One for all the people who are putting themselves at risk!! Living on the Frontline!!

One for all the doctors, nurses, cleaners, shop workers, teachers, delivery people, carers and others who are putting their lives at risk to keep us safe!!

For all those without adequate medical support!! For our third world brothers and sisters! For those in refugee camps!!

For all those in war and conflict.

This one’s for you.

Poetry – Tectonic Plates of Society

Tectonic Plates of Society

 

As the tectonic plates shift

The ground beneath us.

New mountains of behaviour

Push upwards as cultures clash.

 

Mountain ranges of compassion,

Volcanoes of cooperation,

Peaks of altruism,

Earthquakes of respect.

 

The old layers of populism,

The fossilised strata of greed,

The crushed remains of selfishness,

Are fractured, bent and buried.

 

As the old separation is replaced

By new togetherness,

And the old hostilities

Are suffocated with love.

 

Opher – 29.3.2020

Poetry – Living in a bubble

 

Living in a bubble

 

Living in a bubble

On top of a wave

About to crash

On a foreign beach.

 

Wondering my fate.

To be burst?

Or washed up?

To be blown

 

By an unfamiliar wind

Across new lands,

As yet uncharted,

And come to rest?

 

To shine in the sun

A myriad of hues,

Bringing great joy,

Or disintegrate in droplets?

 

Opher 28.3.2020

America – the craziness of competition!!

I am boggled by Trump and the craziness of competition!! It is obscene!!

Trump is stuck in some capitalist nightmare! He can only see money!

He is refusing to create a Federal response to the Corona virus emergency because he says it smacks of socialism. Hence we have the madness of different States competing with each other for scant resources instead of cooperating.

So New York is desperate for ventilators and protective clothing but has to compete with other States for these things. There is a bidding war. Some States are outbidding others and selfishly stocking up. The only people who prosper are the manufacturers who are receiving obscene prices for their goods while people die!!

Profiteering out of death and misery!! How can that be morally right??

Trump claims that this is alright and the capitalist way.

In Europe Germany is donating ventilators to Italy to help in the crisis. They are shipping stricken Italians to Germany to treat them in their hospitals. This is compassionate goodwill.

If your neighbour is sick you help them. You don’t walk by on the other side of the road! There is such hypocrisy in these supposedly Christian people who are profiting from death.

If there is one thing the world needs to learn from this crisis it is that people and nature matter more than money!!

Cooperation is preferable to competition!! Isn’t that what Jesus was saying?? How come it takes an atheist to point out this hypocrisy to greedy, selfish Christians??

What the world needs now is compassion, altruism and cooperation. Thank heavens there are so many caring people out there who are not seeing everything in dollar signs!!

Schizoid – my new Sci-fi novel

The sequel to Quantum Fever. Three hundred years have passed. The aliens are ruining the planet Terra and are on the brink of war. Children of the Primitives on planet Hope are rebelling. President Woud of The System is angered. The Consortium is stirring up trouble………

In the UK:

In the USA:

Extract from ‘Farm 703 – the human project’.

This is the novel I’m working on at present. It’s a bit wacky.

‘Ngembe Graal was sitting at his desk in his office in the midst of a rare lull. He had a thousand and one emails to answer but they could wait. Nothing was pressing. For some reason the phone was silent and he had no meetings arranged. It was unusual.

He pensively swung his chair around to look out the window, allowing his mind to churn. The view from the 38th floor was magnificent, looking over Long Island and Manhattan, Turtle Bay, East River and across to Gantry Plaza State Park. It was a view that people would die for but he hardly ever noticed it. Life was a whirlwind. Even the extraordinary became ordinary when it became a familiar daily occurrence. He idly looked out the window, his mind only partially engaged. It was a beautiful day – a blue sky devoid of clouds. Out there the streets were full of bustle, people driving, rushing, or working, going about their business. People would be strolling through the park, sitting on benches, children playing. It seemed a world that was disconnected from the hurly burly of his own existence. He had to remind himself that this is what he was doing it for – so those people could go about their business and enjoy their lives.

He knew that the government had plans for a shutdown. The covid-19 virus would soon make New York into a ghost town just like Milan, Rome, London and Paris.

It was nice to have a moment to reflect. It felt like he was in the eye of a storm. It wouldn’t last.

He interlaced his fingers and swivelled his seat round. Behind him were the wooden shelves with their rows of books. His eyes played over them. In his early life those books had played an important role. He had thumbed through them looking up information. That seemed a lifetime ago. He never looked at them now. There was no need. The internet was there at his finger-tips – all the world’s knowledge and wisdom – and its fears and conspiracy theories too, its lies and misleading fake news. But he loved those books. They were more than an affectation, a piece of nostalgia or a statement of one’s personality. They might be nothing more than a mere decoration now but he could not imagine a world without books. They signified civilised life to him.

