Monday, September 19, 2022
Friday, August 5, 2022
I'm submitting a DJ Mix to Radio 1's BBC Introducing and hope that whoever listens to it could possibly read my potted music background here too...
Music Background –
The first album I can
recall owning was Now That’s What I call Music Vol.2, released March
1984 when I was coming up for my eighth birthday. I must have listened to and
enjoyed music before this but some of the tracks on that compilation, Queen’s Radio
Ga Ga, Nena’s 99 Red Balloons & Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just
Want To Have Fun remain always amongst those which remind me, whenever I
hear them played, of just how young and free and totally unencumbered I felt
by, well, anything; in the following summer, for example, I can clearly
remember singing along with my sister to Sinitta’s So Macho, not having
a clue what the lyrics meant and not caring at all how stupid I must have
sounded as we played together with Lego on the floor of my bedroom, the shared
activity and music forging bonds between us as strong as the creations we made
that day with its durable material!
That album also contained
Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, and I can clearly recall being told
one day in the school playground what the lyrics were actually about without of
course understanding what they were actually about; I don’t think the idiot who
informed me really comprehended them either because we were just too young to
‘get’ that kind of double meaning. He wasn’t subtle enough, and I remember
thinking he’d always been a bit of a prick anyway so why listen to what he had
to say!? So on I went, enjoying Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good? and
then in the next Now album his I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Duran
Duran’s Reflex (more attempts to explain this one ended up with my being
told the ‘reflex’ was an egg!), Phil Collins’ Against All Odds and
Frankie’s (in my opinion) far superior Two Tribes.
This, and their lengthier
Welcome To The Pleasure Dome were for me the closest thing yet to the
kind of electronic music I would become so engaged with in my adolescence, an
entirely different genre to the sort of sound I still enjoyed through Now 4
& 5 (I’m sticking with these until 10 as they represent
broadly the pop music to which most of us were listening back in the mid-80s)
Lionel Richie’s Hello emblematic of, maybe trailblazer for many a love
song to come, Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters & Duran Duran’s A View
to a Kill taking care of the cinematic tie-in and The Fine Young Cannibals Johnny
Come Home along with Simply Red’s Money’s Too Tight To Mention
showpieces for how effective the individual voice of a singer can prove in
lifting an entire song to the next level. There were lots of off-the-wall tunes
around too, Doctor & the Medics Spirit in the Sky one of my
favourites whilst new on the scene now Pet Shop Boys & Communards delivered
again strength of voice but in different, gentler degree to those cited above.
It could have finished for me in 1987 with Europe’s The Final Countdown,
and I would remain for a long time afficionado of rock embracing almost all
that a certain Guns n Roses produced in the late eighties and nineties, but in
that same year, 1987, a track called Pump Up the Volume was released by
M/A/R/R/S and the start of my odyssey into electronic music began.
I just loved it, loved
the sound, the samples, the sections, the breaks but most of all I loved the
beat which ran through it; electronic music of course starts with the beat
because that is what gets your toes tapping and brings you onto the dancefloor,
it’s what underpins and drives every mix no matter the percussion or bassline
attendant, and it’s crying shame in my opinion that the beauty of two beats on
top of each other (sometimes even cancelling each other out in their identical
thud) is often nowadays lost by the DJ simply chopping tracks into each other,
but I’ll come back to that later! I was still listening to other stuff of
course, loving T’Pau’s China In Your Hand, Whitesnake’s Here I Go
Again, pretty much anything by Belinda Carlisle, Madonna, Michael Jackson
all of it moving on, sounding different somehow to earlier music like Chicago’s
Hard To Say I’m Sorry, Fame, Murray Head’s One Night in
Bangkok, Sting’s Russians, pop music was changing, subtly but so,
and then just as the Doctor & the Medics sound had appealed to me along
came the Timelords with Doctorin the Tardis. I had no idea these guys
were the KLF, their album The White Room becoming one of my all-time
favourites, and when I fell completely in love with What Time is Love?
the following year, 1988, I still had no clue that they were one and the same
beat masters. And that’s what they were to me, masters of the beat. What
Time is Love? is slow, way slower than the energy I’d find later in trance
and Happy Hardcore, but it had that beat, those hi-hats and snares, and the
wonderful voice again, the lyrics raw, aggressive, catchy, cool certainly to
this 12 year old middle class white boy who lived in suburbia and went to prep
But this was 1988-89, and
I was in my last year with the little kids about to jump up to big boy
territory so that I’m sure my music tastes were directed by this change as much
as any other influence. Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo
Stance & Manchild, Soul II Soul’s too cool for school Back To
Life, I was listening to and loving this stuff right alongside
Tecnotronic’s Pump Up the Jam and Beats International’s Dub Be Good
To Me, these latter on an album called Deep Heat 90 which was as
seminal for me as Now 2 had been back in the day; I don’t need to list
any tracks on this production because I loved every single one of them, playing
the cassette tapes over and over and over again, planting though I didn’t know
it at the time the passion for and loyalty to electronic music which would
actually do nothing less than save my life at university, but all in its
I loved my new school
too, and that summer 1990 we went on cricket tour to Birmingham listening
repetitively in the minibus to MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This & New
Order’s World in Motion, willing England on to beat West Germany in the
semi-final of the World Cup, our hopes for national glory disappearing
somewhere alongside the ball Chris Waddle smashed over the goal in his penalty
miss! But that second year, it was called the Remove for some reason, tracks
like Nomad’s I Wanna Give You Devotion & Crystal Waters’ Gypsy
Woman, they were just doing the do for me alongside Heavy D & The Boyz’
cheesy but catchy Now That We’ve Found Love, K-Klass’ brilliant Rhythm
Is A Mystery, KLF’s massive 3am Eternal and then my first taste of
the Shamen with Move Any Mountain. These were all chart hits of course
played across the airwaves, I mean being a good little Surrey boy I had no idea
what a rave was or the first clue of any underground culture, but they were
still tunes bridging that divide for me, and so my own stage was set for one
summer afternoon in GCSE year when I liked the sound of the track that was
playing on the common room’s ghetto blaster (strangely no one was there with me
at the time as I recall!) and opened the tape deck to read the words Kaos
Theory 2 on the cassette inserted there; well that was that, I bought a
copy for myself and as I listened back at home to the first few offerings I was
wowed having never heard anything like it to date, especially the drive and
pure energy of Praga Khan’s Injected With A Poison.
