Education, careers and Captain Beefheart – an extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

Religion is a compulsory subject in British schools. Every child has to be brainwashed every single day with a religious input, by law. Isn’t that absurd?

It is an archaic throwback to the days when religion was the cornerstone of society and schools were first conceived as places where children of the elite were schooled in Latin Grammar so they could read the Bible. Later, schooling became more widely available to the general public as society had progressed and there was a need for people with knowledge and skills to carry out the various tasks and careers needed by society.

But where does the concept of educating people to expand their minds fit in? A career is one thing but a questioning mind is something else altogether. I wanted my education to be expansive, fun, illuminating and thrilling. I wanted discovery, excitement and revelation. I received facts to learn for exams. I did not really count that as an education.

13.10.01

 

Captain Beefheart was on at Middle Earth up in Covent Garden in London. That was an event that would change the whole of anybody’s life. Captain Beefheart, complete with Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Alex St Claire, Drumbo and who knew who else. The whole Magic Band. That was worth £5,000,000 of anybody’s money!

The only problem was that it was right in the middle of A Levels.

This was a crisis.

No problemo. It was the week before my Biology. I wasn’t one for revision anyway. I always did well in Biology. Besides I needed a good night out. It would set me up for the exams. But I needed my grade to get my place at university to study medicine. No problemo. I told you, I always do well in Biology.

But this was the whole of my future!

No problemo!

There was no choice in the matter. It had to be done. Beefheart might not tour again. The world might end and I wouldn’t have seen him.

Besides – it was a whole week before.

I went. Rockette Morton was ill so they postponed. They put on Aynsley Dunbar instead. There was no comparison.

They put the Captain on the following week and made it a double bill with John Mayall, complete with Pete Green on lead.

Now that was a slight problem. That was the night before my Biology exam. But a double-bill with Captain Beefheart with John Mayall and Peter Green – who could possibly afford to miss that???

If I went I would not get back until three in the morning. My exam was at nine. That was about five hours sleep. That also meant no night before revision (the only revision I tended to do). I had this theory that it was pointless revising more than a day before an exam. You forgot it all. It really wasn’t so much of a theory as an excuse – back then my memory was very good. It was just that my mind was on other things that seemed much more important to me back then.

This was my future we were talking about! My future for fuck’s sake! My eminent career as a doctor, a surgeon even! Surely I was mature enough to understand that?

But then, Captain Beefheart might not tour again, the band might break up, and Pete Green was scintillating on guitar. Besides I always came top in Biology; I didn’t need to revise. I could breeze it.

But you had to admit that five hours sleep and no revision was hardly perfect preparation for a crucial exam.

I had to think this through for all of five minutes.

Where were my parents in all this? Where was my father’s guiding hand? My mum’s words of wisdom? I can’t remember. I think they had given up on trying to influence my choices. They had decided that I was a law unto myself. While not shining in my academic endeavours, I did seem to get by, so they tended to leave me to it.

The concert was brilliant! One of the best ever! The Magic band were storming! Beefheart was incredible! John Mayall, even with Pete Green, paled into insignificance.

The Biology exam was all right but there were a few questions that proved a little tricky. A bit of revision might not have gone amiss.

When the results came out I had missed the required standard by a grade. That could have been a single mark! One fact! One glance at one page of notes! The university was not impressed. They declined my services. Instead of studying medicine I did a Zoology degree at a lesser establishment. I went on to establish a scintillating career as a teacher. The pay of a teacher is not greatly comparable to the pay of a surgeon. But what the hell! Who wanted a career anyway? There was far too much real living to be getting on with, a whole universe to explore!

Some concerts are worth £5000,000 of anybody’s money.

2.11.01

 

Why is poetry not the only compulsory subject in schools?

13.10.01

 

There’s no doubt that nuclear energy is a big mistake in this age of global terrorism. A plane smashing into a nuclear plant could be a catastrophe.

Just imagine how many tens of thousands of terrorists, each consuming twenty tins of beans, it would take to sabotage a field of Wind Turbines?

3.11.01

Today’s Music to cheer me up in Isolation!

As this virus continues to lock us up in our own homes I continue to find music a great emotional boost!

I am selecting an artist a day and playing them loud.

Today’s music is Captain Beefheart!!

I first discovered the good old Captain when his first album came out in 1967. I was fortunate to catch them at Middle Earth on their first tour and it blew me away – the best band I’ve ever seen live! That concert is right up there with Jimi Hendrix and Roy Harper!

 

Poetry – A Soundtrack

A Soundtrack

 

There’s a soundtrack to my life,

Illustrating my feelings,

Feeding my mind,

Nourishing my spirit.

