio I hear dreadful news, Rwanda bound refugees plane now flown. Such immorality, beyond compare, Easily forced on already war torn, Herded airborne cattle into despair, There to wonder why they were ever born. Earnestly politicians justify Their sad actions with fake humility. The more I listen the sooner I cry, As terror fills the space beyond pity. A beak taps window, I look up from shoes, Brown thrush blinks at me, free to fly, to choose.
A syndrome has run rife through New Labour, Love for a centrist TINA hijacker Who has painted them into a corner Where he injects bile against left comrades, Into veins of all loyal supporters. With his vapid anti strike rhetoric, Top down control of what to think and say, With four precise folded butcher’s aprons Now time to plunge daggers further into Space between shoulder blades of last leader. Sycophantic journalists cream their ink, Lies flow steadily across Rubicon. When they lie they make sure it’s a big one, Tell It over and over until it’s true……
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 20th February 2023
Scrutiny swirls hard around poor claimants, Until you become totally homeless. It’s at that focal point of penury, When helpless victims lose everything That society turns its gaze away. Safety nets rendered useless by tax cuts, Sink holes swallow up young and old alike. Beneath our feet John Lennon’s hell exists, Behind Chinese walls of scorn and disgust, Beyond all bourgeois imagination, Forgotten children commit suicide To escape spirals of desperation. Tragedy is hard wired into us all, Some people can live with this, others can’t.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 19th February 2023
Guillotines, Guns, & Gas Donald, on his way back, Injections not enough, He needs to make things rough. Death by all means he calls, Line groups up against walls, Film each one as they fall, Fear will conquer us all. Phone up DOA bugs, Grass purveyors of drugs, MAGA on fire again, Donald’s back on his plane. We’ve seen it all before, During second world war, Public executions, Soon became commonplace. Recall Edelweiss League, Pirates and Navajos, Hung by necks in a row, Darkest days in Cologne. This ogre with small hands Sings on blood soaked bandstands, Soon we’ll witness live pain, Donald Trump’s back, again.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 18th February 2023
I drive at dawn Black against blue I’m nearly home Black against blue Crows against sky Black against blue Murder on high Black against blue I watch them fly Black against blue Stark in sunlight Black against blue I’ve missed ravens Black against blue Conspiracy Black against blue Huddle of rooks Black against blue Parliament Black against blue Black Jac-y-do Black against blue Clattering train Black against blue Magpie mischief Black against blue Conventicle Black against blue No place like home Black against blue Teifi Valley Black against blue
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom 16th February 2023.
Now, at last, we see it, unvarnished truth. Not truth based on freedom and built through hope, But a complete flowering of naked Unadulterated, revelation. We see equality equated with Patriotism, two omnipresent Union jacks furled on left and right sides Of a grinning Quisling extraordinaire, As he punches home final coffin nails. Death to democratic socialism, Goodbye to all political freedom, Farewell to honesty, integrity, It’s all over, Socialists shown the door, I’ll never vote Labour for evermore.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 16th February 2023.
We spend our whole lives searching out Reasons why and what it’s all about Priests and teachers offer choices wide But hardly ever do we take a look inside When we were babies we tasted anything Hot or cold we picked up every single thing Tested out the world and all that was new Somehow along the way we forget what to do We let other people show us their way Sometimes listen to what they got to say Occasionally it’s more than just show We put it on the pile with the other things we know
But when you meet your maker You won’t know what to do ‘Cos when you meet your maker You’ll find out it is you
We let politicians show us their way Sometimes listen to what they got to say Once in a while it’s more than just show Put it on that pile with those other things we know
But when you meet your maker You won’t know what to do ‘Cos when you meet your maker You’ll find out it is you
We are what we do We are what we do Yeah when you meet your maker You’ll find out it is you.
Harry Rogers In the old study, 2011. (Archived lyric)
Keep your head down, avoid all bright lights. Don’t admit responsibility, Ignore thousands of hearts upon walls, Push away those years Before Covid, When families were wholly normal. Pump post pandemic propaganda, Exude After Disruption credence, Despite six hundred deaths every week, Increases in hospital admissions, A clapped out health service on it’s knees, Despite all this continue to lie. Stonewall all questions that might hurt you, Continue to drag out enquiry, De-prioritise reality, Concentrate on deflection of truth, Rise without trace to top of the tree. Continually offer something Undeliverable dressed as new. Convince people that crumbs from tables Will keep them well away from breadlines. Keep scandal powder dry until just Before next general election. Resort to old war footing tactics, Scare us totally fucking shitless. Flood our lives with patriotism, Manufacture more ammunition, Rattle sabres louder every day. Crown a new king to lead us all on, What next? Aliens block internet?
Harry Rogers, In the melon sorbet room, 15th February 2023.
She was coming on – – -Really strong Just like a red rag – – -It was wrong Her jiving was driving me crazy My memory’s a little bit hazy If I was still a younger geezer I’d take a chance with this little teaser Just like Monroe did to Gable She laid it all out on the table I looked at her and said – – – Get outa here I turned my back – – – Picked up my beer (chorus) Leave me be Leave me be Please, Please, Please Leave me be She was coming on – – -Really Full Just like a red rag – – -To a bull We would’ve had a lotta fun Back then my engine would run and run Her jiving was driving me crazy My memory’s a little bit hazy Just like Monroe did to Gable She laid it all out on the table I looked at her and said – – – Get outa here I turned my back – – – Picked up my beer (chorus) Now I always say Leave me here With my beer Leave me be Please, Please, Please Just leave me be
Harry Rogers in the old study, Aberbanc, 30th July 2011
SOMETIMES LOVE THROWS YOU A CURVE BALL YOU WON’T KNOW HOW TO FEND IT THAT CURVE BALL CAN BREAK YOUR HEART IT WILL BE SO HARD TO MEND IT BUT ONE TIME THERE WILL BE A DAY WHEN YOU SEE THAT CURVE BALL COMING WHEN YOU’LL HIT IT WITH YOUR SWEET SPOT AND SEND IT SKYWARDS HUMMING WHEN YOU FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT AHHH THAT SWEET SWEET SPOT YOU’LL SEND THAT CURVE BALL FROM WHERE YOUR LOVE BURNS HOT WHERE IT’S BURNING BURNING BURNING BURNING UP ABOVE YOU’LL HIT THAT CURVE BALL WITH THE SWEET SPOT OF YOUR LOVE SO STEP UP TO THE PLATE TAKE A SWING AT LOVE AND IF YOU GET A CURVE BALL HIT IT WITH YOUR SWEET SPOT YOU MIGHT FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT BEFORE IT GETS TOO LATE YOU CAN HIT THAT CURVE BALL WITH THE SWEET SPOT OF YOUR LOVE ONCE YOU HIT THAT CURVE BALL IT WON’T SEEM SO TANTALISING SOON YOU’LL HIT THAT CURVE BALL WITHOUT EVEN REALISING HIT THAT GODDAM CURVE BALL WITH THE SWEET SPOT OF YOUR LOVE
That day we heard what you said Sounds fine and dandy Your words echo in our heads Sounds fine and dandy People took you at your word So fine and dandy Vote for what we thought we heard Sounds fine and dandy
Then we all saw what you did, Not fine, nor dandy, How in hell you kept that hid, Not fine, nor dandy You ask us to trust in you, Not fine, not dandy After that we can’t trust you, Not fine, nor dandy.
We want our leaders To walk it like they talk it We need our leaders To walk it like they talk it Not like you just did Threw your promises away, We cannot trust you To walk it like you talk it.
Pledge after pledge after pledge, Thrown beneath your bus You trashed your former comrades Shat all over us Denigrated picket lines Not fine nor dandy We’ll never, ever, trust you Not fine, nor dandy.
It’s what you do Not what you say It’s what you did Not what you said We will never Trust a traitor Nor will ever Vote for traitors.