This was the summer of
love, well it was for me anyway, and I could easily have tripped down the
brilliant Bodyguard love song medley album route Whitney Houston
produced that year but somehow Kaos Theory 2 won; I was addicted
particularly to its first few songs listening to them over and over through
1992’s long break, heading to London at the back end of August with friends
with whom I was moving from GCSE year into sixth form, but as they bought
Nirvana and Neds Atomic Dustbin posters from shops in Oxford Street I stepped
into a store and was blown away by The Shamen’s LSI blasting from the speakers
therein. Term came quick then, there to accompany me The Greatest Hits of
Dance and Rave 92 albums. I’d listen to tracks 3 through 8 over and
over on the third disc of the former, my old favourite Pump Up the Volume
followed by SL2’s mad On a Ragga Tip, The Prodigy’s bonkers Everybody
In The Place, Smart E’s naughty Sesame’s Treet, 808 State’s booming In
Yer Face and finally Altern-8’s classic Active 8. This was quality
rave in amongst the more mainstream focus of discs 1 & 2 and I just
couldn’t get enough of it. Nor could I miss a single episode of Normsky’s Dance
Energy House Party that autumn, one track in particular remaining a
favourite of mine for years to come, Liquid’s Sweet Harmony, XL
recordings producing brilliance after brilliance including a university
favourite of mine, Le Voie Le Soleil.
I was beginning, starting
really to appreciate the underground scene though still because it was lapping
over with mainstream, Rave 92 a really good example of this and the
first album I had ever heard where it seemed, just seemed in the end that the
tracks were being mixed together, if only actually the second starting as the
first came to its close. Into this autumn and on through 1994 came other hits,
mainstream ones which again took me away from that underground rave sound, Don’t
You Want Me by Felix, Haddaway’s What is Love?, Dr Alban’s It’s
My Life, many by 2 Unlimited, Sybil’s When I’m Good & Ready,
several by Cappella, Usura’s Open Your Mind, D;Ream, Tony Di Bart’s The
Real Thing, even Culture Beat’s Mr Vain, if it had a beat and a
half-decent melody then I’d listen to it and love it, adoring this form of
music which always improved my mood and made me feel full of energy.
The Prodigy’s Music
for the Jilted Generation was released in July 1994, another seminal album
for me with tracks One Love, Skylined and of course No Good
(Start the Dance) completely blowing my mind. It wasn’t long before I
bought their first album Experience to be reacquainted with mixes of Everybody
Is In the Place and Fire which I’d already heard on compilations
plus of course Out of Space which was just bananas, mental, awesome to
listen to through headphones with the volume turned up. And then there was
Kiss, pirate station of enormous repute which had become legal at the start of
the nineties, me the old slowcoach finally waking up to its driving energy in
the back end of summer 1994, tracks like Livin Joy’s Dreamer and Baby
D’s Let Me Be Your Fantasy again mainstream but played alongside much
more underground fare which was now beginning to drive my fancy. And yet it was
one more album purchased at that time, Hardcore Junglistic Fever Volume One
which sent me on my way to university aware now of new sounds breaking through
old barriers, DJ Kenny Ken smashing it to pieces with his mixing alongside a
terrific second side of the tape featuring MC GQ accompanying similar selection
of tracks. I’d never heard music like this, and yet, and yet it contained the
essence of electronica which was now firmly in charge of my musical tastebuds,
beats, breaks, percussion, lyrics sparse but unforgettable, fitting for the
tune at hand, Burial by Leviticus and NRG’s I Need Your Love. In
October I went with friends to a jungle night at Ritzy’s in Bristol but within
five minutes of getting there a mass brawl erupted on the dancefloor and I
turned my back on the place. I hate fights and I’ve never done illegal drugs
because I hate the ugly side of human nature. Although I still love the sound
of what became drum n bass it was its sister effort Happy Hardcore that really
captured my heart, though that was still several years to come.
For now, I studied, the
much more easy sound of Tony Humphries in the mix for Ministry of Sound,
the pacey and fun Danny Rampling’s DJ Power and of course the series
which became legendary amongst us at the time, Journeys by DJ. It was
actually in bizarre order that I listened though, starting with a friend who
had Paul Oakenfold’s Volume 5, then picking up Judge Jules on tape for 2 which
I had on repeat for much of the autumn term, Billy Nasty’s 1 in November and
then the John Digweed Silky Mix 4 for Christmas which we were all blown away by
because we’d never heard transitions between tracks which you couldn’t tell
apart. I then picked up Danny Rampling’s 3 the next term but that’s to get
ahead because I still haven’t mentioned where in reality this was all being
echoed, and that would be Bristol’s Lakota nightclub; of a Saturday evening we
would head down there to have our ears assailed by Mory Kante’s Yeke Yeke
(Hardfloor Mix) and I was fully paid up member with our own queue and bouncers
welcoming us so friendly compared to those at the mainstream clubs we also went
to in the city. Don’t get me wrong, we still loved a good boogie at Wedgie’s on
a Wednesday night but Lakota was the absolute place to head to if you wanted to
hear cutting edge electronica, especially the tiny, cosy upstairs room where
you danced the night away with fellow folk who loved their music beats banging,
relentless and mixed together seamlessly.