 

A soundtrack to love.

A background to work.

 

It is the music,

Intertwined with memories,

That gives colour,

Awakens emotions,

Stokes the fires inside,

To bring me fully alive.

 

That soundtrack contains my essence.

 

Opher – 2.1.2020

 

 

As I have grown up music has played a huge role in my development. The lyrics, the poems, the sounds, have entered into me, expanding my vision, intensifying my experience.

Now, when I hear a certain track, it conjures up memories, feelings and thoughts.

Music is inextricably linked to my life and inner being.

Zoot Horn Rollo – Captain Beefheart guitarist – Book review – Lunar Notes.

Zoot Horn Rollo – Captain Beefheart guitarist – Book review – Lunar Notes.

Bill Harkleroad aka Zoot Horn Rollo is one of my heroes. I was fortunate enough to see the best band in the universe – Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – a number of times back in the sixties and seventies. They were undoubtedly the greatest band that ever lived (and I’ve seen most of the biggest bands on the planet). Their interweaving rhythms, guitars and bass was the most complex and exciting sound to have been generated by any band. When that is coupled with Don Van Vliet’s (Captain Beefheart) incredible voice and poetry the result is in another planet.

Zoot was an amazing guitarist and remarkable individual. To see him play live in that band was a revelation.

This book is not a professionally written/ghost written book. It is not carefully crafted. It is Zoot reminiscing and talking about his experience in that band. I can imagine him talking into a tape-recorder with a friend. He saws he is not a writer, and he isn’t, but this is his story and recollections. I enjoyed it immensely.

Thanks Zoot. I loved your live performances and those brilliant albums you played on.

The Magic Band are still together (hopefully) with Drumbo, Rockette Morton and Denny Whalley. They are still brilliant. Still one of the best bands around even without Don. What I would give to see the band tour again and Zoot do a guest appearance!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lunar-Notes-Captain-Beefheart-Experience/dp/1908728345/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446404504&sr=1-1&keywords=Zoot+Horn+Rollo

Poetry – Egg Poot Froth – A poem I wrote for Don Van Vliet – Captain Beefheart.

Poetry – Egg Poot Froth – A poem I wrote for Don Van Vliet – Captain Beefheart.

All this talk of Captain Beefheart took me back to this poem I wrote. It is an attempt to capture something of his inimitable style. So obviously it failed horribly as nobody can ever come close.

But it was fun. I visualised it as a performance piece. At one time I was discussing dressing up as a pantomime horse with my mate Rich, walking around Hull with me reciting this through the horses backside.

Somehow he wasn’t keen.

EGG POOT FROTH

Egg poot froth

Egg poot froth

Masticated in magenta mandibles

Egg poot froth

Migrating magnificently

Nowhere

 

Tooth drip spew

          Tooth drip spew

Grips the tortured trebles

Tooth drip spew

Tangibly trembling

In the air

 

Egg poot     Tooth drip

 

While the tragic hobo jungle bum

Constructs the new day

And rambles on his way

Egg poot froth

Egg poot froth

 

Egg poot

Tooth drip

Froth spew

While the hobo bum

Creates the day anew

 

Gypsy Queen Princess

Illuminates the new day

Dancing through magenta dawn

To where the hoboes play

 

Egg poot froth

Egg poot froth

 

She chooses wisely

As the magic hoboes pose

Evades the tooth and spew

That every pooter knows

 

Tooth drip spew

 

Maxillae clatter

And labia vibrate

Hoboes spurt

Pooters can’t wait

 

Egg poot froth                         Egg poot froth

 

Young dudes rush and prance

While claw and tooth cleave

Old jungle bums

Reap the day and leave

 

Tooth drip            Spew

 

The Gypsy Queen Princess

Discards her froth and poots

Another day is born

Another pooter shoots

 

Egg poot froth

Egg poot froth

That’s all there is!

Egg poot froth

Evolution’s come to this!

 

Opher 12.7.00

Poetry – Vliet – A poem for Captain Beefheart.

Poetry – Vliet – A poem for Captain Beefheart.

I was entranced by Don Vliet the moment I heard him way back in 1967. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band created some of the greatest music ever. That first album was just a taster. The live performance that year was probably the best I have ever seen.

Some find him discordant. But for me it gels together into the most original music ever recorded. His poetry was the same, that rich imagery and invented words.

Live the band were amazing. The Magic band still are but I can’t help but miss the Captain.

Way back in 1981 he gave the music up forever. He turned his attention to his other love – art, with equal brilliance.