Harry Rogers, In the melon sorbet room, Sunday 5th February 2023
I took a look inside Your real cool heart It’s just not nice inside Your real cool heart There’s a block of ice inside Your real cool heart Gripped me like a vice inside Your real cool heart For more than forty four years You were a friend of mine When young shared our drugs Our women and our wine Lately something I noticed Your heart beats real cool You treat everybody Like your very own fool I took a look inside Your real cool heart It’s just not nice inside Your real cool heart There’s a block of ice inside Your real cool heart Gripped me like a vice inside Your real cool heart You set yourself up As the arbiter of taste Ah but when you look Your whole life’s been a waste But nobody out there Would say it to your face ‘Cause you think you’re better Than the whole human race I took a look inside Your real cool heart It’s just not nice inside Your real cool heart There’s a block of ice inside Your real cool heart Gripped me like a vice inside Your real cool heart Another weird thing I’ve noticed It’s not an endearing feature You never pour the tea for others You‘re the most indolent creature Everybody thought you were so cool They have done right from the start Beatnik poses when you were at school Were hiding up your real cool heart I won’t look twice inside Your real cool heart It’s just not nice inside Your real cool heart There’s a block of ice inside Your real cool heart Gripped me like a vice inside Your real cool heart It’s been like that from the very start Go away with your real cool heart
She is sitting on a stool at The Purple Pussycat Sipping a highball from a Coca Cola bottle She’s wearing a white raincoat and stilettos That’s all, just a white raincoat and stilettos On the stairs outside there’s an argument Between the doorman and two right villains Next thing one geezer with a shooter comes Through the door, robs the till, shoots the mirror Behind the bar and runs off laughing hyena like Me and her still sit on the corner of the counter Clutching tightly our illegal highballls in our hands She looks bewildered in her White raincoat and stilettos Totally stunning in her White raincoat and stilettos Nothing else, just her White raincoat and stilettos Outside on Gérard Street on this very early Sunday morning warm July rain is teeming From next door’s basement comes the noise Of late night Chinese poker players screaming Our barman sweeps up broken shards of glass She asks whether he’s got any purple hearts I slide a small brown paper envelope across The silver flecked black Formica counter top She tips two blue triangle tablets in her palm Chugs them with lukewarm scotch and coke I watch her quivering in her White raincoat and stilettos Shaking like a leaf in her White raincoat and stilettos Nothing else, just her White raincoat and stilettos She turns to me and says she’s kinda worried Says she has to tell someone what’s happened She’s just finished working an American John He fell off to sleep as soon as the job was done His stacked wallet lay open at the bottom of the bed Saw five thousand dollars, it went straight to her head She slipped on her white raincoat and stiletto shoes Grabbed the money from the wallet, ran to the Pussycat God she’s so excited, never seen so much cash before I’m feeling slightly blocked as she shows me her score She looks triumphant in her White raincoat and stilettos So super lively in her White raincoat and stilettos Nothing else, just her White raincoat and stilettos
Someone dumped a car battery in our duck pond, Along with fourteen cans of congealed enamel paint, Two hundred bent rusty nails, a broken tool belt, A mildewed collection of Ty beanie babies, Two mauve plastic Adirondack style broken chairs, And five large black bin bags filled with chicken giblets. A month later everyone from twenty miles round Has added their waste to this gigantic mountain. Ducks have flown, people groan, stench is blown, herons moan. Local council used to do all waste disposal, They’d take everything, dump it out of view, Life was so much more aesthetically pleasing, Pre compulsory competitive tendering. Thatcher’s privatisation fucked everything up, Britain has become a paradise island For fly by night, mafia, white van man, shitbags.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 2nd February, 2023
Slips on his Cross of St George Undies, Resists urge to scratch new facial tattoo, Laces up his old steel toecap boots, Takes black Harrington off hallway hook, Doesn’t give washing up a second look, This most ancient throwback bovver boy, Ignorant and forever angry, Is off to local rubber-dub-dub To baaa baaa with his flock of white sheep, Once a skinhead always a skinhead, He is Millwall and no-one likes him, And he proudly says he doesn’t care. Drives off on his vintage chromed Lambretta, As his wife moves her suitcase to front door.
Cultures die when accountants slash and burn, Auditors bayonet any wounded. “There is no alternative, must be done, We have to balance books” their battle cry. St David’s Hall, Cardiff, is now sold off, One more public venue frittered away, Along with our libraries, toilets too, Local art collections decimated, All because those bean counters told them to. Our heritage plundered, stolen away By neo liberal barbarians, Who fly false flags whilst doing as they’re told. Hunt talks of growth to save economy, Culture makers watch dreams evaporate.
Chieftains, Leopards, Yankee doodle tankies, War machine mongers play hanky pankys, Drip, drip, drip weaponry out to the front, Watch Boris perform publicity stunt. In Kyiv shelters packed whilst missiles fly, Nobody talks of any reasons why. Slowly we all drift towards world war three, Putin ignores back door diplomacy, Thousands more young men, struck down in their prime, Silently we accept this stupid crime. Latest technological weapons sent, Newscast propagandists all seem hell bent To ramp up use of sick killer machines. Is this what being human really means?
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.
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 their 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.
In full torchlight beam I stare as clusters Of grey green lichen Cling to silver birch. It thrives as wet gales Cross Preseli Hills From west Atlantic Into Aberbanc. Such tenacity Inspires fortitude. I now determine To carry on with All started projects Until completion. Lichen can survive These harshest of days, So now I must shine My old torch elsewhere, In dusty corners, And forgotten drawers. Empty canvasses Desire fresh brush strokes, Microphones carry my amplified songs, Journey not over, I’ve so much to do, Blank pages await, Full beam of torchlight.
Danced in Moon shadows, Was always the now, Random decisions, Dictated the how.
Improvisation, Nothing was too planned, Serendipity Ruled high in their band.
Away with faeries, They played all night long, Lived their festival, Their music so strong.
Never made money, They rode on the storm, Everyone wondered How did they keep warm?
Joined up in struggle, Solidarity Kept them together, New chords flowing free.
One day an offer, Slapped on their table, Million dollars, Smashed up their fable.
Somehow thoughts of fame And fortune went wrong, Their band fell apart, They played their last song.
Great while they lasted, They lived out their dream, Morphed into nightmare By corporate scheme.
Capitalism Had crept through their door, Messed up their idyll, They played nevermore.
The wealth and the riches Had got in their way, Forsaken their songs Nobody did play.
And yet their spirit Glimmered all along, All of them still missed Their favourite songs. Got back together, Where they did belong, Forty years later, Their feelings so strong, They put behind them The greed that went wrong, They found their reason, The sake of their songs.
Jim, make my deep red mojo bag Give me some hope tonight Pour me some Florida Water I’m going out tonight I got High John The Conqueror To take me into town I’ve got old Toby’s gris-gris root Ain’t never let me down
Mr Mojo Risin’ Make my mojo bag Make it in the moonlight My deep red mojo bag . The deepest red that he could find Came from within his heart A few drops of his blood he shed To give me a good start He stood outside the dark grey hut Howled at the moon above Invoked the dark gods of passion To fill the bag with love
Mr Mojo Risin’ Made me my mojo bag Made it in the moonlight My deep red mojo bag
Going down town tonight Going down town tonight Aaaahooooo, Aaaahooooo Going down town tonight
Harry Rogers: In the hut, Aberbanc, 2nd January 2017
Walk from New Cross Gate to Greenwich High Road, Via Deptford Broadway, my mind explodes. Dickensian days, cold November nights, Nationalist thug bullies picking fights, “Oo you lookin’ at? You want some? Come on!” Decades old slogans, same ignorant songs. Closed down shops have rolled down steel shutters, Freebie newspapers blow along gutters, So called journalists write stories reckless, Describe new poor as lazy and feckless. Near Marquis Of Granby girl begs again, Hungry, pathetic, her eyes filled with pain, Traffic relentless each twenty four hours, Hope dies slowly, democracy cowers……
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 29th November 2022
Even staid comedians call out loud For people to gather out on the streets, No coincidence as ramparts tumble, Petty bourgois lifestyles come under threat, Neo liberal Labourites throw flames At socialism on inside and out, Nurses, lecturers, rail workers, posties, All designated enemies of state By those who allow their cronies to feast On pandemic profits stolen from us. Integrity lies besmirched in bullshit, Brand new Draconian laws in pipeline. In New Cross young beggars populate streets, End of democracy almost complete.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 27th November 2022.
