Monday, September 19, 2022

The Boy Who Didn't Bow

As I write these words, it is just over one hour until the funeral service begins of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II; I love order, unity and the forces for good which Her Majesty exemplified in her person more than anyone I have ever known, even from a distance. I really hope that once we have honoured the Queen this morning, we are able to bat away the kind of deleterious forces which will attempt to fill the vacuum her grace and truth leave behind before it is slammed shut against them, hopefully, by the new monarch Charles III. Here, I observe those passing HM The Queen: Lying-In-State...

The mourners waited on the stairs
Their turn to walk on through
Westminster Hall, its environs
And atmosphere thereto;

Men and women, old and young,
In wheelchairs, with sticks
Children staring open-eyed
At such a heady mix.

The loyal subjects of Our Queen
Approached the coffin bier,
Catafalque now lifting high
Her Majesty next tier

Gentlemen at Arms did stand
By six around its base,
Yeomen of the Guard at fours,
Same candles, police in place.

Paying last respects of theirs
To monarch true and kind,
Many bowed their heads, her
Subjects grieving soul and mind

That such a steady influence,
A leader whose strong faith
Protected all the populace
From darkness and its wraith,

Was gone unto another plain now,
Leaving shadows long
Complete their crawl across our kingdom
Once so great and strong.

Perhaps the boy who didn’t bow,
Who kept his arms crossed tight,
Who looked askance at others
As they tried to see the light

Was simply way ahead all else
Divining our demise
This island’s heritage defrocked
Before our very eyes;

And yet he was exception,
Just one I ever saw
Of thousands who now file on past
Elizabeth’s last door

Making sign the cross, in prayers
Sent up to He above
That Lilibet be safe and well
For harbouring such love

Towards her people, we who must
March on into new now,
Shining our Queen’s light upon 
The boy who wouldn’t bow.

Friday, August 5, 2022

My Music Background

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 – Christopher Griffith
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 school!
 
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 place...
 
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 today?
 
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 to me.  
 
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 Hardcore.
 
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 club, apparently!
 
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 business.
 
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

Dementia

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

Outer Darkness

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...

The sons of god came manifest,
From Outer Darkness swaggered
Right across the face our planet
Drunken Groom Night staggered.

Arm in arm they sang a song,
Refrain was wholly vile,
Really it belonged in swamp
With dirty crocodile –

‘We are the sons of god,’ they crooned,
‘We’re here upon your home,
We’re going to take your women,
All four corners this world roam.

We are going to bed them,
We won’t even wed them,
Leaving them in disarray
Whilst we stroll off upon our way;

Earth women are so easy,
They’re vain and love attention,
Give them just a little bit
And they fall your detention,

Offer them the world and riches,
How they fall your feet,
Keen to follow, serve and have
You master of their beat’.

Before they set about their work
Though, council matters dawned,
Attendance was compulsory
If minutes often yawned.

Widely hailed worst meetings
In the history of deep space,
Usually wasting hours upon
Each pointless, empty case.

And here they came in order
Of importance, safe to say
The first stank more corrupt
Than did the last of that array,

god was at the front, behind
A bunch of sneering slaves,
No better than the beasts which 
Poke their noses from dank caves.

Together with them he, ha-satan,
god’s accuser proud,
(Eventually mistaken for
The devil and his crowd),

Crowing how he had the power
Of ruin and damnation,
Better for him would have been
Give darkness a vacation.

Anyway, for those of you
Who know the story well,
He turned Job’s life from here
Into a wretched, woeful hell

Quite unforgiveable an act
If taken on its own,
Compounded irredeemable
When god agreed from throne.

For with approval tacit were
The doors flung open wide,
Abuse whatever human being
Neared you on the tide.

And from there, from this very tale
The floodgates broadened out,
Pillage, rape and hate each other
Stick the trough your snout.

Perhaps it would be easier
If we returned to source,
How evil came into our world,
Its thick and downward course,

The grossest error ever made
Responsible were we,
Adam, Eve tricked serpent,
Oh again the devil he,

No Fall there ever was for us,
No Flood to punish sin,
Tsunami spreading over Earth
When planet crashed our kin.

But that’s to come, along with Babel
Tower to reach the stars,
See the builders aimed to reach
Way station then on Mars.

Sodom and Gomorrah nuked
Not for their wicked state,
But war between the giants
Sealed these cities’ windy fate.

Mount Hermon is our starting point,
They saw it from their craft,
Orbiting the planet Earth
Came into view full aft,

A landing platform right upon
A runway clear the dirt,
Had other alien species
Here already lifted skirt?

