Life Goes By

Life Goes By

Life goes by

                With us

                                Or without us

                                                Despite us

                                                                All around us

But for how long?

Just once

                On a bombarded rock

                                Dancing in the rain

                                                Wearing just one sock

A profound dunce capered.

Opher – 25.6.2022

It always seems amazing to me that on this tiny barren rock, in the middle of a vast ocean of stars, life began.

So much we don’t understand.

So much awe and wonder.

So many coincidences.

Instead of appreciating the stupendous circumstances that surround us we have to make up rigid fables and tie ourselves down.

Instead of respecting the wonders we are surrounded with we have to carelessly ignore them, destroy them and try to rule over them.

I can’t help thinking that we’re destined for a big fall.

Once upon a time (a poem from my new poetry book ‘Broken Britain’ – Out Soon!)

Once upon a time

Once upon a time

                There was a mutation in an ape;

                                A tiny change in sequences

                                                Leading to murder and rape.

On a beautiful planet

                With a myriad of life

                                The arrogant apes are kings

                                                Creating kingdoms full of strife.

Inventing gun and bombs

                To protect their ivory towers

                                They set about subjugating

                                                All beneath their power.

They thought they were above

                All other animals

                                By building torture chambers

                                                Safe behind castle walls.

Such a small mutation

                In a strand of DNA

                                Is now threatening all life

                                                With a burst of gamma ray.

Opher 2.10.2022

It feels as if there are always two forces at play in human nature: the side that is for creating, helping and building and the side that is for violence, destruction and death.

The planet is either heading for a slow decay into polluted ruin or a fast meltdown into a nuclear pit.

Everything is run by greed and the lust for power. The world is soaked in fear and hate.

We’ve created religion and politics and use both to destroy each other.

What hope is there for these psychotic apes. On a positive thought – the planet will eventually recover from our brief custodianship. It might take a few million years, a lot of mutations, but evolution will plug the many holes we’ve created!

Life will prevail!

Star – A Sci-fi novel

Star

 Opher May 26, 2020

It’s the sixties – the three thousand one hundred and sixties.

The Federation is in conflict with the Confederation.

The Troman war rages …

There is a civil rights issue with the Androvians.

Young people all across the galaxy are in revolt. Rock Music, on an intergalactic scale, is the medium of the rebellion.

Zargos Ecstasy and the Terminal Brain Grope are providing the impetus for the rebellion.

Zargos, a larger than life character based on Bob Dylan, Hendrix, Jagger, Jim Morrison and Bowie, struts the stage, putting his poems to music and rousing the spacefreaks to seek social justice.

If you lived through the sixties you’ll recognise it all.

Extract

The beginning

Hilan Hilzar sat back into the posture form sensopadding of his couch seat. He was so full of tension that the living contouring did little to reduce the tightness of his muscles. He could not relax. The huge effort of holding back the excitement was making is body rigid. His mind was clamping down on his torso like a crushing weight so that the pressure welled up inside him. His heart felt swollen, writhing around in his chest. His flesh was actually jumping and twitching as if some high voltage current was flowing through his veins. He was worried that it would trigger the seat’s resuscitation unit. It might consider him at risk and ping him with a sedative.

For weeks now his whole existence seemed to have been building up to this climax. At first it had all seemed unreal – an eternity away. It had crawled towards him at a krank-snail’s pace; like it would never arrive. It had devoured his concentration leaving him unable to think of anything else. Then it had simply rushed and the impossible day had arrived.

The journey here was a haze of unreality. He had spent the entire time peering around himself in disbelief. It could not really be happening. Reality was divorced from the evidence of his senses.

He sat back into the seat and took a deep breath as the sensopadding rippled calmingly around him. His mind refused to operate properly. Only fragments of the journey were registering. He’d been in a dream. It was a wonder that he had got here at all. He had vague recollections of boarding the ship and then the jump. Somehow the surge had only barely registered at all. Who could believe that? He had burned through the colour shifts with all the interest of a veteran traveller or some spoilt rich kid to whom hyperspace was a regular event. Instead of being astounded by the brilliance he had just wanted it to end; to arrive. His mind had not been there at all. Even the re-entry was just a dream that washed over him. It was almost forgotten. It meant nothing. His mind was already ahead of him, dancing at his destination. In his head he was already there. This entire journey, no matter how amazing, had been no more than a necessary nuisance to be endured. The terminal had been awash with a multitude of beings as aliens mingled with humans and he allowed himself to be wafted along with the flood of the crowd. They were borne along on a babbling sea of excitement that engulfed them all.

