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What's New
When Compared to the Fathomless Joy Awaiting 23
by Carl Halling
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An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s
Thanks to the large quantity
Of notes I committed
To paper while at Leftfield,
My beloved college can live again
Through writings
Painstakingly forged out of them,
Such as the poetic piece below,
Based on several conversations
I had with my good friend Jez,
A tough but tender Scouser
With slicked back rockabilly hair,
Who'd played guitar in a band
At Liverpool's legendary Eric's
Back in the early eighties,
When Liverpool post-Punk
Was enjoying a golden age.
These took place at Scorpio's,
A Greek restaurant situated in
North West London
Following a performance at college
Of Lorca's Blood Wedding
In which I'd played the bridegroom.
One of the Greats Who Never Was
"I think you should be
One of the greats,
But you've given up
And that's sad.
You drink too much,
You think, ____ it
And you go out and get _____,
When I'm 27 I'd be happy
To be like you.
In your writing,
Make sure you've got
Something really
Then say...'Here, you _______!'
You've got the spark of genius
At sixteen, you knew
You were a genius,
At nineteen, you thought
What's a genius anyway?"

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s

In the autumn of 1983,
I took residence
In a room on the grounds
Of a Technical Lycee
In Bretigny-sur-Orge,
A commune in the southern
Suburbs of Paris
Some sixteen miles
South of the city centre.
And for those first few months,
I was happy, blissfully happy
to be a flaneur in the city
which had inspired
so many great poets
to write classics
of the art of urban idling,
And the following versified
Refugee from
At the Tail End
Of the Goldhawk Road
Briefly touches on this phase.

Paris What a
City (as Juliette Once Wrote Me)

...my paris begins with those early days as as a conscious flaneur i recall the couple seated opposite me on the metro when i was still innocent of its labyrinthine complexity slim pretty white girl clad head to toe in denim smiling wistfully while her muscular black beau stared through me with fathomless orbs and one of them spoke almost in a whisper, qu'est-ce-que t'en pense and it dawned on me yes the slender young parisienne with the distant desirous eyes was no less male than me dismal movies in the forum des halles and beyond being screamed at in pigalle and then howled at again by some kind of madman or derelict who told me to go to the bois de boulogne to meet what he saw as my destiny menaced by a sinister skinhead for trying on tessa's wide-brimmed hat getting soused in les halles with sara who'd just seen dillon as rusty james and was walking in a daze sara again with jade at the caveau de la huchette jazz cellar the cafe de flore with milan who asked for a menu for me and then disappeared back to bretigny cash squandered on a gold tootbrush two tone shoes from close by to the place d'italie portrait sketched at the place de tertre paperback books by symbolist poets such as villiers de l'isle adam but second hand volumes by trakl and deleve
and a leather jacket from the marche aux puces porte de clignancourt losing rory's address scrawled on a page of musset's confession walking the length and breadth of the rue st denis, what a city (as juliette once wrote me)...

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s

A Cambridge Lamentation
Centres on my brief stay at Coverton,
A teaching training college
Contained within the University of Cambridge,
With its campus at Hills Road
Just outside the city centre.
A fusion of previously published pieces,
It was primarily adapted
From an unfinished and unsent letter
Penned just before Christmas 1986,
And conveys some of the fatal restlessness
Which ultimately resulted
In my quitting Coverton early in 1987.
In its initial form, it had been forged
By extracting selected sentences
From the original script,
And then melding them together
In a newly edited and versified state,
Before publishing them at the Blogster weblog
On the 10th of June 2006.
A Cambridge Lamentation
This place is always a little lonely
At the weekends...no noise and life,
I like solitude,
But not in places
Where's there's recently been
A lot of people.

Reclusiveness protects you
From nostalgia,
And you can be as nostalgic
In relation to what happened
Half an hour ago
As half a century ago, in fact more so.
I went to the Xmas party.
I danced,
And generally lived it up.
I went to bed sad though.
Discos exacerbate
my sense of solitude.