I was sitting in the Cricketers Arms on Sunday evening after a long day selling my pictures on Bayswater Road. It had been a good day, I had sold well over £400 worth of kitsch to Japanese and American tourists for cash and I had three hundred and ten pounds and two hundred and forty dollars in my pocket, all of it tax free. After expenses I reckoned that two hundred and ninety quid of this was pure profit. This was brilliant for a late autumn day’s trading in 1971 and I was feeling pleasantly contented as I started into my second pint of Courage Directors bitter.
The main door to the pub opened and a head full of dark black curly hair and beard poked through the curtains and stared around the pub. Catching sight of me sitting by the window in the back of the long bar Joey Peacock pushed through the curtain and strode towards me in a purposeful way. There were a few old guys sitting at the bar who looked up as Joey passed them and shook their heads in a resigned way.
“Bloody ‘ippies everywhere, they ought to bring back conscription, that’d sort them out.” One of them muttered and the other old reprobates nodded their agreement and turned back to their beer.
Joey was a challenge to these old geezers who were born before the First World War in his bell-bottom jeans, blue shoes with silver stars on and three quarter length women’s brown fur coat with a large silver broach in the shape of fully rigged sailing boat on the left lapel and a fresh red carnation on the other. He was the epitome of the South London counter culture and as such a complete anathema to everything those previous generations stood for. To make matters worse he reeked of patchouli oil and had a permanent smile on his face just like Jerry Garcia. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers could easily have been modeled on him. He sat down at my table and immediately pulled a ready rolled joint from inside the fur coat and lit up. I was used to such behaviour from Joey, at that time he didn’t give a shit about where he was, he would smoke reefers anywhere and anytime and had no paranoia about getting busted at all and so far he had managed to avoid the long arm of the law.He took a couple of long slow tokes on the joint and passed it over to me. I took it and drew the taste of mellow Afghani hashish into my lungs. As I did so Joey asked me “What are you up to for the rest of the week man?”
“I’ve not got anything major planned” I replied “Why?”
“Fancy a trip to Amsterdam?”
“Yeah, as it happens, I do.”
“Have you got your passport up to date?”
“I always make sure of that Joe, you never know when you might need it.”
“Good. We will be travelling with Ricky and Kelvin. I’ve already booked the firms blue transit van onto the ferry from Dover to Ostend and up to four passengers travel free so you won’t need to pay a fare.”
He took the joint back from me and took another deep lug. As he did so I said “ Kelvin? I thought he was in Bexley mental hospital having a breakdown?”
“Oh he is” said Joey, casually “but he volunteered himself in for treatment after his girlfriend left him for someone else. He felt it was for the best as he was feeling suicidal. He is free to leave at any time. He keeps ringing people up and saying that he can’t carry on much longer but I reckon he just needs his mates to help him get past this downer. So this afternoon I went round his pad in Lewisham and picked up his passport and a few clothes and a couple of other bits and pieces such as his pipe and stash box. In the morning we are going down to Bexley to snatch him out of the bin and we are taking him on a little holiday to help him get over it.”
“Does he know we’re coming?” I asked
“No but he has open visiting allowed so I reckon I’ll just bowl in there and tell him that the van is outside and we’re taking him out for the day, and he will come with us. We won’t tell him we’re going abroad. Once he is in the van we’ll get him stoned and then he’ll be with us until we get back. We’ll just tell him it’s a mystery tour. It’ll be fine.”
“Ok Joey, if you say so, I’m up for it, sounds like we’ll doing him a favour really.”
“Yeah” said Joey “he needs to sort himself out. Of course he ain’t got any money so we’ll all have to club together a bit of spending wedge for him but it’s a good cause in my book.”
“What time are we off then?”
“I’ll pick you up around 10 o’clock in the morning.”
“Great stuff man, I love adventures.”
“OK I’m off to see Ricky now to make sure he is still up for it, see you in the morning.” And with that he got up and left the pub, making sure he walked as close to those old contemptibles at the bar as possible so that they got a good whiff of the last remnants of the joint he was still smoking. They just shook their heads as he floated past and carried on drinking.
I finished my pint and wandered out of there and across the road to the Greenwich Steakhouse for a mixed grill. I knew Monday was going to be the start of a crazy week, I ate my dinner and went off to my flat in Greenwich Circus, watched Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland on ITV in the psychological thriller A Child in Waiting on my portable Black and white TV before rolling a bedtime joint and smoking it whilst listening to the Floyd playing Atom Heart Mother on my bedroom stereo as I drifted away for an early night. I knew I was going to need it to set me up for the coming journey.
I awoke at 8.00am and switched on my Roberts transistor radio. The news reader was talking about Japanese Emperor Hirohito setting off on an overseas tour, I changed channel to Radio 1 and they were playing “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me” by The Tams. I switched it off and got myself a bowl of cornflakes and rolled a joint with the last of my hash. I got a small travelling bag together with my passport, a spare pair of purple loon pants, a few t shirts and a hand knitted Arran sweater, plus my super lightweight high tog goose down sleeping bag. I finished the joint, took a bath and settled back to wait for Joey to call round.
As I sat in my antique leather armchair I started thinking about how Joey and I had met and what an absolutely crazy set of people he hung out with. He was part of what can only be described as an anarcho hippy business consortium set up to capitalise on all things underground called The Deptford Dynasty. They used a psychedelic font design of the capital letter D as their symbol and it appeared on everything, letterheads, cards, clothing labels, packaging, tee shirts, their shops, and was painted very large on the side of their vans, including the one we were about to go off to Amsterdam in which had the nickname “Big D”. They ran a number of shops in South London selling a range of goods, including drug paraphernalia such as hookahs, bongs and soapstone chillums, cigarette papers, scales, stash boxes, incense holders, temple incense, joss sticks, underground records and books, clothing and footwear. They also ran two cafes and small bar. All of this had been financed by a successful smuggling operation in 1967 when they opened their first shop selling Afghan sheepskin and goatskin coats from Ghazni province, situated between Kabul and Kandahar. These coats had a very pungent aroma when first bought from the local Afghani traders and Joey had used this smell to great effect when he drove a truckload of coats back from Kabul to England underneath which he had concealed 1000 lbs of top quality hashish. That works out at 16,000 ounces, at a street value of £40 per ounce that is £640,000. Joey had sold the lot at £300 per pound, after costs of £50 per weight (lb) the net profit was a cool quarter of a million pounds which was a substantial sum in 1967. The customs dogs never came near this stinking heap of rancid clothing and the customs officers had just waved him on when he came through Dover as they did not believe anyone would be so audacious, but this was Joey all over, a total risk taker beyond belief. This half ton of dope had given them the capital they needed to set up their Big D empire. Before I had become a card carrying member of the Bayswater Road Artists Association I had trained as a plumber and met them when I was asked by a mutual friend to carry out a small emergency repair in the kitchen of their cafe in Greenwich. I had immediate rapport with Joey and from then on we had become good friends.
They owned three adjacent shops in Deptford High Street, a clothes shop, a record shop and a cafe, and they had converted the basements into a giant communal living area by knocking through the walls and strengthening them with RSJs. This led to it becoming the major partying venue for that part of London frequented by rock bands, hippies, junkies, writers, and groupies and it was just the most fabulous permanently midnight tripping space south of the Thames. I was an outside observer of the mayhem, having never taken up the offer to join the consortium but I knew most of what went on and was often included in the inner sanctum when special events were taking place. The whole set up was based on using capitalist processes to fund a totally hedonistic venture and, somehow, their in house accountant was keeping the whole show on the road, or so he said anyway. They had expanded into mail order clothing and were selling thousands of pairs of leather loon pants via full page advertising in the rock music press and had many famous rock and roll stars on their client list. Life was cushty for the Dynasty and they lived like there was no tomorrow.
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, the sound of Joey pumping on the horn in The Big D transit van outside my flat pulled me out of the armchair and I grabbed my bag and a brown leather bomber jacket and left the flat.
