Harrowing of Hope In this land of kings Of saints and heroes we speak and sing If we make up our minds we can do anything We lay our hand we play our spin Kicking open any door that won’t let us in By dice commanded we creep and sting But God who in his wisdom gave the sparrow wings Made oceans rise and the compass swing To show What we need what we fear how to steer through the ice floes Look out below Listen out for the morning cock, for his warning crow It was a long time ago Late September and summer showing Rust on the branches and the stubble mown By Greenland geese skeins overflown When into the scheme of things By lancers banners and riders ringed St George plays the Dragon off against everything Neighbours friends and next of kin Is that his badge that I see you wearing on your sleeve? Will you hand him manna? Remain or leave? Do you believe what you see or only see what you believe? And will you bend the knee? Well that’s no barrier no There isn’t any time any place anywhere that we won’t go Look out below Listen out for the morning cock, for his warning crow Make us bright as silver Make us good as gold And when the martyrs and the madmen Make our blood run cold Make us warm as summer roses Soft as summer rain And so let us remain So let the Dragon take St George Let her plunge the life from him, break his sword Crack open his armour and eat him bloody raw Expend his armies, blunt his force And when she’s battered down the queen of the day And her grand stone palaces blown away Harrowing the rubble let her fury play Nor stone unturned nor trace remain Then let her take to her wings and rise To where God is hiding behind the sky Naked and foolish in his human guise To cleanse and burn and cauterise And so We can see what we need now we know what we don’t know Look out below Listen out for the morning cock, for his warning crow
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter Last year’s Valentines A tattered packet full of verses that I left behind That never made it to the letterbox on time Good intentions Last year’s valentines Hidden messages between the purple lines Secreted in the meter and repeated in the rhymes I never sent them I could have spared them Could better have prepared them For that rusty canon full of lies designed to tell them Of lines crossed Of love’s labours lost And how it’s never too late to count the cost Flash traffic form battle line It’s a military metaphor – maritime Ship was holed below the water line So we left her It’s a Madagascar A tube disaster A big ring circus without the clowns the crowds and the laughter With strawberry girls From around the World Acting Venus without the furs Then the only way up is down To walk the streets of a different town Another wonderland prepared For Alice through the looking glass to share You think the past is a perfect tense Smiling back never taking offence But memories mingle, merge, inimical Sometimes sad and sometimes cynical Fade to whitewash, grade to clinical What did you expect – a bloody miracle? Rope and halter If you take the horse to water Pretty soon you’ll find him kissing the Gunner’s daughter Razor blades in role plays Paint different colours in different shades Last year’s Valentines Were only meant to turn the water into wine They never made it to the letterbox on time I never sent them…
Another early draft... Set in Stone We’d sat by the sullen brown city a decade or more Each night to the campfires for comfort we’d gather disdainful resentful and bored There’s wisdom in wine But most of the time It’s better unspoken and certainly better ignored So we soaked up our sorrows together our backs to the war Everyone drinking and nobody thinking and nobody cared As the spirit took hold there were stories retold that we usually wouldn’t have shared Mocking aloud Olympians proud But like soldiers all over we do and be damned as we dare And I in my wisdom said more than my share ‘Athena’s no maiden’ I brayed ‘but I’d go for a ride First I’d make with my fists then I’d come on her tits then I’d cast the old baggage aside Hera I’d plough Like a farrowing sow As for Medusa I’d use her if only her face I could hide For her eyes can cut diamonds and her serpents cold comfort provide With Hecate to guide me I’d blaze a path to her door Where she’d fall on her knees to appease, by the strength and the length of my manhood appalled And I wouldn’t be snared For I’d come prepared I’d put a bag on her head and I’d mount from behind like a boar And when I’d finished my business the bitch would be begging for more’ Euan! Euan! Euoi! Euoi! For you to abuse for me to destroy Like a