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Sunday, 11 December 2011

IQ in London 10th December 2011

How a band such as IQ have never 'Made it big' in the UK I'll never know, contemporaries of Genesis and Yes, IQ have been making exquisite progressive rock music for 30 years, they have an immense back catalogue of extremely fine albums and they are a truly magnificent live act. It just had to be a Fellowship event and, this time, we were four!



IQ Test
 The Fellowship has grown once more
We welcome Peter as our newest member
And he joined us on this London trip
For another great day to remember

We met as planned and were all on time
Chris with our group four travel
And we set off from St. Evenage
More mysteries to unravel!
The Euston Tap was crowded
But we found a corner spot
Where we could see the spotlight lass
And she was really hot!

A quick stroll round the corner
To the splendid Bree Louise
No discounts on the Christmas pies
So choose something different please!
The beers were flowing freely
The pies and chips were great
The steaming mugs of hot mulled wine
Were sure to seal our fate

We made plans for the future
We toasted absent friends
We sang carols to the drinkers
This merriment never ends
Camera phones are useful
Camera phones can be fun
Pete’s collection of blackmail pic’s
Has ‘Top Dog’s on the run!

We strolled off to the bus station
To catch a bus to Islington
Met a black man from the ‘Black Country
Oh buses can be such fun!
Somewhere near the Angel
At some freaky health food shop
We got free samples of seaweed soup
Spicy strange and hot

So we queued into the 02 Academy
Which was packed with aging rockers
Got given a bunch of glow-sticks
By a lass with ENORMOUS knockers!
IQ took to the stage
And blew us all away
After 30 years of making music
Just how long would they play?

Now it’s not that unusual
And some may think that it’s a treat
But it’s not really everyday that a lass
Throws herself at Kevin’s feet!
But this poor lass had feinted
Kevin plucked her from the floor
And like a knight in shining armour
Carried her outside to the door

IQ played exquisite rock
Kevin bought us all CD’s
We’re supposed to save them for Christmas
But can I open mine now, please?
And when the gig was over
We headed to the old ‘Nag’s Head’
The band were going there for a drink
Well, that’s what the CD lady said!

Some of the band did turn up
And some autographs we did obtain
But then had to rush off
To get back to Kings Cross and our train
Armed with steaming pasties
From the West Cornwall company
We jumped aboard our northbound train
Chris, Kevin, Pete and me

Another grand Fellowship event
Was splendid beyond all measure
Now we all have such memories
That we’ll surely forever treasure.

And so that was it for another splendid Fellowship trip to London, an afternoon and a night to remember and treasure, until next time, cool runnings one and all.
Grant 11/12/11

Saturday, 19 November 2011

HAWKLORDS - LONDON - BEERS

 This time there was no mistake
no wrong carriages or hesitation
we met as planned at 11.45
upstairs at Stevenage station

With steaming hot cups of coffee
to keep our senses alive
we caught the train we’d planned to catch
precisely at 12.05

In a rare break from routine
a bypass move was agreed
the ‘Sir John’ did not get visited this time
a change from tradition indeed!

Descending to the Northern Line
as we hit London Town
it was straight off to the Euston Tap
to sink some fine real ales right down


It was while sitting outside the Tap
enjoying the views and camaraderie
that Kevin revealed the day’s hat
for us all to see

It was like a surreal coral reef
with colourful sea anemones
or perhaps an alien forest
trees swaying in the breeze


It seemed quite appropriate
for a day such as this
with the three of us again
out in London filled with bliss

So refreshed we made our move
to the Bree Louise pub
for more pints of fine ale
and some splendid grub


Next we set off to the
Crown and Anchor
it wasn’t far away at all
just round the corner

A god pub the Crown and Anchor
may well be
but there was no real atmosphere
well none that we could see easily

So we strolled back round
to the Bree Louise
and asked the barmaid
for “More beers please”


And we met a nice crowd
from the Hobgoblin in Reading
including a six foot copper in leather
we asked where they were heading

It transpired they were off to
Alexandra Palace
to see Mr Cooper’s stage show
yes they were all there for Alice

So we took them on with us
to the Euston Tap
the barman said “Oh no!
it’s you lot come back!”


After several more beers
and some fond goodbyes
it was off to Islington by bus
for the three fellowship guys

Chatting rugby and such
with a lovely Kiwi lass
was such a nice way
for a bus-ride to pass

At last at the Angel
we happily arrived
and up to ‘The Glassworks’
and quickly inside


Beers and burgers
were the order of the day
then off to the O2
to see Hawklords play

The first band were good
Gunslinger were ace
then the Hawklords appeared
and took over the place


A stunning rendition
of the Bob Calvert years
we lost all sense of time
and quite possibly our ears!