His paintings from the deserts of California were carved from slabs of colour that sang with their own fluorescence. I could lose myself in those paintings in the same way I did the music.

It would have been good to sit out on the steps in the desert and watch that sun slowly sink towards the horizon. I can imagine it.

VLIET

Looking through Vliet’s eyes at scrawny black crows

Perched on jagged cactus vantage points

Before daubed hills and scrawled figures

Carved with sweeping strikes of thick textured colour

On a timeless backdrop of infinity.

 

Staring at distorted garish dreams of reality

Timelessly floating towards forever ……………forever……….

Along the tides of an invisible desert sea

And wishing we were caught within the waters of his eyes

In neon magic,

Breathing the ocean bottom together,

As we watched the sun slowly set

And sipped a beer.

 

 

Opher 4.10.97

New definitive book on Rock Music from its roots – Rock Routes

New definitive book on Rock Music from its roots – Rock Routes – out now in paperback for £9.57.

I spent years writing this and have been holding it back. I decided to release it now. I don’t know why.

If you like Rock Music you will adore this! It gives you my personal take on all the genres and their major exponents and essential tracks. It’s informative and readable. It sheds light and is a great guide. Why not give it a try?

Blurb

This charts the progress of Rock Music from its beginnings in Country Blues, Country& Western, R&B and Gospel through to its Post Punk period of 1980. It tells the tale of each genre and lists all the essential tracks. I was there at the beginning and I’m still there at the front! Keep on Rockin’!!

Poetry – Vliet – A poem for Captain Beefheart.

Poetry – Vliet – A poem for Captain Beefheart.

I was entranced by Don Vliet the moment I heard him way back in 1967. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band created some of the greatest music ever. That first album was just a taster. The live performance that year was probably the best I have ever seen.

Some find him discordant. But for me it gels together into the most original music ever recorded. His poetry was the same, that rich imagery and invented words.

Live the band were amazing. The Magic band still are but I can’t help but miss the Captain.

Way back in 1981 he gave the music up forever. He turned his attention to his other love – art, with equal brilliance.

His paintings from the deserts of California were carved from slabs of colour that sang with their own fluorescence. I could lose myself in those paintings in the same way I did the music.

It would have been good to sit out on the steps in the desert and watch that sun slowly sink towards the horizon. I can imagine it.

VLIET

Looking through Vliet’s eyes at scrawny black crows

Perched on jagged cactus vantage points

Before daubed hills and scrawled figures

Carved with sweeping strikes of thick textured colour

On a timeless backdrop of infinity.

 

Staring at distorted garish dreams of reality

Timelessly floating towards forever ……………forever……….

Along the tides of an invisible desert sea

And wishing we were caught within the waters of his eyes

In neon magic,

Breathing the ocean bottom together,

As we watched the sun slowly set

And sipped a beer.

 

 

Opher 4.10.97

My first Captain Beefheart concert in 1968

My first Captain Beefheart concert in 1968

 

I was introduced to Captain Beefheart and the West Coast Acid Rock sound by a very long-haired friend of mine called Mike. His aim in life was to grow his hair as long as he could. To that end he lived in fear of split-ends so he refused to either comb or brush his hair. He would run his fingers through it.

Mike was also fond of LSD. He would take a tab and go up to London to Middle Earth or the UFO to catch Pink Floyd or any of the West Coast Bands. He would tell me about coming out of an all-nighter into the daylight while still tripping and seeing the mounted police morphing into centaurs.

Mike’s favourite bands were Country Joe and the Fish, the Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. He would play them to me incessantly and I loved them too.

At the time I was taking my A Levels. I had a place at university sorted. All I had to do was achieve the grades. Mike was a year older and was already away at college in York doing a history degree.

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band came across for their first tour. I already had that first album ‘Safe as Milk’ which I thought contained some of the best music I had heard. I knew I had to see them. They were appearing a week prior to my crucial Biology exam. That was fine. I knew that I wouldn’t get back from the concert to two or three in the morning but that was alright. I had a whole week to recover and do a spot of revision. I wasn’t very good at revision. I tended to leave it to the night before.

Eagerly I went up to London to see them only to discover the concert was postponed. Rockette Morton was ill. They put the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation on in their place. Now I liked Aynsley but he was by no means my favourite Blues band. I was extremely disappointed.

During the concert they announced that they were going to do a special double-header the following week. Not only was Captain Beefheart going to play but they were putting on John Mayall as well.

Well that floored me.

John Mayall was a favourite of mine. He had Pete Green on guitar. When that was added to Beefheart it was a package not to be missed.

To be fair I did think it over for a day or two. I knew how important those exams were. If I messed up that was my whole future. My career was out the window.