Ricky Roach leaned over and opened the van door for me, I swung myself up onto the bench seat and tossed my bag over into the back of the transit. As I closed the door Ricky handed me a joint with a grin on his face,
“Alright Frenchie,” he said.
“Yeah, I’m fine man. I’m ready for the off.”
“Ok then, next stop Bexley” said Joey and we pulled out of Greenwich Circus, turned left past Greenwich Police Station along through Burney street and into Greenwich Park. Joey had been to New York earlier in the year and had come back with an in car cassette player and stereo speakers, a truly innovative revelation to me as I didn’t even know such things existed, and this was installed in Big D and as we pulled into the Park the opening notes of The Changeling by The Doors from their album LA Woman started blasting into the cab. I looked across at the Royal Observatory, the blue sky above the Chestnut trees and late summer sun shining on the big red ball above the domed telescope and I felt really happy, of course it could have been the Citrali dope that Ricky had handed me, he always sourced the highest quality narcotics and this gear was no exception. I settled back into a mellow reverie as Joey drove us across Blackheath on the way to Bexley Mental Hospital where the unsuspecting Kelvin awaited us. “Don’t You Love Her Madly” played as we headed up Shooters Hill Road, and we all sang along as this seemed the perfect lyric for Kelvin. “Don’t you love her madly as she’s walking out the door.”
Twenty minutes later we pulled off the A2 and into Dartford Heath and very quickly we drove into the grounds of Bexley Hospital and parked outside the Victorian administration building. Joey got out of Big D and said “You guys wait here, I’ll just go in and get Kelvin, this shouldn’t take too long.” And with that he breezed into the main entrance.
“So how’s it going then Ricky?” I asked
“Oh OK I suppose, I’m not making a lot of dosh these days and things are a bit slow in the building game. Still I’m hoping this trip will sort me out a bit.” He said
“Are you still seeing that girl, Julia?”
“Oh yeah mate, it’s the real thing with us I think, we’re probably going to get married later this year. Probably going to have to when her mum finds out I’ve got her up the duff.” he laughed
“Oh yeah, she told me two weeks ago and I’m very happy about it, not that I particularly want to get married but she does and if we don’t her mother will go fucking ballistic.”
I laughed as he said this. Julia was a beautiful eighteen year old from Catford and Ricky had met her six months earlier at a party in the basement in Deptford. They had shared some Mandrax and had retired to his bed where they stayed in stoned out state of mandied bliss for a full seven days. I have to admit I was not really surprised that she was pregnant as they were obviously loved up to bits and also both enjoyed being out of it most of the time.
Ricky had originally been part of the Dynasty but he had a penchant for betting on the horses and playing cards and had got himself into serious debt in 1970, so much so that Joey had to bale up by buying out his company shares for £20,000. Ricky used £10k to pay off his debts and spent the next month slowly frittering the other ten grand away culminating in losing his last £1500 in a late night poker game in a Chinese gambling den in a basement just off Gerard Street in Soho. These days he worked for Dynasty doing bits of building work for them and also he worked with a couple of old mates doing dry lining and plastering jobs. He was also a very strong opponent of the Tories and had a habit of veering off into long political rants about Ted Heath and seeing as they had won an election in June 1970 he was likely to go off on one at any time, especially if he had been smoking a lot of dope, which was most of the time to be fair. He had a flat over the top of the Dynasty shops in Deptford High Street and so spent a lot of his time partying in the basement and recently he had started to learn how to play the bass guitar and was often found jamming with any musicians that were hanging out there. I guess you could say that he had effectively dropped out most of the time and was doing less and less actual work the more he got into his white Fender Precision bass.
We were contemplating rolling up another number when Joey and Kelvin came out of the doors and down the steps towards the van. It had taken Joey precisely 15 minutes to find Kelvin and convince him that he needed a holiday. So we left Bexley and got back onto the A2 Dover Road. Joey handed Kelvin his stash box and pipe and Ricky said “Hello mate, make us a good old Kelvin special pipeful eh and we can get this journey going properly.”
“OK but can someone tell me just exactly where we are going?” he asked
“You’ll find out when we get there, let’s just say it’s a special surprise just for you Kelvin, a kind of Magical Mystery Tour.” Said Joey and we all started laughing, Kelvin looked puzzled but he opened the stash box and was very pleased to find quarter of ounce of Nepalese Temple Ball hashish wrapped in tinfoil in the box along with his lighter and a packet of his favourite Drum tobacco. “OK geezers, if you say it’s going to fun, then I’ll come along for the ride I suppose.”, and he started building the pipe.
It didn’t take Joey long to drive down to Dover and they pulled into the ferry terminal at half past twelve. Kelvin was pretty much spaced out by this time having not smoked any drugs for a fortnight and so he was out there, somewhere, but not far enough gone not to recognise where they were. “Where are we going?” he implored, “On to a ferry?”
“Don’t panic Kelvin, you’re going to be ok, trust me.” Said Joey
Kelvin murmured “OK man, whatever you say.”
As we sat in the queue waiting to embark I looked at Kelvin and thought about his chaotic life up unto this point. He was half gypsy and found it very hard to settle down to any form of straight existence. As a child his parents had been travelers, living in a trailer van, following fairgrounds from town to town and his school life had been totally disorganised. He had left home in 1961 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road, and had found his way to Soho where he had started hanging out with Fred The Carpet and all the other London beatniks who frequented The Duke Of Yorks pub in Rathbone Place and this was where his love affair with Mary Jane (marijuana) began. He never went home again and spent the next five years drifting from one sofa to another in bedsit land. He learnt to play guitar and wrote a lot of stoned poetry. Eventually he met a red haired girl called Candy who was the spitting image of Elizabeth Siddal (Rossetti’s Pre Raphaelite muse). They got married after a whirlwind courtship and moved into her studio on a plot of land next to the banks of the river Quaggy in Lewisham. She was as fiery as the colour of her hair and Kelvin and her were always arguing, mainly about his failure to do anything about making money. She was a moderately successful painter who was making waves in the modern art world, Kelvin spent his time trying to write poetry and starting novels but was mostly just too stoned to ever get it together properly and she became increasingly disenchanted with his indolence, until she eventually walked out on him and moved to New York. He was devastated by this and, as is always the way, finally realised that he had messed up big time losing the love of life and he fell into a deep depression. He had contemplated suicide but was too apathetic even to carry this out. He felt utterly rung out and this was why he had entered Bexley as a voluntary patient on the suggestion of his GP who had written a letter for him recommending this course of action. He had taken a couple of empty notebooks and a few pencils into the hospital with him and had started writing the outline for TV comedy series based on the activities of two lavatory attendants called Poe and Lavvy who looked after the Ladies and Gents on a busy railway station. Not smoking dope was good for him and he had drafted out the plot-lines for a pilot episode and in fact he was well on the way to recovery from his mini breakdown when we had picked him up, although we didn’t know this until later.
Joey drove forward to the ferry terminal window and handed over the travel documents and our passports to the bored looking official behind the desk. He looked at the passports and eyed us suspiciously before stamping the tickets and issuing Joey with the embarkation cards. He handed the passports and paperwork back and said “Head towards lane 20 for the Ostend boat and wait to be guided on board from there. Have a nice trip.”
“Thanks man, we’ll try.” Said Joey
“Oh so we’re off to Belgium then?” asked Kelvin
“Yes, to start with” said Joey and the three of us looked at Kelvin and started laughing.
Joey slipped a cassette of The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album into the player and we sat at the back of lane 20 listening to “Brown Sugar” as it filled the van with Keith Richards guitar and Mick Jagger singing “Brown Sugar, How come you taste so good” and we sang along with him.
After 25 minutes as The Stones launched into Bitch we were ushered up onto the gangplank and drove into the back of the RoRo ferry. Joey parked where he was told and we got out of Big D and headed straight for the bar. We bought a bottle of Cotes de Rhone and sat by the window staring at the lorries waiting to be loaded on.
Kelvin said, “I’m going to get a cup of tea, I’m off the alcohol at the moment.”