battering ram on the city deployed I asked for a man but you only sent me the boy Wrapped up like a treat in his armour I hadn’t the strength to enjoy Baleful, malevolent, no other words can describe The face that broke into my dreams as I turned and I tossed in my blanket that night She said ‘I overheard Your every word Now I’ll watch and I’ll look and I’ll listen but time will prevail And when you draw your last breath I’ll be waiting to take you to Hell Perseus deceived me. A matter too grave to ignore Now he statuesque stands in the ranks of those heroes who tried to defeat me before So I’ll turn you to stone To wait at my throne Stripped of your arms and I’ll teach you some manners I’m sure And your petrified member can please me without all your boasts to endure’
Seven Summers Seven long hot summers passed As seven rolling vistas Seven prides for seven kings And seven sleeping sisters 73 to Newington Green Dalston Junction in between Clapton, Canonbury, Camden Town Homerton, Hoxton, and Hackney Downs Given the dream I’ve been living in seems such a surreal world I was hoping I’d never have to get out and live in the real world Back to back living day to day In the love of the common people Who we never quite trust as they hate our guts Because the papers say we’re evil Nosey neighbours keeping watch Nervous twitch as you change the lock Safe as houses safe in bed All fall down with an eighth of Leb Charity, chips and living in skips exciting Cigarette butts on the tube train floor inviting So what’s your occupation? What’s your name? What are your aspirations? High Court Judge Crown Prince Prime Minister? Where’s your indignation? Where’s your shame? Status flag and nation? Three white doves on a black bend sinister Hither page come stand by me If thou know’st it telling Yonder peasant who is he On the overground from Welwyn He’s the Prince of Peace my liege Of iambic verse and minor keys Bard of Hertford come to reign Southbound platform Moorgate train So the unfathomable soul of punk with his carrier bags and flares Opens a night of three chord thrash to a room that’s not prepared Travellers want to use my bath And can they run a wire Hook up the truck til winter’s past Smoking round the fire They’re telling me how I should live on the road Get off my back and dump my load City living’s not for me Shit in my toilet drink my tea Telling me how they fought with the pigs at the Beanfield Telling me I need to get out and go walk in the green fields So signing day comes round again Apprise my early warning Booth 3b at 9am Sleepwalk through the morning Claims and papers signs and forms UB40 roached and torn Personal Issue bulletproof screens Freshly minted broken dreams Spurstowe Terrace ‘lost my claim’ but I don’t see how Ask my number ask my name they should know by now… Counter payment took a full day Of mild dystopian fiction But I played the bandit, made it pay Got to know the system Break the cipher, find the key Hurrying back with a BIC Plough that furrow, dig that seam Scented Giro pink and green ‘I am an angry passionate soul crying out in this tortured mediocrity’ My head up my arse looking back down the hole is my accommodation with this bureaucracy So what’s your occupation? What’s your name? What are your aspirations? High Court Judge Crown Prince Prime Minister? Where’s your indignation? Where’s your shame? Status flag and nation? Three white doves on a black bend sinister
We do like traditional folk themes here. This is what should have happened when Janet went up to Carterhaugh... Janet’s Tithe Tousled witless sleep-benumbed Midnight whistles at my door Nightjar bids me wake and come Leads me up to Carterhaugh Fetched my pony from the yard Tied my skirts above the knee Set off northwards riding hard To watch the Hallows witan meet By unbroken paths we strayed By matted bracken blackened bark To the coven’s hidden glade In the tractless forest dark To keep my silence watch and hide And see the Devil claim his tithe Seven years my love had gone Seven years in silence passed Were seven years a widow scorned To see him standing there at last And to the Devil make his bow To Titania on her throne A lover’s kiss upon her brow I saw his armour white as bone I saw her hand upon his thigh But through the whispers in the trees I saw the triumph in her eyes And all the fairies on their knees I knew she’d played him for a fool And to the Devil paid her due I left my hiding place revealed Notched an arrow found its mark Beneath the rising breasts concealed Where I presumed she had a heart Fairies twittered at my feet But steady-eyed she raise a hand And in