Rebranded

So, I was never a punk, back in the day. Although I did do my fair share of pogoing when occasion warranted.

I never did the pins and needles thing. Although the black eyeliner made more than one showing with the blood-red lippy and the back-combed hair.

I never felt the need to conform to a particular style set nor adhere to only one musical form. For me, back then, it was a bit like Hallowe’en. I occasionally dressed up the exterior while the truth was somewhat different.

You know, like politics. I knew who I was inside but it didn’t stop me from celebrating variety.

Radical wasn’t in my nature. I was much more conservative (never with a capital ‘C’!) in my younger days.

I look back now and wonder at myself and what I didn’t say and do because of notions of correctness – not politically – rather, an inherent or instilled sense of the right thing to do. To be what my elders and betters expected. To follow on from where I had been led by those who wanted the best for me and lived lives that demonstrated the way to do that.

Not to say I didn’t have my own rebellions. That I didn’t have my share of questions and wonderment at the world. And voice them loudly. All kids do. I’m dealing with them with my own kids day and daily and have to remind myself that that is the nature of youth. Mini-rebellions and a few of the grander ones thrown in to keep parents on their toes and to remind them of their own path through adolescent angsts.

In fact, I like to think that my rebellions were a journey of discovery graduating to the ‘who I am’ and ‘the whats’ I have come to believe in all spheres of life. That imbibing culture in all its myriad forms and selecting/deselecting was a sign of the growth that we all go through. I like to think that I’ve always been fairly rational in my life choices even while embracing everything with a sort of manic heartfeltness.

I like to think.

Funny thing is that I think I might be in time reversal mode here.

Reason still rules in my head and feeling still rules in my heart. But, the sense of how they should be made manifest is altering in a way I did not expect.

Last night, I went to a gig in King Tut’s in Glasgow to hear The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

I adorned myself with black eyeliner (not too much!), the now perfectly normal red lippy, slipped into my black skinny jeans, topped off with a long black sweater cinched with four inches of belt and buckle and added three inches to my 5’ 6” with a pair of black ankle stiletto boots. One fitted multi-zipped donkey jacket later and a homemade hooded scarf for the rain and I was good to go. Well, it is near enough Hallowe’en! Except that’s kind of my normal now. (One person mentions mutton and lamb or mid-life crisis in the same sentence there’s a Glesca kiss in it for them!) ;)

Past and present have caught up with each other in a new unity.

Which is just as well.

The flavour and feeling of the whole performance from the get-go was one of unity and rebellion. Gathered in a large room – you could never really call it a hall – were around 300 people varying in ages from mid-twenties to older than me! (I’m 35 btw, having decided last year to reverse my age and stick with that one. I’m good with it!)

The twenty-somethings were in pogo mode and danced as one to almost every song played as if they had discovered punk for the first time and found it liberating and energising.

When I looked around me though I saw the faces of the older crew and was met by rapturous looks that they were witnessing, live, the voices and sentiment of a socially-conscious group who no longer could be called punk/folk in appearance but whose lyrics and verve in performance stay true to that legacy and called out to a renewal in political awareness and asked the question over and over again, ‘Do you see what’s done in your name?’

The history of the Britain that I have grown up in and other parts of the world I’ve never seen, during times I haven’t lived, was retold in music. News footage I can remember from my youth and right through till now was streamed all over again in words that called for reason and feeling.

The first song played,  ‘Devil On The Wind’, set the mood of the occasion, a look from the long viewpoint at what passes for our humanity. Their next had me jumping as I had fervently hoped they would play, ‘The Ghosts Of Cable Street’. Oh, they played it all right! And so did all in the audience. No, not audience. Rather, part of the band. Part of their raison d-etre. Here was a recognition in music and recollection of a generation past but whose voices still carry. Their voices carried on the wind from a not so very distant time to the present where the same issues still apply, just dressed differently.

For Cole, here is as much of the set I could manage to note.…quite hard to scribble when you’re dancing! I wish you could have been there. You’d have been in your element. And we could have pogoed together, although the boots would have to have come off for that, and I might not then have seen over the few heads in front of me that separated me only feet – not years – from a band whose socio-political message needs no dressing up. Not at all like many of our politicians nor their political agendas.

Devil On The Wind

Cable Street

Wishing Well

Bounty Hunter

The Colours

Raising Hell

Night Ferry

Going Back To Coventry

Donald Where’s Your Troosers

Smugglers

Rosettes

Barrett’s Privateers

Shirt of Blue

Green Fields of France

Ironmasters

Defiant

One of the band dedicated ‘Shirt of Blue’ to insights behind the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 as depicted in a new documentary film released on 4th October and being screened in and around the UK at selected cinemas.