Civilised life? He wondered what he meant by that? Was the world really a civilised place? He glanced out of the window. It certainly seemed to be – at least here, for this brief moment. Everything was calm, sophisticated and ordered. People were free to believe what they wanted, go where they wanted and be who they wanted. They all rubbed along with each other without too much conflict. Yet, he knew that was just a veneer under which was a seething mess of emotions, beliefs and feelings. How quickly that veneer could crumble. He had seen it happen so many times in so many places.

All it took was a political or religious belief, a charismatic leader, a shortage of essentials and all that sophistication and orderliness gave way to violence, massacres and chaos.

The world was full of it. Sometimes it felt that this orderliness was a mirage, that he was living an unreal existence on an island in the midst of chaos. All around him the world was up in arms, religious fundamentalists attempting to disrupt and create fear, political groups using terror to destabilise, famines, droughts, disease, the Middle East at war, the super-powers slugging it out.

If only they would put aside their differences and come together. What a world we could build. The real problems were being masked and lost in the midst of these petty squabbles. Yes, that’s what they were, petty squabbles about power and control. The real issues were things like the environmental crisis – global warming and the destruction of the natural world – overpopulation, corruption and gross inequality. Those were the issues that they should be coming together to solve – not having to deal with power struggles, wars and territorial disputes contrived by politicians and religious leaders. It exasperated him. Most of the world’s problems were being deliberately created by people for their own ends. Such a shame.

His job was to try to sort it out, to find solutions, to smooth things out so that the world could become civilised, so that every part of the world could be as prosperous and orderly as this little corner of Manhattan was at this moment. What an impossible task.

He wondered whether this damn corona virus would unleash that chaos where the appearance of civilisation broke down. He hoped not.’

Ye Vagabonds – Supporting Roy Harper in Edinburgh at the Usher Hall

Ye Vagabonds – Supporting Roy Harper in Edinburgh at the Usher Hall

The Mac Gloinn brothers again performed their superb support in Edinburgh. They brought old Celtic songs to life with their great harmonies, interweaving their voices in a delicate beauty, while their own compositions fitted in seamlessly. The tones of their voices complemented each other so well. A joy to hear and a fitting start to the concert. At times they reminded me of the Incredible String Band – at other times they were quite unique. This blend of harmonies has a long tradition that goes way back into Celtic history and was resurrected in the early country and western of the 1930s-1960s in the USA. Brothers have that genetic link and upbringing that enable the nuances to develop so well. There are a host of them (Louvin, Delmore and Maddox to name a few). This was the area that the Everly Brothers tapped into on their album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us and I was interested to see that the Mc Gloinns had a cover of Barbara Allen (Barbara Ellen on their album). The stand out track for me was their own composition – Pomegranate. I look forward to seeing them again for a longer set in more intimate surrounds.

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Following their set I nipped along to purchase a CD and have a brief chat. Brian and Diarmuid were doing good business. I obviously wasn’t alone in liking their sound. They were proving popular.

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I asked if they were touring and they told me that they were bringing out another CD soon and would likely be touring the UK in December or January. I told them to be sure to play York and Hull (musical heart of Britain).

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At the end of the concert, which was the end of the tour,  Roy brought them on stage. They had just been part of something momentous – the return of Britain’s greatest singer-songwriter!

The Corona Diaries – Day 14

We are completing the second week of isolation. It’s gone quite quickly but is beginning to drag a bit. It is hard to motivate oneself.

Last night was fantastic as we all stood on our step and clapped and howled for the NHS, for the valiant staff putting their lives at risk every day, for the doctors, nurses and carers, for the police, deliverers and shelf stackers, the cleaners and volunteers – for all the public servants who have been treated so appallingly for the last ten years. We clapped for you! And it was heartening to hear everyone!!

The government are going down with the virus so things might picking up soon!

They are changing huge buildings into mass hospital wards. They are commandeering and ordering equipment.

Still no testing – unless you’re a politician or royal!!

One has wonder why they did not get in gear sooner? Why weren’t there contingency plans for test kits, protective gear and ventilators? Why did they run down the NHS? Why such a shortage of doctors and nurses?

I bet they’re regretting Brexit now and driving all those nurses, doctors and carers away!! We’ve never needed them more!!

Every day brings another set of jokes! Every day brings us nearer the end!

Hurrah for the NHS!!  Thank you!!  Let’s make sure we treat them better in the future cos I haven’t noticed a lot of bankers putting their lives on the line or caring for those in need!!