Roy Harper – Blackpool (fabulous instrumental) off Roy’s first album.

This was a fabulous instrumental from Roy’s first album. He used to play this a lot when I first started seeing him

Today’s Music to keep me SSSSaaaaNNNNeeee in Isolation – Ken Nordine

A friend – Roger Stenning – introduced me to Ken Nordine back in 1967. I was knocked out. His voice was so cool. He called it Word Jazz. There were a couple of albums – Word Jazz and Son of Word Jazz.

In 1968 I got hold of an album called Colours. That was brilliant. My friends and I would have our jazz woodbines and listen to Ken. Delightful.

Today I’m delving back.

Friends who are gone – extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

What’s the rudest word in the World? Could it be ‘don’t!’

26.10.01

 

And I sometimes think of Jeff who jumped into that train, and Pete on the motorbike, Jane who died of the brain tumour at the age of eighteen, and Loveridge, whose first name I’ve forgotten, who fell off the stack at the plastics factory and fractured his skull. I think of Shaun who was so full of life and would have done so much. I think of Mocy, who I only knew briefly. I think of my good friends Danny and Tony who I shared so much with. I think of how many others of my old friends have gone without me even knowing. I think of Jason who was with my sister for such a short time and was so brave and gentle, so bright and cheerful. All the ones I knew and are now gone. I talk of them to my students. I weave them into my lessons. I get them to illustrate my tales of life. They live in my stories and they live in my mind.

I think of my Dad.

I think about the universe expanding, the Big Bang, religion and politics, beauty and getting old.

I think about the pleasures and the pains.

I think about the travels and the meetings, the books and music, the doings and the things I missed doing.

The drugs and the drunks, the parties and the sex.

I think about Liz and our life together, our love, and the home and life we’ve built with all its myriad compromises.

I think about my mum and all the things she did for me. All that love that was lavished on me.

I think about my kids and I wonder about the lives and experiences they will have.

I dream about all the grandchildren. I hope I will be alive to see them grow. I hope they will know me.

I think about how life is so long, packed full of so much, and yet it is so very short.

These days I smile wistfully a lot and have great hopes for the world, the future and humanity.

I think about my stupid writing and wonder what other uses I could have put to all this time. What else could I have done? What else could any of us do?

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get civilised and leave these dark ages behind, maybe one day we’ll understand a little bit more and be better people for it.

One day!

26.10.01

Fortifications – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

After Bryce Canyon we travelled down into Arizona, to Canyon De Cheyelle and Mesa Verde. We climbed the steep paths to visit the cliff ruins. They were majestic and picturesque. You could stand on those ledges and look over the valley below with its fertile soil and clear, sparkling river snaking through. You could imagine the Anasazi Indians gazing out over that same scene 900 years before.

The pueblo buildings, made simply of mud bricks, were well preserved. They were high in the cliffs protected by overhangs.

The Anasazi had built long ladders to climb up to their houses, ladders which they had pulled up after them. They had lookout posts and a succession of well-organised warning stations. If a marauding party was spotted they lit fires. The smoke alerted the next post and the warning jumped from position to position much faster than the enemy could travel. They also used mirrors to signal. They were clever and well-organised. In the cliff dwellings, they stored grain and water and were able to withstand a lengthy siege. They were well organised and thorough.

It was a mystery as to why they all disappeared.

I immediately connected the Anasazi dwellings with the Hillforts in Wales and France that I had visited.

It was a lot of trouble to go to in order to build such fortifications and precautions. It took a lot of their time, energy and resources. They must have been pretty scared to go to that much trouble.

Human nature is horrible to behold. It seems some of us are prepared to work hard to earn a living and some simply can’t be bothered; they’d rather take it from the ones that do the work.

The more cruel and vicious they were, the easier it is to extract what you wanted.

Every country had its fortified towns, castles and fortresses because every country had its marauders.

Times don’t change much.

Human behaviour doesn’t change.

13.10.01

 

One day I will die and all my things will be divided up. Some will go to friends as mementoes. Some will be distributed to the family. Liz will keep some of them. My kids will have some. I will take pleasure in knowing that things will go to people that might get them out from time to time and think of me. I don’t know why that is? It will not matter to me. I shall be dead.

26.10.01