My capacity for social warmth,
Excessive social dependence
And romantic zeal
Can be practically deranging;
It's no wonder I feel the need
To escape...
Escape from my own
Drastic social emotivity
And devastating capacity
For loneliness.
I feel trapped here,
There's no
Outlet for my talents.
In such a state as this
I could fall in love with anyone.
The night before last
I went to the ball
Couples filing out
I wanted to be half of every one

But I didn't want to lose her.
I'll get over how I feel now,
And very soon.
Gradually I'll freeze again,
Even assuming an extra layer of snow.
I have to get out of here.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s
Both The Destructive Disease of the Soul
And The Compensatory Man Par Excellence
Possess as their starting points
A novel written at an estimate around 1987,
With one Francis Phoenix as chief protagonist.
Its fate remains a mystery,
But it may well be it was completed,
Only to be purged soon after
I became a born again Christian in 1993,
With only a handful of scraps remaining.
The versified pieces below
Were forged out of these scraps
In September 2011, although initially,
They'd taken shape as prose pieces,
Only to be edited and versified at a later date.
The Destructive Disease of the Soul
No amount of thought
Could negate
Suffering in the mind
Of Francis Phoenix.
That much he had always believed,
That humanity is a sad, lost
And suffering race.
Sometimes he felt it so strongly
That the worship of a Saviour seemed
To be the only sane act on earth,
And then it passed.

It was not increasing callousness,
But an increase in the number of moments
He felt quite intoxicated with compassion
That had soured Frank's outlook.
During those moments, he wept
For all those he'd ever been cruel to.
He could be so hard on people,
So terribly hard.
To whom could he ask forgiveness?
It was his sensitivity
That bred those moments of Christlike love,
When he cared so little for himself,
For his body, even for his soul
When it was the soul of his father,
The soul of his mother,
The souls of his friends and relatives
And everyone he'd ever known
That he cared about.
That was truth, that was reality,
That was the purpose of all human life,
That love, that benevolence,
That absolute forgiveness.
Otherworldly love is painful,
But it is the only true freedom known to Man.
Too much thought eventually produces the conviction
That nothing is worth doing.
Thought is a destructive disease of the soul.
The Compensatory Man Par Excellence
I seldom indulge in letter writing
Because I consider it
To be a cold and illusory
Means of communication.
I will only send someone a letter
If I'm certain it's going to serve
A definite functional purpose,
Such as that which I'm
Scrupulously concocting at present
Indisputably does.
It's not that I incline
Towards excessive premeditation;
Its rather that I have to subject
My thoughts and emotions
To quasi-military discipline,
As pandemonium is the sole alternative.
I'm the compensatory man par excellence.
Deliberation, in my case,
Is a means to an end,
But scarcely by any means,
An end in itself.
This letter possesses not one,
But two, designs.
On one hand, its aim is edification.
Besides that, I plan to include it
In the literary project upon which
I'm presently engaged,
With your permission of course.
Contrary to what you have suspected
In the past,
I never intend to trivialise intimacy
By distilling it into art.
On the contrary, I seek
To apotheosise the same.
You see...I lack the necessary
Emotional vitality to do justice
To people and events
That are precious to me;
I am forced, therefore,
To at a later date call
On emotive reserves
Contained within my unconscious
In order to transform
The aforesaid into literary monuments.
You once said that my feelings
Had been interred under six feet
Of lifeless abstractions;
As true as this might be,
The abstractions in question
Come from without
Rather than within me:
My youthful spontaneity
Many mistrustfully identified
With self-satisfied inconsiderateness
(A standard case of fallacious reasoning),
And I was consequently
The frequent victim
Of somewhat draconic cerebrations.
I tremble now
In the face of hyperconsciousness.
I've manufactured a mentality,
Riddled with deliberation,
Cankerous with irony;
Still, in its fragility,
Not to say, artificiality,
It can, with supreme facility,
Be wrenched aside to expose
The touch-paper tenderness within.
With characteristic extremism,
I've taken ratiocination
To its very limits,
But I've acquainted myself with,
Nay, embraced my antagonist
Only in order to more effectively throttle him.
Being a survivor of the protracted passage
Through the morass of nihilism,
Found deep within
"the hell of my inner being,"
I am more than qualified to say this:
There is no way out
Of the prison of ceaseless sophistry.
There many things I have left to say,
But I shall only have begun to exist in earnest
When these are far behind me,
In fact, so far as to be all but imperceptible.
I long for the time
When I shall have compensated to my satisfaction.
I never desired intellectuality; it was thrust upon me.
Everything I ever dreaded being, I've become
Everything I ever desired to be, I've become.
I'm the sum total of a lifetime's
Fears and fantasies,
Both wish-fulfillment
And dread-consummation incarnate.
I long for the time
When I shall have compensated to my satisfaction.
I never desired intellectuality; it was thrust upon me.
I'm the sum total of a lifetime's
Fears and fantasies,
Both wish-fulfillment
And dread-consummation incarnate.
I'm the compensatory man par excellence.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s
An Aphoristic Self-Portrait
Was expeditiously versified
In September 2011,
Using a series of teeming
Informal diary entries
Made in various
Receptacles in the late 1980s.
And as such may provide
Some kind of indication
As to my psychological
And spiritual condition
Some half a dozen
Or so years prior to my
Damascene conversion.