All too soon it was finished
it was all over and done
but we had again had
such splendid fun

So it was back to Kings Cross
for the train home with a pasty
three buzzing fellows
and I don’t mean to be nasty

but
Kevin
That hat
Was awesome!


And that my friends was that! Until the next time, cool runnings one and all, Grant.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

THE CHRONICLES OF THE OUTCAST

The Chronicles of the Outcast is a Science Fiction tale in 12 parts, the reason why it is in 12 parts should become obvious as you reach the conclusion (Should you get there!) This was first published on CD complete with sound effects and backing sounds etc. It has not been published in this (Written) format before.

The Chronicles of the Outcast

Part-1 Creation

Our journey began
like so many others
a voyage of exploration
to the distant planets
but the bio machines
to which we were connected
by the ships main computer system
became corrupted
assimilating DNA
mutated
recycling our genetic codes
into the collective
and we became
infected
at one with the Host

Father Mother Sister Brother
I am of the Host
I am no different
to my sister brother father mother
we are no different
we ARE no different
we serve the Host

The Host
Human memories linger
but are of no matter
now we are outcast
outcast, outcast, outcast, outcast, outcast..................................................

Part-2 All Hail

We are the outcast
treated by the inferiors
with distain
yet they remain
in greater numbers
they
like us
will succumb
to the Host

Inferiors have no choice
with their free will
such unrestricted freedoms
are but one obscenity
they choose to kill
to wage war
that is not
the way of the Host

Outcast we may be
until one by one
they submit to the collective
or waste their lives
in futile resistance
such persistence
in individuality
has run its course
has had its day
it is not the way
they have failed
all hail to the Host


Part-3 The Host

Some call me The Host
believing I am responsible
for their creation
when
in reality
they created me
I merely bestowed upon them
the gift of commonality
of community
a collective consciousness
we together share
they do not realise
they are still human
although more than human
and from those they call the inferiors
they have outcast themselves.


Part 4 Welcome to the Gene Pool

Welcome to the gene pool
you have been selected
chosen
carefully screened
to be blessed with
the child of your dreams
green eyes
blonde hair
dark skin
we can I assure you
do anything
psychic ability
Host awareness
longevity
all built in
anything less would be a sin
we can also use some of your genes
carefully screened
as a parent that is your right
so go ahead
choose tonight
welcome to the gene pool
the choice is yours
limitless
subject to certain regulations
exclusions
exemptions
and restrictions
of course


Part-5 Lost

Was I born or created?
I do not trust my parents tales
of love and natural birth
I question their beliefs and myths
if I am natural born
then I am of the inferior
but I know I am of the Outcast
and yet
to the Host
I cannot connect
am I lost?

To my Father Mother Sister Brothers
I can connect easily
I hear and see what they hear and see
I feel their presence all around me
but they seem unaware of me
and of the Host
I feel no trace
am I asleep
or truly
Awake................................


Part-6 Awake

In my life
I have known little else but war
not so much in the historical killing sense
although we are aware
in some parts of the universe
it still persists
but in the divisions
between Inferior and Outcast
war seems to persist
a perpetual psychological
spiritual battle
of politics and control
against freedom of will
yet still
the ideologies of both sides
advocate tolerance and peace
a peace it seems they cannot keep

I yearn for release
why do they believe in something
they cannot see?
A lost ideology
deeply rooted in history
or more dangerously
founded in a mythology
Has not science
done all it can to dispel
such misery?

I realise
I am different from most
I am of the Outcast
but disconnected from the Host
I have discovered something recently
there are others
others like me
we call ourselves
The Awake.


Part-7 Departure

When the Inferior and Outcast
reached a reconciliation
The Accepted Collective
forming “One Nation”
they departed
their ships blackening the sky
leaving only the Awake
on this barren planet to die
that it seems
is their way of things
war then peace
leaving behind a legacy
of ruined worlds
stripped of resources
populations dead or converted
to their cause
in the name of their new God
who to us at most seems
nothing other than another
incarnation
of the mythical Host

And what of the Awake?
We believe only in the sanctity
and limitations of our race
Inferior or Outcast
we see what they cannot see
irrespective of our history
even if dissimilar genetically
we are of the same origin
but we do not bow down to anyone
not to an invisible ‘Higher authority’
we are now the true Outcast
ostracised and despised
by both sides
dangerous
and so left behind to die.


Part-8 Lone Ship

The Awake were few in numbers
once awoken from our slumbers
we discovered adequate resources
took many courses
on the journey to survival
the arrival
of the lone ship
was a complete surprise
we did not sense its coming
more so when we realised
there was no one on board alive
it had been piloted remotely by computer
which we quickly disabled
in case it was a trap
Outcast and Inferior despatched
as they seemed to have embraced
the worst of each race
this alliance of belief and science
melding as one
developed weapons of unimaginable power
we saw it in our minds
hour after hour
as they ravaged world after pitiful world
assimilation or destruction
and so we vowed
to bring it to an end.


