Anecdote – My Dad and a mug

Anecdote – My Dad and a mug

My Dad and a mug
My old man worked up in Fleet Street. He ran a news reporters office. They all called him Ron. He demanded high standards and made sure he worked harder and longer than anyone else.
Every day he was up at half past six. He smoked a roll up and drink a cup of tea before sorting his breakfast. He’d catch the seven thirty to Waterloo and be in the office by nine. He finished at five thirty and was home at six thirty. Mum would have his tea on the table. He’d eat an then sit on the soafa reading all the newspapers, (he had every single national paper), checking out the stories, places and names, and watch a bit of telly. He’d either smoke his pipe or roll-ups. At ten he would make a milky drink and go to bed.
I used to think the Kinks – Well Respected Man – had some resonance with his life. It was regulated. There did not seem room for anything else. He worked Saturday and Sunday followed a pattern. He’d mow the grass, carve the joint and occasionally go down the pub for a pint on the green.
I think he found his work satisfying, maybe fulfilling, but to me it looked drab. I despised the predictability and the way it demanded all of him. My mum resented it too. She did not like the way he put his entire being into it. She said he never turned off. I wanted something more out of life. Work was not going to steal my spirit.
When I was seven or eight he took me up to work with him. We went up on the train. I enjoyed the bustle of it. It was exciting to go into his office. I remember him walking into the place with confidence and purpose. He was the boss. As he walked through the door the teaboy handed him a mug of tea – milk and two sugars – he did not even break stride. It was as if he had been waiting. He probably had. Dad was like clockwork. I was super impressed.
Dad took me to his office. We sat with mugs of tea while dad checked all the raw reports sitting in his in-tray. He corrected grammar and spelling and sent it off to the editorial office or filed it elsewhere.
I watched the office. I was intrigued. Dad had thirty people working for him on telephones plus a bunch of ancillary staff such as the teaboy and clerical staff. All of the telephone reported sat in little carels with headphones on and a Remington typewriter. Reporters at the scene would phone in their raw reports. The telephone reporter typed it up. They had to type at the speed the news reporter spoke – and sometimes they spoke fast. The task of a telephone reporter was to type fast enough to get it down and to ensure grammar, spelling and punctuation was correct. That was quite an ask.
I sat and watched, mesmerised, by it all. All around there were typewriters rattling away, mugs of tea being delivered and drunk, fags smoked and ashtrays filling to overflowing. There was a blue haze in the room. My dad sat in his office as report after report rolled in. He scrutinised, corrected and sent them on their way. Phones were continually ringing, people rushing about and a general buzz of excitement.
This was where the news happened. It was intense. You could taste the adrenaline.
Dad’s role was crucial. He hired and fired and ran the office. He sorted and made decisions about what to pass on and where it went. He corrected the script. There were deadlines and sometimes great spurts of activity so that he was inundated. Then it might ease off for a while.
Dad had a good team. He only employed the best. He told me his system. He always met with the person applying then he gave them a test that probed their weaknesses. It was a speed typing test with punctuation and spelling. He told me he had two tests – extremely hard and impossible. If he liked the applicant he gave them the extremely hard one. If they passed he hired them. If he did not like them he gave them the impossible one.
I enjoyed my day at his office. I was pampered by the clerical staff and the reporters. I could see that they liked and respected dad. I could also see that the adrenaline and frenetic nature of the job was addictive. There was a camaraderie and professionalism. It was hard, intense and required skills and concentration.
But what impressed me most was the way that mug of tea had been placed in his hand as he walked in. That spoke reams.

Extract from Maslow’s Stranger (a long short story)!

The stranger found himself back out in the dusty street.

The next house called him across to it, and this one felt right, though he doubted that he could trust his feelings any more. He was still shaking from the previous experiences. He was beginning to doubt himself and his own intuition.

Inside the rooms were empty apart from rows of huge vats. He looked at them with mounting trepidation, reining in his feelings and gathering himself back under control.  Past experience had caused great internal conflict. He was not sure he could he could trust anything again. He did not know if he could take much more of this.

