Meaningful music turned to Muzak.

The underground music of my youth is now mainstream. They play it on the radio. It is in adverts. It’s the background to football matches. It’s become Muzak!

The marketing geeks have purloined it. They think they can use it to sell things.

What the hell’s going on! This is the music that meant something! That said something! That was building a new world! This was our music!

Keep your hands off our music! You don’t understand it! It is not background Muzak! It was made to be listened to! Intently! It had meaning! It was my rebellious youth for fuck’s sake!

Keep your grubby hands off my generation’s music! It was not recorded to sell products. It’s too personal for you to relate to! You couldn’t possibly understand the ideals that are wrapped up in it! It’s not the background to anything, least of all your shoddy attempts to sell stuff to the morons that buy plastic garbage.

That’s the complete opposite of everything we stood for!

Jimi’d turn in his grave!


Phil Ochs – I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Great anti-war song lyrics.

Phil Ochs – I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Great anti-war song lyrics.

Phil Ochs was one of the great ‘Protest’ singers from the sixties. His music was topical with a social and political message.

I’m reclaiming the word ‘Protest’ because it was used pejoratively as a put down by the establishment. There is nothing wrong with protest and dissidence. We need our voices speaking out about madness. They make you stop and think and maybe re-evaluate. Is there a better way? Is this a knee-jerk reaction? Is war the best option?

War – what does it solve? There’s no money to solve poverty or rebuild our slums. Yet miraculously there’s always money for stealth bombers. We built our cities up. We knock ’em down.

We elect psychopaths because they are strong, black and white and clear. We love strong leadership. We react emotionally and hit out instead of rationally and thoughtfully with diplomacy and communication. We like to be strong. We will not be pushed around!

We build them up. We knock ’em down.

Lives are destroyed.

Phil was a voice who spoke out against the madness of war. He thought there was a better way.

I Ain’t Marching Anymore

Oh, I marched to the battle of New Orleans
At the end of the early British war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I ain’t marching anymore

For I’ve killed my share of Indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the Little Big Horn
I heard many men lying, I saw many more dying
But I ain’t marching anymore

It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land
Fought in the bloody Civil War
Yes, I even killed my brothers
And so many others
But I ain’t marching anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh, I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I ain’t marching anymore

It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky
Set off the mighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning
That I ain’t marching anymore

Now the labor leader’s screamin’
When they close the missile plants
United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore
Call it, Peace, or call it, Treason
Call it, Love, or call it, Reason
But I ain’t marching anymore
No, I ain’t marching anymore

Ruminating on Roy Harper – extract

Ruminating on Roy Harper – extract

Out in hippie-ville we had Hendrix, Cream, Doors, Country Joe & the Fish, Captain Beefheart, Love, Buffalo Springfield, Traffic and Edgar Broughton to keep us going. There were all-night gigs and free festivals. It was buzzing. The venues were cheap and packed and the vibe was positive.

There was ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ and ‘Easy Rider’ at the cinema. We went to the Electric Cinema and saw Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’ and a number of French movies. Liz was in to culture and introduced me to a wide range of literature and films. She took me off to see ‘Ulysses’ and I thought I was going to watch some Greek epic! That’s how uncultured I was. But I was open to anything and my mind was a sponge.

In my free time I’d browse round the 2nd hand record stores, flicking through the stacks of albums looking for West Coast Acid, British Psychedelic or Blues, Chicago Blues, Country Blues or old Folkways albums with the cardboard sleeves. You’d strike up conversations with fellow freaks concerning bands, artists and must-haves. I still do it occasionally but the vibe is not the same, the albums are no longer a £1 and everything is either overpriced or crap. Even the car boot sales and charity shops fail to throw up anything interesting – or perhaps that’s because I have so much it’s hard to plug the gaps?