It was as if he only really awoke when he entered the arena. He stood for a minute open-mouthed as the crowd washed past him, boggling at the immensity of it. He was here. He really was. Only then did he dare to let himself believe. He allowed himself to look around as he was checked by an automated usher, conveyed and deposited into his allocated seat. All the while he had been in a trance.

As he came to, excitement welled up inside him as he accepted that he was actually here. He had made it. He bounced to his feet and found himself jumping up and down madly waving to the various groups of friends in his immediate vicinity, the same friends he had not even registered on his journey here.

After a while he had calmed down sufficiently to settle back down into his seat. He could barely contain himself. There were still hours to wait.

A sun was up casting hard sharp shadows. The sky glowed with a deep violet blue bathing the audience with its soft gleam. It would be nightfall before anything happened. He forced himself to calm down. His body would surely give out if it continued at this pitch. He did not want to burn out before it even started.

The sun set below the curved horizon leaving a crystal clear void sprinkled with a billion stars like fine salt on black obsidian. They hung like a pall of smoke over the crowd. There were no gaps between the specks just differences of intensity. It was so clear that one could imagine there was no air or Plexiglas between them. It made him aware that this was a moon; no planet could possibly have created such clarity.

Hilan decided it was time to drop his tablet of Amaz.

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Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track) Paperback

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track) Paperback – 29 July 2021

by Opher Goodwin (Author)

4.7 out of 5 stars    46 ratings

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track): Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789521306: Books

Roy Harper must be one of Britain s most undervalued rock musicians and songwriters. For over fifty years he has produced a series of innovative albums of consistently outstanding quality. He puts poetry and social commentary to music in a way that extends the boundaries of rock music. His 22 studio albums 16 live albums, made up of 250 songs, have created a unique body of work. Roy is a musician s musician. He is lauded by the likes of Dave Gilmour, Ian Anderson, Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, Joanna Newsom, Fleet Foxes and Kate Bush. Who else could boast that he has had Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford and Steve Broughton in his backing band? Notable albums include Stormcock, HQ and Bullinamingvase. Opher Goodwin, Roy s friend and a fan, guides the reader through every album and song, providing insight into the recording of the songs as well the times in which they were recorded. As his loyal and often fanatical fans will attest, Roy has produced a series of epic songs and he remains a raging, uncompromising individual.

A celebration of Roy’s songs, music and poetry.

With thanks to Liz Goodwin and Mark Ruston for their help.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Sophisticated Beggar + Outtakes & Unreleased 1966
  3. Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith 1967
  4. Folkjokeopus 1969
  5. Flat Baroque And Berserk 1970
  6. Stormcock 1971
  7. Lifemask 1973
  8. Valentine 1974
  9. Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion 1974
  10. HQ 1975
  11. Bullinamingvase 1977
  12. Commercial Breaks 1977
  13. Harper 1970-1975 1978
  14. Unknown Soldier 1980
  15. Born In Captivity 1984
  16. Work Of Heart 1982
  17. Whatever Happened To Jugula? 1985
  18. In Between Every Line 1986
  19. Descendants Of Smith 1988
  20. Loony On The Bus 1988
  21. Once 1990
  22. Burn The World 1990
  23. Live At The Red Lion 1,2 and 3 1984-5 1990
  24. The Death Of God 1992
  25. Born In Captivity 2 – Unhinged 1993
  26. An Introduction To 1994
  27. Live At Les Cousins 1996
  28. The BBC Tapes 1-6 1997
  29. Poems, Speeches, Thoughts And Doodles 1997
  30. Song Of The Ages 1997
  31. The Dream Society 1998
  32. The Green Man 2000
  33. Hats Off 2001
  34. East Of The Sun 2001
  35. The Royal Festival Hall 2001
  36. Today Is Yesterday 2002
  37. The Death Of God 2005
  38. Counterculture 2005
  39. Beyond The Door 2005
  40. From Occident To Orient 2007
  41. Songs Of Love And Loss 2011
  42. Live In The Metropolis Studios 2011
  43. Man And Myth 2013
  44. Miscellaneous Tracks, Guest Appearances And Rarities 1970-2000
  45. Afterword
  •  