“OK” said Joey
Kelvin stood there looking a bit sheepish and then Joey said “Oh I’m sorry man, you aint got any bread have you.” And with that he pulled out a wad of notes and peeled of a couple of fivers and gave them to him saying “This will tide you over for a bit.” And he grinned. Kelvin smiled for the first time since we lifted him and we all smiled back.
He went off to the cafeteria and we looked at each other “So far so good” I said
“Yeah I know it’s amazing what happens when you reach out the hand of friendship, most of the time people are ready to take it and will go along with the idea of love man.” Said Ricky and we nodded as sagely as three twenty five year old freaks could and picked up our wine glasses and drank away and as we did so the boat pulled out of the harbour.
We drove off of the ferry four hours later and as we cleared customs the Stones were singing “Sister Morphine”, we pulled onto the A10 and headed towards Gent. Joey knew this road very well as he had been trading in second hand clothes from the warehouses near the flea market in Amsterdam for a couple of years for his high quality speciality clothing business supplying TV and Film production companies. We sped past Gent and Antwerp and crossing the river headed into Holland, the traffic on the motorway to Amsterdam was very light and the sun was just beginning to set as we pulled into the city at 8.00pm European time. Joey headed towards the city centre and pulled off the main road near to The Milky Way (Milkweg) at the end of Lijnbaansgracht but there was nowhere to park and after driving around for about ten minutes Joey spotted a yard with only one car parked in it and so pulled in there for a smoke.
Kelvin was asleep and I shook him gently saying “Wake up Kelvin, we’re here and we need you to build a pipe.”
He sat up and slowly rubbed his eyes, “Where is here?” he asked.
“Welcome to Amsterdam” said Joey “Now build a pipe for us before we go exploring.”
“Fuck me, Amsterdam, I love Amsterdam.” said Kelvin and loaded up his pipe.
We had just started smoking it and Big D was choc a bloc with Afghani fug when there was a knock on the driver side window. Joey turned down the tape player and opened the door to be confronted by a Dutch police officer in full uniform with a gun and everything.
“Who is the driver?” he asked
“That is me.” said Joey, getting out of Big D. As he opened the door a cloud of dope smoke enveloped the cop.
“You cannot park here. It is illegal and you must pay a fine now.” he said after the smoke had cleared away a bit.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Joey, calmly, “why is that?”
“This is a police station and you cannot park here. You must pay a fine of 20 guilders.”
“I see, I didn’t realise, hang on, I’ll get some cash out of the van.”
He opened the door to be confronted by three quivering wrecks who were convinced we were all going to be arrested for drugs. Joey calmly got his wallet out of his pack and pulled out a twenty Guilder note and handed it to the policeman. He had written out a ticket in the meantime and handed it to Joey in exchange for the cash.
“There is a public car park just around the next corner, I suggest you park there. Now please leave the police station and enjoy your visit to Amsterdam.”
Joey climbed back into Big D and we drove out of there very quickly. The cop was smiling as we drove off. We all felt very relieved and burst out laughing, it was like something from a Cheech and Chong album. Joey parked in the car park and we tumbled out onto the side of a canal and looked at the reflection of the street lights in the water.
“God I’m hungry boys” said Ricky “Can we get something to eat and quick?”
Joey said he knew a Chinese restaurant nearby and we went there for a blowout. Kelvin ordered more tea with his meal and we drank beers. An hour later we were back on the canal side in jolly mood and Joey suggested we head for the Paradiso where we would probably hear some music. After a short walk we were there and onstage was a Dutch band playing Pink Floyd style music, we paid a few guilders and went in. We were immediately confronted with a guy selling hash. “You want to buy dope man. I have good shit for a good price, come over here and try some.” We sat down at a table with him and he pulled a joint out of his shirt and lit up. It was top quality pink Lebanese hash and he wanted 20 guilders for five grammes. I liked it so I bought some.
We spent the next three days smoking drugs, drinking beer, watching bands, chatting up Dutch girls and talking with Kelvin about what he was going to do when he got back to London. Slowly but surely his mood lightened and we could all tell that the black dog had left his side and that he was forgetting all about Candy.
On Thursday morning we were just about ready to leave for London when Ricky said “Hey boys, I’m going up the railway station for a bit, I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“The railway station? What the fuck for?” Kelvin asked
“I’ve got to report my stolen luggage to the station police.” He said
“But you aint got any luggage.” I said
“I know,” said Ricky, “it’s been stolen.”
With that he sauntered off towards Amsterdam Centraal station which was about half a mile away.
We sat it a cafe drinking coffee with two young Danish girls called Vibeke and Alana. They were hitching a lift to Berlin and we said we would drop them off near the motorway. They asked us whether we would like to smoke something with them and of course we said we would love to. We left the cafe and piled into Big D. Alana reached into her backpack and pulled out a small vial of white powder. Vibeke was putting skins together to make a joint and Kelvin passed her a packet of drum and she loaded the tobacco into the papers, Alana sprinkled a small amount of powder into the joint and Vibeka rolled and licked it.
“What’s in the joint?” I asked
“Oh it’s just a bit of smack darling” said Vibeke
She lit the joint, took two tokes and passed it to me. I had not smoked heroin before, I guess there is a first time for everything, I copied her and took two tokes as well and passed it on to Joey. He took one toke on account of he was going to be driving soon and passed it on to Kelvin who took two hits and passed it on to Alana who finished it off with two more. I settled back into the seat and looked out of the window at a beautiful clinker built botter moored on the opposite side of the canal. Everything I looked at seemed somehow sharper, picked out in vivid relief and I had a feeling akin to being wrapped in the softest woolen safety blanket whilst at the same time I felt I could deal with anything with absolute clarity of thought. This was dangerous for me because it felt too nice, so nice that I resolved then and there that I would never use Captain Jack ever again, and so it has been ever since that afternoon. I can’t answer for the others but I could sense the danger for me as I knew that I would easily be won over by the delicious comfortableness of it and as I had already lost two close friends through the awfulness of junkydom I just knew it was too much of a risk for me. We all sat there in a calm and chilled state and Joey put a cassette of John Lennon’s Imagine album on and we chilled out to it whilst we waited for Ricky to come back from the station.
As Lennon sang “And the World is so tough; Sometimes I feel I’ve had enough” in the penultimate track of the album Ricky opened the door to Big D to find a bunch of very subdued hippies lolling on the cushions at the back of the van.
“Look lively people and make me a joint, I’ve just had it right off.”
Kelvin opened his stash box and started putting three Rizlas together, I asked Ricky what he meant and he said,
“Well Frenchie it’s like this, I need a new Marshall bass stack to go with my new Fender Jazz bass guitar but I am short of wedge at the moment so this afternoon I have started an insurance claim on my stolen luggage.”
“But you didn’t have any luggage…..” I said
“Ahh you know that, I know that, we all know that but the station police don’t know that and they have just taken down a full statement verifying that I have had my large suitcase stolen on the station precinct whilst drinking a glass of old Geneva gin at the cafe bar there.”
“How does that work?” asked Kelvin
“Oh come on, get it together” said Joey, “Ricky insured a whole load of valuables before he set off, and now they have, unfortunately been nicked.” he laughed.
“Joey’s right,” Ricky said, “I went round all my mates and got them to give a load of receipts for some pretty valuable gear, I should get about a grand when I get back and put the claim in. The assessors will check things out with the station police here and, ‘cos the Dutch old Bill are so efficient at bureaucracy they will have no option but to cough up.”
We all fell about laughing, Kelvin passed the newly rolled reefer to Ricky who lit up.
“It’s time we hit the road” said Joey and he started Big D. We pulled out of the car park that had been our base for those three days of Hunter S Thompson style mayhem and headed for the Motorway. We dropped the girls off at a service station, we gave them most of the dope we had left as we were wary about going through English customs carrying, and I gave them my phone number just in case they ever made it to London. Of course we never heard from either of them again.