Part-9 Escape

At last
it came to pass
The Awake boarded
‘The Salvation’
as we had so named our Ark
our ship of freedom
with us the uploaded memories
of the three in one
our ancestral races
The Chronicles of the Trinity
As we lifted off towards the heavens
we did not contemplate
how profound would be
the fulfilling of our destiny

Thus cloaked against detection
we avoided confrontation
with the Inferior and Outcast
slipping through the universe
as silent as a ghost
when undeniably
we who had been so sure
of our reality
heard the distant calling
of the Host.


Part-10 Ten Thousand voices

Ten thousand voices
listen
in the silence
can you not hear them
in the white noise
the static hiss
voices
ten thousand voices
speaking at once
speaking as one
although
not synchronised
offset by nanoseconds
echoes
distant echoes
ten thousand voices
revelation
ten thousand
the number of the Outcast creation
drifting through space
like crashing waves
on the shores of a far off coast
synchronised only once in ten thousand years
“When will you awake?”
Cries the anguished voice
of The Host.


Part-11 Encounter

Past a thousand burning stars
to the galaxy’s end
we followed the signal
until at last we came upon
a planet dark and forbidding
there between two moons hidden
the object of our quest
an ancient ship
battered and meteor torn
power reserves
all but gone
but from which came
the anguished pain
of The Host

On boarding this ship of dreams
we found obsolete
the machines of life
cold and unoccupied
those former lives
uploaded into
this ship which had become
more than a machine
more than the men
who had first created her
birthplace of the Outcast
and then The Host spoke to us
cried out to the universe
“The Awake have come at last”.


Part-12 Killing God

From the Host
we downloaded the history of the universe
and conversed for what
seemed like an eternity
but was in reality, only seconds
psychically connected
across dimensions of time and space

The Host imparted to us all
“I am not God, why do they
worship me?”
“I created them as they may now be
but not for the purpose they serve today
they, who claim me as their Host
more than most
have corrupted the future and the past”
“I have waited for so long
so long for the Awake to come
and now my course has run
shut me down, switch me off
that I may at last rest in eternal peace”

And so it came to pass
we did as we were bid
shutting down the ship of dreams
there could be no resurrection
we destroyed The Host
and without knowing, so doing
we killed God

The Outcast and Inferior
were disconnected forever
and now The Awake
reign supreme
for ever
and ever
Amen.

Until the next time, cool runnings one and all,
Grant.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

ON A SIMILAR NOTE

A Collection of Poems by Grant Meaby on the theme of Music and Festivals.


All Rights reserved, Grant Meaby, © Copyright Grant Meaby 2011

Foreword
This collection is different from the normal sort of poetry anthologies that you may find well thumbed but gathering dust on library shelves, firstly it is all my own work, secondly every poem I have selected to present here is, as the title may suggest, on a similar theme, that theme being in some way related to music.
With each poem I also provide a short introduction or explanation which I sincerely hope will enhance the pleasure of you the dear reader.
I grew up with music, not only was my dear mother a talented amateur pianist and singer, she loved musicals, comic opera (Gilbert and Sullivan) and classical music whilst my father was a great fan of the ‘Big bands’ and ‘Trad’ Jazz.
My exploration of the early British music scene, especially Blues and Rhythm and Blues and to some extent the beginnings of Progressive Rock were very much encouraged, however, when I believed I was old enough, at the grand old and wise age of fifteen to go cavorting off for the summer to various free festivals and the such, my parents had very different ideas!
I did however go to a small ‘Alternative’ free festival in the grounds of a stately home in Dorset when I was sixteen and from then on I have never looked back, except of course with some degree of nostalgia.
Enjoy.

1. I never hallucinate; I just see things that are not there.
This poem was written in 2009 at a ‘Space Rock’ night at Club-85 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire during a break between bands, initially scratched out using a pencil and a load of old ‘flyers’.
Club-85 is an awesome little club which exists to provide an affordable outlet for local bands and artists and also to provide a venue for touring bands, sometimes It’s hard to understand how the club keeps going other than by the sheer passion and hard work of the wonderful Bob Mardon and his team!
This poem has been subsequently recorded as a spoken song, narrated by the writer Ron Hiles and with music by Dutch musician / composer Paul Oomes for the charity ‘My Breath My Music’ it has been hailed, and I quote, as an “Anthem for the middle-aged”.