An Aphoristic Self-Portrait
As a writer, people are my vocation.
As for humanity, men, women
And other abstractions,
Their interests constitute little more
Than my hobby; I can only deal in people.
As soon as I start dealing in sects
And sections, I am either an insider
Or an outsider, and I feel lost as either
And as soon as I feel lost,
I make no attempt to find myself,
But simply retrace my steps
And return to the people.
You can call me detached if you like,
But you see, the only way
I can remain sane as a person
With such an all-consuming instinct
For attachment, is to be detached
The world of subjectivity
Holds no sway over me,
Because it is paradoxically impersonal,
Being affiliated to partisanship,
Sentimental causes and other such abstractions.
I couldn't possibly belong
To a school of orthodox thought
That accepted me as a member.
I don't believe in myself
Other than as a crystal clear container
For the freshest cream of human individualism.
When I was younger,
I ached to be famous for the sake of it,
But now it occurs to me
That anyone can be famous
Provided they are sufficiently audacious
And thick-skinned, and I desire fame
Not so much for the vain satisfaction
Of being seen and known and heard,
But in order to guide others
Towards a happier way of being,
The only precept for celebrity,
Indeed for being in general, as far as I can see.
Adversity seems to be my fate,
As well as fortune.
The meek ones gravitate to me.
I'm the prince of the hurt ones,
The damaged ones.
I resent all success and authority.
I'm so affectionate one moment,
So icy and evasive the next.
I'm in love with many people at present.
I over accentuate my individuality,
Because sometimes I look at myself
In the mirror and I say:
"Who's that pathetic wreck?"
The more complex you are,
The less you like yourself,
Because you frighten yourself.
The more I find myself liking someone,
The more I doubt us both.
Liking someone negates them for me.
An Autobiographical Narrative: 1980s
Strange Coldness Perplexing was forged
Using notes scrawled
Onto seven sides of an ancient
Now coverless notebook,
Possibly late at night
Following an evenings carousal
And in a state of serene intoxication.
The original notes were based
On experiences I underwent
While serving as a teacher
In a highly successful
Central London school of English,
Which I did between the spring,
Or summer, of '88 and the summer of 1990.

It gives some indication
Of my emotional condition at the time,
Including a tendency, as I see it,
To wildly veer between
The conscious effusive affectionateness
I aspired to, and sudden irrational
Involuntary lapses of affect.
It also bespeaks the intense devotion
I manifested towards my favourite students
And which was reciprocated by them with interest.
All punctuation was removed around 2007,
And extracts tacked together,
Not randomly as in the so-called cut up technique
But selectively and all but sequentially.
Strange Coldness Perplexing
the catholic nurse
all sensitive
caring noticing
what can she think
of my hot/cold torment

always near blowing it
living in the fast lane
so friendly kind
the girls
dewy eyed
wanda abandoned me
bolton is in my hands

and yet my coldness
the more emotional
they stay
trying to find a reason
for my ice-like suspicion
fish eyes
coldly indifferent eyes
suspect everything that moves

socialising just to be loud
compensate for cold
lack of essential trust
i love them
despite myself
my desire to love
is unconscious and gigantesque

i never know
when i'm going to miss someone
strange coldness perplexing
i've got to work to get devotion
but once i get it
i really get people on my side
there are carl people
who can survive
my shark-like coldness
and there are those
who want something
more personal
i can be very devoted to those
who can stay the course

my soul is aching
for an impartial love of people
i'm at war with myself
An Autobiographical Narrative: 1990s
In the early part of autumn 1990,
I began a course known as the PGCE
Or Post Graduate Certificate in Education
At a school of higher education
In the pleasant outer suburb of Twickenham,
Becoming resident in nearby Isleworth.
I began quite promisingly as I saw it
Even though my heart
Was not really in the course
But I genuinely saw the benefits
Of successfully completing it,
And as might be expected,
Excelled in drama and physical education.
I rarely drank during the day,
But at night I was sometimes so drunk
I was incoherent.
The following versified piece
Serves a testimony to this sad truth.
Its original was a letter
Typed to a close friend in about 1990,
Some three years or so
Prior to my coming to saving faith
In the Lord Jesus Christ.
And concerning a series of accidents
I'd recently suffered.
However, it was never finished, nor sent.
When it was recovered,
It was as a piece of scrap paper,
A remnant from a long lost past.
It was subsequently edited and reassembled,
Before being subject
To some kind of versification in 2006.
And then some half decade later,
Further work was performed on it,
But it was still pretty threadbare for all that.
Incident in St. Christopher's Place
Dear, I haven't been in touch
for a long time.
The last time I saw you
Was in St. Christopher's Place.
It was a lovely evening...
when I knocked that chair over.
I am sorry.
Since then,
I've had not a few accidents
Of that kind.
Just three days ago,
I slipped out in a garden
At a friend's house...
And keeled over, not once,
Not twice, but three times,
Like a log...clonking my nut
So violently that people heard me
In the sitting room.
What's more,
I can't remember a single sentence
Spoken all evening. The problem is...

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1990s

The following oddity, recently versified,
And even more recently
Afforded a fresh new title,
Is one of only a handful of works of mine
exhibiting the absurd
and affected writing style
I briefly adopted in the very early 1990s,
And which was typified
By an obsessive use of
such archaisms as "tristful" and "pheere",
although how much of it's
been based on something
I concocted more than two decades ago,
and how much of
more recent origin
I'm afraid I'm unable to say for certain.

Who Had He Not Sought Such Fatal Lethe

The playwright was most effective
As the dramatic illuminator
Of his own tristful destiny
As well as those of his kinfolk.
And of the two plays that treat
Of the tragic Tyrones
One features James,
His wistful pheere Mary,
And his two troubled offspring
A quartette of characters
Based respectively
Upon O'Neill's father James,
His mother Ella,
O'Neill himself,
And his elder brother, Jamie
Who had he not sought
Such fatal Lethe
Might have evolved into
A great actor like his father,
Or a writer like his brother,
Such was the luminous
Brilliance of his early promise.

How richly blessed he'd been
At birth with charm and intellect.
While part of the
Minim Department
Of Notre Dame University,
He was a favoured prince
Destined for a future
As a Catholic gentleman
Of exquisite breeding
And learning; and then
A prize-winning scholar
At Fordham, from which
He came to be expelled
For a foolish indiscretion.
While the other is an account
Of poor Jim Tyrone's
Last attempt at securing
Some kind of earthly felicity,
Through his love for a
Hoyden with a heart as vast
As his implausible life,
A Moon for the Misbegotten.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1990s

The Loonie's Last Reckoning,
Based largely on events that took place
On the 16th of January 1993,
Was initially an adaptation
Of an autobiographical fragment
Possibly penned around 1996,
Which was then edited, reassembled
And versified for publication
As Remnants from Writings Destroyed 1
At the Blogster website
On the 10th of March 2006.
While in time, it was incorporated
Into an early version of the memoir,
Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child
Known as Spawn of the Swinging Sixties.
Only to be unearthed in late 2011,
And wedded to a versified translation
Of notes made probably around 1992,
Shortly before the events
In question took place,
And then awarded a striking new title.
The Loonie's Last Reckoning
It was late in the afternoon
Of The 16th of January 1993
That my whole
Intoxicated universe
Finally exploded
Drink me one day = 10 vodkas
7 1/2 pints 14 wines
1 bottle of wine + 6 gins + 4 pints
Or 2 bottles of wine + halfs then 4 pints
Or bottle of wine + 5 pints +
Cans and shorts.
Saw myself as a loonie
Of the Lunatic Underground
It was late in the afternoon
Of The 16th of January 1993
That my whole
Intoxicated universe
Finally exploded

Five + Two = Seven Units By 11.30
12.30 = Six Units 1.30 = 5+2 = Five
6.30 = Four Units 7.30 = 3+2 = Five
8.30 = 4+1 = Five
12.30 = Free
Saw myself as a loonie
Of the Lunatic Underground

It was late in the afternoon
Of The 16th of January 1993
That my whole
Intoxicated universe
Finally exploded
Broken at last
With etiolated face
Tremulous hands
After so many years
Of semi-Icaran hubris
It was late in the afternoon
Of The 16th of January 1993
That my whole
Intoxicated universe
Finally exploded.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 1990s

Oblivion in Recession
First existed
As a series of rough notes
Scrawled on a piece
Of scrap paper
In the dying days of January 1993.