Not their problem, not their plan,
They set down, left their saucer,
Stretching, yawning, taking in
A world before Geoff Chaucer.

And that’s a shame for if they had
Consulted quite his work,
They would have learnt that loving God
Was better than Him twerk.

Instead, they worshipped someone else,
Samyaza was his name,
He the real Devil, villain,
Watcher Chief to blame

For all the ill, for all the hurt
From pinch to genocide,
Thoroughly unpleasant fellow
With which to collide.

And that’s our fate, well could be karma,
That this dreaded fellow
Led his brethren oath and curse
And in that manner bellow,

‘We are the sons of god’ et cetera,
Ogling, gazing down
From up above this mountain
On Earth women, be their crown.

Samyaza held his breath, expounded
‘Fornicate to death
These whores and harlots, slags and sluts
And with their dying breath

Inject yourselves now all the more
So they your senses smell,
Intoxicate them with your hate,
They’ll beg you then to dwell

Upon this planet, on this plot,
Our new home let it be,
Away from those Archangels
Never letting us play free.’

A violent cheer erupted,
Two hundred watchers drunk
Upon the thought of ‘how’s your father’,
Touching earth-girl junk.

And so they got right to it,
I’ll spare the details, sure,
Enough to know that nine months later
Giant offspring bore,

These the Nephilim as known
Conspirators our past,
But not the alien species which
Did first our homestead blast.

Oh, come with me you Nephilim,
You giants of new day,
Sex and violence your bedfellows
Mealtime disarray,

For eating flesh and drinking blood
Became the normal new,
Until post-Truth delivered up
A messianic crew.

Samyaza’s children Ohya
And Hahyah with their strength
Subdued the dread Leviathan,
Incised upon its length,

Their own offspring were Sihon
And Og the ancient king,
Thirteen feet in height
His Bashan throne a weighty thing.

And so the Bible speaks this fellow,
Genesis as well,
Is old enough in chapter six
To comment on the swell

These wretched Nephilim were having,
Says that God was mad,
Real angry with them and their offspring
Making Heaven sad,

That he then decided send a 
Flood to kill them all,
Actually he couldn’t for
He was only god, so small.

See, God so loves the world
And us, yes human beings quite,
There is a wrath, there is a rage
Keeps Justice in our sight,

His moral Law across the cosmos,
We born to observe,
But all of that in later chapter
I will to you serve.

For now, we meet another Watcher,
Azazel by name,
Just as evil and corrupt
Samyaza he the same.

Perhaps indeed more deadly,
For he led man astray,
And woman too in her deception
Practiced to this day.

He taught the art of warfare
To those who’d ready learn,
Slaves before they knew themselves,
New prestige they might earn,

He taught the laws of witchcraft,
Demonic in their sphere,
Even good folk know them
Samuel’s Endor Saul to fear.

But most of all he taught cosmetics,
Women how to plaster
Make-up over all their faces
Men to work disaster.

Strange, it never bothers me
As did the Shakespeare bard,
Why can’t women look more pretty,
If their calling card?

Plenty time at beddy-byes
To see a lady plain,
Without blusher, lipstick,
Or indeed eyeshadow stain.

Why should species female
Not seek her more attraction?
Men will forge the same
Illusion, ego their distraction.

The word hung on the air,
For now was not my care,
Although we’d best beware
Wheat’s separation tare,

Instead Archangel Michael,
Chief and right hand of God’s throne,
Was tasked begin a War in Heaven
Watchers overblown.

For cosmic covenant was dead
The water, not just once but twice,
Mankind had he been tampered with
Like vulnerable lab mice.

Samyaza had deceived the world,
Now fruit of his dominion,
Evil rampaged everywhere
Its flux his own opinion.

He the prince, and he the father 
Lies, deceit and murder,
Ego undermining
Self’s Life-giving iron girder.

Gabriel joined Michael,
Raphael was charged by God
To bind Azazel then to cast him
Down abyssal sod.

Uriel he joined the fray,
These four Archangels warred
Against two hundred Watchers
Oh, the heavens fell discord,

So much so that in the fray
Whole planet blew entire,
Smashed to smithereens then form
The asteroid belt its pyre.

Ancient Days, He watched this 
Over with the Son of Man,
From the Abyss lip until
The whole the fallen clan

Tumbled through its dark domain,
Angelic prison bound,
Raguel keeping guard with Phanuel,
Exorcism’s hound.

Among the faithless Abdiel floated,
Faithful only he,
Advising fallen others
Pray forgiveness, claim the key

Unlock their fetters, fly they up
The hole down which were thrown,
If only knew he that their chance
Had now been overblown.