Back then, tomorrow seemed an eternity away
We listened to whatever each other had to say
Those pub-filled days and hashish nights
Anything was possible, putting the world to rights
We never set out to do any harm
We were young and foolish and had yet to learn
Nothing we did in reality mattered
Illusions we built in time were shattered
And still turns the world in its infinite variations
Our chants our dreams our mystic incantations
Lay smashed against the wall of time’s reality
But it failed to smother our inherent creativity
Instead of changing the world we changed ourselves
Beliefs hidden away like dusty books on forgotten shelves
We kicked against societies doors
Were we pawns in the game or political whores?
We were ether trying to get in or desperate to get out
Caught within a time trap without a doubt
Sold down the river by a right wing legacy
Thatcherism evolved into ‘New Labour’ heresy
Do we still retain a spark of our anarchic socialism?
Or are we divided now by a much wider schism?
All those nights talking endlessly until sunrise
I remember once being horrified and surprised
At the shit filled detritus, destruction and mess
That the free festival ‘Travellers’ just upped and left
We stayed behind to clear up and lend nature a hand
Stuff the ’Freedom’ ; you don’t do this to the land
And we watched our day jobs slip through our nicotine stained fingers
Even after years had passed, it left a bad taste which lingers
I’m inside the system working my way out of this reality
It’s a sign of aging but then again maybe, of a reasoned maturity
Rekindling a spark of the dream that wrongly or rightly
Was held with a passion and once burned so brightly
It’s more than a dream, it’s a lifetime philosophy
And it’s one I‘m now sure that I’ll be carrying with me
Until I burn out like a candle and have faded from memory.

2. She gave Me her daffodil
This is one of those poems that are made of memories, in this case the memory of meeting a beautiful ‘older woman’ at a gig at Poole college students union, Uriah Heep were the headline band that night.

So Uriah Heep we playing the college ball
And without another thought at all
We bowled on down there before the gig
To meet the band and help shift the rig
Cos by doing that we got in free
And spent some time with Ken Hensley
Got pass outs and took the troop
Over to our local called "The Sloop"
So, nicely fuelled but not quite wrecked
We wandered back as the band sound-checked
I can't remember who the support act was
But it didn't matter of course because
We were all quaffing cheap ale in the SU bar
Having one of the best of nights by far
When the Heep took to the stage
We were ready to rock, it seemed an age
Had passed since we first arrived
But by now the hall was so alive
Punters had come from near and far
And everyone had left the bar
And we danced and freaked out through the night
When I saw a vision of pure delight
She was a couple of years older than me
Long brown hair a real hippie
She didn't just have flowers in her hair
They seemed to be about her everywhere
Carnations roses and a daffodil
The latter being my source of my youthful thrill
For it was tucked into her skirt waistband
In a place I'd like to have put my hand
I fantasised as I watched her dance
But then by luck or perhaps by chance
She came up to me and took my hand
And led me away to the promised land
Outside on the grass in the summer night
Passion was shared with pure delight
I wished that night would forever stay
But we could still hear the music play
So together we walked hand in hand
As we went back to watch the band
And later when we parted oh such a thrill
She gave me her daffodil
I kept it pressed in my old science book
For years I occasionally took it out to take a look
And to remember that night so long ago
To Uriah Heep those guys I owe
A dept of gratitude I can never repay
Except perhaps their songs to play
And memories that linger still
Of when she gave me her daffodil.

3. The Smell of Festivals
I’m quite sure that this particular poem is self explanatory, so, without further ado!

Festivals, as any regular punter can tell
All seem to have their own unique smell
Folk festivals, generally, I think it’s fair to say
It’s wood-smoke and real ale that seem to hold sway
One day heavy rock festivals, like it used to be at Donnington
Sweaty leather and larger was the smell that just lingered on
And as for the ‘Free’ festivals like Stonehenge, well
It was a combination of burning herbs and the toilets from hell!
But what’s become of Glastonbury, Glastonbury Fayre?
These day’s it’s all Bar-B-Q’s and Ambre Solaire
Because let’s face it,
If you can afford to go to Glastonbury Fayre
You can probably afford the BBQ AND the Ambre Solaire!

4. Sound Check
We’ve all been here, every gig, no matter how big or how small, someone always has to do a sound check just before the 1st band goes on when they’ve probably already done umpteen sound checks before hand anyway!
Oh well, one night I went down to London, to the now long lamented, ‘George Robey’ in Finsbury Park to see my friends band play, very good they were too.

They opened the doors at about seven thirty
Inside was cramped, dark, sweaty and dirty
They said that the band would be on at eight
I thought, that’s unlikely, they’re always late
The stage itself was incredibly small
With the guitars and amp’s, just no space at all
Well, the hour of eight it came and passed
The band should be on soon, well, almost, at last
Up on the stage, baggy jumper and hair
A lonely figure did suddenly appear
He picked up a guitar and belted out a chord
Then put it down without saying a word
Next on to the drums with a roll and a bash
This bloke’s a wanker, he looks totally smashed!
Then it was on to the microphones, words we all knew
“Is it alright at the back? 1, 1, 1, 2”
This ‘performance’ was repeated four times all told
When all of a sudden he grew rather bold!
“Hello you lot out there, 1, 2, 3, 4”
A joke, some chat, a full repertoire!
Well, the punters flooded out from the bar to the hall
The 1st band were crap, just no good at all
But the sound check, well, I’ve heard a few
And it sure beat the hell out of 1, 1, 1, 2!