He frowned to himself as he studied the vats. He no longer knew what to expect. This whole sequence of events was outside of his experience. There was no way of knowing what was going to happen next. It seemed that he was being led and all that was open to him to do was to follow, to go where he was pulled. Giving himself up to this new feeling of predestination he walked across to investigate. Each bucket was equipped with a huge spoon.

He peered inside the first and found that it was full of letters. Taking hold of the spoon he stirred the contents and watched in unexpected fascination as the letters first formed themselves into words and then the words arranged themselves into sentences. He peered into the layers and layers of swirling paragraphs forming countless stories, reading them, drawn into them until immersed. The stories spoke of such adventure and intrigue, lust, honour and imagination that they sent the soul soaring. With each new stir a new story appeared.

He was fascinated and continued to stir and read. When he stirred rhythmically the words arranged themselves into poems and danced with fun or illuminated feelings with metered insight. The words revealed wonder that transcended the limits of their inspiration. A lifetime could be spent in awe and fulfilment in the thrall of this magic; a lifetime peering into the magic of the characters, feelings and worlds conjured up by the arrangement of those words. He stopped stirring and they settled back into independent letters again, each a potential explosion of nuance waiting to be awoken.

His mind thrilled to the power of those words and urged him to once again dip and stir. But he felt the pressure of time. There was so much still to do, so great a gamut of experience, so many buckets to stir. It was time to move on.

The next vat was full of colour and when he stirred this images flowed before his eyes. They arranged themselves into shapes, beautiful collages, and spectacular scenes. The vibrant colours shone with aching intensity. The images spoke to him with emotion as they captured the scope of human experience.

The third produced sound and as he stirred the sounds interacted to produce music, and the music weaved its magic patterns to soothe his brain and then rose to jerk the passion from out of his soul until the tears flowed down his cheeks. He stirred harder and the music rose majestically to fill him with pride and resolve.

His spirits soared. It felt like play and he rushed from vat to vat stirring and delighting in what was produced.

He had ceased to be amazed by anything anymore. He had stopped having expectations and no longer looked for answers. For the moment ‘doing’ was quite enough.

For hour after hour, lost in time, he rushed from vat to vat excited to find what he could see. The rhymes, the rhythms and the shapes. The mysteries explored and the truths revealed. And every one of them new. Every one unique. Everything as no one had ever seen before and would never see again. And when he stopped stirring then everything was lost. Only he could create these new patterns, these forms, and these sounds. They all came out of him. They were of him and he gave them life. Maybe that was sufficient?

He ceased playing with the words, colours and sounds in the various vats and whimsically made his way back out into the deserted streets.

There were many other houses. Who knows, maybe he would find someone who could tell him who he was, where he had come from and how to get out of this place? There had to be someone to ask, some way of making sense of this experience.

The sun still shone intensely.

The dust devils played around him.

The stranger set off to discover more.

Visiting Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller at Big Sur.

This is Big Sur. It’s a holy place in my mind – Sacred Ground.

This is the place where two of my biggest heroes came, lived and wrote – Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller.

This is the country, high mountains and rocky shores, where mountain lions call and the bush is tinder dry.

This is where we hitch-hiked back in the Summer of 1971. A place where the Milky Way was a mystical dust spread across the heavens and Pfeiffer State beach was a magic sanctuary of warm, friendly strangers, where we shared stories, music, food, drink and spliff and watched the sun go down over that warm, inviting ocean.

Back in 1971 Henry Miller was still alive and we discussed trying to find out where he lived and going to visit. But we were crazy kids. What would he want with us? So we didn’t.

I wish we had.

We went in search of his ghost in 2011. We’d seen the ghost of the Grateful Dead in SF at the Fillmore. We’d seen the ghost of Kerouac in another Beat Museum in SF.

Now it was Henry’s turn.

This was his house, where he’d written, got drunk and entertained friends. We’d found it much too late.