We got back to Ostende in four hours having had to stop for Kelvin to have another cup of tea and a final pipeful before we got on the ferry. After an uneventful crossing we cleared Dover without any hassle and were back in Deptford by 10.00 pm sitting in the Oxford Arms eating cheese rolls and downing a pint each, except for Kelvin who had yet another sweet tea.
“Well Kelvin,” I asked, “are you going back into Bexley to carry on with the treatment?”
He looked at me and a beatific smile broke across his face as he replied “Nah Frenchie mate, I’m feeling a whole lot better, just like my old self again.” He looked around at all of us and said “You geezers are just the most far out friends any one could ever have, thanks for getting me back on the track, I won’t forget this.”
I looked over at Joey and he winked at me.
A month later Ricky duly got a cheque from the insurance company for one thousand and sixty five pounds and brought the amp and speaker cab that he needed for his band The Happy Acid Star Hoppers (The HASH). Kelvin moved in with the wife of the manager of one of The Dynasty’s cafes and started writing a screenplay about fairies and dragons whilst eating lots of mushrooms. Joey and the rest of the Deptford Dynasty carried on expanding their empire and spending money like it was going out of style. I carried on selling my art on the railings for another eight years until Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, the exchange rates tightened up and the world on Bayswater Road changed forever. I don’t know what happened to Big D but it was a great van and I wished I had it now. I’m about ready for another trip to Amsterdam now that I’ve turned 75, where is my phone book……….. I must check those guys out again!
(Any resemblance to any events or anybody living or dead is entirely coincidental, know what I mean man!!)
They’ve come knocking at the door Of the desperately poor To bale out their rhetoric. We have seen it all before, All in it together eh? Their slogans come round again, Slogans put out by liars. It’s time we pissed on their fires, For pigeons to turn on cats, Turn these robber barons out, We want our health service back, Our patient records kept safe From privatising jackals. Cap wealth of billionaires, All power to the people, These Tories have got to go, Whether they’re Conservatives Or Labour Party traitors.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 21st November 2022.
No wonder wild birds are scared of humans, When we fill skies with drones, missiles and shells. Research shows traumatic stress disorder That lasts for decades where we create hell. Once their habitats are violated Birds steer well clear of two legged destroyers, Once bitten twice shy, inquisitiveness Transforms into long term paranoia. Where we’ve waged war it’s much harder to watch Close up freedom displays of birds on wing, Further we drive them away through battles Harder becomes for us to hear them sing. Why would any species coexist with us, When all we do is throw them under bus?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 13th November 2022.
All those dogs of war have puppies Puppies who scrabble Earth’s garden Dig without thought amongst poppies Poppies whose beauty must harden. Delicate yellow, pale from Wales, Gentle protection from lightning, Mystical Himalayan blue, Imagine those dreams that come true, Scarlet from Ypres, those that we keep, To honour those dead whilst we all weep, Papaver black for objectors, Who bravely stood proud against war, White linen for peace and justice, All of these seeds scratched to surface, By puppies born from dogs of war, Who don’t know what we’re fighting for.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 12th November 2022.
Waiting for civilisation to start, Beyond contradictions of human heart. Watch each generation tramp off to war, Stocked with new bullets, grenades and much more. Anger and hate instilled deep from day one, Arguments sorted through barrel of gun. Stand with sad silent souls in Whitehall rain, Know this will happen again and again. Generals, royals, complicit MPs, Dish out medals to live and dead heroes. Rewards for inventing smart weaponry, Pound signs followed on by untold zeros. Our planet burns whilst we drop more bombs. Civilisation? Will it ever come?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 12th November 2022.
Cops stop car on M25, Boot full of ropes and climbing gear, This is how start of end begins, Social media trawled each day, Checks on thoughts behind what you say. Protesters, strikers, greens, left wing, Now “Enemies of the people.” Brand new lies, analysis dies, Gaslighters daily out scapegoats, Channels carved for new Twitter trolls, Spaceman shits in Pandora’s box, Meta rhythms spar with TikToks, Social now part of spectacle, Propaganda receptacle.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 11th November 2022.
Red ripple peters out near to West Coast, MAGA plants have failed, They’re now mostly toast. No doubt spinners, busy writing reports, Will claim that this one has been stolen too, Spit feathers, throw more toys out of their pram, But future’s not theirs, they don’t understand. People see through fake alternative truth, They know more lies won’t fix leaky roof Donalds apostles run out of glory Yet even now they won’t change their story. Judges next on list of those under threat, Hold all your horses, ain’t seen nothing yet, Rats most dangerous when they are cornered, Only sheer numbers will snuff out their rage.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, Midnight, 10th November 2022.
In all red states AstroTurf has been laid, Those MAGA zombies well and truly played, Never so many drunk so much coolaid, Spaced into joining Donald’s fake parade. It’s a knife edge in many, many ways, Gets hard to believe what media says, Black painted white and a million greys, Are these really democracy’s dog days? In gun shops ammo is all but sold out, Q Anon fakers strut proud as they spout, If Jesus walked today he’d scream and shout “You’ve got it wrong, that’s not what I’m about.” He wanted love for all under the sun, Freedom is not what you get from a gun.
Life in illusory democracy, Where minds are blown by falsification, And crowds line streets for aristocracy, Is hell for majority of nation. Where criminals openly join police, Sewage runs daily into our chalk streams, Children are taught to pursue golden fleece, And only knobs are free to pursue dreams. Loan sharks and bankers win public plaudits, Deemed more important than those who clean up, Fraudsters ignore environment audits, Cultural vultures strut as they preen up. Out on our streets some march for election, Whilst others call for blonde resurrection.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 3rd November 2022.
He wore a black poppy and a white feather Every single day with pride He wore the black poppy and the white feather Every day until he died Nothing they did could make him change his mind Wouldn’t do what they told him to They locked him up and even beat him up He still wouldn’t do as he was told Kept his head high never let them see him cry Wavered not even as he got old
Conchy was his name Waging peace his game Conchy was his name Waging peace his game
Black poppies For Conchies Sixteen hundred Long dead and gone
They set him to work on the ambulance train Treating dying and wounded men Sent him near the front for the whole of the war Again and again and again British and French and even German soldiers too Patched up those he thought would survive Collected creased photographs of loved ones on swings From those who were no longer alive
Young girls on swings From London or Berlin Daughters, mums and wives All now with ruined lives
White feathers For Conchies Sixteen hundred Long dead and gone
Took Conchy for his name he was born to disobey Never did what others told him to do Refused to go and fight he would never kill a man No matter whoever wanted him to Envelopes were sent to him with white feathers in For week after week after week He kept them, every one, wore one in his lapel Waited for somebody to speak
Conchy was his name Waging peace his game Conchy was his name Waging peace his game
Wear a black poppy For Conchy Wear a white feather For Conchy
Sixteen hundred like him Long dead and gone Remembered here To live on and on
Harry Rogers, in the old study, Aberbanc, November 11th 2014
Shine as brightly as eye of any day, Dance in sunshine and take our breath away. Shimmer in tune with afternoon heatwave, On waterfall beach outside smugglers cave. Like Isadora blend in with flowers, Improvised whirlwind of danger is ours, Pull down barriers, outside on our streets, No place for royals, no kings, nor elites. From Paris to London, Moscow, Warsaw, Zephyrs of love will blow strong evermore. Sands of time shift, mirage of long lost past Appears as we tread her footprints at last. Isadora knew there are no blueprints, Dance revolution, it’s time now methinks.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 2nd November 2022.
How dark the skies as Rishi rules, Home office run by racist tools, Sad Molotov cocktail thrower Highlights Braverman’s no-goer. Her obsession with invasion No kind words in her oration, All we hear is desperation To show how she saves our nation. Things never been less chaotic, As she presents patriotic. She’s found that refuge, ironic, Where scoundrels sup gin and tonic, On terrace underneath Big Ben There Enoch’s ghost spouts forth again.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 1st November 2022.