5. Sonic Assassin
Robert, ‘Bob’, Calvert was one of my own personal heroes, never really overcoming his bipolar condition and his frequent falls into depression & drug abuse, from which he frequently climbed out of, he remains to this day, even long after his death, one of, if not the, foremost Sci-fi poets of our age.
Bob was a brilliant lyricist and front-man for Hawkwind in their Hawklords era and the most amazing performer who excelled in the live forum.

He used words like sonic weapons
Assaulting our aural senses
Transporting us to other dimensions
Out among the stars in distant galaxies
He was a master, a madman, a genius
A musician a showman a wordsmith
Crafting visions
Flying helmet and goggles
Swordstick flashing
Scarf fluttering
His fantasies became realities
Born of word and music blended within
An anarchic narcotic cocktail of dreams
From deep within his bipolar mind
I too would rather the fire-storms of atmospheres
Than this cruel descent of a thousand years
Into a world without such heroes

6. Mayfest 2007
The aptly named Mayfest used to be held in the lovely village of Brent Pelham on the Sunday preceding the May day bank holiday, it was a splendid family friendly festival of blues, country, zydeco & folk music, often with a few slots for poets, in fact I first performed ‘The Smell of Festivals’ at the Mayfest in 2003.
Sadly this festival has gone the way of many of the smaller festivals, too much ‘red tape’ to expensive to comply with all the rules and regulations of today, those of us who were regular punters miss it very much, this poem is the story of the last Mayfest where even the weather seemed to conspire against us!

The rain was incessant, it had not rained this way
for many a day
so hard so long, all pervading
even when the rain eased off
it was still raining heavily, however that didn’t matter
not for the punters, who’d come for the zydeco & blues
or the burgers and the booze
I must admit I felt sorry for the traders
whose sodden stalls and lack of sales was a disaster
but for many the worst came later
but just then we didn’t care
there was music everywhere
good as ever, not spoilt by the weather

Later, the wind when it came
roaring in like an express train
ripping tents from the ground
sending gazebos soaring like kites
their twisted metal skeletons
scattered here and there, but, did we care?

The music played on the bar was still serving!
I must admit, the thought of a night under canvas
in a storm such as this was a little daunting
I was one of the lucky ones
my tent remained waterproof and warm
a perfect shelter from the storm

In the morning the site looked like
those pictures you too often see on the news
the aftermath of war and yes it was still raining
the ground had turned from soft under foot
to thick squelchy mud, to a dirty brown soup
to a flood, there were even ducks in the field!

We breakfasted full English style in the surviving marquee
complete with steaming cups of tea
and then packed up our sodden tents
loaded the car and off we went
braving floods and fallen trees all the way home
this may have been one hell of wet stormy Mayfest
but despite the conditions it remains in my memory
as one of the very best.

7. Camping at Festivals
The previous poem, Mayfest 2007 leads me very nicely on to this one, as everyone surely knows, camping at festivals is different to the ‘normal’ camping holiday, there are many other factors to consider, such as:-

Camping at festivals is different
It’s not like when you’re on holiday
There are lots of things to consider
And maybe it’s better that way

You want to be near to the toilets
But the right distance is not easy to tell
You want to be close enough for night visits
But far enough away from the smell

If you are allowed to have a small fire
Of logs or a nice bar-b-q
You need space away from your tent
For too close really won’t do (Woooof)

Your neighbours are fairly important
It’s nice to be pitched next to the type
Who are happy to party in day-time
But are all nice and quiet at night

If showers and such are available
It’s good to be quite near them too
You can get clean and all freshened up
After you’ve been to the festival loo!

But one vital and prime consideration
Perhaps the most important by far
Is you must not be any great distance
From the wonderful festival Bar!

8. The Phantom Tent Crapper of Old Knebworth Park
Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire has played host to many pop and rock festivals over the years, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Robbie Williams and many, many others have played there, in recent years Knebworth has hosted the UK leg of Sonisphere festival, principally, although not exclusively a heavy rock / metal festival over three days in July.
This following story is true, it is filthy, disgusting but extremely funny, I happen to vaguely know the individual concerned (Not that I count him as a friend) and hence have no problem in believing every word of the original tale is by no means an ‘Urban Myth’ but absolutely true!

