Spice, The Variety Of Life.

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

Thanks to Angie for this narrative.

Harry Rogers, Pencnwcau, 23-04-2018

The Salisbury Incident

Article by Johnny Gaunt & Harry Rogers

The Salisbury Incident

As many governments across the Western world begin to exile their Russian diplomats back east, the most fundamental questions relating to the Skripol case remain not only unanswered, but the faintest sniff of any real evidence is yet to make an appearance before the public.
There is no doubt that Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, et al, have worked hard to achieve a consensus amongst Nato and EU states, and has had some success in persuading other leaders to condemn and react to the unproven Russian involvement.
Many of these leaders, perhaps, have reasons of their own for latching on to such a flimsy agreement. France, Germany, Italy, and Holland are among a number of nations reeling from their own domestic political turbulence. Collapsing centrist parties have watched their traditional voter bases divide and file off to the left and right, as all over Europe the political polarisation hardens. Being seen to be part of a new unified front will, they hope, strengthen their domestic positions. It is a familiar response from desperate neoliberal administrations; instead of taking responsibility for the declining interest in their policies, they would rather fall back on the policy of fear in a dangerous attempt to appear ‘strong and stable’.
Manipulating fear of a common enemy of the West, brings with it certain benefits for the ruling classes. Not only does it present a superficial ‘toughness’ that leaders can exploit at home, it also makes large sections of the public easier to control and susceptible to further misinformation. Chomsky suggested: “Democratic societies can’t force people [to go to war, in this case]. Therefore, they have to control what they think.” You could also finish that sentence, “Therefore, democracy must be undermined.”
With the Skripol case we have seen the UK mass media swing into action in order to ramp up public fear, obliterate individual analysis and control the narrative of how Brits, loyal to their country, should respond. The BBC, ITN and Channel4 News outlets have each backed Theresa May’s assumptions and reactionary behaviour towards Russia. Jeremy Corbyn’s perspective, that the government needs to wait until real facts emerge about who is responsible, has been purposefully vilified and distorted by these networks, to echo George Bush’s infamous, “You’re either with us, or against us,” mentality. The BBC, for their flagship political debate programme, Newsnight, even went so far as to alter Jeremy Corbyn’s flat-cap to look more like a Russian bearskin, before pasting the doctored image onto a deep red backdrop of the Kremlin.
Heightening hysteria of a Russian threat is win-win politics for many hawkish MPs, who will gain increases in their arms industry share profits, and political leverage to turn up Defence spending. Simultaneously, the shrill is loud enough to drown out domestic criticism of such scandalous acts as cutting free school meals for a million kids from struggling families.
Of course, the main driver of much of this remains ideology. The golden rule of the British establishment has long been to stamp out any sign of socialism long before it can develop into anything meaningful; and it has done an excellent job since destroying Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto.
It has been a long 35 years for the principled socialist. But in that time, things have changed radically. The commercial scraps from military technology found their way into public homes in the form of computers around the same time. Within 10 years, the world-wide-web had organised the internet into something accessible by the new generation, for whom computers were as everyday as television. In 2005, one of this generation, began hooking up Ivy League universities to his social media software, Facebook. The use of social media data by companies such as Cambridge Analytica to subvert global democratic processes is a negative outcome of the growth of ICT. Whilst big-data is a worrying aspect of the growth in digital industry, the ongoing rush by both Google and the Chinese government to bring about the singularity in artificial intelligence, where machines are equal in intellectual ability with human beings, is even more worrying for those of us concerned about the future of militarism. We are told that there are great social benefits that flow from AI, but the thought of autonomous weaponry making decisions on who lives and dies in the many so-called theatres of war is truly scary, and no longer just the dystopian rambling of science-fiction writers.
Whatever the truth behind the Salisbury Incident, we have witnessed the UK establishment’s completely cynical exercise in ramping up public fear of war, through the demonization of a major state. This behaviour is nothing new and has been used unsparingly since the end of the second world war; however, since 2001 and the commencement of the War on Terror, this fear and war mongering has intensified and become more frequent. These are the desperate actions of an ideologically bankrupt set of inept politicians; and, they are not exclusive to the Tory Party.
However, the establishment’s persistent use of its mainstream media arm to concuss the public into consensus, appears to be losing some of its punching power. This has been in no small part due to Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent message of doing the right thing, as in this case where he urged restraint before rushing to judgement. Nevertheless, the governments in Nato, will continue to use the threat of war to justify increasing expenditure on more and more technologically sophisticated methods of arm’s length killing, mostly of the dispossessed, in countries that don’t, or seem unlikely to, conform to Western hegemonic ideology.
Prevailing facts surrounding incidents such as the Salisbury poisoning, become almost irrelevant once the narrative has been set out; the public simply needs to choose between loyalty to, or betrayal of, Britain. Manipulation of public opinion in this way will no doubt carry on until it is either fully exposed for what it is, or until a genuine anti-war government can turn us away from the ‘unavoidable’ conflicts we are purposefully being steered towards.
Johnny Charles and Harry Rogers are both members of the Labour Party and Ceredigion Stop the War. On 28th April, the panel event, “Why the UK needs a new Foreign Policy” will take place in Aberystwyth, and will feature talks from Mark Serwotka, Lindsey German, Adam Joannes & Ayla Gol.