Phones can blow your mind, Phones can make things worse. Phones can be unkind, Phones for metaverse. Phones bring new Twitter, Phones are not secure. Phones make life shitter, Phones Elon manure. Phones will destroy time, Phones will listen in. Phones weapons for crime, Phones turn ears to tin. Phones, ubiquitous, Phones now rule our lives, Phones will ruin us, Phones are our archives. Phones when we wake up, Phones next to our beds. Phones bring each shakeup, Phones fuck with our heads. Phones give fake pleasure, Phones keep small folk small. Phones are false treasure, Phones control us all. Phones can send us blind, Phones? Algorithms. Phones aren’t what we find, Phones, modern prisons.
He said he’d make me forty Chelsea Buns. Forty Chelsea Buns for my birthday. I asked him how much, he told me no charge. We talked about dietary needs, I said there were some vegans coming. My seventy fifth birthday party came, Shaun arrived with one hundred Chelsea Buns, One hundred Chelsea Buns for my party. He put them all in Small World kitchen. Said he couldn’t stay, Kate had got Covid. I thanked him, we hugged, and then he was gone. Everyone who ate one said these are great, Best Chelsea buns they had ever eaten. Now he’ll never know how much we loved them,
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 28th October 2022.
He strides back into shite filled back bench bog, Where his cabal of hyenas reside, This laughable upstairs downstairs throwback, Mister ridiculous Jacob Rees-Mogg. He’ll skulk in corners with Nadine Dories, Where they’ll suck their teeth as they plot and scheme. They’ll do all they can to lay rocks in roads As they flog that dead horse that is Boris. This Eton bred skunk, bringer of Brexit, Over top hat and under hand practice Treats all around him as lesser beings, His is sweetest of all these new exits. Now his star has fallen, he’s out to grass, Rishi has kicked him straight out, on his arse.
We watch in disbelief disrupter Liz Recite her version of her history. Triumphant in defeat she smiles throughout, Apparently uncomprehending of Responsibility for misery, Fear, paranoia and fiscal turmoil. Her twisted lectern echoes her logic Both of which now leave office forever. Trussonomics lie trashed in rain sodden Heaps of soggy unforgiving newsprint. She and family march defiantly Past media hordes, heads held proudly high. In a couple of hours a new lectern Will appear, new acolytes there will cheer.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 25th October 2022.
Hokey Kokey Johnson has gone again, He has slunk off back to cocktail beach bar. To misread signs in Liz Trusses entrails So badly demonstrates total lost plot. Disruptive days now over, tide has turned, Assets can become liabilities In less than an iceberg lettuce shelflife. All his cabinet stooges now scramble For a position under new regime In exchange for solidarity vows. Headlines will shriek of “Start Of Something New.” Welcome to start of austerity two. In bamboo Shangri La paradise bar Boris licks his wounds, as some shout “hurrah”.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 24th October 2022.
We must have a General Election. Keith and his TINA brigades demand. A new reset general election With blue sky centrists in rampant command. I lie, smashed up beneath pink campaign bus, Alongside Palestine, Corbyn, and truth, Thrown there by party machine animus, Who act without rhyme, reason or proof. We, who are hated for being leftwing, Are still expected to get out and vote. Somehow it’s become quite the broad church thing, Deny debate, stab strikers in their throat. Ghastly spectacle grows ever greater, General Election? See you later.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 24th October 2022.
He’s back like a jack in Pandora’s box, Flown home from holiday to spout bollocks. This sham shit show is not democracy, It’s one step removed from ochlocracy. Media outlets would have us believe In a pandemic of amnesia. Usual suspects spouting to deceive In vain hope that their words will still cream ya. Oh what a month and it’s not over yet., Double quick panic to fill number ten, Everyone knows the score but they won’t bet, On who’ll creep beneath shadows of Big Ben. Passengers booed as he got on their plane, For fuck sake hope it ain’t Boris again.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 23rd October 2022.
Pragmatic assassin destroys allies Whilst she apologises for her zeal. There are no scruples in self survival, No account taken of how people feel. Austerity mark two hoves into view, Delusional zomboid sociopath Spews inarticulate leader babble Whilst her own colleagues splutter aghast, Meeja vampires ask how long can she last? Food banks struggle on, almost overwhelmed, Samuel Smiles self help is trotted out again By BBC consumer advisors, It’s make do and mend all over again. Oh well, at least they got Brexit done, eh?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th October 2022
Guy Debord’s subliminal ghost flickers Reincarnated on our backlit screens As spectacular events multiply In permanent anti revolution. Whilst workers make weapons that kill workers We wring our hands and plead out loud for peace, Royals drip with medals, children lay wreaths. On our smart TVs all is black and white, Enemies set up, morning, noon and night. Old men outside cafes sip lukewarm beer, Grateful that those bombs are not dropping here. City based armour clad police forces Smash protesters running from their horses. Non stop coverage rolls on, on, and on, Media star newscasters sing their song, Most people know not where do they belong, Futures are uncertain, it all feels wrong. Security profers a thin veneer Of hope that it will never happen here, Whilst we watch bombed out kitchens globally Strewn across bodies laid out in their streets. This normality, that we all accept Along with our toys, still not too much yet. Cameras keep rolling, show must go on, World Cup is coming, it won’t be too long.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 11th October 2022.
Feathered hats await prince and king on pegs, Along with embroidered cloaks of darkness. Order of garter, secret society, Designed to circumvent democracy Through rampant, archaic, pageantry. Naked effrontery of imposition Of spanking new Prince of Wales, in mourning. No thought to ask people their permission, Just announce job done as if accepted, No debate, nor vote, it’s automatic. Now we await further state flummery, King’s coronation, Will’s investiture, More drive bys, hand shakes, flag wags and curtseys. Talk of republic repressed, as ever.
Anti Growth Coalition born today, When Prime Minister Truss brought it to life, Is now likely to bound into being Right across society as a whole. Her yobbo hooligan challenge sounds like “Come on then, if you think you’re hard enough.”. She will take on all comers, so it seems. Crash gains momentum as house prices fall. Yet still she persists with her same old song, Turns out it’s herself that is wrong, wrong, wrong, Currency weakens, and belief drains away, Everyone’s worried yet she smiles all day. Where’s A.G.C. office? I’d like to join, I’ll float my pen along dotted line.
In Downing Street a soucouyant sucks blood From people already almost bled dry. Matters not to her that we break and cry, For in her chest beats cold heart of iron. There in her lair we can find neither care, Nor succour for those trapped by her actions. Her party, split into warring factions, Now torn asunder as she boldly rants Her newly learned, ill prepared, platform script. There is already a strong whiff of change, As wannabes parade indecently Across fringe meetings with “Look at me mum” Speeches designed to promote their talent. Crisis? What crisis? Election soon comes.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 5th October 2022.
Tyres scream on cinder strewn Tory racetrack As machine executes a handbrake turn. Not quite a complete donut but almost. Glazed, unapologetic, ghastly grins Punctuated by explosive silence, Leaderene Mark Two destroys her debut. Maggie’s bastards are back in Birmingham. Growth discovered on Chancellor’s sphincter, Now lanced, enables bullshit to flow free. Broken backed economists are called forth To babble on across rock strewn airwaves, Laud entrepreneurs, praise profit mongers, Proselytizers for their own theories, Their words destroyed by Borgen style U turn.
There’s no glory, morning or otherwise, Only Tories spinning out alibis. On local news Liz digs her hole deeply, Costs heading north rise ever more steeply. Language bamboozles uninitiates, In truth a monster has vaulted their gates. In courtyard below chickens run headless, Attack dogs released, shoot from lips wreckless, Chancellor’s trousers ripped out and threadless, Number ten strangled by Thatcher’s necklace. Property owning democracy fails, House prices crash as young mortgagees wail. In City shorters spur on recession, Monster scales tower, deepens depression.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 29th September 2022
When state roundabouts fall out of kilter, Mayhem is distributed far and wide. Centrifugal normality becomes Chaotic. Everything goes haywire. This mad, economic, merry-go-round Spins perfectly whilst you grease the spindle, Do this and the ride is smooth every time. Ignore the proletarian column Central to community carousel Through austerity, and then feed the rich, Will bring about fairground catastrophe, Unparalleled in modern history. All those bobbing riders have been bucked off, Now they think it is time Lizzie fucked off.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room 27th September 2022
Top paddock Labour sheep await Leader To dip them all in centrist rhetoric. Lights dim, giant union jack filled screen Covers wall behind serried platform hacks, Whilst flock baaas its way through god save the king. Party line parroted off pat by all, Tell everyone we believe in power Because now we’re ready for government. It’s as if there is no-one to tell them The game is up, we all know what they are, The internet teems with truth to power. Each time Sir Keir appears he looks haunted. Why wouldn’t he? He’s been royally caught out. We know exactly what a shit he is.