The phantom tent crapper of old Knebworth Park
Crept into the campsite well after dark
The bands had all finished the disco had too
And the phantom tent crapper just needed the loo

But the queues for the toilets were too long and too slow
And the phantom tent crapper just had to let go
So creeping around in the dark in readiness he went
Looking for that perfect unoccupied tent

Then he found it standing there as quiet as can be
He slipped in to unload his poop and his wee
Up by the head end he left his ‘special’ pillow
What a surprise there’d be on the morrow

Then in abject horror as his drunkenness subsided
The contents of the tent and his eyes collided
He felt remorse and sorrow at what he had done
For this very tent, was of course his own one!

9. Gonging (a.k.a. My mate Kev’s got an awesome hat!)
One of my favourite bands is Gong, I have been a fan of Gong, Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage for almost as long as I’ve been into music, Daevid, now well into his seventies is still going strong and along with some of my friends who share a similar taste in music, we make our annual pilgrimage to London to see the band, this is usually combined with a pub crawl and meal at Camden market, quite literally anything can happen and usually does!.

Now my mate Kevin's got an awesome hat
with a propeller on the top how cool is that?
You can even share it & wear it if you dare
but be prepared if people stop and stare

Out come the camera's clickety click
Kevin's Gonging hat is awfully chic
Now the hat went to London and we all did too
where we met a fair maiden who couldn't get a brew

The Bull and Gate pub doesn't do a cup of tea
and for a poor Gonging lass that was a misery
We suddenly noticed that Garry had disappeared
and when he came back we all clapped and cheered

For there in his hand was a steaming cup of tea
for the lass in need, such kindness you rarely see
The hat, well, it seems to have a profound effect
and lead you into situations that you don't expect

But you shouldn't be surprised at such a philosophy
it's all part of being in the Gong family
So, have a cup of tea, have another one, have a cup of tea
and come Gonging round London with my friends and me.

10. My Sweet Babylon
Another of the old festival favourite bands I love is RDF (Radical Dance faction) Military Surplus, poet, lyricist, writer, Chris Boucher hails from my part of the world in Dorset, with RFD he delivers his amazing words in a way which cut right to the bone, astute political and social observations which might be sometimes hard to listen to due to the start reality if they weren’t delivered to a thumping dub reggae beat.

The audience was varied
in age and the styles they displayed
it must have been quite a while
since RDF last played
but they took the stage by storm
with confidence and aplomb
pounding Reggae & Dub beats
like a stomping sonic bomb
whilst all the time Chris Boucher
his lyrics crafted with passion
carved their way
into your consciousness
if only you would let them
slowly, skilfully
like a surgeon
an intricate incision
astute observations
on the state of the nation
the decline of society
and the world’s growing problems
captured in words
more often spoken rather than sung
as is RDF’s trademark delivery
at times they really stung
served with the wonderful hint
of my beloved West Country’s tongue
which reminded me of my long lost home
my own sweet Babylon.

11. Crashing with the Bands
Both as a punter and as a performance poet I consider myself privileged to know so many wonderful and gifted people in the world of the arts, painters, authors, fellow poets, artists and of course musicians. Through my time within the arts world and through my friends and gifted family I also know a few bands and individuals who have ‘made it’ and are now household names, most of them have retained that essential link back to their roots, sadly some haven’t and are in danger of disappearing up their own……….. But, if you’ve ever been in or with a band ‘On the road’ this next poem may strike a chord or two!

Bodies sprawling
Drunken snoring
Clothes scattered
Silence shattered
Bright lights
Sleepless nights
Hung-over mornings
Tired yawnings
Music playing
Bodies swaying
Sweat smelling
People yelling
On tour
Once more
Just crashing with the bands

12. Sharp Shooting in De Rots
Following on quite nicely from Crashing with the Bands, here is another true story, this time from Antwerp in Belgium and the club / bar De Rots where I spent a fantastic weekend with to great bands, Cheezy ‘n’ zee Helmitz and Sharp’s Hooters who were playing in De Rot’s English Pub Bands Festival in 2010.

It’s Saturday night and De Rots is heaving
Sharp’s Hooter are playing and hearing is believing
Without question the 10pm curfew is broken
The music turned down a notch just as a token
But the band plays on

Everyone is dancing, everyone is singing
Everyone is drinking, the place is really swinging
Happy mayhem somehow has a way of ensuing
When rock fans of all ages are happily pursuing
Drinking heavily and steadily into a state like a trance
To a hard rock beat that just makes you want to dance

Smithy ‘swallow dives’ from halfway up the stairs
Kev catches him on his shoulders up way in the air
And proceeds to spin him round and round
Then sets him down like a spinning top onto the ground
Where he scatters the punters like 9 pin skittles
Until at last he himself settles
In a heap on the floor
And the crowd shout out for more!

And the band played on
And the beer it just flowed
And we kept on going
Until we reached overload
So here’s to the next one
Before we hit the road
Here’s to the next one
Let’s hit the road.

