Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of performing at several festivals, both Arts / Literary and Music, especially for the music festivals I have drawn a lot of my performance material from the collection of poems I have written on a common, musical theme.

I have frequently been asked for copies of particular poems and / or "Where can I get hold of a copy" etc. So I have decided to make public, for free, my anthology, On a Similar Note here on my blog, it was first Published in Great Britain in 2011 and has been fully revised in this 2016 edition.

All Rights reserved, Design and Layout Grant Meaby, © Copyright Grant Meaby 2016


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 is, as the title may suggest is 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 the 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 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.



1. I never hallucinate; I just see things that are not there.

2. She gave me her daffodil

3. The Smell of Festivals

4. Sound Check 1

5. Sound Check 2 - Perspectives

6. Sonic Assassin

7. Mayfest 2007

8. Camping at Festivals

9. The Phantom Tent Crapper of old Knebworth Park

10. Gonging (a.k.a. My mate Kev’s got an awesome hat!)

11. My Sweet Babylon

12. Crashing with the Bands

13. Sharp Shooting at De Rots

14. There’s dancing!

15. Then and Now (How Rock & Roll is that?)

16. Queen of Broken Hearts

17. Awning Storming

18. Cake

19. How to Recreate a Festival at Home

20. The Old Folk’s Home for Rockers

21. It’s not prog Jim, it’s country

22. Goblins Real Ale & Prog

23. And finally

So, without further ado......................................................

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 either 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 ageing 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 were 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
Because 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 buzzing, alive
Punters had come from near and far
And almost 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 the source of my youthful thrill
For it was tucked into her skirt waistband
In a place I'd loved 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 back hand in hand
As we re-entered 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 cider 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 1
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. Sound Check 2 – Perspectives
The sound check can be a long and painstaking process, every sound engineer I’ve ever known has probably experienced something like this, firstly from the young band that doesn’t give a toss. Secondly, the incredibly fussy vocalist and then from the sound engineers perspective.

We don’t do sound checks
We just play f*****g loud
After all it makes no difference
To this drunken crowd
Because this always happens
By the time we get to play
The punters will have been deafened
By the first band anyway!

“Can I have some more vocals in the monitor”
“The bass seems awfully flat”
“The guitars are a bit tinny”
“I can’t hear the f*****g high-hat”
“Turn it all up a bit”
“How does that sound from up the back?”
“Not that loud, for cripes sake, now it’s feeding back”
“Can I have some more vocals in the monitor”
“Give me some high end on my guitar”
“You’ve turned the bass down a bit too far”
“Sorted, that now all sounds pretty good”
“Yeah, I’m happy with that, sounds great from where I’m stood”

 “This band thinks they’re the dog’s bollocks
But they’re all the same to me
I do my best to balance the sound
To get it as good as it can be,
If this wanker moans again
I’ll fade him out completely
I’m in charge of the sound round here
Yes it’s really all down to me
I’ll make an average band sound so good
And the punters will be pleased
But if the band really pisses me off
Then nothing will appease
I’ll just smile and pretend to fiddle
With all my faders and knobs
And they think it’s all so f****g simple
Well they should come and try to do my job!”

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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!

9. 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!

10. 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.

11. 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 stark reality of the words 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.

12. 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

13. 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.

14. 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 always  raise a cheer!

15. 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!

16. 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 Jojo 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 Jojo takes to the stage.

17. 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!

18. 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.

19.  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 Maudlin
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!

20. 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.

21. It’s not prog Jim, it’s country!
I was challenged by a very dear friend to write a poem with the most pretentious ‘prog’ lyrics but in the style of a country and western song! This was a challenge I could not resist, this seemed to be a bit a of a ‘hit’ among the prog community on Facebook!

I rode my Unicorn out on the range
Now you might find this weird
Or perhaps mighty strange
But the Goblins been rustling
My cows overnight
And me and my Unicorns
Would put them to flight

I’ve 700 kids and a wife back at home
But the fields on the range
Is where I like to roam
Where the skies are so big
It makes your mind spin
And there’s the woman in the woods
I wonder if she’s in?

So I rode on my Unicorn
Right up to her door
She beckoned me in
And I lay down on the floor
The colours of day
Turned into the night
When the man in the suit
Asked if I was alright?

Strange music was playing
Somewhere in the air
I said “Excuse me”
“But do I really care?”
I bade my farewells
Refreshed and renewed
Climbed onto my Unicorn
And rode off in the nude

I found all my cattle
They were grazing in peace
The Goblins had fled
Now that’s a relief
The sky was so blue
And the Sun was so yellow
I was feeling good
Kind of satisfied and mellow
Now sometimes that’s just
The way that it goes, but I can’t seem remember, what I did with my clothes?