He was not there.

Like Kerouac he only existed in the dust and words that blew around my feet and in my head.

We had the sunset, the stars, the rocks and waves; and we had the books.

The Mountain Lions still roared.

It didn’t matter.

Opher Goodwin Interviews Opher Goodwin

‘Good morning Opher, how are you?’

‘I’m fine, thank you, Opher. Good of you to ask.’

‘There are a lot of people out there interested in knowing what makes you tick.’


‘Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about yourself and your writing?’

‘No. Not at all. Fire away. Opher Goodwin is my favourite topic of conversation.’

‘How long have you been writing?’

‘I’ve been writing for nearly fifty years. I actually started writing seriously in 1969.’

‘So technically that is only 47 years, isn’t it?’

‘Yes, but sometimes I write very fast and pack a couple of years into one.’

‘So how many books have you written?’

‘I’ve actually written 58.’

‘You have 58 books published?’

‘No. I have only published thirty four so far.’

‘Why not the others?’

‘Give me time – I’m getting there.’

‘So why aren’t you on the best sellers lists?’

‘I don’t write blockbusters. I write from the heart. I write with passion and I do not always follow convention. Some of my novels are quite mainstream but some are very unconventional. I tend to write exactly what I like and not tailor it for a market or commercial interests. I’m not writing for money or fame. My books cover many different genres. I’m a maverick alternative writer.’

‘So why do you not take all the good advice and settle for producing a few books in a particular genre and set about properly publishing and marketing them so that you become known and sell a lot more?’

‘Because I don’t want to. I like writing what I like to write, when I like to write it and how I like to write it. I don’t like constraints. That’s like imprisoning my creativity.’

‘But you’d like to sell a lot more?’

‘I would like my books to be read. There’s a difference.’

‘So what are all these genres?’

‘My main two are Rock Music and the Sixties and Sci-Fi, but I do Beat poetry, experimental novels, antitheist novels, environmental books, education, art, and even travel. A lot of them come straight out of my own experience.’

‘Why aren’t you more successful?

‘I think having all these books confuses people. They don’t know which one to go for. They do not know that I have been writing for so long and think I go for quantity and not quality.’

‘So what are the basic themes of your books?

‘The environment runs through most of them. I love animals and science. I’m a biologist. I despair at the destruction of the natural world by our burgeoning population and the lack of interest from our greedy, narrow-minded politicians. Then there is the love of loud Rock music and the ideals of the sixties and fifties. The alternative cultures of the Beats and Hippies. Also the power of education to overcome fascism and fundamentalism.’

‘You seem to have a thing about religion?’

‘Yes I do. I cannot understand why the whole world is in thrall to one of three medieval Middle Eastern cults. I do not deny that there are some great stories and good advice in those old writings but there is also so appalling intolerant and violent garbage. It boggles me that they can be claimed to be the exact word of god. I believe that religion has been used by powerful men to bolster their power; it has been used to create division and hatred. What was it about the writing of three Arab clans from a small area in the Middle East that has created such turmoil and ferment?’

‘But what about all the good religion does?’

‘The evil, intolerance and hatred outweighs all the good – we’d be better off without any of it.’

‘And the environment?’

‘We are trashing it. We are killing everything. In my life-time the teeming herds are being wiped out. The forests cleared and the insects decimated. All in the name of progress. For a fast buck. We have to stop!’

‘You sound like an angry man.’

‘I am angry. I hate what we are doing to the world. I hate the war, poverty and wanton destruction. I hate the cruelty thoughtlessness and greed. I hate the inequality, racism, sexism and disparity between rich and poor. We can solve all the problems overnight if we didn’t keep electing corrupt megalomaniacs to run the show.’

‘Do you think your writing will help solve all that?’

‘It’s all I can do. I write. There are millions of us out there who think like me. Together, through the web, we can make a difference. We can build a better zeitgeist and change the world for the better.’

‘Well thank you for being so candid.’

