How Does It Feel? – Roy Harper

How Does It Feel? – Roy Harper

 

It’s great to see a lot of people finally catching on to this brilliant song – even if it is fifty years after the event. It is one of my favourites and also one of Roy’s, I’m sure. He always talks of it fondly and it’s regularly featured in his repertoire.

 

Thank you Margaret Atwood and the producers of The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

I first heard the track fifty years ago when he began introducing it into his live set. It resonated with me because of my looming crisis and the daily battles that it created. I was a student at the time studying Zoology in London – apart from the odd lecture or two – as free as a bird. There were no restraints (apart from having no money). I had plenty of free time. I had hair down to my waist and dressed how I liked (very colourful) I was in the midst of the sixties underground. My week was full of gigs, friends, my girlfriend and the general craziness of the times. Somehow I found time to read a lot of Sci-fi! The real world wasn’t intruding too much. The game was kept at bay. But I knew that in the near future it was destined to intrude a lot more. At some time in the near future I was going to have to find something to do; I was going to have to learn to be the master’s right-hand nose. So How Does It Feel signalled the future for me. I’d sit and listen intently as Roy sang and could imagine that god strapped to my wrist.

 

Roy always did put it so clearly in his songs of social comment. They are even more pertinent now.

 

The song speaks to me of the hypocrisy, control and mindlessness of society – just a game in which the rich exploit everyone so that they can own the world. They use religion, war, poverty and politics to control and we are slotted in to the slots of career, mortgages and debt. Some strive to become wealthy and use all those status symbols – houses, cars, trophy wives, rings, gold chains, watches – all equally mindless and pointless. Some just give up or turn to drink.

 

There has to be a better way to live!

 

Fortunately I found teaching – a great compromise – a career with a great deal of fun, great latitude and something really worthwhile!

You might want to link up to Roy’s youtube channel –

 

How Does It Feel

How does it feel to be completely unreal
How does it feel to be a voter
How does it feel to be a voluntary heel
I wonder who’s it is
I see you queuing up outside Saint Peter’s gate,
You can feel bona fide if you ride with the tide
But it’s not real

How does it feel to be out on your own
How does it feel to be thinking
How does it feel to be out on the run
With the mindless world at your heels
I wish I had no answers to put to you
Cos they got me so high tied I feel
like most of me has died
And it’s real

And outside on the dragon
And inside in the cold
Mammy’s on the bandwagon, daddy’s just getting old
And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real

And how does it feel to be the master’s right hand nose
How does it feel to be lieutenant
How does it feel to be stood on someone’s toes
With a leech bleeding you for rent,
When you say you want a bit more rank
You wanna be a big wheel
You can feel magnified if you hide in
your pride… It’s not real

And how does it feel with a white flag in your fist
How does it feel to have two faces
How does it feel with your god strapped to your wrist
And him leading you such a chase
You got one set of words for him,
and you got another for me
You’re gonna feel mystified when you’re identified
Don’t worry kid it’s not real

And outside on the dragon
And inside in the cold
Mammy’s on the bandwagon, daddy’s just getting old
And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real

And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real