But things were moving so
fast, for suddenly JDJ was on to international and Keoki blasting it from the
front and we’d all turned progressive with the awesome Renaissance Mix
Collection by Sasha & John Digweed, soundtrack to the summer whilst the
latter DJ banged out Transmission and we all heard him play this harder
stuff one Friday night at Lakota in June, finishing his set just on 4am as we
all gathered outside before heading back to Halls. And I haven’t even mentioned
BT and Oakie’s Perfecto, Grace’s Not Over Yet the backdrop to
early summer 1995 until I was back to Danny Rampling’s Love Groove Dance
Party and Radio 1’s R.A.V.E Day whilst travelling in Scotland to compete in
the BUSA Champs with other athletic friends. And I stayed with Danny Rampling,
and remembered Oakie because there I was listening to Dragonfly, A Voyage
Into Trance which they had mixed between them. It was almost as if the DJs
themselves at the time didn’t know which genre they preferred to play, or was
it because they were just more versatile, could put anything together they
chose, hell maybe even the music was so fluid at the time it crossed boundaries
and could fit into several categories rather than the distinct ones we have
Because suddenly there
was Cream Live and we swung back mainstream again, Pete Tong and Oakie’s
sets the ones I remember best through that summer though we all spared a
thought bizarre for the first track in Justin Robertson’s mix, Armand van
Helden’s The Witchdoktor and not just because it was different but
because it had that sound, in the chorus that had reverberated around Lakota
when Digweed was playing and again repeated in his Transmission tape. And
that’s the key, that’s what joins us clubbers, DJs, electronic music
afficionados, it’s the comfort of the beat, the breakdown, the build, the blast
back into a track which unites us all
because we first heard it time and ago and somehow, somehow hold the same
memory for it. The tunes produced appeal to us, unify us and of course once
they’re mixed together into segments take us on journeys also, if the DJ
spinning them has enough skill of course. Well, I listened to Cream Live
all over that summer though there was another album in the mix, remote at first
then fading in before joining and taking over the other, this was Fantazia’s The
Fourth Dimension. Fantazia, epic label, business, people, organisers whose
N-Trance Set Me Free was one of the first tracks I heard in our first
term in Halls, when I’d come down here to the west country and within ten weeks
of term been introduced to all sorts of dance music which had increased my love
for this brand; it was like track and field, all sorts of events but under one
umbrella which seemed to be taking over the world in the mid-nineties. Of
course there was Britpop, there was Oasis and Knebworth and Trainspotting
and Euro 96 and I loved it all, but it was electronica which still meant the
most to me, another Fantazia release
with Jeremy Healy & Alistair Whitehead my soundtrack to the start of second
year life in Bristol before Tony de Vit’s Retrospective of House mix
with Shaker’s Strong to Survive quite simply saved my life.
You see, I’d got ill.
Stretching back into the eighties I now think, but my mind had over the years
gradually taken on loads which it became incapable of sustaining. Now, as
mentioned above I never took illicit drugs, no sir, but I did drink because in
my weird conception it was legal so of course it couldn’t do any damage, could
it? Well no, not in moderation, but by the time I’d got through my first term
at university I had been consuming very heavily indeed, something which
continued all the way through 1995 until I had a moment, a very bad moment one
night on the Downs at Bristol in which I think I lost contact with all reality
for a few moments in time. Then I contracted flu, proper influenza which kept
me in bed for almost two weeks with its intensity and virulence such that when
I managed to get back to my university accommodation I still had to spend
hours, sometimes days in bed recuperating. And boy, was I down. I mean
depressed, dejected, so low I couldn’t even see the way through the darkness
that dropped down over my vision. Nothing could lift me. Nothing, except the
sound of Shaker’s Strong to Survive as I played Tony de Vit’s mix whilst
I recovered. It’s a track which shows its age now, but back then, right there
its lyrics and its beat, and yes all the other electronic elements of which
I’ve made mention, they cut through the haze that surrounded me, and they
sustained me. The track sustained me. In fact, it saved me. Without listening
to that mix, and in particular that track on repeat, I don’t think I’d be here
now typing out these words to let you know about how important dance music is
Around this time, there
were two further awesome compilations, John Digweed’s skills over three discs
of Renaissance the Mix Collection Part 2 & the first Essential Mix
album, Tong, Cox, Sasha & Oakenfold delivering a perfect blend of house,
techno, progressive and well, house again making Christmas 1995 pure bliss for
this dance music afficionado, Carl Cox in particular playing the kind of sound
which I believe he perfected in his Colours Edinburgh 2 hour effort which
although recorded in June 1996 I only heard two years afterwards thanks to a
friend of mine on postgraduate course. And still the albums came, In The Mix
96 a real mainstream but fun effort, Boy George & Pete Tong’s Ministry
of Sound Dance Nation and then Kiss Mix 96 put together by Graham
Gold and soundtrack to my summer then alongside Danny Rampling’s spacey trance
mix on his Love Groove Dance Party first release. And that’s when I
bought my first pair of record decks, not Technics by any stretch but a couple
of cheap turntables with a mixer and me behind them in the middle. I found it
hard going at first, but I remembered the brief lessons I had from a friend
before about beat matching and song choice and before long I’d made my first
mix, a dreadful effort full of mainstream garbage I’d picked up on the cheap.
