The Kings and Kingdoms

The hollow roll of dates
chronicling the tired litany of monarchs.
Their dusty bones never sleeping
gasping their phantom moans to every generation:
To keep on fighting for the kingdom.
To never forget king and kingdom comes first.
You are its living instrument
that the dead summon to serve and die buried under the hollow drum roll of dates and kings.
Piling their bloody victories, plundered wealth and the crotch grasping posture of destruction over the thousands of corpses that had to die.
To die like an insignificant fly for the dusty bones and stones cut with the deeds of one homicidal dynasty after another.
Oh but the blood must run, it must run!
The young have to die.
The women will birth our soldiers.
For I can hear the dry bones of old kings and their old wars
drumming in today’s march into oblivion.

The hollow roll of dates
chronicling the tired litany of monarchs.
Their dusty bones never sleeping
gasping their phantom moans to every generation:
To keep on fighting for the kingdom.
To never forget king and kingdom comes first.
You are its living instrument
that the dead summon to serve and die buried under the hollow drum roll of dates and kings.
Piling their bloody victories, plundered wealth and the crotch grasping posture of destruction over the thousands of corpses that had to die.
To die like an insignificant fly for the dusty bones and stones cut with the deeds of one homicidal dynasty after another.
Oh but the blood must run, it must run!
The young have to die.
The women will birth our soldiers.
For I can hear the dry bones of old kings and their old wars
drumming in today’s march into oblivion. read more

WEA Radical History Course

I am delighted to say that I shall be running a short course of four sessions in February and early March on Radical History. The course will be held in Stroud. Full details on this link:

https://enrolonline.wea.org.uk/online/2018/courseinfo.aspx?r=C3530259

I am delighted to say that I shall be running a short course of four sessions in February and early March on Radical History. The course will be held in Stroud. Full details on this link:

https://enrolonline.wea.org.uk/online/2018/courseinfo.aspx?r=C3530259 read more

Radical Stroud – Winter Solstice Walk. 21st December

On the shortest day of the year we will aim to visit an eclectic range of intriguing sites – the cheese rolling slope; the remains of a Roman Villa; the site of the sanatorium where Orwell stayed a few months before his death; Great Witcombe church for some reflections on the change of calendar and the loss of 12 days in 1752; West Tump long barrow (it’s one of the longest at 80yards!); Cranham village which influenced Gustav Holst to compose the eponymous tune (aka In the bleak mid-winter – how apt!)

On the shortest day of the year we will aim to visit an eclectic range of intriguing sites - the cheese rolling slope; the remains of a Roman Villa; the site of the sanatorium where Orwell stayed a few months before his death; Great Witcombe church for some reflections on the change of calendar and the loss of 12 days in 1752; West Tump long barrow (it’s one of the longest at 80yards!); Cranham village which influenced Gustav Holst to compose the eponymous tune (aka In the bleak mid-winter - how apt!) read more

Trenchcoats For Goalposts

Friday 7th December, 8pm
at the Sub Rooms, Stroud

Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company present TRENCHCOATS FOR GOALPOSTS – Christmas Truce, 1914 with Jon Seagrave (aka Jonny Fluffypunk,)John Bassett, Bill Jones, Paul Southcott, Stuart Butler, Angela Findlay, Crispin Thomas & Jeff The Fuse + Ned Gibbons (Sound/Lights)

“A unique performance.. history and humour, poetry and poignancy combined!” ~Stroud Life.

Trenchcoats for Goalposts is back by demand for one last time, following a packed and acclaimed show here in 2016 and equally well received performances in Cheltenham, Painswick, Dursley and Nailsworth .Be transported once more in theatre, spoken word, live music and song to No Man’s Land in a moving and often funny re-creation of the 1914 Christmas Truce. Far from glorifying War and performed by a host of Gloucestershire’s finest in authentic WW1 garb, with tinsel for barbed wire and an ancient football, together they turn the Sub Rooms into Flanders Field.

Friday 7th December, 8pm
at the Sub Rooms, Stroud

Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company present TRENCHCOATS FOR GOALPOSTS - Christmas Truce, 1914 with Jon Seagrave (aka Jonny Fluffypunk,)John Bassett, Bill Jones, Paul Southcott, Stuart Butler, Angela Findlay, Crispin Thomas & Jeff The Fuse + Ned Gibbons (Sound/Lights)

"A unique performance.. history and humour, poetry and poignancy combined!” ~Stroud Life.