For they were blotted Book of Life,
And so will we be too
If Ego is in charge
When death day fetches me and you,

Old serpent he Samyaza
Will we join in lake of fire,
Second death upon us
Drowned annihilation’s mire,

The teaching has been given
With which we can be saved,
Grow up, replace that word three 
Letters, better be behaved

It isn’t just about being selfless
Though that is opening mile,
But thoroughly repenting for
Our previous life of bile,

Childish outlook on the world
Replaced mature concern,
Not being fooled and tricked
By all the money we can earn.

The Yahwist was a genius,
A storyteller mighty,
But the Flood and Eden Babel
Stories are they flighty,

Humankind no more to blame
Irruption Evil world
Than wicked Watchers from Mount Hermon
Behaviour gross unfurled.

But because we are descendants
Of these wretched folk,
We carry seeds within us
Causing others runny yolk.

And look at what the Fall has taught us,
Guilt for sin Original,
Why would loving Father
Stick a tree so quite provisional,

Knowing that we’d eat the apple,
Fore and aft of time,
It makes no sense, it isn’t loving
Care for all our clime?

The narrative is wrong,
The story quite corrupt,
And in collective conscious
Are we burdened, hands they cupped

Not to then receive the body
Good news of His rising,
But to drink the blood
And find ourselves at court assizing.

We were created slaves,
Progenitors now gone,
And with arrival of the Watchers
Second time a con,

We blame ourselves and fight each other
For that we’ve been played,
Manipulated to believe
We should be e’er afraid,

Look, there I am Shap Abbey,
Lake District holiday,
The ruins are delightful and
The river is a stay,

It bubbles, flows and makes such sound
As heavenly I’ve heard,
If ever peace on Earth there came
Would here make known its Word.

And then I am in Muncaster,
It’s only down the road,
My wife and I in little bedroom
Terrified its code –

Even in the daylight
It feels so ghastly dark,
As though some ghost had banished sun
From ever shining hark.

I’ve only ever felt such presence of
Malignity
In chapel of Ham House at Richmond
Desperate exit key.

But then we’re in the Maldives,
Bequeathed a sum of cash,
Enables us to honeymoon
Away from England’s dash.

We perch the end of decking,
A seat upon the ocean,
Watching sunset coming on
With humblest of devotion.

We’re exiles in this world,
That’s what I think the scene,
On borrowed time improve ourselves
Or never more be seen,

The gift of life comes at a price
Too heavy for some fellows,
If we mess around each other
Flames consume our bellows.

Look, there I am in tertiary,
First year, no second quite,
Madness has infected me
With spittle and its spite

I feel as though dementia
Is eating at my brain,
I’m only nineteen though
And didn’t know of this refrain.

And now I’m in my bedroom,
I write of it the past,
There’s definitely evil here
My dinner and repast.

The watchers from their prison
Are trying to tempt me in,
Clawing for me their abyss
My awful, horrid sin

Resist the fall into their clutches
Somehow manage I,
Grace divine is working on me
Coming from the sky,

And look at those Swiss mountains,
And at Sorrento’s beauty,
Lucky am I for the chance
To see such, from my duty.

Now suddenly I see
A father and his son,
Approaching Mount Moriah,
Temple Mount before begun,

This binding is no bullying
Relationship of power,
Asymmetrical the two
As the approaching hour

When knife is placed the throat,
Held angel’s intervention,
Surely story here depicted
One of true intention?

The founding myth of three religions
Certain is it not,
Whoever claims so is dissembling
Stupid, dumbass clot!

Right there is temple Solomon,
Ark Covenant it holds,
Destroyed by Babylonians
Who took object for their fold.

Second built by Zerubbabel
Pinnacle temptation,
Jesus overturning tables
House of prayer God’s station

Thoroughly destroyed by Romans
Seventy AD
Anno Domini much grander
Common Era twee.

Remember when I heard this rubbish,
1997,
Chosen phrase banal to stop offending
All but Heaven,

Now the mighty minds our age
Have conquered quite entire
Any notion of the past
Consigned to funeral pyre.

Well have at you the future,
Third Temple there to build,
Coming of Messiah Jewish,
Not the rabbi killed.

The Dome of Rock in equal call
Rejects this man divine;
Al Aqsa Mosque such holy site
Non-Muslims fall from line.

And then I saw it come,
The steed Buraq in flight
Carrying final Prophet to
The Temple Mount’s full height.

There he led the other prophets
In a prayer profound,
Strange that is the second time
I’ve heard that worded sound.