Harri Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 26th September 2022
Welcome to the group. Thanks, good to be here. What can I tell you? Where are we going? That’s a good question. Who’s our enemy? You are right to ask. Are we all comrades? Occasionally. Are toys still in pram? Precariously. What is unity? It’s the holy grail. What’s the correct line? We’re working on it. Are we nearly there? It’s a long old road. Does anyone care? We will soon find out. What shall we do next? Let’s set up a march. Will anyone come? They have done before. Did people listen? We don’t bloody know. What’s our solution? Stop asking questions. But I need to know. Oh you do, do you? It would be helpful. Are you C.I.A.? I’ll get my coat now. That’s a good idea. When’s the next meeting? We’ll let you know, bye.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 16th September 2022
Camp out on pavements, these hip hip hurrahs, Marmalade sarnies, Duchy biscuit jars, Union Jack jackets, black hats and black ties, Mourners wake each morning, tears in their eyes, Meanwhile a pen breaks, hand covered in ink, He hates it, hates it, thinks that it all stinks. Out on London streets queues stretch five miles long, On Radio Four they sing same old song, Corgis, Britannia, her husband, her kids, Meanwhile the country has gone on the skids. Beethoven’s death march, over and over, Uppity horses dreaming of clover, At least she’s at peace, inside her oak box. Me? I still think it’s a load of bollocks.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 15th September 2022
LOTO, on bended knee, tugs lacquered forelock, Prohibits PLP from utterance Of any words about any subject Other than in deference to dead queen. Anti monarchism completely banned . No calls for a socialist republic, Only fawning lost era platitudes. Never mind respect for arcane system That exists because of historic theft, Plunder,and murder, instilled by state fear. What about respect for public servants, Who need immediate support and help? Six billion pounds for a funeral? Six billion more for coronation? Labour grovel to divine right of king, Pander to ancient aristocracy Whilst we struggle as health service breaks down, And media give platform to bent clowns. I won’t take flowers to St James’s Park, Nor vote for liars who hide in the dark. So let’s repeal all land enclosure Acts, Sell off all royal trains and boats and planes, Sack fake journalists from our BBC, Bring on an end to their sycophancy. Let’s start to debate new democracy.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 14th September 2022
A BBC announcer quotes From his Mail On Sunday, From HIS Mail On Sunday, Not THE Mail On Sunday. No more hidden in plain view, Emboldened now they reveal True colours as they bask in Crass funereal half-light. No more objective pretence, Nor both sides of the argument, Nor repressive tolerance, Just naked propaganda. Young children pile flowers high Outside royal palaces, Mass indoctrination stunts, Wrapped up in fake pageantry. Feathers, tabards, gartered tights, Uniforms, lanyards, medals, Meticulously gilded, Horse drawn carriages rolled out, Multiple gun salutes boom, Ridiculously fielded. All football matches cancelled, Yet the Test Match carries on, Enough Is Enough sidelined, Labour sings the same old song, Unions recall pickets, Workers left in lurch again. Myrie says cost of living, Not important anymore, Elizabeth’s death far more Significant for us all. It’s truly cataclysmic, All this enforced mournful pain, To all intent and purpose Media has gone insane. Cortège moves to Hollyrood, Watch brothers reunited, Charles speaks soft of his mama, Creates brand new Prince of Wales. I will say one thing, despite Yet more flashing in the pan, I’ll not sing God Save The King, For I’m still republican.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 11th September 2022.
Early, in the dimness of the morning, He goes to the window. He opens the curtain wide. He takes a little look outside. He sees something, something, He sees something in the trees. Something, hanging, in the trees, Where the children play.
He looks, closer, Doesn’t know what it is, Hanging, in the trees, Where the children play
The sun rises over the flats, Shafts of light bounce between The branches and the leaves. Another Eltham day is dawning, Next door’s cat mewls at the door, The street is slowly awakening.
He looks again to the shape, The something, hanging in the trees, Where the children play. He sees his next door neighbour, Hanging, in the trees, Where the children play. Hanging in the trees, Where the children play
In the early Eltham sunlight, Where the children play. Another warm autumn sunrise, Where the children play. Police car parks, beneath the trees, Where the children play. Why did he have to do it there? I hear the small crowd say Why couldn’t he find somewhere else? He did it Where the children play
Tomorrow is already yesterday. We know exactly what P.M. will say. All been said before, again and again, Compare and contrast hats, bows, handbags, pain, Journos across platforms raid history, Archives, videos, ancient mystery, Proof manufactured to help build new clone, To scramble our brains and fill up our phones. Exhausted, jaded, people now cower, Comparisons painted hour by hour, How will she handle levers of power Inside ultimate ivory tower? On streets comrades gather, as times get tough, When October dawns enough is enough.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom 7th September 2022.
Black and white sunshine beams forevermore From those photos stashed away in boxes. Hugs and smiles, suspended permanently. Immutable halides show unknown ghosts Recognised by fewer as the days fly. Albums passed down show family strangers, Wreathed in real sepia and blue black tones, Dressed in their finery, or uniforms, All long dead but living silently here. Bandmasters, tourists, dinners and dances, Beaches, camels, holiday romances, Pets, cars and houses, men who took chances, Somehow different from modern selfies, Old photograph stories wait to be told. Who will be haunted enough by the old? How fleeting imagery leaves us behind, Times forgotten patiently hid, waiting For discovery by storytellers, Driven onward through curiosity To reincarnate identities new. Forever shining whilst paper survives, Write new found memories of long lost lives.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 5th September 2022.
At last, removal vans driven away From soiled nest. Chalices, brimmed with poison, Await new occupant on mantle piece. And yet, are we sure nightmare is ended? How broken is that Bo-Jo yo-yo string? Will he come back to walk his dog again? New media rumours of coups persist, Boys Own comic hero fuels dead embers, With his multi ifs and buts and maybes, Desperate Hasta la vista, baby. Twists and turns, as an eel on a barbed hook, Mired in slime, coiled tight around fishing line, But soon floodgates burst due to pent up truth. Inexact terms swept away as blue boy Revealed as the sociopath he is. His false dawn broken now Brexit is done, Clear cerulean sky permanently Obscured by darkest clouds of depression, Final TV speech reveals his mettle, All he offers us? A fucking kettle.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 4th September 2022
On the fate of Boris Johnson, Now that he has reached a swan song. What ever will become of him? Will he keep going to the gym? Populists so feel the need To suck up praise, to supercede Each action on our media Expand on Wikipedia. He’ll hang glide into LBC, Tippy Toe Tango on Strictly, Slip us all a Bake Off cake, Step onto Gardener’s World rake. Become an even bigger luvvie, Segue back to being scruffy. Oh how we’ll laugh at his antics, Cockups, guffaws, speeches frantic, God help us he won’t go away, On our screens ever and a day.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 2nd September 2022.
There is no point going mimsy Bigger is better by far. Giant Nuclear power Plants make absolute green sense. Go large. No point telling little lies, When telling any pork pies Best make sure it’s a whopper, And then keep on telling it. Go large. If you’re gonna stab colleagues In their backs use giant knives Buried deep and ultra quick, Act fast, don’t prevaricate. Go large. If you’re going to bribe pals Stuff envelopes royally, With high denomination Banknotes, small ones ain’t so good. Go large. When you crash and burn just smile, Laugh off all criticism, Totally ignore failure, Ramp up your propaganda, Go large. Whilst plotting your next comeback Raise your media profile, Keep taking photos of stunts Stay huge in the public’s eye. Go large. Or disappear.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 2nd. September 2022.