Introduction

Roy Harper is a unique individual and innovative songwriter who took his first uncharacteristically tentative steps into the London folk scene during the mid-sixties.

   Roy was born on the 12th of June 1941 into the middle of World War 2 and sadly his mother died a few days later from mastitis – a common breast infection that is nowadays easily treatable. The loss of his mother has naturally had a lifelong impact on Roy’s personality.

   Roy’s father married again. His stepmother was a strict and religious woman and Roy’s life of rebellion began.

   Roy’s first memory is of being held in someone’s arms looking towards a red glow on the horizon and being told ‘Manchester’s really copping it tonight’.

   Roy was a wayward child and his younger years were marked by him constantly being in trouble at home and school. As a young boy he was found pedalling on his trike towards Liverpool, many miles from home. Roy’s dislike of the religion his stepmother imposed led to him performing pagan ceremonies and burying effigies in his back garden.

   The genteel town of Lytham St Annes where Roy lived, was once described by him as a cemetery with a bus stop. The tedium of life in the drowsy town portrayed a conservative ethos he fought against.

   As Roy moved into his teenage years, minor incidents progressed into more serious crimes. He and a small group of friends alternated between running free in the countryside and taking part in sprees of shoplifting and vandalism. These ranged from stealing chocolates in Woolworth to breaking into Lytham’s cricket pavilion. They drank the booze they found inside the pavilion and then burnt the building to the ground.

………………

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track): Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789521306: Books

Quantum Fever – a Sci-fi novel – Overpopulation and Capitalism out of control. The world of the future.

Quantum Fever

 

The System is made up of thousands of planets housing trillions of people in tiny doms arranged in tiers.

The Consortium are a group of wealthy capitalists who live above the metropolis in floating mansions. The name of the game is expansion and profit.

The Quships cross quantum space in search of planets to either colonise or plunder for resources in order to maintain the system.

Quantum Fever is a disease that affects people who jump the weird reaches of quantum space.

Was Tahsin Roeg suffering from Quantum Fever or were the Consortium seeking to control her?

What of the alien planet she discovers?

Were the Primitives going to achieve their dream?

Extract

Chapter 1

I hate every minute of being in such an elite club. I play the game and I know I do it well but it really is not me. Inside I am still Tahsin Roeg, the ordinary girl from the deeper beltways of Haven.

Having this rare ability has been my ticket out of the lower tiers. At first, I revelled in it. Who would not feel good about being able to do something that so few other people could do? For someone like me, now in my middle age, short, rather dumpy and plain looking and possessing a phobia about Nano surgical recontouring, it surely proved a lifeline for my ego.

Who would not feel great about being made to feel so special, or having the potential to be elevated into such a high position in society? That skill provided me with a status that was otherwise unattainable.

My rare ability transformed the future for my entire family and gave me a pass to a life, that as an otherwise rather average girl, I could only have imagined – attaining that place in the sky we all dream of.

The skill made me wealthy and famous, but it had not made me happy and now I was finding that it was not at all fulfilling either.

Disillusionment leaves a rancid taste.

I began to see it for what it was – emptiness – sheer emptiness – all sham, all front.

We thought we were part of their club but we really were not. All we Quship Skippers were being used. We were expendable. They, ‘The Consortium’, exploited our talent, paid us handsomely but would discard us as soon as we were of no further use to them. We moved in their world but we were not part of it.

Worse than that – they thought they possessed the right to control us.

There was an epiphany when I woke up to what the Consortium was really doing. For some reason I had shut my mind to it. Now my eyes were opened. I could clearly see what game they were playing. It was so obvious.