‘It’s always easy when you know what the questions are and they are tailored to the answers.’

If you would like to purchase this novel (or any of my other books) you can get it from Amazon.

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My Best Novels – Please take a look!!

My Best Novels


I’ve written a number of novels. These are a few of my favourites:


Goofin’ With the Cosmic Freaks


An ‘On The Road’ for the sixties.


In the UK:



In The USA:


Danny’s Story


The tale of life in bedsit land in the sixties.


In the UK:



In the USA


Bodies in a Window


A novel centred round the illness and death of my father.


In the UK:


In the USA:


Reflections from a Ditch


An experimental novel about a car journey, an accident and life.


In the UK:




In the USA:

What if? – An Alternative Possibility.

What if?


‘I’ve got us a gig on Saturday in Manchester,’ John informed them.

Nobody seemed that impressed.

‘How much does it pay?’ Pete asked.

‘Fifty quid,’ John said.

The atmosphere in the rehearsal room was pretty gloomy. Fifty quid hardly went anywhere in 1966. Once you’d put petrol in the van, bought a bag of chips and a pint you were left with ten quid each.

‘We were lucky to get that, lads,’ John said, trying his best to raise the spirits. ‘All the clubs are shutting down. Bloody cavern shut down last week.’

If he’d intended to raise them up he was failing badly.

‘Where are we going lads?’ he asked cheerily, attempting to urge them into their mantra of optimism. There was no ‘To the Toppermost of the Toppermost’ refrain. Nowadays they were just hanging in there rather than looking to break through.

‘Feels like the bottommost of the bottommost to me,’ Paul observed.

‘I’m thinking of packing it in,’ George said gloomily. ‘My Dad said he can get me a job as a cashier in the bank.’

Nobody said anything. They’d all been down that road. Doing casual labour to make ends meet was no fun. They could sense that the thing was falling apart. The energy had gone and audience sizes were dwindling. Nobody was interested any more. It had had its day. Perhaps it was time for them all to call it a day?

‘Who we on with?’ Paul asked.

‘The Rolling Stones again,’ John said.

‘They still doing that Blues stuff?’ Paul asked, plugging in his bass.

‘Yeah, Brian has it down to a t’ John said, ‘though they’ve not been the same since Mick left.’

‘I’ve heard he’s going into law,’ George reflected, plugging his guitar in.

‘Ha,’ John smirked. ‘I can just see him as a solicitor. He’ll be a judge before he’s through.’

‘Rory’s bunch have broken up,’ Paul remarked. ‘Ringo’s got a job as a redcoat at Butlins.’

‘The hurricane’s blown out then,’ John observed with a narrowing of the eyes. ‘I bet Ringo’ll go down a storm.’ He laughed mockingly.

‘Well at least he’s bringing in a pay packet,’ George pointed out.

‘Let’s get down to playing some Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ John suggested as an antidote to the gloom.

‘Why don’t we try something different,’ Paul suggested. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll is old hat. Have you seen the charts? Cliff is number one again and Bobby Vee and Bobby Rydell are racing up. They’re all doing ballads. Charts are just full of American pop and ballads. We could try doing something a bit more poppy.’

‘I’m not doing any of that American shyte,’ John asserted firmly. ‘I hate that pop crap – all flashing teeth and Italian suits. I hate that lightweight rubbish. Give me good old Rock ‘n’ Roll any day. I don’t care what’s in the charts. They’re all shyte.’

‘Even Elvis is doing pop stuff,’ Paul reminded him. ‘All this leather gear is out. We’ve become boring old dinosaurs. Nobody’s interested any more. It’s all old fashioned. Teddy boys are a thing of the past.’

John glared at him myopically through slitted eyes. ‘I’m not playing pop shyte.’

Pete sat behind his drum kit and looked on. It was always like this. He never said much at the best of times. Now that his good looks were fast fading, as the beer was bloating him up, he was losing his popularity with the girls and in great danger of being kicked out of the band. Not that he was that bothered any more. None of them were very popular with the girls these days. Things had moved on. The days of screaming girls were long past.