Unbroken Ponies – Tippy Toe To The Boogie video.

Recorded in Andy’s Gaff studio in Frome last November with Steve Young – Guitar, Robert Goldsmith – Saxes, Andrew Howell – Bass and Drums, Harry Rogers – Vocals.  This little earworm is all about a festival I went to in USA last summer.  I wrote the words sitting in Dr Bombay’s Tearoom in Candler Park, Atlanta, an excellent place to sit and get in contact with your muse.

Harri Boy Rogers and Friends LIVE at Get Off The Grid.

What I did on my holidays in the the USA this summer.  

Scene Red, the band I sing with and write lyrics for, were invited to play at the Get Off The Grid Solar Energy Festival in Hemptown, North Georgia.  We could not raise the funds to get the whole band over so I spoke to the organiser, Bill Fleming, and he said “Don’t worry Harry, you come over with some songs and I will get you some musicians to play with.”. I arrived in Atlanta with some lyrics on my phone and met up with Craig Rafuse.  We spent four or five hours working out some chords for the songs and then we duly set off for the festival at the end of the week. I had a slot booked for the Saturday evening at 7.30pm and by midday Craig and I had hooked up with Steve Baird, a great drummer and film maker from Sandy Springs in Atlanta. Over a beer at lunchtime I was talking with David Herndon from Athens, lead guitarist with the Caroline Aiken Band, and when I said I was trying to put a scratch band together for that evening he said “I’ll play with you Harri.”, so we had lead guitarist on board. Steve Baird played drums with a great band from Atlanta, Hair of The Dog, and he persuaded their lead guitarist, John Fergusen, to join us, by six o’clock things were looking good but we still needed to find a bass guitarist. Devin Harris said “I’ll play bass with you guys if I can get a bass guitar and an amp from somewhere.”.  A band finished playing on the mainstage at 7.00pm, Devin borrowed a bass and an amp from them and turned up with these on a golf cart at 7.15pm with the other guys, none of whom knew each other, let alone me, neither did they know any of the songs.  This is a recording of what happened when we started playing on the dance tent stage at 7.30pm. I will say this y’all, they sure know how to jam in Georgia.

Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (part 1)

 

This is a ‘must watch’. Explains the mechanism seen across London and other big cities of social cleansing. It’s the same one as is being used on the NHS, education, Fire service, police etc…. run them down, privatise and sell off the land. It’s the dispossession of high value land from low income people. It’s […]

via Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (Part 1) — Think Left

My Zeitgeist Tie Dye – a hippy lament.

 

On the 26th August 2017 I wrote this lyric sat at the kitchen table in Bill and Jacqueline Fleming’s house in Candler Park, Atlanta.

My Zeitgeist Tie Dye

One of those days when everything is right,

When you turn up looking clean outa sight,

People are smiling and you soon see why,

Everybody’s wearing their old tie dye.

Going back in their mind to better times,

When bent politicians paid for their crimes.

My zeitgeist tie dye

Brings a happy sigh

My zeitgeist tie dye

Will make no one cry

The tee shirts, the waistcoats, bell bottomed loons,

The beads and the joss, those Grateful Dead tunes,

That time when the young all tried to be nice,

When every day was a roll of the dice,

When the righteous stood up against the war,

When we knew what we had to struggle for.

My zeitgeist tie dye

Brings a happy sigh

My zeitgeist tie dye

Will make no one cry

When the sun shines on this human rainbow,

More psychedelic than any light show,

Young and old, together they can unwind,

Whilst spectacularly blowing our minds.

Don’t know if it comes from below or above,

I still hanker for that old peace and love.

My zeitgeist tie dye

Brings a happy sigh

My zeitgeist tie dye

Will make no one cry

My

Zeitgeist

Tie Dye.

A song for Steve Baird.
521 Harold Avenue: 26th August 2017.

Two days later I went into Steve Baird’s basement studio with Steve Baird – Drums, Craig Rafuse – Rhythm Guitar, and Susannah Masari – Backing Vocals where we laid down some backing tracks for this song.  I returned to England with the recorded stems, when I got back I set up a session in Andrew Howell’s studio, Andy’s Gaff, in Frome on Saturday 23rd November with Steve Young on guitar, Robert Goldsmith on Saxes, and Andrew Howell engineering. On the afternoon of Tuesday 5th December in Harriboy’s Hut, Aberbanc, West Wales I sat and did the above Mix.

IMG_20170828_1613256_rewind

Steve Baird setting up the recording software in his studio in Sandy Springs, Atlanta.

IMG_20170828_1613400_rewind

Craig Rafuse listening back with a cup of coffee in Steve Baird’s studio.

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Susannah Masarie listening back.