22. Goblins, Real Ale & Prog
Thank heavens that not all sponsors of music events and festivals are Carling! Someone somewhere with some sense has obviously realised that rock music needs beer not larger and one of the biggest sponsors of many an event is of course the Hobgoblin Brewery, so, it really goes without saying but I will:

It’s real ale goblins and prog
Do you fancy a ’hair of the dog?’
Or maybe something stronger
To last a bit longer
When you’re as dry as a desiccated frog

Maybe a craft beer will prevail
The finest of engineered ale
Or a breakfast juice with schnapps
Is just the thing for thirsty chaps
For therein lies a festival tale!

It’s real ale goblins and rock
And Jack has his hand on the clock
With his smooth honeyed tongue
We’re sure to have fun
But where oh where does it stop?

Music and beer go together
It’s quite simple and not very clever
A natural combination
A cause for jubilation
And it’s been like that for forever

So give me real ale goblins and prog
And I’ll dance and I’ll sing like a dog
Rock folk or blues
Activate dancing shoes
But I’ll stand and I’ll sway to the prog.

23. 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

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Cambridge Rock Festival 2016 – The FOTS Perspective

First and foremost huge thanks to the festival organiser Dave Roberts and his wonderful family and ALL the volunteers in whatever capacity who worked tirelessly to make this festival happen and make it one of the best festivals ever.

I must say that although it entailed quite some effort handing out flyer's, talking to people, promoting the festival on social media etc. I was happy and proud to have been selected as one of the CRF Ambassadors, a new idea to promote the festival that saw us at many gigs and festivals prior to CRF sporting our bright purple T shirts.

The Ambassadors - Picture courtesy of Trevor Cotterell
No doubt there will be a plethora of reviews, websites, blogs, Facebook entries etc. giving clinical details about each band, what they played, how well they played along with some top class photographs from the professional / semi professional photographers etc. and if you want any more general information please go to the CRF website which has all the details about the bands and almost everything you need to know about this wonderful festival.

So, what don’t they tell you? It’s never just all about the music (Although that helps) it’s also very much about sharing quality time with good friends, making new friends, meeting people you’ve not seen for years or certainly since the last big festival, it’s about relaxing, getting away from the rigours of normal life, for chilling out and having fun, CRF has all that and more.
CRF has clean and continually stocked toilets, hot showers and a good variety of reasonably priced food stalls, a mega choice of beers, ciders and soft drinks also all reasonably priced, it’s a well run, secure and family friendly festival and as such has an almost unique atmosphere and ambiance.
This year, 2016, the musical line up was awesome and eclectic, we had rock, we had blues, we had Americana blues rock, folk, psychedelic rock, prog rock, singer songwriters, you name it and it was probably there with three full stages there were the inevitable clashes but you tend to get that at any festival these days so have to be a bit selective.

The Line Up was as follows:-

With the Fellowship of the Stick / Corona’s there in force this year, we all have slightly diverse musical tastes so could be spotted in two’s three’s or more somewhere our among the three stages or just chilling on the outside seating areas outside of stage 1 or 2.

I was lucky enough to catch many of the bands over the 5 days and I didn’t see one I didn’t like but the bands that really did it for me were:

On Wednesday for the Addenbrooke’s Rocks – The Broadside Boys who were on first and later, Don Airey & Friends who played an absolutely brilliant set.

The Broadside Boys

Don Airey & Friends
On Thursday, traditionally at CRF the Tribute Bands day, DC/73 kicked off the morning with some stomping AC/DC, hotly followed by Ozzy Ozzspawn, later Atomic Rooster (Not a tribute but the real thing) played a blinding set then it was off to stage 2 to catch most of the wonderful Red Butler before stage 3 and the quirky but fun Plan B (Australia).

Ozzy Ozzspawn
Red Butler
Friday on Stage 1 the bands / artists that rocked my boat were Doris Brendel, Malaya Blue and Son of Man with Deke Leonard, whilst darting off to stages 2 and 3 here and there to catch Rainbreaker, The Rebecca Downes Band, 4th Labyrinth, Stonewire, Halo Blind and one of my all time favourites, Jump with John Dexter Jones who played an amazing set, later on stage 3 another full set I was totally mesmerised by came from those long established prog rockers Haze.

Doris Brendel
Son of Man


Claudia from 4th Labyrinth

Jump - On top top form
Saturday was primarily a stage 1 day with Derecho, 4th Labyrinth, Pearl Handled Revolver, Walkway & Hekz whilst at 20:00 I was in stage 2 for one of the best gigs I have ever seen the amazing Roadhouse play, for reasons I’ll not go into here it was a very, very special and poignant performance and moved many a person in that audience to tears, such emotion, such pure brilliance, such lovely, lovely people too.
Phew! I had to go and chill out outside stage 1 listening to Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy who were in fact far better than when we saw them at Skegness Rock and Blues.