‘We could try doing some of our own or doing more standards. They always go down well.’

‘We’ve been down that road,’ John said belligerently. ‘All that One After 909 and Love Me Do crap. Nobody was interested. It was crap. We’re never going to be as good as Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry, why bother?’ He glowered at Paul. ‘No. Let’s just stick to what we’re good at and play Rock ‘n’ Roll.’

Paul shrugged.

‘Perhaps we should have done what Brian wanted us to do?’ George suggested.

‘What?’ John turned on him angrily. ‘Had our hair cut and worn poncey suits? Played liked Bobby Vee?’

‘He offered to manage us,’ George insisted. ‘He said he could get us an audition with Decca.’

Pete did a drum roll.

‘Like hell he could,’ John sneered. ‘What did that posh git know about anything? He couldn’t even run a record shop properly. What did that smarmy ponce know about the music business?’

‘He said that if we smartened up and played the game he could have got us lots of gigs and an audition,’ George persisted.

‘Yeah,’ John scoffed, ‘and Decca would have signed us up and we’d conquer America and be bigger than Elvis. Yeah, poncey Brian Epstein would have done that, wouldn’t he? Who gives a fuck about British Rock anyway? Even Cliff couldn’t break America. They will never give a damn about the Brits. That’s a waste of time.’

‘Well, if you hadn’t laid him out,’ George suggested, ‘he might have managed us and we might have had a chance?’

My own political views and why I hold them.

My own political views and why I hold them.

writer cartoon

I am an environmental socialist. As such my allegiance is towards the Green Party and the Labour Party.


As the contest for power in Britain is between Labour and Conservative I would tend to focus on that rather than to support the Green party in elections.


I am a Labour supporter because:


  1. I do not support any of the Tory aims or philosophies:


  • I do not believe in god. I am an antitheist.
  • I am not a monarchist. I do not recognise the right for any persons to rule us and I do not support the huge amount of public money spent on the Royal Family. They are among the wealthiest in the world because of the assets they seized from the people of this country. They have more than enough to support themselves. They have been reduced to a quaint pageant.
  • I am not a patriot. I believe in all humanity and have a global perspective. There are good and bad things about our history and culture and I’m not a nationalist – I’m an internationalist.
  • I do not believe in a free market economy where the rich exploit people for profit and become obscenely rich while the poor suffer. Particularly the way this operates on a world-wide market and creates poverty, starvation and death. I believe it is morally wrong.
  • I do not believe in ‘trickle down’. I think history shows that the rich are quite happy to live in extreme luxury while working people live in slums and starve. Paternal obligation fails.
  • I do not believe in deregulation. We saw the effects of that when Thatcher deregulated the cattle food industry. They promptly lowered the temperature in the processing plants to save money and increase profits. The result was BSE and a devastated beef market. It cost billions. History shows that deregulation results in cutting corners, putting health and safety at lower levels, putting profits first and lives at risk.
  • I do not believe in privatisation. I cannot see how putting someone in charge to cream of profits for themselves can possibly make anything cheaper. I simply do not believe in competition.
  • I do not believe in a flexible labour market. It results in poor pay, zero hours contracts and poor conditions.