But then I never messed up Biology. I had done well in every test. There was no need to panic.

You would think that I might have found a compromise and really put in an effort on the revision on the days leading up to the exam. Unfortunately my adolescent brain simply did not function that way.

I went to the concert. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band completely blew my mind. The album had been good but live they were in a different universe. I had never heard music like it. It was so exciting, complex and dynamic that it had me bouncing and beaming right through. It was so incredibly good that I only have the vaguest memory of John Mayall. They did all the best stuff off that first album – Electricity, Yellow Brick Road, Drop Out Boogie and Abba Zabba. I still think of it as one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

I did get back at three o clock and my Biology exam started at 9.00 o clock. But I was too excited by what I’d seen. I couldn’t possibly sleep.

Needless to say I missed my university place by one grade. That could conceivably have been one single mark. I ended up going to a polytechnic and not becoming a doctor.

I worked out at some point that the Beefheart concert cost me between one and three million pounds.

But it was worth every penny. You can’t buy memories.

Featured Book – Rock Music – The Blues Muse – The Contents

Contents

 

Dedication                                                      2

About the Author                                            3

Index                                                               4

Introduction                                                    7

Tutwiler Mississippi                                      9

Crystal Springs                                               12

Lula                                                                 15

Rolling Fork                                                   18

Yazoo                                                              19

The Crossroads                                               20

Clarkesdale                                                     22

Baton Rouge to New Orleans                         25

All at sea with Guthrie                                   29

New York                                                       31

Riding the blinds to California                      32

Briefly Mississippi                                         34

Nashville                                                        36

Mississippi Reprise and on to Chicago         39

McComb                                                         40

Tupelo                                                             42

Chicago                                                           44

White Station Mississippi                              48

Memphis                                                         53

New Orleans and Specialty                            58

Georgia and the South                                                60

Screamin’ and Flamin’ in the South              63

Back to Chicago                                             65

Lubbock Texas                                               71

Memphis again and Nashville again              75

Graceland                                                       78

Up in Canada                                                  80

New York                                                       81

New York Blues                                             84

Louisiana                                                        85

England                                                           87

Detroit                                                            90

New York again                                              92

England                                                           93

Liverpool                                                        94

The Cavern                                                     96

Hamburg Germany                                         98

London                                                            100

Richmond Surrey and the Thames Delta       102

Swinging London                                           109

New York yet again                                        112

Greenwich Village                                         115

The Gaslight                                                   120

Greystone Park State Hospital                       123

Newport                                                          124

Washington                                                    125

The Gaslight again                                         128

British Invasion                                              129

Newport two                                                   132

Manchester                                                     135

Soho                                                                138

More Soho                                                      141

TV Breaks                                                      143

Psychedelic London                                       144

Hyde Park                                                       148

Dylan’s accident                                             150

San Francisco                                                 151

Los Angeles                                                    154

Memphis and Monterey                                 156

London                                                            159

Tolworth                                                         162

Eel Pie Island                                                  165

Hammersmith                                                 167

Windsor                                                          169

New York                                                       172

Hyde Park                                                       175

Woodstock                                                      177

Electric Ladyland                                           180

Altamont                                                         182

The Isle of Wight                                           184

Country Rock                                                 186

Nellcote – South of France                            185

Hammersmith                                                 188

Kilburn and Ascot                                          190

Laurel Canyon                                                            192

CBGBs and the Chelsea Hotel                       193

Jamaica                                                           195

Plymouth                                                        197

Sheffield                                                         199

Rome and Chicago                                         201

Islington                                                          203

West London                                                  206

Belfast                                                            208

Barking                                                           210

Asbury Park                                                    211

Brixton                                                            212

New York                                                       214

Central Park                                                    216

Hull                                                                 218

 

Other books by this Author that you might enjoy.    220

If you have enjoyed my writing and would like to purchase one of my books I have put some links to my best Rock books below:

 

In The USA:

 

In Search Of Captain Beefheart

 

 

The Blues Muse

 

https://www.amazon.com/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B01HDQEMQ6/ref=sr_1_43?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535030883&sr=1-43&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

https://www.amazon.com/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518621147/ref=sr_1_44?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535030925&sr=1-44&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Rock Routes

 

 

In The UK:

 

In Search Of Captain Beefheart

 

 

The Blues Muse

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518621147/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535030662&sr=1-8&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

Rock Routes

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Routes-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1514873095/ref=sr_1_35?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535030730&sr=1-35&keywords=opher+goodwin

 

In other part of the world please check your local Amazon!

 

Thank you for looking and please leave a review if you enjoyed the book!!