Oblivion in Recession

The legs started going,
In my head.
Thought I'd go
Kept awake with water,
Arrogantly telling myself
I'd stay straight.
Drank gin and wine,
Went out,
Tried to buy more,
Filthy white shorts,
Lost, rolling on lawn,
Somehow got home.
Monday, waiting for offie,
Looked like death,
Fear in eyes
Of passers-by,
Waiting for drink,
Drink relieved me.
Drank all day,
Collapsed wept
"Don't Die on Me."
Next day,
Double brandy
Just about settled me,
Drank some more,
Thought constantly
I'd collapse
Then what?
Fit? Coronary?
Insanity? Worse?
Took a Heminevrin,
Paced the house
All night,
Pain in chest,
Weak legs,
Lack of feeling
In extremities,
Visions of darkness.
Drank water
To keep the
Life functions going,
Played devotional music,
Dedicated my life
To God,
Prayed constantly,
Renounced evil.
Next day,
Two Valiums
Helped me sleep.
By eve,
I started to feel better.
All is clearer,
Taste, sounds,
I feel human again.
I made my choice,
And oblivion has receded,
And shall disappear.
An Autobiographical Narrative: 1990s
Some months after appearing
In the Scottish Play at the Lost Theatre
In the one-time working class
West London suburb of Fulham,
I wrote the piece featured below,
Such a Short Space of Time.
But in the first instance
It was part of an unfinished short story,
Not a poem at all.
My parents were on vacation
During the period which inspired it,
Which is to say early in the summer of 1999.
Hence, I spent a lot of time at their house
Performing various tasks,
Such as watering my mother's flowers.
As well as this, I took sneaky advantage
Of their absence to transfer
Some of my old LPs onto cassette.
It was something my own music system
Was incapable of doing, unlike theirs.
And it was a profoundly unsettling experience,
To listen to songs that, perhaps in the cases
Of some of them, I'd not heard
For twenty years, or even twenty five, or more.
With a heartrending intensity,
Doing so had the effect
Of evoking a time
When I was filled to the brim
With sheer youthful joy of life
And undiluted hope for the future.
Yet as I did so, it seemed to me
That it was only very recently
That I'd heard them for the first time,
Despite the colossal changes
Brought about not just in my own life,
But the lives of all those of my generation.
Hence, I was confronted at once
With the devastating transience
Of human life,
And the cataclysmic effect
The passage of time exerts on all human life,
And it was a profoundly unsettling experience.
Such a Short Space of Time
I love not just those
I knew back then,
But those who were young
Back then,
But who've since
Come to grief, who,
Having soared so high,
Found the consequent descent
Too dreadful to bear.

With my past itself,
Which was only yesterday,
No, even less time,
A moment ago,
And when I play
Records from 1975, Soul records,
Glam records, Progressive records,
Twenty years melt away
Into nothingness.

What is a twenty-year period?
Little more than
A blink of an eye.
How could
Such a short space of time
Cause such devastation?
I love not just those
I knew back then,
But those who were young back then.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 2000s

In (what I think was the summer of) 2003,
I wrote about an hour's worth
Of Rock songs in response
To a request from my dad
For songs for a possible collaboration
With the son of a close friend.
They were as far from Hard Rock
As it's possible to be,
Being influenced by such relatively
Benign and melodic genres
As Folk, Pop and Soul.

The songs, some new,
Some upgrades of old tunes,
Were recorded on a Sony
CFS-B21L cassette-corder,
Which I think has been discontinued,
And were generally well-received.
Most have already been featured
In this collection of writings;
While all exist as MP3s,
Except Think the World of She,
And Love, You've Left Me Once Again.