2. I do support most Labour beliefs.

  • I do believe that a man or woman deserves fair pay for a fair day’s work.
  • I do not believe that bosses deserve huge multimillion pound salaries and multimillion pound bonuses. I find that obscene. They do not work harder that a man or woman down a pit or a teacher in a classroom.
  • I do believe in a much fairer distribution of wealth.
  • I do believe in environmentalism, feminism and liberalism.
  • I do believe in reform and change.
  • I do believe in higher taxes to pay for good social services – schools, hospitals, council services, roads and infrastructure.
  • I do believe the government should intervene and insist on fairness, standards, health and safety, good management, good practice and no unlawful practice.
  • I do think that the state should run our national services. I would have the NHS, all Schools, Rail, Roads, Water, Electricity, Gas, Postal services all run by the State. The sale and fragmentation of the rail network, water, gas, electricity and postal service is a stupidity and has not benefited anyone. It does not make any sense to me at all.
  • I believe privatisation puts more money into the hands of the rich.
  • I believe that private schools give privilege to those that can afford it and maintain the establishment, old boy network and the gulf between rich and poor. The state system needs more funding.
  • I do believe that the huge difference between rich and poor is responsible for a lot of social unrest and misery. It needs addressing. I would do that through taxation. We desperately need to redistribute wealth.
  • I do believe the rights and working conditions of ordinary people need protecting.
  • I do believe we need a welfare state for those in need. Though I do believe that it has gone far too far. It should be a safety net for those in real need and not a hand-out for the work-shy and scroungers. It is one area that I have some sympathy for Tory policy. Though I do believe that we should provide basic short-term housing, care and support.
  • I believe we have to discourage people from having more than two children. There should be no child benefit and punitive taxation. The population explosion needs curbing.
  • I believe that no social change or beneficial conditions for workers has been freely given. Fairness, pay and justice has come about through struggle and blood.


As far as I’m concerned it is a no-brainer. I vote Labour.


If I had my way the world would run on socialist values and everything would be hunky-dory, fair, just and harmonious. There would not be poverty, poor education, poor health or grotesque wealth differentials.


Now, as a pragmatist I can see the downside. Nationalised industries do become flaccid and complacent. Having investment and industrial competition creates some vitality.


The values and philosophy of the parties is diluted by pragmatism.


In order to get elected neither of the two main parties can fully put its policies into operation.


The Tories have to give a standard of living to the workers or they won’t vote for them. I believe they give as little as they possibly can and put a spin on it through the media they control.


The Socialists have to reduce taxes and support business in order to create the wealth needed to have the level of social care.

I’m sure you all have your own views on this! I’d like to hear what they are.

It was Fifty Years Ago Today

It was Fifty Years Ago Today


It was fifty years ago today

Revolution took to the streets.

In Grosvenor Square and Paris

Students sang to different beats.


In Prague too they were coming alive

Digging the jive as establishments swayed,

Responding with an iron fist

As those rebellious songs played.


They used tanks against the Czechs

And armed guards in Ohio

Tear gas in London

And swung clubs in Chicago


Give Peace a Chance

For the Street Fighting Man

As the Unknown Soldier

Asked what was the plan in Vietnam.


Fifty years on from that protest and change

Now the psychedelic colours are muted.

What is the legacy of the great revolution?

In simple terms that can’t be refuted?


Environmental movements and Women’s Lib?

Or just fashion, music and wind?

The establishment’s firmly back in control

And revolution’s been binned.


Opher 2.1.2018

The Gordian Fetish – The Introduction

Here’s my new book. I hope you like it. Feedback is welcome.


How important is consciousness? How rare is it in the universe?

It is incredibly rare but not many people here on Earth seem to care about that – but the Gordians do – they value it – they seek it out and look to protect it. They have an institute funded by their government that is geared to the conservation of endangered alien sentient beings.

Unfortunately a new Gordian leader has come along who believes in austerity. He is threatening to close the institute.

Humans are sentient and have a modicum of intelligence. They can hardly be termed endangered though. There are 4000 billion of them; but they are extremely interesting. They have sex. They also have politics and religion. They pretend to be clever and civilised but they are nowhere near as clever and civilised as they think they are.

Most Gordians are intrigued by humans. They find sex astounding and humans cute.

Being cute and having sex might just be their saving graces.


I have started to produce my best Sci-fi books under a new name. This is the first. It is now available on Amazon.

In the UK:

In the USA:

The Gordian Fetish – A great new Sci-fi novel.

Book Launch – The Gordian Fetish – Sci-Fi Novel – Ron Forsythe

I have started to produce my best Sci-fi books under a new name. This is the first. It is now available on Amazon.

In the UK:

In the USA: