CHANGES

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Self-indulgence leads me today to enthuse about a song which, for me at least, epitomises our present situation amidst the restrictions of the Covid19 pandemic.

Since his ‘Black Adder’ and ’Fry and Laurie’ days, I have been a great fan of British actor and musician, Hugh Laurie. In this blog I wish to draw attention to his version, along with his traditional jazz musicians, …… , as both pianist and singer. of ‘CHANGES’.

The song uses the tune of the traditional gospel hymn ‘What a Friend we Have in Jesus’, one of the best known and liked hymns from the 19th century religious revival in America. The words of the original were written in 1855 as a poem by preacher Joseph M. Scriven and with the melody composed by Charles Crozat Converse in 1868. The same tune was re-worked by Alan Price, re-worded as ‘CHANGES’, and released by him in 1973. Hugh Laurie released it on the album ‘Didn’t It Rain’ in 2013.

I give the words below – a true mirror of the year 2020

Changes”

Everyone is facing changes
No one knows what’s going on
And everyone is changing places
Still the world keeps moving on

Love must always change to sorrow?
And everyone must play the game
Because it’s here today and gone tomorrow
Still the world goes on the same

Love must always turn to sorrow
And everyone must play the game
Because its here today and gone tomorrow
Still the world goes on the same

It’s here today and gone tomorrow
Still the world goes on the same



There are many versions of both songs on YouTube. I give a link to my favourite Hugh Laurie version below . . .

Icons of my Past

KaPow

Icons of my Past

My era has passed and gone,
And with it all my heroes,
But memory lingers long,
Of giants, saints and weirdos.

These I have loved and known,
They made me who I am,
Imbibed while I have grown,
Since I lived in a pram.

How they have coloured my life,
These heroes, these comic bygones,
But through victory and strife,
They’ve ever been my icons.

How many do you remember,
Who live and colour your dreams?
Valiant or tender,
Feeding both laughter and screams.

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These are the ones which live on in my own memory . .  .

Just William:  ‘Just William’ is the first book of children’s short stories about the young school boy, William Brown, written by Richmal Crompton, and published in 1922. William Brown is an eleven-year-old boy, eternally scruffy and frowning. He and his friends, Ginger, Henry, and Douglas, call themselves the Outlaws.  Also appearing in the books is Violet Elizabeth Bott, who is renowned for crying out “I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”.  The stories were also used in numerous television, film and radio adaptations of the books.

Roy of the RoversA British comic strip about the life and times of a fictional footballer and later manager named Roy Race, who played for Melchester Rovers.

Biggles & his sidekick, Algernon (‘Algy’) Lacey:  James Bigglesworth, nicknamed “Biggles”, is a fictional pilot and adventurer, the title character and hero of the Biggles series of adventure books, written for young readers by W. E. Johns. There are  almost 100 Biggles books published between 1932 and 1968.

Wilson of the Wizard – The Wonder Athlete illustrated stories first published in 1943 as a comic strip, in the British illustrated story paper ’The Wizard’, written by Gilbert Lawford Dalton and drawn by Jack Glass.

Garth – action-adventure hero, created by Steve Dowling, in a comic strip published in the British newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’ from 1943 to 1997.

Rupert Bear — (with friends, Bill Badger, Edward Trunk and Algy Pug) – comic strip character created by English artist Mary Tourtel and first appearing in 1920 in the Daily Express newspaper.

Desperate Dan was a wild west character in the now-defunct British comic magazine The Dandy.

Dennis the Menace:  a long-running comic strip in the British children’s comic The Beano.

Billy Bunter is a fictional schoolboy created by Charles Hamilton using the pen name Frank Richards. He features in stories set at Greyfriars School, originally published in the boys’ weekly story paper ’The Magnet’ from 1908 to 1940. 

P. C.49 was created for radio by Alan Stranks. PC 49 (Police Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby) was an ordinary bobby on the beat, solving crime in the late 40s and early 50s.

Flash Gordon is the hero of a space opera adventure comic strip created by and originally drawn by Alex Raymond. It was first published in 1934.

Superman is a fictional superhero, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. He first appeared in the comic book Action Comics #1 in 1938.

Dan Dare is a British science fiction comic hero, created by illustrator Frank Hampson who also wrote the first stories.  Dare appeared in the Eaglecomic stories from 1950 to 1967. It was also dramatised seven times a week on Radio Luxembourg from 1951to 1956.

Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam, is a fictional American comic superhero, created by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker 1939 appearing in American comics originally published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word “SHAZAM!” (acronym of six “immortal elders”: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities. Based on comic book sales, the character was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, outselling even Superman.


TheSaint

Simon Templar, The SaintSimon Templar, a Robin Hood-like figure, known as the Saint, the protagonist of a book series by Leslie Charteris and subsequent adaptations on TV., a Robin Hood-like figure, known as the Saint, the protagonist of a book series by Leslie Charteris and subsequent adaptations on TV.

 

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The Grass Above His Grave

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 The end of World War I took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  The inscription on this war grave in the churchyard of St.Mary’s, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, commemorates the short life of Private F.J . Harvey of the Middlesex Regiment, who sadly died just 12 days before this.
He was 18 years of age.

The Grass Above His Grave

And the grasses sway above his grave,
Reminding me of what he gave,
Of hopes as his new life began,
No more a boy, nor yet a man.

*     *     *

The promises of a war, just ended,
Lay before him, starkly spread.
Tempting him to rejoice
In the swollen face of victory.

A life to live, a promise to keep,
Beckoned his youth to greater glory,
But time and life were not for him,
Nor was death a friend.