So Lovelorn in London Town
From morn to friendless night
He tramps the streets
Just in case he might
Come across her he's a tragic sight
But he don't care
Love gives him might
He haunts the cafes and the discos
And the bars so lovelorn
He knows that he won't find her
But he's got to keep on trying
It gives some meaning to his life
It gives some substance to his time
It is his motive and his project
And his plan so lovelorn
He only met her once
But it changed his life
And it changed his type
And it changed his mind
They say he once was
A successful man
But he threw it all up
As if he'd gone insane
And he took to the streets
And another man was born
They say love comes but once
For some but when it does
It's like a mighty
Atom bomb inside
A disease that seizes
A gentle soul
And when it comes for him
He'd better try to hide
From morn to friendless night
He tramps the streets
Just in case he might
Come across her he's a tragic sight
But he don't care
Love gives him might
He haunts the cafes and the discos
And the bars so lovelorn.
O Lover Mine, Where are you Going?
O lover mine, where are you going?
O lover mine, where are you going?
Look, see the signs of summer coming,
You can't leave me at this time.
O lover mine, did I not please you?
O lover mine, did I not please you?
I tried so hard, tried hard to reach you,
Hoped that we were doing fine.
O Lover mine, I'll always love you,
O lover mine, I'll always love you,
No matter where, how far you're roaming,
I'll be here when you return,
I'll be here when you return,
I'll be here...I'll be here...I'll be here.

I Think the World (of She)

She's precious as can be,
She means so much to me.
She spells generosity,
and she's always
been a friend in need.

Been so many years
Since we met in our heyday,
So young and so free,
Sun-soaked days,
No tears, no cares,
Back in our heady heyday,
what I'm trying to say is,
I think the world of she.

She's tender as can be,
Her kindness is for real,
So real for me,
She sends warmth to me,
Like gentle poetry I can feel.

The thought of her makes me happy,
Because of all she's done for me,
I guess you'd say that I've been lucky,
She's one in a million, can't you see.

Been so many years
Since we met in our heyday,
so young and so free,
Sun-soaked days,
No tears, no cares,
Back in our heady heyday,
What I'm trying to say is,
I think the world of she.

I'm That Kind of Guy

If you're looking for a guy who will honour you,
I'm that kind of guy,
If you're looking for a guy who'll be moral too,
I'm that kind of guy,
I believe in what's right,
and should I take you out day or night,
You can be sure,
Should I come to your door,
You are safe with me.

I believe in pre-marital chastity,
I'm that kind of guy,
I believe in old-fashioned chivalry,
I'm that kind of guy,
and in the midst of romance,
Should I take you out to a dance,
You can depend, I will defend,
Our honour to the end.

So, come on, angel, take a chance on me,
A man who'll uphold your purity,
Ain't no kind of bad boy,
Some might see me as a sad boy,
But there's more to love than just you and me.

I believe in courtship purity,
I'm that kind of guy,
I believe in the sanctity of matrimony,
I'm that kind of guy,
And in the midst of romance,
Should I take you out to a dance,
You can depend, I will defend,
Your honour to the end,
I'm that kind of guy, I'm that kind of guy.

Love, You've Left Me Once Again

Love, you've left me once again,
Gone to catch an early plane,
Where you gonna fly this time,
In search of the perfect clime?

I am the one you leave behind,
Worried out of my tiny mind,
I was the one who saw you through,
I need your care and loving too.

Love, you've left the happy home,
You've pledged your solemn word you'll phone,
But I would rather you were here,
You've no conception of my fear.

Halfway across a crazy world,
Is no place for such an unknowing child,
If only you could see me cry,
Then maybe you'd stop to wonder why.

An Autobiographical Narrative: 2000s

Ancestry Culture Nationhood (All of Them)
Is the only full piece to be lifted
(And subsequently doctored)
From At the Tail End of the Goldhawk Road,
which has as yet only been published
as an eBook. And which will
Almost certainly cease to exist
In its present form in the very near future.
Its origins lying in the concluding passages
Of Spawn of the Swinging Sixties,
An early version of the memoir,
Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child,
Both it and Spawn also being part of Tail End.

Ancestry Culture Nationhood (All of Them)


As a perfectly foolish young man I wanted...to prove to the world...something...I tried too hard...to do and be everything...to prove to the world...something...

I was a peacock, swathed in decorative gallant dandyism,

of which I was an acolyte.

I've learned to love and honour inner masculinity at its purest...leadership, strength of will and purpose, protectiveness, compassion for the weak, courage and chivalry...Thanks to God.