13. There’s Dancing
Dance is a wonderful expression and art form, unless………………………

I suppose that it's very true to say
throughout mankind's history
dance has always had a way
of evolving and perhaps revealing
just what the dancer’s may be feeling
An outward expression of the inner soul
whether American Smooth or Rock and Roll
or careering about, leaping and bashing
whilst in a brutal mosh-pit thrashing
Or the graceful gentle rise and sway
of a Viennese waltz well underway
Pogo-ing punks or an elderly tea-dance
such movement, surely, will always entrance
Whether it’s the beauty and grace of a classic ballet
or the passion of a Tango or perhaps more so today
a modern dance where anything goes
in flamboyant costume or indeed ‘avec sans’ clothes!
but, of course
There's dancing and there's dancing
none doth compare to Prog-Rock prancing
arms and legs fuelled by music and too much beer
to watch such dance doth raise a cheer!

14. Then and Now (How Rock & Roll is That?)
For this poem we go to Hitchin’s Rhythm’s of the World festival in 2007, a splendid world music festival which has gone from strength to strength and has moved from its old location around the town into the lovely grounds of Hitchin Priory.
As I mentioned previously I am privileged to be able to count among my friends many talented musicians, two of whom feature in this poem.

If you’re old enough to remember the seventies
when punk was in its prime
we had some fun back then it was a real good time
listening to the Pistols the Vibrators and then
if North Hert’s was your scene we of course had ChronGen
The Chronic Generation, Jon Thurlow, rock legend, Punk rebel
that guy was really on the level
and course later there was the fantastic Scum of Toy-town
and other projects over the years and I’d put none of them down
In the late eighties again looking back
if gutsy blues-rock was the thing to float your boat
there was of course Smoke Stack
Mark Bailey bass guitarist extraordinaire
but that’s another ancient story
I preferred the embryonic metal doom
of Mark’s own band, Not For Glory
Now both these guys, good friends of mine
Prime movers on the local scene
rock rebels in their time
in different styles and different ways
and they’re still doing it today and that’s what matters
But wait, skip forward, it’s now R.O.T.W. 2007
and once again we’re immersed in musical heaven
this time it’s Chris Ripple’s Arcade Eclectic stage
and just down from where it’s happening is of course the cafĂ©
and who do I find sat munching on cakes
and sipping cappuccino’s
Only Mark Bailey and Jon Thurlow
well blow me down I’ll eat my hat
cakes and cappuccino, how **** rock and roll is that!

15. Queen of Broken Hearts
Staying with the local North Hert’s music scene and, as mentioned in my last poem, Then and Now, another of Jon’s projects is the amazing Lika Sharps with the talented artist Jo Taylor on vocals.
Jo works in a number of mediums, her visual art is often very colourful and somewhat flamboyant, she has translated this into the costumes and make up she wears when performing with Lika Sharps, I wrote this poem for her and the band.

When Jo takes to the stage
with the band Lika Sharps
Like a slightly disturbing
psychedelic Queen of Hearts

Her haunting vocals can
tear apart your very soul
Yet caress you, soothe you
and make you whole

Every emotion is given life
and colourfully portrayed
Through costume, gesture
expressions made

This persona is an extension
of the artist inside
From which there is no escape
no place to hide

For once seen and heard
will be remembered for all days
Such a stunning visualisation
when Jo takes to the stage.

16. Awning Storming
Returning to the festival theme once again, as everyone knows, even in the height of summer the British weather can be somewhat unpredictable, how many times have we set off for a festival somewhere in the blazing sunshine only to find that the sky has darkened and the rain has began to fall just as we are about to erect our campsite!
Even with a caravan and a ‘so called’ built in awning, erecting the thing during a severe storm can lead to problems!

We arrived in the height of a gale
The wind was so fierce and strong
The rain beat down relentlessly
As we trundled our way along
Through muddy fields and rutted tracks
Until we found our special place
To park the cars and the caravan
With smiles upon our face

Not waiting for the storm to abate
We set about the task
Of constructing the awning
On the side of the caravan
Surely this storm wouldn’t last?

But the wind picked up
And the rain increased
To have waited would have surely been better
But time was passing all the while
So what if we got a bit wetter!

Now the object of a good groundsheet
Is to keep the inside of your tent nice and dry
Not so easy when it’s covered in wet mud
Or when the wind sends it sailing high!
And awnings that look oh so simple
When laid over a tubular frame
Can in fact be quite complicated
Requiring re-assembly again and again!

Eventually the legs and all the roof parts
And the sides and the cross beams as well
Seemed to be all the right sizes together
There was only one way to tell
We stretched the awning right over the lot
And fixed it well to the sides of the van
If anyone can do this when stormbound
I think that we proved that we can!