They conspired to rob him of
The future he had bought,
And, in victory, the fate of so many
Became his own fate too.

*     *     *

And the grasses sway above his grave
Reminding me of what he gave
Of hopes as his new life began
No more a boy, nor yet a man. 

 

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Photos: WHB-2020  …  ©

A Yard Of Ale

YardOfAle

A Yard Of Ale

A yard of ale, that old-time drink,
Keeps us a metre apart;
The distancing solution,
State of the safe-pub art.

And when I want to meet you over
Chips and battered cod,
Let’s use the café garden,
And a social-bubble pod.

We can gather on the beach
A metre-plus between us
A reasonable distance
To keep us heterogeneous.

When at last we can get closer,
Can shake hands and hug and kiss,
We will clutch our sides and laugh
Over these tortions and reminisce. 

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A Just Ree-Member Rhyme

woman touching her nose

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A Just Ree-Member Rhyme

Coffs & Sneezes

 

Spread Dizeezes

 

So stem those Wheezes

 

That’s wot Pleezes

 

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NOTE:   “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” was a slogan first used in the United States during the 1918–20 influenza pandemic (“Spanish flu”), and later promoted by the United Kingdom’s (and New Zealand’s) Ministry of Health in 1942 to encourage good public hygiene and prevent the spread of the common coldinfluenza and other respiratory illnesses.  WIKIPEDIA

 

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Wordsworth: Pastiche #4

man standing beside window

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Each day this week I will publish a short 4-line verse, each one commencing with a well-known line, sometimes adapted to suit the context, from a renowned published poem.  The general theme is that of Isolation.

 

Wordsworth: Pastiche #4


( ‘Daffodils’: by William Wordsworth )

 

I wandered, lonely as a cloud

Keeping that two metre distance.

It’s very hard to live like this,

But it’s my line of least resistance.

 

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Five ‘Isolation’ Pastiches: #1

bearded man reading a book in bed

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Each day this week I will publish a short 4-line verse, each one commencing with a well-known line, sometimes adapted to suit the context, from a renowned published poem.  The general theme is that of Isolation.

 

Wordsworth’s Lucy:  Pastiche #1

( ‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’: by William Wordsworth )

 

I dwell along untrodden ways

Beside the River Thames.

I teach myself to live alone,

And write poetic gems.

 

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BREXIT ???

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Euro? … EU? …  Eee You?
Let us hear your point of view 
You know, don’t you? . Last of the few.
Brexit ? …  Brexin ?  …  Brexout ? 
Let’s shake dem votes about. 

 

We’ll do the 
‘Yes Sir – No Sir’
In, Sir… Out, Sir
I say – you say
We’ll pay – they’ll pay 
Good deal – Bad deal
Some deal – No deal

So then, why not? 
Let’s vote again
As we did that summer
Yes, let’s vote again
As we did that year
Just remember when
We were younger then
Make us think again
All might not be in vain
(Though if we abstain
Will that dull the pain?) 

People’s Vote or Final Say?
Junker or Teresa May?
Talk of Backstops and red lines
A hundred thousand million times
Border hard or border soft
Must keep the Euro flag aloft
(Mine’s the Union, Jack!) 

Yes, let’s vote again
‘Cos that’s Democracy –
And we do like to vote
For that’s Bureaucracy
Then maybe let’s do it yet again
Long live Hypocrisy
So that Government
of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
Will be given birth
And shall not perish from the Earth.

Yes, that’s what it’s all about!

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The Vagrant

Berlin1930s

The Vagrant – WHB …  Pen & Sepia Wash

The Vagrant

Trapped in this
The world’s darkness
Imprisoned with the dead
Penned in this penitentiary
Another life I’ve led

A world unknown surrounds me
And never will unfold
For life exists without me
On such a slender thread I hold

Existence is my penance
My lot
The cross I wear
Nor health
Nor sickness please me
And who is there to care

Caged in perpetuity
Circumscribed by wire
Fettered by well meaning
Yet situation dire

Leave me here to rot
While no one waits my ending
No one guards my cradle
Situation pending

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The Wheel Bed

wheel bed

Tyring Platform or Wheel Bed

The Wheel Bed

The wood-burn tang remains,
purpose chosen
elm, oak and ash,
a pungent memory
burnt into my history;
childhood re-visited.

Metal rim fired,
it’s molten circle
beaten into flaky orange ring,
before,
from the flaming furnace, 
tongs at arms’ length, 
cast iron wrought and shaped, 
the new cart wheel
boldly borne
to the fitting-bed, 
its iron collar
to be burnt into place.

 
Then, 
ice cold water on fiery iron
sizzles, 
splash and spurt, 
heat relayed and remembered, 
felt and smelt, 
rooted in my molten memories.

Cold contracted, 
cooled into the tightest of fits, 
road ready, 
task worthy, 
winter prepared
and good to go. 

Another hole in the farmer’s pocket;
Another meal for the smith’s family;
Another tick of my life’s clock.

The vital wheels of forever – 
wood, iron, fire, water,
turning, as cogs
dependent each on each,
as carter, wheelwright, smith, farmer, 
primitive, elemental, 
part of my story
… and of me.

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Those who are familiar with my previous writing may recall my upbringing as the son of the village blacksmith. As such, I often watched my father, with hammer on anvil, create both large and small tyres of heated iron. I would look on in awe as, on a huge shaped ring of thick iron, the wheel-bed or platform, the iron tyre would be burned on to the wooden rim of a cartwheel, allowing the contraction of the iron on cooling to bind the wheel to the wood of the wheelwright’s frame.  Few such iron-wheeled carts remain in use.

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