I feel nothing but gratitude towards all the components which have gone into to making me unique in terms of my gender

...ancestry...culture... nationhood...all of them...


There are those who might look at me and see an individual who treated some of the most precious gifts a person can be blessed with during the prime of their young life with a nonchalance so utterly cavalier as amount to blatant contempt.

In terms of natural endowment, these would include the kind of intelligence that produced an articulate speaker at just two years old, as well as health so robust that all serious childhood sicknesses were kept at bay until I was 13,

when I caught meningitis following a spell as a foreign exchange student in St Malo off the Brittany coast.

By my early twenties anyone who knew me then would be forgiven for believing that if anyone was destined for ultimate celebrity it was me, "le futur celebre," as I was described in a letter in late '77 by a former friend from France,

or something similar.

These theoretical critics of mine might make mention of the fact that for all my lavish good fortune, I've finished up a lost soul haunted by the past, and tormented in the present by unfathomable regret.

That is far, far from the way I view my situation.

Some people in this city don't even have a roof over their head.

As for my being a lost soul, nothing could be further from the truth.

While I won't deny that I'm inclined to the occasional remorseful mood, the fact remains my soul has been salvaged not lost, which means that one day all my tears will be wiped away...for all eternity.

At least, that is my hope.

I'm not the most social of beings I'll admit, and yet paradoxically perhaps, I love to wander among crowds of people, gaining great comfort from doing so.

The truth is for one reason or another, I'm relatively incapable of pretending to be anyone other than myself in a social setting.

This in marked contrast to the myself of thirty years ago...a gifted social enchanter...

...as a perfectly foolish young man I wanted...to prove to the world...something...I tried too hard...to do and be everything...to prove to the world...something...

That said, I consider myself to be a person of far greater integrity today by the Grace of God.

At the same time, I've never been more aware of the necessity of my reliance on God, nor that He'll never leave me nor forsake me.

When all's said and done, I'm a deeply blessed man for all my superficial so-called woes, because my heart's desire has been fulfilled.

As for my supposed melancholia, this particular thorn in the flesh has been afflicting Christians for centuries.

To cite some examples for the sceptical...Martin Luther suffered for much of his life from a tendency towards dejection of spirits which he attributed to a variety of causes including spiritual oppression in the realm of the mind,

founder of the Quaker movement George Fox was by his own admission "a man of sorrows" in the early days of his walk with God,

poet and hymnodist William Cowper was a lifelong depressive who endlessly doubted his own eternal salvation,

Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon was prone to inexplicable anguish accompanied by lengthy bouts of solitary weeping, and so on and so on.

What though are the tears and trials of this brief life when compared to the fathomless joy that awaits the true Believer in Heaven?

3. (A Definitive Finale)

If I've given the impression over the course of this piece that I no longer see myself as an artist, then I've done so purely by accident.

What I resolutely don't do however, is subscribe to the theory of the automatically tormented nature of the creative artist.

Could God, the Creator of the universe, possibly condone such a role, which has legendarily entailed a variety of tragic conditions deemed to be characteristic of the "tortured artist" including addiction, depression, mental instability?

Perish the thought.

God wants artists to work for Him, the supreme Artist, to seek refuge in His love and care, where the sensitivity that is so often their undoing can be a blessing rather than a blight to them.

I can't deny I'm still deeply drawn to the creative genius of artists, but not in the way I used to be, which is to say from the position of one who worshipped them at their most turbulent and self-destructive, and thence sought passionately to emulate them...

...as a perfectly foolish young man I wanted...to prove to the world...something...I tried too hard...to do and be everything...to prove to the world...something...

...but from a distance, still appreciating them, but having a heart for them at the same time.

I especially feel for those artists whose sufferings have resulted in their lives being wrecked by alcohol, my own one-time near-nemesis.

I'd like to think that there were those, whether artists or not, who in consequence of reading my writings, come to the realisation that escape from alcohol addiction is possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm not saying I haven't paid for my past in a worldly sense...

As a perfectly foolish young man I wanted...to prove to the world...something...I tried too hard...to do and be everything...to prove to the world...something...

What though are the woes of this brief life when compared to the fathomless joy that awaits the true Believer in Heaven?

What though are the wonders of this brief life when compared to the fathomless joy awaiting the true Believer in Heaven?

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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