Back at university for my third year (why didn’t I take my decks with me?) I
bought Bitter & Twisted mixed by Mrs Wood & Blu Peter; now this
was underground stuff, and it was banging hard and I still think ahead of its
time, or maybe it’s because it’s held up so well over time. The retrospectives
had gone introspective and I loved Judge Jules’ effort on that one whilst
Rampling had produced another awesome spacey trance mix on his next LGDP album,
Pablo Gargano and X-Cabs absolutely belting tracks. I think this was his best
effort as I never really got into LGDP 5 & 6, but anyway it was my 21st
around this time and of course I had to deliver a guest set, trouble being I
was so bladdered I could hardly see the turntables although I do remember a
good mix out of Y-Traxx Trance Piano & one involving DJ
Quicksilver’s Bellissima into Robert Miles’ Children. And then
that was it, I’d done my Finals and I was home for good, listening to Kiss
Mix 97 all over the break before falling head over heels in love with Happy
It was natural
progression really, I mean I was just always drawn to the harder, faster stuff
and when one evening on the way to my then girlfriend’s house I tuned into Kiss
100, the sheer madness of Sharkey, Hixxy & Slam absolutely appealed to my
own insanity and I was sold, particularly when the latter played Trip To the
Other Side and smashed the mix out of it into the next, there was a
terrific Rock Da Funky Beats sample on top of breakbeat and that summer
I heard two other blistering tracks, Dune’s Million Miles Away &
Q-Tex’s The Power of Love. Strangely, I didn’t buy any of this genre on
vinyl, instead sticking to mainstream with a bit harder thrown in as though
what I was practicing in actuality was trying to catch up with what I was
listening to, very odd but in the Fall that year I played my first house party,
teeing up Dario G’s Sunchyme and moving through the gears over several
hours until I was banging out techno so hard everyone at the event had to go
and sit in another room, though they did say my sound was good enough for a
And that was that, I
pulled the plug on my course, broke up with my girlfriend and got diagnosed
with bipolar disorder. I was 22 when my world dropped away with this news, but
just like three years ago back at university I still had electronic music to
succour me listening avidly to Gatecrasher’s Black CD set, making mix tapes for
friends of mine and now listening more and more keenly to Radio 1, Dave
Pearce’s Dance Anthems to start with and then the Judge himself who at this
time in 1998 took on two shows across the weekend, a harder selection from
9-11pm on a Friday and the more mellow but still pumping session on Saturdays
5-7pm. This marked a sea change for me, no longer buying album after album but
listening to Radio 1 at these times and often popping over to HMV in Newport
afterwards to buy or order tracks that I’d heard in a particular mix; the guy
who ran the vinyl section asked me a couple of times why I did it this way
rather than listen to tracks fresh in store and buy what I wanted, the reason
being that I liked to hear the tunes in the middle of a mix, and Jules’s weekly
10.30 – 11pm effort really never disappointed. And so this continued on through
1998 and 1999 whilst my mixing improved as I did mentally, recuperating on the
Isle of Wight with my family and a Games room which perfectly muffled the sound
of my trail and error whilst mum and dad listened to classical in the other
part of the house!
In September 1999, I
moved back to the mainland and started listening to Alex P & Brandon Block
on a Friday afternoon on Kiss from 3pm, if I remember correctly. I absolutely
loved their show though I didn’t give up the Judge for it of course, and for
some strange reason whilst I was writing I’d play on repeat the second disc
from John Digweed’s Renaissance 2, listening to Pete Lazonby’s Sacred
Cycles over and over. And then my chance came, a private club on New Year’s
Eve to welcome in the new millennium, CD decks to get my head round in the DJ
booth and my own turntables out on the stage. It was brilliant. I was already
half-cut by the time I started at 7pm, loving the experience as the punters
turned up and I could leave ABBA alone for a half hour or so to bash out
Yomanda’s Synth & Strings, some guy hugging me for the sound whilst
girls came up to the booth and chatted me up royally! When I finished at 7am I
was completely spent; back home I tried to sleep but couldn’t, beats
reverberating round my head so that I panicked and decided there and then this
wasn’t good for my illness.
In early 2000, Jules took
his show out on the road and I would leave drinks I was having with my friends
early on a Friday night to tape record these live events. They were awesome,
but nothing like what I was about to hear for in late May 2000 when I was fed
up with the dismal accommodation I was stuck in I stayed up to listen to Paul
van Dyk’s mix from a very wet Homelands festival; all through the rest of the
year, driving back from Cornwall in the summer, down in the returns room at the
book shop where I was working I bashed this mix out on repeat and repeat and
repeat, for me simply the best demonstration of DJ mixing I have ever heard
before or since. This was in marked contrast to me and my two calamitous
auditions around this time, the first to an empty hall at a university in
London where I transitioned horribly from the guy before me with banging techno
from his melodic house and then got distracted by the monitor beside me,
something I’d never experienced before, the second at what was then Bar Med in
Guildford when the place was half-empty and I knocked the needle across the
record I was teeing up to bring in on the mix!
I got rid of my
turntables after that and decided to just listen to Paul van Dyk’s superlative
mix, on and on through 2001 until I must have chewed it up because suddenly I
was relapsing, it was approaching Christmas and I was listening to Getaway
by Terry Bones. I can’t remember which album this track was on but I hammered
it over and over that end of year 2001 before 2002 brought for me a new
discipline growing end over end in dance music, and that be Hard House. I can’t
remember whether or not it was on one of Jules’ shows but Marco V was the sound
in early 2002 and one of my favourite tracks of his still remains My Acid
Pacemaker; then there was Hard Energy mixed by Fergie & Yomanda,
the latter producing Synth & Strings I mentioned earlier, the former DJ of
whom I knew nothing though would become another great influence on my onward
journey. In fact, Fergie became so popular at the time that he took on his own
Radio 1 show in June that year, and suddenly Hard House was the absolute
I was back to buying
albums too, Hard House Anthems, Hard House Euphoria, Big Room DJs,
there was Nukleuz & Lisa Lashes & Andy Farley & Ed Real & Mario
Piu & Nick Sentience & of course BK whose track Revolution jumped
into the mainstream charts that year. I was listening to other stuff too, DJ
Hype’s jungle on repeat in our shop’s Goods-In whilst I booked stock on to the
system and as 2002 drove into the next year and beyond the DJs kept coming,
Eddie Halliwell, Rob Tissera, the Tidy Boys, Lee Haslam, Amber D, Mauro
Picotto, and three epic tracks for me, K90’s Red Snapper, James Lawson’s
mix of Bad Ass & Cortina’s Music is Moving. I couldn’t keep
up, and I wanted more of this stuff that I bought Mark EG on Music for a
Harder Generation Volume 4. And of course from there it was a quick
transfer back to Happy Hardcore such that in 2005-6 I collected almost all the Bonkers
CD compilations, DJ Sharkey my very favourite although in truth I loved
whatever I listened to on these albums. Directionless in my direction, I
charged headlong back into trance when I moved into new premises in January
2007 listening to Armin van Buuren’s State of Trance Yearmix 2005,
something about the sound grabbing me so that I began to collect the other CDs
in the series whilst transferring my vinyl collection to laptop files. And then
there was Kutski, the hardcore sound still popular enough for him to have his
own show on Radio 1, listening to this 2008 and on, particularly a brilliant
Halloween mix in 2010. And so, in 2012 I decided to give mixing another go,
making an appalling effort on Virtual DJ including Lost Witness’ Red Sun
Rising, Agnelli & Nelson’s El Nino & Vincent de Moor’s Flowtation,
just some of my very favourite tracks from back in the day, well 1998 I think
for some reason.
