The Corona Diaries – Day 101

Well, today is the last day before everything opens – pubs, restaurants. hotels and hairdressers. Tomorrow it’s back to normal. The flights are back and the schools are opening. It’ll be like Coronaq never happened!

Or will it?

Well, we’ve seen in Texas, where the Trump minions are in denial and social distancing ios a commie plot – the virus is going through the roof. Even Trump is beginning to advocate facemasks. He’s so behind in the polls there is talk of him not standing. That would be interesting. It looks like Corona, and his own ineptitude has burst his bubble. They’ll take the Republicans down with him. What a shame about all those religious nutters.

Will we follow the same pattern once our own brand of loonies is out and about? I reckon so.

Johnson is taking a risk. I hope he’ll do the right thing and resign if it goes pear-shaped. But then he’s got Dominic Cummings as a role model. His father galivants off to Greece in defiance of the rules. But then we all know the rules are only intended for us peasants. That bunch of privileged wankers are exempt.

So I continue in isolation. Over a hundred days of solitude. Didn’t Gabriel García Márquez write about that? Oh no – it was a hundred years – let’s hope not!

Today I painted the front room and played Dead Kennedys. Then I walked my ten kilometres up my hill. I haven’t done much writing but the ideas are flowing. This solitude takes its toll on your disposition.

So stay safe! Don’t go to the pub – leave that to the loonies.

Poetry – No Lives Matter

No Lives Matter


This is the West

All that matters is the loot.

We’re pawns in a game,

Under the master’s boot.

The masters happen to be white.

Their rule is absolute.

There’s a pyramid

Of priority.

At the bottom are all the creatures.

A hierarchy of importance,

Where, if you’re human,

You’ve got to have the right features.

I have white privilege

On account of my skin.

Equality is a rude word,

In fact, it’s a sin.

Racism’s a tool they use

To divide and rule.

To give privilege to one race

While treating us all like fools.

All that really matters

Are the wealthy elite.

They’ll blast us, poison us

Brainwash us

Til we fall down at their feet.

If you want to change the system

You’re just commie loons.

They’ll allow you to protest

And then send in the goons.

They foster division.

If we’re at each other’s throat

They’ll go unnoticed,

So they can rake it in

And gloat.

No lives really matter.

As long as we purchase all their tat.

As long as the cash rolls in

That’s the end of that.


Opher – 2.7.2020

Poetry – The Train – a poem by John Phillips



Come to the station and get on the train

Queue for your ticket and get on the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

This is the train, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

Brexit is Brexit, cancels Remain

Cancels Remain, this is the train

Kick out the immigrants, blacken their names

Blacken their names, this is the train

Rampant austerity, swallow your pain

Swallow your pain, this is the train

Privatise everything, this is the game

This is the game, this is the train

Even the media s riding our train

Riding our train, this is the train

Something for nothing, someone to blame

Someone to blame, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

This is the train, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train


The Corona Diaries – Day 100

Well, we’ve got Leicester shut down and we have thirty-six other boroughs with a rising number of cases. That doesn’t sound like good news to me – particularly just before they plan to open all the pubs and restaurants. Six hundred and eighty-nine new cases with heaven knows how many cases undetected. I think I’ll be steering clear of anywhere!

This looks like a time to be wary. Johnson and his crew are ready to pounce – any way they can screw more money out of any given situation for themselves and their profiteering friends (how much is Rees Mogg looking to get out of Brexit?? a cool two million?). Under the guise of opening up the economy and getting new jobs, we could see a lot of protection and rights disappearing. This relaxing of planning is a good example. This is when we end up with massive environmental damage and worse pollution and working conditions. All that matters is the cash – right? No way!

There are record cases in the USA and Brazil. It looks completely out of control over there. But that’s what you get when you put obnoxious buffoons in charge. These snake-oil salesmen are incompetent. Elsewhere in the world, there are fresh outbreaks and countries are struggling to contain it.

This is not something that is going away any time soon!

I thought I’d soothe my troubled mind with a bit of Sandy Denny. What a beautiful voice from such a troubled songstress. She was one of the very best. Brilliant live in Fairport. Who knows where the time goes? It’s been a hundred days in lockdown today! It might be a good few hundred more before this is over!

I worked on my photobooks and prepared to do a bit more decorating. It’s a busy lockdown and has been extremely productive so far – but I’m running out of enthusiasm!

It was a gloomy day but when it stopped raining I ventured out for my 10 Kilometre walk up my hill and along the lane. It helps keep me sane. I’m so glad we’ve still got most of the summer and autumn to go before the weather gets cold and wet. Without my walks, I think I might go nuts. At least I’m keeping fit!

So you all stay fit and keep safe!

Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – The stilted water village

Many people live in stilted houses out in a village in the river. I find these places fascinating. There are shops and even mosques. The houses look a bit ramshackle – like corrugated shacks on stilts. But I’ve seen far worse slums than these. The mode of transport is canoeing with outboard motors or motorboats.

Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – Into the rainforest

As soon as we landed we took ourselves off into the rainforest. I never get fed up with the lianas, huge fronds, stilted trees and scent of a rainforest. It is so rich and overpowering – though the heat can get a bit oppressive. It fills me with delight.

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Blind Willie Johnson

Today I thought I would delve back to the 1920s for a bit of great Blues. So I dug out my Blind Willie Johnson. He was a preacher and sang religious songs. I do not usually go for that but I make an exception for Willie.

I’m a sucker for the slide guitar. Couple that with Willie’s incredible voice and you get a startling combination. This is a man who lived the Blues. His mother died and father remarried but his stepmother abused him and treated him badly. When his father was caught with another woman she deliberately threw lye in Willie’s eyes blinding him for life.

There was no welfare back then. Disabled people had to earn a living. Many went into the church and many into music. Willie did both.

For me, this is (despite the religious lyrics) real music.


Why I write Sci-Fi.

Why I write Sci-Fi.

A lot of people think of Sci-Fi as space opera, adventures of supermen with aliens thrown in for good measure. That is not my scene.

As a young man, I was an avid reader of the genre and consumed novels by the ton. It is a habit that has lasted up until the present time, though I tend to dilute my Sci-Fi with a wide range of other fiction. My favourite Sci-Fi writers are people like Iain M Banks, Margaret Atwood, Philip Dick, Robert Sheckley, Kurt Vonnegutt Jnr and Arthur C Clarke; writers who wrote about social issues or human situations. 1984 and Brave New World are classic examples of brilliant Sci-Fi novels for me.

As a scientist (I am a biologist) I like my science to be based in reality. Looking into the future is always difficult. I think it was Arthur C Clarke who once said that superior technology is indistinguishable from magic. At present, there are barriers that make visiting other regions of the galaxy impossible. Light speed is too slow. The distances are too great. But perhaps with the advent of quantum physics, and theories such as the folding of linear space, future humans may be able to circumvent these problems.

Sci-Fi gives me a blank canvas of possibility. I am able to write about human beings, and the world we create for ourselves, in different settings and context. I can extrapolate and predict. I can investigate human nature and explore how we interact in different circumstances. I can travel back and forth in time, and space is no obstacle. So my novels usually have social, environmental and political elements and themes. I can also expound on science and philosophy in interesting ways and tackle some of the ultimate questions of life – purpose, reality and our place in the ecology of life. It is a world of possibility. There are very few limitations.

But at the heart of my writing is the human condition with all its emotions, thoughts and diverse behaviours.

Sci-Fi is a vehicle that presents me with a multihued palette to paint stories about people. Some of my people just happen to be aliens.

I write about the ideas that excite me.