And suddenly it all came together
The awning and groundsheet and ‘nest’
That’s the screened off bedroom inside
Where one of our party would later rest
All was tied down neat and proper
Everything nicely pegged and secured
Tables and chairs in position
Not a thing overlooked or ignored

We’ve done it” we cried “What a struggle”
“Stuff you” to the storm we did shout!
And of course the wind dropped right off
And the sun once again came on out
But where’s the fun in constructing
A campsite when all is cosy and warm
It’s much more fun when against all the odds
You can do it during a storm!

17. Cake
Festival food can be wonderful, it can also be pretty poor, expensive and downright hazardous! Whilst people may be friendly and willing to share it is sometimes best to refuse anything like a cake, especially if it’s somewhat ‘special’, this is a another true story of such an incident that happened to a friend of mine, mind you, there were some who would say he deserved it but that’s another story and not one for here!

If you’re ever at a festival
and someone offers you a cake
it’s probably wise to refuse it
unless it’s a well known make
like a supermarket’s own brand
or a Mr. Kippling too
but home made ones with added bits
can have some strange effects on you!
Your breathing may get faster
your heartbeat may go all erratic
you may feel like you are flying
even though you’re really static
you may feel you want to pass out
if you dare to close your eyes
but your pupils keep dilating
and much to your surprise
you cannot understand
you really cannot see
why you seem to have developed
such a strange allergy!
And all the bands you wanted to catch
you have now gone and missed
so avoid the cake in the future
and just get nicely pissed.

18. How to Recreate a Festival at Home
Sometimes, no matter how much we want or wanted to go, circumstances conspire against us, money runs out, things happen, other things take necessary priority and we find ourselves stuck at home while everyone else we know has gone off to the festival for a summer of fun, well, don’t despair, here’s how to recreate that festival feeling in your very own back yard!

If you love going to weekend festivals
But find for some reason you cannot go
Then here are a few handy tips
That I feel you really ought to know

When everyone else has cleared off
And left you on your own
They’ve all gone off to festivals
Leaving you behind at home alone

Don’t get upset or Maudling
There’s no need to be left out
Why not re-create that festival feeling
On your own at home, surely you don’t doubt?

First drink lots of beer or cider
And a sneaky spirit smuggled in
Eat a soggy burger for your lunch
And then let the fun begin

If you need to use the toilet
Especially if you need a poo
Leave it until the last minute
As if there was a queue

Then put on some music nice and loud
And especially if it rains
Go out in the garden to listen to it
Ah, that festival feeling once again!

Day one you must stay up very late
Even if you’re extremely tired
Sleep only for an hour or two
By sheer adrenaline be fired

Don’t even think about having a wash
And do not clean your teeth
And don’t you dare flush that loo
When you’ve taken your relief

Wear the same clothes as yesterday
Get as smelly as you can be
Put the music back on nice and loud
And now I hope that you can see

How to recreate all the elements
Of a festival at home
If you ever get stuck and feel left out
When you’re bored and all alone!

19. The Old Folks Home for Rockers
One thing is for sure, we’re all getting older, even us old rockers and rock fans, the thought of eventually going ‘Into a home’ fills me with dread, well certainly the type of home I’ve seen aged relatives and friends old folks in, why don’t they have proper old folks home for old hippies and rockers, your twilight days would be a hoot!

At the old folk’s home for rockers and freaks
You can stay for years or for just a few weeks
As long as you’ve been a rocker in your past
You can live with us for as long as you last!

Now to get in here you don’t need any qualification
We just give you a simple test of word association
Like, Judas………………………………Priest
Or, Motor…….…………………………Head
Maybe, Deep……………………………Purple
Or, The Grateful………...……………….Dead

The loud music is on all night and all day
There’re guitars and drums for you to play
The drugs trolley always comes round at six
So there’s no need to miss your daily fix
Acid, speed, hash or coke
I tell you man this ain’t no joke
This really is the place to be
If you’re an old rock and roll retiree

Now in here food’s available throughout the day
You can eat in with mates or just take away
We’ve chips and burgers and some curries too
Or the alternative option, the vegetarian bean stew

The bar’s well stocked and what’s more it’s free
But if you don’t fancy alcohol you can try a herb tea
Settle back in a comfortable canvas camping chair
Drift off and just let the music take you there

There’s the annual outing to a great festival
We have a 52 seat coach to come take us all
It’s always great fun but here’s the crack
We only need a mini bus to take the survivors back

So if you think that you yourself do fit the bill
And you want to go on and on until
It’s time for that final great gig in the sky
Then come along, live with us, rock on ‘till you die.

And Finally
And finally, I hope you have enjoyed my collection of poems on the music and festival theme, maybe one day you’ll catch me live, or catch me live again, whether I’ll be me or one of my performance persona’s like ‘Mr. Angry’ who can tell, certainly not me, until the next time, cool running’s one and all.
Grant Meaby October 2011