In 2013 whilst marking
papers I listened to Fatamorgana’s Goa Trance on You Tube, picking up three
excellent Essential mixes along the way, Man With No Name’s 1998 effort in this
genre, classic techno from the same year by Jeff Mills & CJ Bolland’s
effort from back in 1994. In all these, there were sections that just
absolutely blasted, when song choice stuck brilliantly, and it was in this vein
that I started listening to other Essentials through 2014-15, mostly Paul van
Dyk’s efforts whilst I trained in the gym at school over lunch. But that autumn
I also tuned into Armin van Buuren’s 8 hour sets and I made another mix, again
on Virtual DJ, which was still ropey to start with but got better as it
progressed; and then I managed to produce a longer two-hour effort at Christmas
with a 40 minute slot in the middle which still remains now some six years
later my best selective effort on this software…
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Not an easy time this, starting with Paul's passing and now my old man's dementia has been worsening over the last year and a bit with his memory not so good as it used to be. But in conversation with him the other day he quite startled me with fresh recollection of a church we'd entered last time I visited, months ago, and so I wrote this piece in response...
My Dad has got dementia,
A very nasty thing,
It crept up unawares
And then jabbed him with its sting.
A coward, like all illnesses
That wreck our loved ones whole,
Craven are they to their boot straps,
Ending us their goal.
He used to roar like thunder,
A lion versus whelps,
Now he’s had that taken from him
Nothing peaceful helps;
His brain was academic,
Top college Cambridge proper,
Now he’s nursed by those
Who in debate with him would stopper!
I spoke to him on Sunday,
The first time in a while,
I didn’t know what to expect –
A mouse or crocodile.
He fought for words at first,
Complained about his home,
(I think he thought he was next door still
Where the carers roam),
Anyway, he sudden changed
The subject, asked my news,
I told him we were visiting
At end of June, my views
Upon this and all other stuff
He listened, was delighted
That he’d see his daughter-law
And grandson, though benighted
By this dreadful, cold condition
Hope I do already
That he will remember them,
Be firm and strong and steady.
Well, would you believe it in the
Very next our talk,
When I said I’d take him for
Our usual Quorn-bound walk
He asked if we could see the church
And enter it therein,
Just like we did before
There view its sanctity begin.
It must have been six months and more
Since I had travelled there,
A gulf of time for someone suffering
His condition, care
I sudden had the world and more
For my old man who’s trying
All his best to get himself through
End of days, now sighing
I bid him bye and off he went
To chair or bed, whatever,
Bless Mum and my sister
Who had wanted him thus never,
Why on earth they have to see
A strong man brought so low
I have no idea, except with
Character and blow
That phone call did he for a moment
Stand defiant, proud,
‘I recalled our visit to the church,
You hear me loud!
A place that offers solace, hope and
Faith that in this life,
Our suffering and pain and oh yes
All our onward strife
Has point and purpose, shielded
From our earthly sight for reason
Won’t we know until beyond
The gate our final season,
Now I’m going to sit down,
Or instead I might just lie
Upon my bed, consider this
Until I close my eye,
Remembering my loved ones
Looking after me do care,
And so I have my picture frames
To see their faces there,
And so I lay me down to rest,
And so I fall asleep,
And so I pray for my close family
That they patient keep…’
Bizarre that this condition should
Have blighted such a man,
Blessed for sticking fingers two
Against its usual span,
I never will forget, and surely
Shall we visit then,
The church and its interior
Next time I’m at his ken,
And who knows what surprises else
He may have store for us,
My Dad who never wanted
Nor deserved dementia’s fuss.
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Right, this is the last in a series of poems which have used a particular rhyme scheme to make their effect known. Now, if you thought mythology was just the preserve of the Greeks or the Romans or whoever else did you know that the Christian faith is built upon this kind of thing also? The early Church stamped it all out of their history books but it survives in external material and in fact in the first book of the whole Bible, Genesis.
There's always that nagging doubt with human beings and how we fit into the scale of evolution; we're so far in advance of any progenitor that it's highly doubtful we got to where we are naturally. Enter DNA tampering species number one, and then little known, DNA tampering species number two, both breaking the cosmic covenant which you probably best know from Star Trek, don't interfere in the development of alien species.
So, here's what I've been able to piece together from reading undertaken into this subject over the years and I have to say to the creative mind it's highly appealing (the scientific mind will have nothing of it!). We haven't done anything wrong, you see, humans I mean we just got messed round with and then manipulated by some of the most twisted minds which ever roved the cosmos. Oh enough, come on, read my spiel, this is Outer Darkness...
From Outer Darkness swaggered
Right across the face our planet
Drunken Groom Night staggered.
