Ruminating on Roy Harper – extract from the book – a work in progress.

I have a number of books I am working on. This is one of them. I have written it and will shortly be looking to have it published. It tells my story of a relationship with someone who has had a great influence on my life, is a great musician, poet and thinker – Roy Harper.

In the meantime here is a extract. I would really appreciate any comments!


1967 was a momentous year for me. I was eighteen, boiling with hormones, angst, sex and rebellion. In the prefabricated world of the dedicated followers of fashion I was the rank outsider, too extreme to fit into the norms of the ‘in crowd’ with their Carnaby Street flares and neatly trimmed long hair and collections of top ten hits. With my shoulder length hair, Zen and head full of Kerouac’s crazy zest for discovery I was the acid tongued hipster more attuned to the psychedelic jungle of London backstreets, blues clubs and all night adventures than a sixth form common room.

I wanted to let rip. I was young, wild and bursting with idealistic fervour.

The world was my playground, my university, my mystical, infinite source of wonder and awe. Life was there to be burned. I had to grapple with it, wrestle it to submission and screw answers out of it.

1967 was the year of freedom. I got my car and was leaving home. There were just a few side issues to put to rest: I had to take my A Levels and secure grades that would get me a university place so that the next three years were sorted and I could continue my explorations; I had to decide where to go; and I had to get somewhere to live. It wasn’t quite Kerouac’s dream. But it was close enough.

While the ‘in crowd’ studied I did my own investigations. I haunted the Toby Jug, Middle Earth, the UFO and Marquee. This was my year of psychedelics, Beat literature and poetry. My head was full of Acid Rock and Underground mutterings. I wanted to take it all by the scrag and wring it dry. There was not a moment to be wasted.

To top it all I was in love and that gave me another heady set of hormones to stew my rewiring brain. All those trillions of delicate neurons vainly trying to snake their way through the chemical swamp of my cerebrum as they futilely attempted to rewire me into an adult. For adult was the rudest of words and one I rejected forever. Adult was the vision of my dad with his slippers, TV, 9 to 6 job, and living death on the settee. Adult death had to be fought off and slain.

I was considered a bad influence and subsequently banned from the common room and so spent my days more profitably chatting up the girls, arguing music with the dead, sorting out the sounds, gigs and parties and hanging with the small group of similar misfits. Our task was to push the limits and watch with burning eyes as the bourgeoisie squirmed impotently.

Seemingly I was throwing away my future.

Nineteen sixty seven was a year that went off in one long slow motion detonation whose reverberations would echo through my life, whose tsunami washed away the life that might have been. I’m glad. For it meant that I lived.

I didn’t give a shit.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted it all – the whole fucking universe!

Nineteen sixty seven was the year I discovered Roy Harper.

6 thoughts on “Ruminating on Roy Harper – extract from the book – a work in progress.

  1. Talk about a cliffhanger ending! You’ve captured exactly why you were so ready for Roy, he was going to totally capture everything you were going through and where it was all going to go. He did the same for me a few years later and set me off on my own path as a (less illustrious) singer songwriter.To this day there are so many people who have never heard him heard him who would ‘connect’ if they did.

      1. Thanks for your comment. That fills me with some confidence. I tend to write in a vacuum. You never know if people really enjoy it.

  2. I guess that makes me a coupla years younger than you Opher. I think I became aware of Roy from the John Peel show around 1969 , and I was still at school at that point. At the schools Xmas play that year a lot of the older lads brought in various records to play backstage, amongst which were ‘The Rock Machine Tirns You On’, which certainly turned me on to a lot of other good stuff. I think it had Roy’s ‘Nobody’s got any money in the summer’ but in any case someone else brought in ‘Folkjokeopus’ and that really blew me away. ‘Flat Baroque and Berserk’ came out soon after and I bought it (it was one of my first record purchases using my own hard-earned cash), but I’m pretty sure I saw Roy live (supporting Free) at my first proper gig at the local college, before I bought the record. I played it incessantly, and it caused no end of problems between me and my old man, hee-hee.

    Looking forward to the book, your opening spiel certainly hooked me

    1. Good to hear. I enjoyed writing it. It seemed to flow. Those were good days! Nice to hear from you. Best wishes

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