No matter how much I tried to kid myself that I was doing a good job and bringing back the resources that everyone needed, I knew I was really working for a bunch of crooks who I did not think were very nice. They certainly were not doing it for the people – that was for sure. The whole business made me feel used and grubby. Somehow, despite all my best intentions, I had lost contact with the friends I used to have in the lower tiers. Looking back now I can see that the moment I left to start the intensive training was when I subconsciously broke away from my roots. I severed that umbilicus. It was something I was now regretting. I was starting to wonder what had become of my friends. We had shared so much. They must have felt abandoned, betrayed.

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The Corona Diaries – Day 751

I was greatly saddened a day ago to hear of the sudden death of Dewin Nefol AKA Chris, a commentator and contributor to this blog over a number of years. A man whose intellect and sensitivities I much respected, whose creative endeavours in the form of epic poetry were unique and extraordinary. Someone who became a friend. News of his death came as a shock and brought tears to me eyes. I shall miss him greatly – so long mate!!

It’s over four weeks since I went down with Covid. At the time, due to being vaccinated, it was much like a bad cold (sore throat, sneeze, cough, sinuses, headache) and not severe enough to warrant taking to our bed. Thank heavens we were vaccinated! I think if we hadn’t have been the effects could have been catastrophic.

Three weeks after our recovery we are both still suffering from the after-effects. I woke this morning with a really muzzy head and a sinusy headache that does not respond to Lemsip or paracetamol. Coupled with that we are both feeling washed out and drained of energy. I feel worse today than I have felt for weeks!

The other thing I have been noticing is the effect on my digestive system and sleep patterns. Covid has left me a lot more thirsty than I was before. It has put me off alcohol. I still have a metallic taste in my mouth. I am constipated and have an irritable acid stomach. My sleep patterns are different. I am feeling very tired. If I try to read I find myself nodding off. I feel particularly tired in the afternoon and could easily have an hour’s kip. I am sleeping well at night – and, according to my Fitbit I am spending twice as long in deep sleep! That’s significant.

As a biologist looking at all this I am beginning to make a number of observations/conclusions:

a. It is obvious that the virus infects all the organs in the body and some of these symptoms are probably due to way it has affected the brain, heart, liver and digestive system.

b. My body is trying to repair the widespread damage by inducing more sleep/rest.

c. Trying to do too much causes a setback – having the grandchild with us for the weekend has had a far greater effect than normal. I’m paying for it today.

d. My body chemistry is still awry.

e. Even though, due to vaccination, we only had the disease mildly the damage has been widespread and long-lasting.

I’m just hoping that this ‘lingering covid’ doesn’t last too long!

On the positive front – having now had covid (which we caught three months after our booster) we are now likely to be immune for another three months. As we did not qualify for the 4th vaccination this is quite fortunate. If we had caught it a month or too later our immunity would have dwindled further and we would have been a lot worse.

Meanwhile, out in Coronaland, Johnson is relishing his rise in popularity and escape from the jaws of the monster he created. The war is distracting from his lawbreaking, lies and incompetence. He is lapping up the praise heaped upon him from Ukraine for supplying them with sophisticated weapons to blow up Russian tanks and shoot down planes. They probably won’t be quite so effusive when the bill arrives!!

As for leadership?? We still haven’t seen any. Just costume changes and photo opps!! The man is incapable of leading. Even his soundbites are not as catchy. ‘Putin must be made to fail’ does not have much of a ring to it!

Everything the Tories are doing is done through devious means and stealth. They are trying to slide the bill to stop protests through the parliament without it being noticed. They are trying to deflect all the Russian business and hope that the war stops the Russian Tory donations and Russian peerages and Russian election fiddling from being focussed on. They are tightening their control over the BBC and other media outlets. It’s scary. Democracy is quietly being taken apart before our eyes.

We see the effect of this in Russia. The propaganda is being pumped out. Most of the Russian population simply do not believe that Russia is invading Ukraine, neither do they believe that they are shelling civilians.

Maybe things will change a little when the body bags start coming home and the soldiers return with the tales of what they have seen! But then they will probably be stifled too!

That highlights two things for me:

Firstly, the power of the media and how the diet of Tory propaganda through the newspapers has created a mindset in stupid people. The likes of the Express, Mail, Sun, Telegraph and Times have poured out a constant stream of biased news, untrue stories and a programme of vilification against Labour that has given the Tories a platform they don’t deserve and fuelled Brexit. They have a lot to answer for.

Secondly, it highlights to me how careful we have to be overall news coverage. For instance, our views on war. The media controls our views. The world has been beset by some horrendous wars sponsored by the USA and Russia – Syria, Chechnia, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Nigeria, Central Africa, Sudan……. Cities have been razed to rubble, huge numbers killed and mass migration of traumatised, desperate people. They hardly get a mention. The poor refugees are seen as a nuisance and worse. But somehow Ukraine is different. Is it racism? Fear of a nuclear war? Hatred of Russia? Or media conspired.

War is always horrendous. Is it ever justified? How much of this Ukrainian war is the fault of NATO and the West? Have we gone back on assurances we gave to Russia following the collapse of the USSR? Has NATO been deliberately moving into all those Eastern countries, right up to the borders of Russia as a provocation? Isn’t that similar to the Cuban missile crisis? Shouldn’t more effort have been made to draw Russia into the international community?

It just opens up a series of questions in my mind.

I so wish we had a leader who would explain to us plebs rather than just impose his stupidity on us. Herd Immunity is obviously the policy the government has chosen, even if they refuse to share that with us. They have accepted that there will be a number of deaths, rising cases and rising hospital cases but consider this acceptable and a price worth paying. Why don’t they come out and explain it? Why have they simply removed all restrictions and sacked the scientists? Surely, if it is such a good idea then they can explain their thinking. Aaah but these are politicians. They won’t, because if it all goes tits up they can deny it was their policy and claim they were following the science. Lying is their principal fall-back position. They’ve lied about everything else!

So, there are no restrictions. You don’t have to distance or wear a mask. You don’t even have to stay off work if you have covid. They’ve stopped the testing! It’s a free-for-all!

They want us all to get it, don’t they? They figure that they can hide the deaths and numbers! They are working on the idea that it will make them more popular. That’s all that counts!

Covid is now more widespread than ever. I don’t care what the official figures say. They are grossly inaccurate. I know more people who have had it in the last month than at any time in the pandemic. My relatives are a good example. My older sister and her husband have just gone down with it. Liz’s younger brother and his wife, two of their children, two of my sister’s children. They gone through the whole two years and then we all suddenly go down with it in a matter of weeks. Coincidence??

The official figures (which I believe are well done on the real numbers) are a rise to 72,858 new cases yesterday with another 114 deaths. The hospital cases are rising – 11,314 cases yesterday!!

That’s more than when we locked down!

The government is counting on vaccination. By giving 4th boosters to those over 75, care homes and the vulnerable, they are hoping the hospital cases and deaths won’t go too high.

Johnson’s a gambler. He doesn’t use cards or dice; he uses us!!

Stay safe!!

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track) Paperback (44 top ratings) – 5* Amazon Reviews – Thank You!!

So heartening to read such great reviews. Thank you! It is time Roy receives recognition for the incredible music he has produced throughout his career.

‘Excellent and enjoyable – thorough, detailed, super anecdotes and “eye witness”, and an easy and fun read. Written by a true fan’

‘Wonderful book written by a man who clearly has a deep love and understanding of Roys’ work and the passion really comes through here.’

Everything you need to know about Roy Harper recordings

‘A must for Harper fans

Should sit beside any serious reading of the music by Roy Harper.

‘A Great Read About a Wonderful Artist’

‘I have had a most enjoyable week reading Opher Goodwins’ book about Roy Harper’s songs while relistening to my own albums.’

‘As an added bonus – as such – the author details many of Roy’s live recordings and radio sessions, compilations unreleased tracks, guest appearances and rarities as well.’

‘there is entertainment alongside education’

‘I wholeheartedly recommend Opher’s book to other aficionados and to those with early-stage curiosity about the work of one of Britain’s major songwriters, free-thinkers and catalysts for change.’

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT REVIEWS!!! So glad you are all enjoying the book so much.