Refrain was wholly vile,
Really it belonged in swamp
With dirty crocodile –
‘We’re here upon your home,
We’re going to take your women,
All four corners this world roam.
We won’t even wed them,
Leaving them in disarray
Whilst we stroll off upon our way;
They’re vain and love attention,
Give them just a little bit
And they fall your detention,
How they fall your feet,
Keen to follow, serve and have
You master of their beat’.
Though, council matters dawned,
Attendance was compulsory
If minutes often yawned.
In the history of deep space,
Usually wasting hours upon
Each pointless, empty case.
Of importance, safe to say
The first stank more corrupt
Than did the last of that array,
A bunch of sneering slaves,
Poke their noses from dank caves.
god’s accuser proud,
(Eventually mistaken for
The devil and his crowd),
Of ruin and damnation,
Better for him would have been
Give darkness a vacation.
Who know the story well,
He turned Job’s life from here
Into a wretched, woeful hell
If taken on its own,
When god agreed from throne.
The doors flung open wide,
Abuse whatever human being
Neared you on the tide.
The floodgates broadened out,
Pillage, rape and hate each other
Stick the trough your snout.
If we returned to source,
How evil came into our world,
Its thick and downward course,
Responsible were we,
Adam, Eve tricked serpent,
Oh again the devil he,
No Flood to punish sin,
Tsunami spreading over Earth
When planet crashed our kin.
Tower to reach the stars,
See the builders aimed to reach
Way station then on Mars.
Not for their wicked state,
But war between the giants
Sealed these cities’ windy fate.
They saw it from their craft,
Orbiting the planet Earth
Came into view full aft,
A runway clear the dirt,
Had other alien species
Here already lifted skirt?
They set down, left their saucer,
Stretching, yawning, taking in
A world before Geoff Chaucer.
Consulted quite his work,
They would have learnt that loving God
Was better than Him twerk.
Samyaza was his name,
He the real Devil, villain,
Watcher Chief to blame
From pinch to genocide,
Thoroughly unpleasant fellow
With which to collide.
That this dreaded fellow
Led his brethren oath and curse
And in that manner bellow,
Ogling, gazing down
From up above this mountain
On Earth women, be their crown.
‘Fornicate to death
These whores and harlots, slags and sluts
And with their dying breath
So they your senses smell,
Intoxicate them with your hate,
They’ll beg you then to dwell
Our new home let it be,
Away from those Archangels
Never letting us play free.’
Two hundred watchers drunk
Upon the thought of ‘how’s your father’,
Touching earth-girl junk.
I’ll spare the details, sure,
Enough to know that nine months later
Giant offspring bore,
Conspirators our past,
But not the alien species which
Did first our homestead blast.
You giants of new day,
Sex and violence your bedfellows
Became the normal new,
Until post-Truth delivered up
A messianic crew.
And Hahyah with their strength
Subdued the dread Leviathan,
Incised upon its length,
And Og the ancient king,
Thirteen feet in height
His Bashan throne a weighty thing.
Genesis as well,
Is old enough in chapter six
To comment on the swell
Says that God was mad,
Real angry with them and their offspring
Making Heaven sad,
Flood to kill them all,
Actually he couldn’t for
He was only god, so small.
And us, yes human beings quite,
There is a wrath, there is a rage
Keeps Justice in our sight,
We born to observe,
But all of that in later chapter
I will to you serve.
Azazel by name,
Just as evil and corrupt
Samyaza he the same.
For he led man astray,
And woman too in her deception
Practiced to this day.
To those who’d ready learn,
Slaves before they knew themselves,
New prestige they might earn,
Demonic in their sphere,
Even good folk know them
Samuel’s Endor Saul to fear.
Women how to plaster
Make-up over all their faces
Men to work disaster.
As did the Shakespeare bard,
Why can’t women look more pretty,
If their calling card?
To see a lady plain,
Without blusher, lipstick,
Or indeed eyeshadow stain.
Not seek her more attraction?
Men will forge the same
Illusion, ego their distraction.
For now was not my care,
Although we’d best beware
Wheat’s separation tare,
Chief and right hand of God’s throne,
Was tasked begin a War in Heaven
The water, not just once but twice,
Mankind had he been tampered with
Like vulnerable lab mice.
Now fruit of his dominion,
Evil rampaged everywhere
Its flux his own opinion.
Lies, deceit and murder,
Self’s Life-giving iron girder.
Raphael was charged by God
To bind Azazel then to cast him
Down abyssal sod.
These four Archangels warred
Against two hundred Watchers
Oh, the heavens fell discord,
Whole planet blew entire,
Smashed to smithereens then form
The asteroid belt its pyre.
Over with the Son of Man,
From the Abyss lip until
The whole the fallen clan
Angelic prison bound,
Raguel keeping guard with Phanuel,
Faithful only he,
Advising fallen others
Pray forgiveness, claim the key
The hole down which were thrown,
If only knew he that their chance
Had now been overblown.
And so will we be too
If Ego is in charge
When death day fetches me and you,
Will we join in lake of fire,
Second death upon us
Drowned annihilation’s mire,
With which we can be saved,
Grow up, replace that word three
Letters, better be behaved
Though that is opening mile,
But thoroughly repenting for
Our previous life of bile,
Replaced mature concern,
Not being fooled and tricked
By all the money we can earn.
A storyteller mighty,
But the Flood and Eden Babel
Stories are they flighty,
Irruption Evil world
Than wicked Watchers from Mount Hermon
Behaviour gross unfurled.
Of these wretched folk,
We carry seeds within us
Causing others runny yolk.
Guilt for sin Original,
Why would loving Father
Stick a tree so quite provisional,
Fore and aft of time,
It makes no sense, it isn’t loving
Care for all our clime?
The story quite corrupt,
And in collective conscious
Are we burdened, hands they cupped
Good news of His rising,
But to drink the blood
And find ourselves at court assizing.