I remember it well because teachers were taking strike action too. I was marching with my union in George’s Square back then (I know. I was a very young teacher. Only five!) I remember seeing myself on telly later on the news and admiring my dad’s coat that I had been wearing!

When I think about it, maybe I’ve not changed all that much in the intervening years. I’ve always been involved in politics in one shape or form although I had, in recent years, taken a total scunner to it all.

All the music and voices from the past and present caught up with me last night, all the rebellions I have ever experienced, the ones I am still experiencing – ‘cos, fuck, I ain’t dead yet! – and I had a night of semi-wild abandon, because, well you know, you can’t change all that you are but you can embrace life and passion …with reason.

And music, poetry, words, actions, thoughts, shared hopes and dreams are a reason. Back to the black eyeliner and some hellraising. :)

 

 

 

Spirit of History

In about three hours time I should be ensconced in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA ready to partake of the privilege of The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

(source:-   caitlinmccuskercoursework.blogspot.com )

Hopefully, ‘cos I’m ever hopeful, :), listening to this. Spot the bit that’s just ace.

England, 1936.
The grip of the Sabbath day
In London town the only sound
Is a whisper in an alleyway
Men put on their gloves and boots
Have a smoke before they go
From the west there is a warning of
A wind about to blow

Like Caesar marching to the East
Marches Mosley with his men
Dressed in their clothes of deepest black
Like a gathering hurricane
This is the British Union
With its flag of black and red
A flag that casts a shadow in
Berlin and in Madrid

So listen to the sound of marching feet
And the voices of the ghosts of Cable Street
Fists and stones and batons and the gun
With courage we shall beat those blackshirts down

So mile by mile they come on down
To a place called Cable Street
And other men are waiting there
Preparations are complete
Mosley comes so close
They now can see his outstretched arm
A hand raised up that way
Never took the future in its palm

Listen to the sound of marching feet
And the voices of the ghosts of Cable Street
Fists and stones and batons and the gun
With courage we shall beat those blackshirts down

The battle broke as the fists and the batons fell
Through the barricades came the sound of the wounded yells
Jack Spot burst through with a chair leg made of lead
Brought down a crashing blow on Mosley’s head

And so we learn from history generations have to fight
And those who crave for mastery
Must be faced down on sight
And if that means by words, by fists, by stones or by the gun

Remember those who stood up for
Their daughters and their sons

Listen to the sound of marching feet
And the voices of the ghosts of Cable Street
Fists and stones and batons and the gun
With courage we shall beat those blackshirts down

Listen to the sound of marching feet
And the voices of the ghosts of Cable Street
Fists … stones … batons and the gun
With courage we shall beat those blackshirts down

 

Funny thing,

that we get far enough away from events

we call them history.

Then we look at it

and get a new perspective.

Or more than one.

No one says we have to look at history.

Everything only happened yesterday.

Yesterday is upon us every day.

Marching.

Demanding action.

The pendulum swings

to extremes,

all sorts of extremes.

If we don’t learn, we repeat.

I’ve repeated this song a lot.

Funny thing is,

I’m a pacifist.

By choice and persuasion.

And a coward..except.

Most of us would fight – in some shape or form – for what we believe to be right.

If only we could learn from history what that is.

Separating the myths from the legends.

We’re not obliged to learn.

It’s simply desirable.

To keep the music flowing.

To keep life going.

To keep on keeping on.

Let the spirit of history live.

 

Feel The Difference

Better than an ode to diffidence

is one to those who’ve dared to love,

felt difference,

Sometimes felt too fast, too strong, too hard, too late,

but felt at all, fell for love’s sweet bait,

Fallen into sea, where drifting, all lost lovers,

await the time, the change 

time takes to so recover

A measure of the hope the fallen felt

before the sands of time a new hand dealt.

An ode to diffidence would not recall

the knowing that, with love,

we’ve felt at all.

Courage to all lovers, nothing lost,

life risked for difference when love accosts.

 

 

Hidden Truth

scottishmomus:

Such very beautiful words. An understanding of truth I need to learn.

Originally posted on Experimental Fiction:

An ocean in a billion drops
It drenches as it falls,
Between each drop a truth is seen
Enough to shatter walls,
And if you listen close enough
It speaks to one and all.

A blanket made of honeyed light
It covers hills and dales,
It’s seen amongst the faded trees
And dancing in the vales,
And if you look with open eye
You’ll see the truth it hails.

A wind to chill and fill the eaves
It sets the leaves to dance,
The patterns formed in branches sway
Are worth a lingered glance,
And with each gust amongst the clouds
The truth with take the chance.

A universe of glowing stars
Such distances between,
The multitude of planets cold
That never may be seen,
Still hold a place for such a truth
As sun’s perpetual gleam.

Each person has this truth defined
Within their heart and soul,
And all…

View original 22 more words

Contenders

Flew atop cloaked mountain peak,

Ozone-succoured breath,

Weighted wings, view too steep,

Headlong, certain death.

Rendezvous with eagle there,

Chastised love forbids,

Stumbled step on heaven’s stair,

Inhuman sought rebirth.

Feathered fall, angel trips,

Teardrops form as ice,

Canyon echoes empty lips,

Heights to precipice.

All for naught, a chorus cried,

Relinquished for one kiss,

Fallen wings, to hell descends,

Temptation’s dark abyss.

Eagle soars from vantage point,

Dives with all surrender,

Angelic thus to human anoint,

Sinless, soul contenders.

Exposure

Paint your portrait,

Canvas stretched,

Framed, by other words,

Splash with colour,

Light will find

Art and truth in daubs.

Capture soul,

With candid shots,

Exposed by camera shot,

Communicate,

Whatever means,

How all change is wrought.

Speak the words,

Listen too,

In lines we read between,

Doubts and questions,

Head held to side,

Squint before the screens.

Not all pictures

Breathe fine art,

Not all media true,

Interpretation,

Opinion polls,

Up to me and you.

 

 

Pressure

Do you bend under pressure or strengthen

As steel that’s forged in the fire,

Alloyed, allied to greater intention,

Striving, with faith, to aspire?

Do you buckle and break like softest of metal,

Non-resistance a foregone conclusion,

Or gather the girders supporting your mettle,

Fight on, to the end, for solution?

Have the fires of the furnace burnt out your heart,

Ceding the will to go on,

Or has tempered exposure, given will to impart,

Galvanised, proofed, made you strong?

Many there are who burn wth the flame,

Alight in their soul and their eyes,

Growing in number, growing in name,

Swelling to quell all the lies.

Many there are in smelters worldwide,

Sweating and toiling for truth,

Raising young blood to embrace every side,

Teaching tough peace to our youth.

Are you standing with armour of love in your soul,

Battling with right on your arm,

Wielding the sword of justice for all,

Ready at klaxon’s alarm?

Our shift’s almost over, done for the day,

An army awaits at the gate,

Legions of light who fight for fair play,

Vanquishing greed, poverty, hate.

Apprentices needed in yards by the Clyde,

In offices, in factories, in arts,

Tradesmen and women standing firm side by side,

Trained to know and to start

A war of attrition that smothers the power,

Extinguishes those who digress

From bringing the seconds of minutes to the hour,

Languishing in workers’ largesse.

If metal there is that runs in your blood,

Mercurial, when driven mad,

Strengthen its core, let thermostat soar,

Fired pressure, a cause to be glad.

It’s the strength of the ore that lies in the earth,

The power at Nature’s behest,

It’s Gaia calling a time of rebirth,

Listen well, Mother knows best.

 

 

 

 

By Silken Threads

Unrivalled, the spinner,

intent on the task,

exuding,

controlling the yarn,

Four to the left,

four to the right,

light foosteps,

spinneret charm.

Tangled the cables,

coiled for effect,

cushioned to nest,

to ensnare,

Sonar, so plucked,

message relayed,

advancement of mate

with a dare.

Captvity calls,

tightened the threads,

matured in

hungering thirst,

Escape impossible,

tho’ eyes all around,

serviced, betrayed

by bloodlust.

Filigree’d netting,

coating of tack,

a lick and a spit,

paint the web,

Ravelled in silk,

by finest cord bound,

anaesthetised, numbed,

not yet dead.

Enter In Mirage

Where deserts undulate in moving landscape,

Come away, enter in mirage,

Penetrate hazed sandscape gathered round us,

Whirling golden pockets risen fast,

Ride to dusk in ship upon sands’ ocean,

Sunset beckons, razed relief from noon,

Pilot seas where storms arise grain-weathered,

Obliterate horizons come too soon.

Bow to enter tents, erected shelters, on

Holy ground, collapsed in shifting weights,

Follow dreams, red clouds’ appointed charter,

Abandon all reality at sand’s gate.