acceptance not defeat Girl she said I understand But I remind you you were a changeling Into this transient world of pain But you seek another country With Titania there to reign Disenchanted charming wild You are my once begotten child Deathly silence filled the air Expectant seconds gathered pace My actions caught her unawares Transfixed the smile upon her face I’d learned of love I’d learned to care Of faith of charity and hope But as the white knight stood and stared I put an arrow through his throat And though the Devil tried to curse me I shot him bleeding as he fell Cut him down and showed no mercy Sent him spinning back to Hell I felt the power within me soar And the fairies’ shock and awe Now her enchantment has been broken With all her edicts and decrees And her spells as if they never had been spoken All the fairies will be free
Another new song for your perusal... Valeria Victrix Legio Vicesima Valiant and Victorious Raised by Augustus Named by Valeria Served in Ilyria Germania Inferior Took vengeance for Varus With Germanicus and Tiberias Campaigned with Claudius Camped at Camulodonum Closed with Caratacus Consigned to Caledonia To dig stone for barricades To safeguard the border raise Earthworks and palisades Blown by the east winds Scoured by north-westerlies Archers and infantry Spearmen and auxiliaries Cast now as quarrymen To mine rocks and to carry them Left as their legacy Carvings and calligraphy Members and phalluses Tubers and tumescenses As votives and offerings And sundries in excess of this Lacrimose legionaries Bored and irascible Gardened their grievances Minoan palaces Burned by apocalypse Yielded up treasures Of trade waste and trivia Evans had discovered them But Ventris delivered them Praise be his name Among all those who have studied them In all their diversity In our great universities In schools and in colleges By eminent archeaologists Who greet them with theorems Transport and delirium Debate never wearying Paintings by primitives Bones left by scavengers The contents of stomachs In the cesspits of palaces Say we’re worth no great flattery Nor nine figure salary Our faces no statuary Our works in no gallery But we’re vouchsafed posterity If we can cry out from antiquity In a voice of anonymity By writing in lavatories
Monty's Brothers The desert wind, a dry Sirocco Was blowing hard across the coastal plain from Egypt to Morocco Fortunes turned, we ran away Backwards to the delta to retreat in disarray We lost Tobruk we lost Gazala Because we’d nothing that could penetrate their heavy frontal armour Outperformed and undergunned We could only keep on running til we’d nowhere left to run They used the ground, the open spaces They turned their anti-aircraft guns around and shot them in our faces So we learned this bitter lesson That valour is the biggest indiscretion Then word came through, a new commander Had been sent to shake things up again by General Alexander I knew the name, and one hears rumours And then I met a chap who’d served with him on Army Group manoeuvres He said ‘He’s hard, obsessed, with winning Doesn’t gamble drink or smoke and that he’s terrified of women’ To our dismay when he appeared He looked nothing like a Spartan though his habits were austere His ears stuck out, a pair of handles As if to stop his hat from slipping with their perpendicular angles And his knees were white as lilies There was nothing to suggest he was a modern day Achilles But when he spoke it lit a fire And suddenly we’d found a new messiah Good old Monty thanks for victory For the footnote we played in history For his platitudes and his propriety And the joy we found in his society For our place at the hinge of destiny For the goal and the opportunity To lay our bones here for all eternity Let this song then our valediction be At Alamein he took a chance We dug in along the ridge and there we halted their advance Low on fuel and low on water Their shipping under pressure from our bombers based on Malta As the front began to crumble We took Germans in their thousands and Italians without number And the Fox became the quarry As we piled it on in General Grants and General Motors lorries Then came Torch and Patton landed And suddenly the struggle was no longer even handed And their rout became a scramble As they were caught between the hammer and the anvil In defeat he was unbeatable But in victory the dish became uneatable But he was our mage, he was our Merlin Although he ballsed up Market Garden and he never captured Berlin It was his tact we most admired And the way he’d send us marching through the minefields under fire We loved his style we loved his tricks We loved the way he didn’t dwell too long on casualty lists We loved the man we loved the hour And his expression of impatience when he talked to Eisenhower But he was no saint, he was no god And it was ordinary soldiers in whose giant steps he trod So when you dwell upon his name Don’t forget the rest who died along the way Good old Monty thanks for victory For the footnote we played in history For his platitudes and his propriety And the joy we found in his society For our place at the hinge of destiny For the goal and the opportunity To lay our bones here for all eternity Let this song then our valediction be