Progenitors now gone,
And with arrival of the Watchers
Second time a con,
For that we’ve been played,
Manipulated to believe
We should be e’er afraid,
Lake District holiday,
The ruins are delightful and
The river is a stay,
As heavenly I’ve heard,
If ever peace on Earth there came
Would here make known its Word.
It’s only down the road,
My wife and I in little bedroom
Terrified its code –
It feels so ghastly dark,
As though some ghost had banished sun
From ever shining hark.
In chapel of Ham House at Richmond
Desperate exit key.
Bequeathed a sum of cash,
Enables us to honeymoon
Away from England’s dash.
A seat upon the ocean,
Watching sunset coming on
With humblest of devotion.
That’s what I think the scene,
On borrowed time improve ourselves
Or never more be seen,
Too heavy for some fellows,
If we mess around each other
Flames consume our bellows.
First year, no second quite,
Madness has infected me
With spittle and its spite
Is eating at my brain,
I’m only nineteen though
And didn’t know of this refrain.
I write of it the past,
There’s definitely evil here
My dinner and repast.
Are trying to tempt me in,
Clawing for me their abyss
My awful, horrid sin
Somehow manage I,
Grace divine is working on me
Coming from the sky,
And at Sorrento’s beauty,
Lucky am I for the chance
To see such, from my duty.
A father and his son,
Approaching Mount Moriah,
Temple Mount before begun,
Relationship of power,
Asymmetrical the two
As the approaching hour
Held angel’s intervention,
Surely story here depicted
One of true intention?
Certain is it not,
Whoever claims so is dissembling
Stupid, dumbass clot!
Ark Covenant it holds,
Destroyed by Babylonians
Who took object for their fold.
Jesus overturning tables
House of prayer God’s station
Anno Domini much grander
Common Era twee.
Chosen phrase banal to stop offending
All but Heaven,
Have conquered quite entire
Any notion of the past
Consigned to funeral pyre.
Third Temple there to build,
Coming of Messiah Jewish,
Not the rabbi killed.
Rejects this man divine;
Al Aqsa Mosque such holy site
Non-Muslims fall from line.
Carrying final Prophet to
The Temple Mount’s full height.
In a prayer profound,
Strange that is the second time
I’ve heard that worded sound.
To Heaven’s very stead
In greeting other prophets
Who all recognised he led
The others shied away,
Instructions were then given
By the Absolute to pray
Met that most important word
With all its power and connotation
Hope we may be heard
The person on their knees
In supplication to Almighty
Forgoes exit fees –
News upon their way,
Are listened to upstairs
Despite their consequent foray,
Ill fortune leap upon their back,
But interceding they for goodness
Their reward won’t lack.
That truth of origin ours be known,
Until its wide acceptance
Will war sweep the planet blown;
But deception, lies,
And covering up what really happened
Care for that disguise,
Down the knotted road,
And historic overload.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
My colleague, and friend, Paul passed away in December; this is my tribute poem to a great teacher and facilitator who will be missed by many not just me...Every So Often
A passenger fellow or member of crew,
A lowly deckhand standing back of the queue
Or a Captain of vessel more accustomed front view.
At determining the make-up of those in our ‘hood’,
Heroes we worship or villains we fear,
The teachers and pupils who make up our year.
Who speaks the same language both short and to tall,
Who looks upon others with love and with care
Wishing only that all of us serve the same fare –
Our passenger fellow and crew member, see
That his warmth and compassion both allowed him to ride
On the crest of a shallow, or turbulent tide.
His gentle expression and floppy blond hair,
That we’re all of us in his eyes better than naught.
Now this one is profound - why, because it tries, and I repeat tries to tap into that sinking feeling we all get when we are being lied to to our face, and know it, and don't act upon it there in the moment. I do think there's a moral law to life and that we're birthed in order to draw as close to it as we can in our lifetime. I also know that lying is part and parcel of mankind's behaviour and something I am fully ashamed to admit I have stuck to in the past when I should have known better.
But, it's that feeling, that sensation if you like when the lie slaps us in the face, well that's what I've tried to capture in this piece which is based on what a student said to me as member of staff when I knew their opposite to be the truth. And so, I launch into an extended metaphor (a conceit?) in which the waves of disappointment and stricture break upon me threatening to drown me beneath their swell. I conclude this is a similar feeling to being 'played' by someone, that sense of hurt and powerlessness we feel when another human being makes us feel like dirt.
I don't like being lied to; I'm sure you resent it too. So why do we continue to do it? In short, weakness of character, for when it would be braver for us to stand up and be counted we often try to hide away in the shadow and the dark. OMG, we're back to ego and Self again, I really must write an extended poem about all that. For now, here's The Lie...
It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t play,
It just made me feel grey
When someone lied to me today.
I was in my workplace den,
I was scribbling with a pen
And feeling fine, till it struck ten.
Which I knew, with polite reply,
The pupil there in front of me
Would give, without being sly.
Nor gangster, dealer, crook,
But an adolescent who
Had always played by book.
The felon chose to tell
A fib, in its mind, nothing more
Than shallow seaside swell.
The deviance from truth
Came forth from lips of softness
Uttering its quiet uncouth.
No, no, miniature in size,
But it grew wide before me
When its teller looked my eyes.
The shallow seaside swell
Recede a little, just a touch,
Then gather forth in tell –
Telling me its story,
Telling with deceit and
Pressed against the shore,
Sandy grit now blocking sight
Of moment just before.
Stood up, and asked again
Same question of trustworthy child,
Same answer came its ken.
Second wave took breath,
Plunging me beneath its water,
Gasped for air, and asked time last,
The same once more, the same before,
Now it spun so wild,
Now its whirlpool dragged me down
When I still spoke this child.
They went their merry way,
Off to find their schoolyard friends
To talk, or else to play.
On that day when I was played,
A light went out, a dream was lost,
My future was delayed.