4th Labyrinth
Mandie G and Gary with Roger behind the drums

Sarah Harvey Smart

Danny, Bill, Sarah & Roger
OK, so I'm somewhat biased, I love Roadhouse, the music, the band, the entourage, they are one of the hardest working bands in the country and right up there at the top of Americana Blues Rock and some of the nicest people you're ever likely to meet.

Sunday was again mainly a stage 1 day for me with only a quick sneak away to see a couple of bands on stage 2 but I enjoyed every single band on stage 1, all the way from America we had the mighty T. Clemente Band, followed by the most wonderful Space Elevator, all the way from Norway came those excellent progsters The Windmill, followed by the best ever performance I’ve seen from the Heather Findlay Band, then Purson who were every bit as good as I remembered from HRH Prog4, Curved Air were OK, musically they were spot on but I just wish Sonja Kristina would sing as she can today and not try to hit those notes she used to ‘back in the day’.
Mostly Autumn were once again Mostly Awesome and Focus were the best I’ve seen them for many a day and as they seem to play every major prog festival or major prog day I’ve been to for the last umpteen years it was a very pleasant surprise especially as I was with friends who love Focus but had never seen them live before!

Some of the mighty T. Clemente Band
Space Elevator

The Windmill

The Heather Findlay Band
Purson's Rosalie in full flow
Focus on top form this night
At the moment there seems to be some speculation as to whether CRF will happen in 2017 due to some local dignitary complaining about the noise (again), despite the fact they live miles away and the other side of the noisiest motorway in the area, the M11.
I hate NIMBY’s, I don’t know who he is but I wish he would grow some balls and man up, after all it’s once a year for a few days, it makes a lot of people very happy including many locals, it also generates a whole lot of money for the local economy and causes no trouble whatsoever.

Rant over, poem time, this was after all very much a Fellowship of the Stick / Corona event.

The Fellowship Does CRF 2016

It was Wednesday the 3rd of August 2016
Chris collected me just after midday
Peter was already safely on board
So at last we were on our way

We decided on a lunchtime stop
At Royston as you do
A nice Weatherspoons lunch
Washed down with a beer or two

Nicely fuelled by pies and chips
And some finely served real ales
We descended upon Tesco’s
Breakfast shopping and all that that entails

The remaining trip to Cambridge
Seemed to take no time at all
We got into the campsite to sit and wait
We were already having a ball

We exchanged our tickets for wristbands
Got some beer tokens for the bar
We had to have a beer or two
Well that’s just the way we are

We caught a couple of good bands
Before Kevin & Smiffy arrived
So we set up Camp Fellowship
Glad that Fender’s Den had survived!

We eventually put up the awning
Which Peter had waterproofed and repaired
The Fellowship were complete for now
For CRF 2016 we were all prepared

Camp Fellowship is established!
Wednesday night was Addenbrooke’s Rocks
Don Airey and Friends were the tops
A good night’s sleep in Fender’s Den
And once again we were ready to rock

Thursday was the day for tribute bands
And time for so many more good friends to arrive
We saw some great bands, drank some great beer
It was just so good to be alive

We had Tim and Jo and Thea camping nearby
We had Debbs, Boo & Caroline too
Donna, Pam, Katie, Mel, Jane and Eddie
Roger, Sarah, Alice, Mandie, Alan and Steve Dulieu

So many good old festival friends were there
And a few people from bands we know
So much dancing and general fun was had
It’s amazing how quickly the time did go

A late night gathering at Camp Fellowship
Saw friends drop by for a beer and a chat
Or a Honey Jack Daniels and a slice of pizza
Now be honest, you really can’t beat that!

I’m sure Friday must have been designated
As ‘Dancing day’ for Kevin & Co
For we seemed to see him down the front
At every stage to which we’d go!

Another day of superb music
Of fellowship, cider and beer
With the odd, at times extremely odd
Meal or snack thrown in there and here

Our after hours gathering this time
Was with our campsite neighbours Collette and Den
What a nice couple they were
I hope we meet them once again
On Saturday we were Pirates
We celebrated Fender’s birthday with cake as well
We had Alice and Mandie round for breakfast
And what Alice taught Fender I really cannot tell!

Breakfast chill time
Alice helps Fender with his birthday cake cutting
Arghhhhhhhhhhh we were Pirates for the day - Picture courtesey of Thea Sigma
Also on Saturday Kevin was eaten by an inflatable
Roadhouse played an absolutely blinding set
All things considered this must be very close to
As good as things can possibly ever get

Kevin gets eaten - Picture courtesy of Peter Cheney
Sunday was most definitely a day of prog
And we had Alex here with us today
Corona’s seemed to be everywhere
Out there in the crowd very much on display

And as for TV’s Mr. Roger Marsh
Or was it Richard Morse instead?
What else can I say, other than,
“Got any bread?”

TV's Mr Roger Marsh or was that Robert Morse?
CRF 2016 was extremely special
In so many, many ways
Good times, great music, even greater friends
So precious are such days

Roll on 2017.

Grant Meaby
August 2016