Anecdote – Wedding Number One – The Buddhist Ceremony. (There are some photos in the photo gallery – sixties photos)

Anecdote – Wedding Number One – The Buddhist Ceremony. (There are some photos in the photo gallery – sixties photos)

Wedding Number One.
Wedding number one was A Buddhist wedding in the Temple at Sheen, Richmond. In true sixties fashion we had been going along there regularly to meditate. It was very pleasant. We had a friend called Gary Turp, who I haven’t seen for forty years, who was very into the Incredible String Band and Buddhism. He got us interested. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
We also made friends with a very wise monk by the name of Vorasak Candamitto. He was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met – must say something.
So we organised for a wedding ceremony and received a verbal okay.
Then we had to decide who to invite. We couldn’t fit all our friends in so we decided this was one for the relatives. It left them a little bemused so that was also okay.
On the day Liz and I got into our wedding gear. Liz had made it all. She had a dress in yellow, orange and red check which looked rather nice. She made me a top out of the same material so that we matched. She also made me this trousers of red velvet. We looked very colourful in our orange and red.
We arrived at the temple still not quite sure what, if anything was going to happen. The relatives all trooped in and we were shown to the front where we sat on cushions.
Much to our surprise the whole place was decorated with red and orange with lots of red and orange tulips. We matched!
Then a dozen monks came in. I did not know there were that many!
The ceremony was wonderful. The monks chanted and made this incredible sonorous sound. We lit candles and incense and got splashed with water. The monks chanting was intended to create Loving Kindness which was focused on that water. When the congregation and ourselves were splashed they were spreading the Loving Kindness around. I’m all in favour of Loving Kindness. We recited some words in Sanskrit. I’m not sure what we said. We could have been signing up to some Thai cult. It was probably about staying true to the path of goodness.
Then it was over.
The temple had arranged for someone to take a few photos and we ended up with three hazy black and white prints.
It wasn’t the usual wedding.
Liz’s parents boycotted it. I don’t think they approved of me.
I’m not sure what the relatives made of it. Some of them were very staid. We probably blew a few minds and sent a few tongues wagging.
One point of contention seemed to focus around whether we were actually married or not? Was it recognised?
Well that didn’t matter to us. But it seemed to matter to some. Particularly as Wedding two – The Registry Office – was not until the following week.
Were we living in sin for the week?
Well as we had been doing for a year we thought that was quite amusing. How times change.

Photo Gallery – Back in the Sixties!

Photo Gallery – Back in the Sixties!


I didn’t use a real photo of me because I didn’t want to scare you.

These are photos from back in the sixties when I was young, wild and free and everything was right with the world. I thought I could do anything I wanted and change the world. Oh to be full of the joys of youth!

My wife doesn’t want to appear on my blog so don’t tell her that I’ve put her photos up here! She is so lovely I couldn’t resist! I’m the ugly one!

Poetry – The Sixties – a poem about how is was dealt with.

Poetry – The Sixties – a poem about how is was dealt with.


The Sixties

Being brought up in the sixties was a mixed blessing. It was a time of great social change, camaraderie, ideals, optimism and adventure. It was a time when a large section of youth questioned the order and wisdom of their elders.

We thought things could be done differently without the paranoia and warmongering, the greed and selfishness. We really believed that we could create a fairer system with equality, fun, creativity and love. Friendship took on a new dimension. There was no room for racism, poverty or war. When you met people from other cultures you could relate with respect and not hate them because they were different.

People wore bright clothes that reflected the happiness and positive feelings of the time.

It was a time of great optimism and idealism, a time of global perspective, travel and discovery.

Rules – there were no rules.

We made up our own rules.

We were freaks. We did it differently. It was a universal peoplehood.

Of course the establishment were not to enamored. They saw us as a threat and our culture as opposed to everything they stood for.

They were very clever. They absorbed, bribed, subverted and took over. They ridiculed the culture, caricaturized it, satirized it, and made it into a fashion. They sold it and profited from it.

Having experienced a feeling of such positiveness it is hard to return to the rat-race of profit, greed and cruelty and resume the paranoia as if it had never been interrupted.

The sixties was like the football match on Christmas day that first Christmas in the trenches – a brief friendly interchange where you found the enemy was just the same as you. Normal warfare was quickly resumed.

The Sixties


Naïve, happy and positive,

With all the world ahead.

Changing the universe

And laughing on the way.

I thought we’d altered for ever

But found

It will be the same

As today.


Busy blowing cobwebs down

The dusty hall,

As we shunted

The old order out.

But we were merely

Creating an interlude

That wasn’t worth

A shout.



And sold down the stream.

They changed it into fashion

And sold us

Another dream.


Opher 8.11.2015

Sixties – My favourite TV from the late sixties.