People find a better way
Than I’d discovered at their age
When madness held my sway
Youngster in my daily care
Held truth abundant over lying,
Best of that beware;
My hopeful daily round,
Though unlike former days this job
I’m now no longer drowned!
I read this book once which posited that back around the time of the French revolution the storyteller's ego became detached from the life-giving Self, and so all writers became trapped in their own world churning out material which came from this deficient part of their psyche rather than from the broad-minded, whole and mature aspects of the mind. Now I don't know what it was about that argument but it completely took over my conscious thought, and then my subconscious...
Between 2007 & 2016, on and off I tried to write that 10,000 page poem to extinguish my ego which in the end became The Magical Kingdom available elsewhere on this blog. The truth is I came nowhere near to wiping my ego from its position at the very centre of my being because we are simply unable to complete the job ourselves; instead, I watched my son being born and the experience was such that I instantly stopped thinking of myself and put my wife and boy first - now that's leaving ego behind.
Anyway, the darkness came (through Descartes?), we dispensed with God and ended up facing the pointlessness of existence (Waiting for Godot). We could have put God back on the map but instead we fell in love with technology, coming on the back of books, cinema, video games and mobile phone transmissions. Trouble is, they're all ego led and end in darkness, concluding there's no benignity in the cosmos. What do you think? This is Some Say...
When revolutions rolled
Through Europe and America,
New ideas therefrom strolled
Before deep dive below,
Where dreams and Limbo intersect
In dumb and stupid show.
Infected by such pleasure,
Cancelled out a past which
Strong societies all treasure.
Rub, where did this actual start?
At what stage in our history
Did revert we basic part?
And dangerous that those powers
Had control of all of us,
Including our grave flowers?
Taking spade to dig the earth,
Wrenching decomposing corpse
Destroying memory’s worth.
The adolescent tragedy
In which the Moor, was plain to see,
Behaved he quite abominably
Set upright at friends’ doors,
Carved in chests a hateful message
Sorrow his applause.
Though a straight line would be drawn
From Aaron through Iago, Edmund
Brains they owned o’er brawn
Through control destroying those,
The good this wretched world
Who would their wicked will oppose.
For the state we’re in today,
Separating mind and body,
Soul left in dismay.
The Bard being sole in charge
Of gross absurdity our age
Continuing to enlarge.
Of course, for genius knows
Removing God from our equation
Splatters face our nose.
Where deity is dead,
Or if indeed exists at all
It on our pain is fed.
Scientist of massive note,
Another genius the world
Whole species by his rote.
By a church in need reform
Since Pardoners hirsuted
They should have been protecting,
Caused the Reformation
(‘Sola fide’ needs inspecting).
With tramps beside the road,
Vladimir and Estragon
In need of helpful toad
Tween the two thieves on the cross,
The Penitent with truthful thought,
Impenitent at loss.
Jesus, God and Ghost,
The final messenger Mohammed
Lake of fire we’ll roast;
Scatters quite the proud
Imagination of their hearts,
A hardened, wrathful crowd.
There is no doubt of that,
Its temperatures keep climbing
Won’t be kept out by sun hat,
To ex-presidents like him,
Encouraging our children angry
Back of queue so dim
Hound of Hell our throat,
Tearing it till bloody mucus
Blocks up Dartmoor moat.
Protecting from above,
Go to John 3:16
And its message there of love
Lacked any kind of care,
Concern for human beings
Was at bottom their welfare
They kept them shade and shadow,
Cerberus and deadened judge,
Rhadamanthus his gavel
Tartarean soul sludge.
Came a calendar for man,
We were held in high esteem
Our cannot turned a can.
This unearned comfort whole,
Returned our sinful soul.
We thought we’re best alone,
Two World Wars resultant
Miracle a third unknown.
And twenty years at that
Our faith is in technology
A great big steaming twat!
It simply drains our lives away,
Till one day do we drop down dead
Quite wasted our foray.
Our funeral e’en attend,
The goodness we did tend.
As it ever comes to us
Through social media, likes and followers
Making of us fuss
When we began to read,
Each paper, pamphlet, book or novel
Then our daily feed,
Splitting up our minds,
Dividing our subconscious thought
So that it then unwinds
Writers madder still,
Plundering our crazy thoughts
So we can have our fill.
Relationship is sick,
Which the reader absorbs quick
When dark cinema was found,
Film now dumping pictures
On the canvas of our round
The corner of our room
Was when collective sanity
Lit up and then went boom!
Gaming its coat tails,
Before we’d even realised
New multiverse blew gales.
We’re already screwed
Technology has humped us
And then eaten us for food.
When mobile phones got clever,
Taking all our time, our heads
Plunged in their never-never.
Ages that have past,
Care for soul and spirit
Through our life until its last
The information that is ours,
Live unto the moment
Planet Earth and then on Mars.
That destination is ours next,
Never mind the mess we’ve made
Of this one, we’re all hexed,
Power up above,
Content to stuff our faces with
Transmission’s lack of love.
Is smashing through the roof,
Self-harm, depression, gloominess
In charge and on the hoof,
That we’re never ever safe,
In life, in death, and in between
Our happiness does strafe,
We’ve already lost
Our whole entire being
To this behemoth’s grand cost.
Unhook from scaly jaws
The ring that kept it tethered
To divinity’s grand cause
Massive pitchforked tail
Floods us extra water
On our homeland’s system frail.
So utterly devoid of care,
We even think the planet
That we live on strips us bare
To get out of this bind
Is recognise a hand benign
Which guides us humankind,
The selfie stick as well,
Open up our hearts and minds
To others’ rightful swell.
Spade of consolation,
Accept a rival point of view
As next to our own station.
We otherwise would friend,
Opinions are ephemeral as
Broken fences mend.
When revolutions rolled,
It’s time to reckon with them
And return our shepherd’s fold.