Here at Blyth HQ Mr Porter has been very busy writing new material, at a rate not seen since the week's tour of the southwest with Attila in the mid 90s. We'll be sharing the new songs for you to enjoy. Anyone wanting to ear them in person do feel free to book the duo or solo show, or indeed the band, as the band is keen to get out and about more now circumstances are more favourable... Bad Samaritan Searching new directions for my masterplan The Devil soon found work to fill my idle hands Sat interviews, assessments and I learned the codes Passed the tests with colours and then I signed the road Time divides in patterns, Eight in twenty four But I learned to love the night shifts when the quiet people call They showed me how to listen when to speak and what not to say To search for hidden subtext and try to guide it into play I’d come alive as the tension heightened towards each new story’s end So I stayed up all night talking with my imaginary friends We’re home alone and lonely facing benefit reviews Locked into a cycle of dependence and abuse Teenage mothers star-cross’d lovers censured and ashamed Furtive men with fantasies that don’t have names We’re unaligned and uninvited divided as we fall By care in a community that doesn’t care at all 02.17 off into the blue again I’ve never seen her face I’ll never know her name Her words, a broken monologue that disconnected dance And flutter in my headset like a moth against a lamp Constant inconsistence never quite belong Like a William Burroughs essay or a Patti Smith song Sex call next and I’m in the mood to play The graphic details tend to give the game away Lame erotic stories that we’ve learned to second-guess I’m supposed to end the call but I let him get it off his chest Phone rings twice then silence switchboard flickers green Echoes roll for seconds after in the nightlight’s gleam We’d talk to men in prison or come home from foreign wars To people with conditions that are clinically obscure To zealots without a mission and to workers without jobs Or those enrolled by management not fit to lead a dog Until grey light through the windows chased the voices from my head I signed off in the call book and I sent them to bed So overlook and disown me tell me I’m confused Don’t ask me how I’m feeling and I won’t tell you Own no brothers don’t help others if that’s the way you feel You can’t address a problem if you don’t believe it’s real Do you think it’s a lie just attention seeking? That’s a point of view But care in the community won’t care for you
That happy time of year when I remember accounts are due in soon... During a trek round the attic counting stock I came across probably the last ever copies of some vinyl. One copy of Pont au Dessus de la Brue (vinyl album), eight copies of Goodbye to all That (12"), six copies of Better to Bat (12") and some Wild Card to Play (7"). Anyone interested please get in touch :)
Thinking of Blyth Power Top Trumps, t-shirts, CDs, Ashes tickets etc. for the special someone in your life this festive time? The mailing room has been hotting up over the last couple of weeks, so please, if you are thinking of ordering anything for Christmas presents, either for yourself or others, try and do it this week, as we'd like the last trip to the post office to be Friday as Office Bound Clot No. 1 is off moonlighting next week...
Back in the day we were on the cover of the splendid Folk Roots, Froots as it now is. You can pick up a copy on EBay right now, including an interview from us with the equally splendid Colin Irwin. How can you resist? (It's not us selling it, honest. You can tell by the bogus 'e' in the description...)
We've had a lot of people requesting another extension to that festival in August we never mention. We really can't start doing Thursday, but given the number of people around Friday, would we be up for kicking things off earlier, say late afternoon Friday? (Please don't say yes unless you actually intend to come watch stuff then...)