Sixties – My favourite TV from the late sixties.


I wrote up my memories of the sixties in this book. It really catalogues what was going on from my perspective.

I don’t have a great deal of time for TV and I’ve never been avid about too much. When I left home to go to college in 1968 we did not have a TV at all and I did not miss it one bit.

The four programmes I had time for were:

The Prisoner – a series starring Patrick McGoohan. It was a surreal programme set in the most amazing background of Portmerion with its futuristic architecture. It was loosely concerned with a secret agent who tried to resign and a village that he was held prisoner in, guarded by a huge bubble called Rover. He could trust no one and could not escape as they tried to reintegrate him to society. In fact it was an allegory on the pervasive techniques of the establishment. Very rebellious. Roy Harper used it as inspiration for his fabulous McGoohan’s Blues.

Marty Feldman – who had a hour directly after the Prisoner of the zaniest comedy. He was very funny and socially motivated. Unfortunately, after appearing in a couple of Films (The Young Frankenstein being one) he died.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – always coming from Left-field in the tradition of the Goons.

Not only…. But also Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – another zany and wild comedy act that poked fun at everything.

That’s all I can think of that I got into. Probably some of you can jog my memory on a few more.

The Sixties – What it was for me.

The Sixties – What it was for me.

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The Sixties – What it was for me.

Time gives you perspective.

I was born in 1949 so the sixties was my era. It was the period of time that formed me.

The sixties for me represent freedom, questioning, optimism, assuredness, discovery, adventure and experimentation.

If you never try you’ll never succeed. If you never fail you’ve never tried. Failure is a learning experience.

This was the time I left home. I had my mind full of Kerouac, Beatles, Downliners Sect, Bob Dylan, Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart and Ginsberg. I was discovering literature and reading DH Lawrence, Steinbeck, Mailer, Jerry Rubin, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Vonnegut, Hesse and Sheckley. I was travelling around. At fourteen I spent the summer hitching round France, at twenty I was hitching round the States – New York Greenwich Village over to San Francisco and LA, camping in Big Sur.

I was at college and meeting all kinds of interesting people – up rapping and hanging out. There were gigs to go to, places to stay, to see, to hear, to read – minds to be expanded.

I looked at mystical teachings, American Indian philosophy, Eastern mysticism and Buddhism. I looked at nuclear physics and Art. I discovered surreal and infinity.

It was a time of growth, wonder and huge pleasure.

I was in love. I was wild and had no obligation. There was a world to discover. There was a mind to furnish.

Back then I looked at my parents and saw them in a rut of work, suburban life and boredom. I promised myself I was going to do more with my mind, my life and my future. I might burn out but I’d go down blazing.

I saw my parents following the rules. But this was the new age. There were no rules. I did not want to be part of that society with its selfishness, greed and war-mongering. I wanted a life based on different principles: – equality, freedom, exploration, fairness, openness and love. I wanted to see those other cultures and find what they were about.

I tore up the rule book. I’d make my own. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was right. I did not aspire to wealth, status or the hypocrisy of religion. I wanted something mystical and meaningful, exciting and wonderful.

I thought the new world of love and simple living, sharing and equality was worth more.

This was the height of the Hippie era and although I did not think I was one of them I was in tune with the idealism and ethos.

Of course, life caught up with me and compromise was the order of the day. But there were values I kept sacrosanct. The idealism of the sixties was subsumed and faded along with the casualties. But it left a great rebellious legacy that has changed the world and informs me to this day.

I took all that with me in my journey through life. I still do not trust our leaders. They are just people. I see them as part of a corrupt, hypocritical system. I still do not trust religion. I see it as man-made and power seeking. I still look for that world of meaning and creativity and see life as one long exploration, a journey of fun friendship and love. I still believe in openness, fairness and freedom. I took that into my teaching. Teaching is about relationship. You open up and give of yourself and you get ten times as much back. Honesty and genuine openness. I still play my music and read avidly. I still think we can build a better world. All the ordinary people I’ve met all over the world are good, kind, caring and helpful. There’s a minority of brutal thugs, selfish bastards and exploiting megalomaniacs. Why do we keep electing them?

Life is about opening your mind to the universe and letting it in. My mind is rich and full. I’ve loved it all. What a life!

I cannot imagine a better time to have lived!