Buraq then took him up above
To Heaven’s very stead
In greeting other prophets
Who all recognised he led

For on the face of God he looked,
The others shied away,
Instructions were then given
By the Absolute to pray

And that’s the third time that we’ve
Met that most important word
With all its power and connotation
Hope we may be heard

Whoever mocks, whoever scorns
The person on their knees
In supplication to Almighty
Forgoes exit fees –

Why? For those who pray for better
News upon their way,
Are listened to upstairs
Despite their consequent foray,

They may enjoy good luck,
Ill fortune leap upon their back,
But interceding they for goodness
Their reward won’t lack.

And so I pray for peace,
That truth of origin ours be known,
Until its wide acceptance
Will war sweep the planet blown;

Our enemy is not each other
But deception, lies,
And covering up what really happened
Care for that disguise,

The choice is ours, we can continue
Down the knotted road,
Or else release our bindings
And historic overload. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Every So Often

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

Every so often we meet someone new,
A passenger fellow or member of crew,
A lowly deckhand standing back of the queue
Or a Captain of vessel more accustomed front view.

Normally all of us are pretty good
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.

But then we meet someone who transcends it all,
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 – 

That Captain is Paul, and that deckhand is he,
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.

We’ll miss his example, we’ll all miss his care,
His gentle expression and floppy blond hair,
And his best ever lesson that he best ever taught,
That we’re all of us in his eyes better than naught.

The Lie

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...

Someone lied to me today,
It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t play,
It just made me feel grey
When someone lied to me today.

I was feeling fine till then,
I was in my workplace den,
I was scribbling with a pen
And feeling fine, till it struck ten.

At that time I asked a question
Which I knew, with polite reply,
The pupil there in front of me
Would give, without being sly.

No career criminal this,
Nor gangster, dealer, crook,
But an adolescent who
Had always played by book.

Now, however, with straight face
The felon chose to tell
A fib, in its mind, nothing more
Than shallow seaside swell.

Without a blink or any twitch
The deviance from truth
Came forth from lips of softness
Uttering its quiet uncouth.

The lie was not a big one
No, no, miniature in size,
But it grew wide before me
When its teller looked my eyes.

And in those eyes, that’s where I saw
The shallow seaside swell
Recede a little, just a touch,
Then gather forth in tell – 

Telling me its falsehood
Telling me its story,
Telling with deceit and
Fabrication’s jackanory.

Breaking there upon me,
Pressed against the shore,
Sandy grit now blocking sight 
Of moment just before.

Still, I blinked through rainy tears,
Stood up, and asked again
Same question of trustworthy child,
Same answer came its ken.

Crashing down upon my body
Second wave took breath,
Plunging me beneath its water,
Suffocating death.

Somehow I broke the surface,
Gasped for air, and asked time last,
The same once more, the same before,
Dishonesty’s repast.

Now the swell had gathered,
Now it spun so wild,
Now its whirlpool dragged me down
When I still spoke this child.

The child never knew this,
They went their merry way,
Off to find their schoolyard friends
To talk, or else to play.

But something died within me
On that day when I was played,
A light went out, a dream was lost,
My future was delayed.

For I came here to help young 
People find a better way
Than I’d discovered at their age
When madness held my sway

I wouldn’t leave till every 
Youngster in my daily care
Held truth abundant over lying,
Best of that beware;

And so I do continue in
My hopeful daily round,
Though unlike former days this job
I’m now no longer drowned!

Some Say

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...

Some say it started years ago
When revolutions rolled
Through Europe and America,
New ideas therefrom strolled

Right through our very conscious minds
Before deep dive below,
Where dreams and Limbo intersect
In dumb and stupid show.

Leading thinkers of the age
Infected by such pleasure,
Cancelled out a past which 
Strong societies all treasure.

And that’s the point, ay, there’s the 
Rub, where did this actual start?
At what stage in our history
Did revert we basic part?

When did it become so dark
And dangerous that those powers
Had control of all of us,
Including our grave flowers?

Placing them one side, then 
Taking spade to dig the earth,
Wrenching decomposing corpse
Destroying memory’s worth.

That’s when it came to me,
The adolescent tragedy
In which the Moor, was plain to see,
Behaved he quite abominably

Pulling dead men from their rest
Set upright at friends’ doors,
Carved in chests a hateful message
Sorrow his applause.

But this was puerile effort,
Though a straight line would be drawn
From Aaron through Iago, Edmund
Brains they owned o’er brawn

Manipulating others, 
Through control destroying those,
The good this wretched world
Who would their wicked will oppose.

I used to blame poor Descartes
For the state we’re in today,
Separating mind and body,
Soul left in dismay.

But that’s quite as futile as
The Bard being sole in charge
Of gross absurdity our age
Continuing to enlarge.