Okay, so we have the line-up sorted for next year's Ashes. I think. In no particular order you can expect: Blyth Power, Freeborn Rising, The Metatrons, Coley Portions, Teq, Lying Scotsman, On Trial UK, Fishwife's Broadside, The Antipoet, Paul Eccentric, Project Adorno, Rachel Pantechnicon, The Lovely Brothers, Boy in the Cupboard, Jerry Hellfire, Pog, The Skiffle Bastards, Dog of Man, Aye-Vee, Paul and Wendy Warning, Jammie Sammy, Agnosia, Doctor Bongo, Mare, Short Drag Roger, Verbal Warning, Tim Holehouse, Communist Homosexuals, Cracktown, Davy Cowan Band, Millstone Grit, Triggers Broom, The Speechpainter, Radio KWG, Boatless Maniacs, Will Gosling, Too Many Dragons, Spam, Mick Tyas and Nick Thompson, Rosey, Wob, Mike Parker and The Alcohol Licks. Hurrah! Event to follow soon, together with the write-up from this year's bash...
Okay, so we're back from post Ashes hols and raring to go with a slight request. For those of you who complained we weren't back at Bearded this year and wondered why, head over to their page and tell them that we certainly should be in next year on their 'who do you want next year?' post please! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1987246494688303&id=134273489985622
Morning all! You wait a whole week for a Blyth Power post and two come along at once... A few updates to the website mean that finally Top Trumps - Blyth Power are now available, so hurrah for that! Also on sale are Ashes tickets for next year, 23rd-26th August 2019, at the hunters again in Longdon. Well, you didn't really think we'd stop banging on about it now, did you?
So, all done and dusted for another year. Thanks to, well, all of you! I won't start naming names, as I would still be at it by the time next year's Ashes begins, but our amazing acts, our amazing audience, our amazing 'cricketers', our most amazing compere, our amazing dogs, you're all amazing. Quite a few Ashes firsts; first streaker at the wicket, first Flame Boy, first Russian Mud, first sex ed class, first confetti cannon, oh the list goes on... We are pleased to announce we will be back at The Hunters next year. We realise there were a few teething problems with the new management, who hadn't been told anything about the weekend. We will be in close communication throughout the year to ensure things run smoothly on both sides. Also, the cricket field is safe for another year, and the floor of the marquee is being looked at very soon, so hurrah for that! So, Ashes 2019 will be from 23rd-26th August... Anyone wanting to perform please email [email protected] Don't reply here please...
Couple of quick updates... Will three. Firstly, children's choir rehearsal in main marquee 10am Saturday and Sunday. Songs are general Taylor, bind their kings and strawberries, to be performed with Blyth Power during the Sunday matinee dry. Secondly, football match, Saturday morning around 10am on the Ashes pitch. See Ben for further details. Finally, Morris dance workshop is at 10am Sunday morning, though I don't know where. See Anne Davis or Trotsky for further details. Performance will be during the fete on Monday afternoon. Oh, and children's storytime is back, Monday 5.30 by the plough. Rubies are it's a brand new tale from Silver Fox this year...
Someone without whom the Ashes really wouldn't be the same is the very lovely Jammie Sammy, who'll be back with us Friday at 6.40. Tickets available at www.blythpower.co.uk/merchandise/index.htm if you wouldn't mind, it's so much easier for us and they'll be waiting for you on arrival either with Annie or on the door depending on arrival day :)
Okay, so back to our marvellous bands, and today we bring you another new one to the Ashes, though not to most of you I'm sure. The fabulous Combat Shock are on Ashes Saturday at 8pm. You might even see Malcolm standing up for once on stage :) By the way, if you haven't got your tickets yet please do, and we'll have them ready for you to collect on the door. It does make things a lot, lot easier for us.