No, he was more clever,
Of course, for genius knows
Removing God from our equation
Splatters face our nose.

Look at the Lear universe
Where deity is dead,
Or if indeed exists at all
It on our pain is fed.

And then I blamed poor Darwin,
Scientist of massive note,
Another genius the world
Whole species by his rote.

Or even Galileo, that
Victim persecuted
By a church in need reform
Since Pardoners hirsuted

Conned the very populace
They should have been protecting,
Caused the Reformation
(‘Sola fide’ needs inspecting).

Anyway, it ended up
With tramps beside the road,
Vladimir and Estragon
In need of helpful toad

To show them quite the difference
Tween the two thieves on the cross,
The Penitent with truthful thought,
Impenitent at loss.

Look, we jettison the prophets,
Jesus, God and Ghost,
The final messenger Mohammed
Lake of fire we’ll roast;

There is a moral Law the cosmos
Scatters quite the proud
Imagination of their hearts,
A hardened, wrathful crowd.

The planet is a-warming,
There is no doubt of that,
Its temperatures keep climbing
Won’t be kept out by sun hat,

But if we keep on listening
To ex-presidents like him,
Encouraging our children angry
Back of queue so dim

We’ll end up in the Grimpen Mire,
Hound of Hell our throat,
Tearing it till bloody mucus
Blocks up Dartmoor moat.

We need God back, and on our map
Protecting from above,
Go to John 3:16
And its message there of love

See, Hades, Underworld & Sheol
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.

But with Christ’s appearance 
Came a calendar for man,
We were held in high esteem
Our cannot turned a can.

But what did we do with this love,
This unearned comfort whole,
We chucked it back our Giver’s face
Returned our sinful soul.

By turn of twentieth century then
We thought we’re best alone,
Two World Wars resultant
Miracle a third unknown.

And now we’re in the twenty first,
And twenty years at that
Our faith is in technology
A great big steaming twat!   

It has no love for us,
It simply drains our lives away,
Till one day do we drop down dead
Quite wasted our foray.

People may say nice things,
Our funeral e’en attend,
There eulogise about our life
The goodness we did tend.

You see, the grand illusion
As it ever comes to us
Through social media, likes and followers
Making of us fuss

Was actual planted long ago
When we began to read,
Each paper, pamphlet, book or novel
Then our daily feed,

Quite drawing line our psyches,
Splitting up our minds,
Dividing our subconscious thought
So that it then unwinds

Just like this piece before you,
Writers madder still,
Plundering our crazy thoughts
So we can have our fill.

We’re bonkers as each other,
Relationship is sick,
The writer creates twaddle
Which the reader absorbs quick

But then it got more tasty
When dark cinema was found,
Film now dumping pictures
On the canvas of our round

The moment television sat
The corner of our room
Was when collective sanity
Lit up and then went boom!

Computing followed quickly,
Gaming its coat tails,
Before we’d even realised
New multiverse blew gales.

Forget your meta nonsense,
We’re already screwed
Technology has humped us
And then eaten us for food.

There is no hope, there never was
When mobile phones got clever,
Taking all our time, our heads
Plunged in their never-never.

Never mind the wisdom of the
Ages that have past,
Care for soul and spirit
Through our life until its last

Plunder, pillage, rape
The information that is ours,
Live unto the moment
Planet Earth and then on Mars.

For make mistake it none
That destination is ours next,
Never mind the mess we’ve made
Of this one, we’re all hexed,

Abandoning belief in higher
Power up above,
Content to stuff our faces with
Transmission’s lack of love.

That’s why the rate of suicide
Is smashing through the roof,
Self-harm, depression, gloominess
In charge and on the hoof,

It’s why the news can tell us
That we’re never ever safe,
In life, in death, and in between
Our happiness does strafe,

We’re so inured we hardly notice
We’ve already lost
Our whole entire being
To this behemoth’s grand cost.

Leviathan has managed to 
Unhook from scaly jaws
The ring that kept it tethered
To divinity’s grand cause

It snorts in ire and with its
Massive pitchforked tail
Floods us extra water
On our homeland’s system frail.

So alone we feel,
So utterly devoid of care,
We even think the planet
That we live on strips us bare

The only way, the only way
To get out of this bind
Is recognise a hand benign
Which guides us humankind,

Put the golden calf away,
The selfie stick as well,
Open up our hearts and minds
To others’ rightful swell.

Bury disagreement with the
Spade of consolation,
Accept a rival point of view
As next to our own station.

Refrain from demonising those
We otherwise would friend,
Opinions are ephemeral as
Broken fences mend.

Some say it started years ago
When revolutions rolled,
It’s time to reckon with them
And return our shepherd’s fold.