Trenchcoats for Goalposts is back by demand for one last time, following a packed and acclaimed show here in 2016 and equally well received performances in Cheltenham, Painswick, Dursley and Nailsworth .Be transported once more in theatre, spoken word, live music and song to No Man’s Land in a moving and often funny re-creation of the 1914 Christmas Truce. Far from glorifying War and performed by a host of Gloucestershire's finest in authentic WW1 garb, with tinsel for barbed wire and an ancient football, together they turn the Sub Rooms into Flanders Field. read more

Radical Stroud WW1 and FGR Walk

Radical Stroud WW1 and FGR Walk
Saturday November 17th
Meet at 12 at Nailsworth War Memorial
An Armistice Centenary Walk and Talk
Peace at Last!

A performative walk and talk through WW1 as it affected Stroud, the Five Valleys, Nailsworth, and Forest Green. Meet at the clock in Nailsworth at 12 for a walk led by Andrew Budd and Stuart Butler. Arrive at the New Lawn at 2.15. Performance and poems from Uta Baldauf, John Bassett, Andrew and Stuart, and, of course, mystery guests, along the way. Feel free to bring any memories and stories to share, if you wish.

Radical Stroud WW1 and FGR Walk
Saturday November 17th
Meet at 12 at Nailsworth War Memorial
An Armistice Centenary Walk and Talk
Peace at Last!

A performative walk and talk through WW1 as it affected Stroud, the Five Valleys, Nailsworth, and Forest Green. Meet at the clock in Nailsworth at 12 for a walk led by Andrew Budd and Stuart Butler. Arrive at the New Lawn at 2.15. Performance and poems from Uta Baldauf, John Bassett, Andrew and Stuart, and, of course, mystery guests, along the way. Feel free to bring any memories and stories to share, if you wish. read more

FGR and WW1

Charles and Ernest go to the football

Charles sneaked out unnoticed, from his home in Northfield Road. His first call was only a few yards away, ‘The Jovial Foresters’, not only his local pub, but also the headquarters of his beloved Football Club, Forest Green Rovers.

Sitting in the bar, enjoying his pint, and listening to the conversations, Charles felt he belonged here. The hoppy aroma of the beer was assailed by the whiff of embrocation from the room out the back, used as a changing room by the football club. It’s half past two on a late summer Saturday afternoon. The home side and the visitors from Brimscombe are finishing their beer, and heading up the hill towards the Forest Green pitch at The Lawn. Charles joins the teams and supporters as they strut their way uphill, trying not to look out of puff to the opposing team.

Charles stops at his friend’s house in Forest Green. He’s come to pick up young Ernest, who was keen as ever to cheer for his local team. Charles and Ernest were seventeen years apart in age, but had always got on well. They saw each other most days, either at work at Woodchester, or around the lanes of the hamlet, high above the Nailsworth Valley.

Arriving at the Forest Green pitch, a sizeable crowd is standing along the touchline as the local villages do battle on the football field. It was the first league match for six years, because the Great War had rudely interrupted organised football.

And in the Forest Green team is Walter Beale, a dependable goal-scorer, and, more importantly to Ernest, a proud family member. Ernest was cheering Walter’s every touch, even when he missed a sitter! The game ended 1-1 so honours were shared. The spectators came onto the pitch at the end, to congratulate the players, and to celebrate a return to some sort of normality for Stroud valleys life.

Charles and Ernest go to the football

Charles sneaked out unnoticed, from his home in Northfield Road. His first call was only a few yards away, ‘The Jovial Foresters’, not only his local pub, but also the headquarters of his beloved Football Club, Forest Green Rovers.

Sitting in the bar, enjoying his pint, and listening to the conversations, Charles felt he belonged here. The hoppy aroma of the beer was assailed by the whiff of embrocation from the room out the back, used as a changing room by the football club. It’s half past two on a late summer Saturday afternoon. The home side and the visitors from Brimscombe are finishing their beer, and heading up the hill towards the Forest Green pitch at The Lawn. Charles joins the teams and supporters as they strut their way uphill, trying not to look out of puff to the opposing team.

Charles stops at his friend’s house in Forest Green. He’s come to pick up young Ernest, who was keen as ever to cheer for his local team. Charles and Ernest were seventeen years apart in age, but had always got on well. They saw each other most days, either at work at Woodchester, or around the lanes of the hamlet, high above the Nailsworth Valley.

Arriving at the Forest Green pitch, a sizeable crowd is standing along the touchline as the local villages do battle on the football field. It was the first league match for six years, because the Great War had rudely interrupted organised football.

And in the Forest Green team is Walter Beale, a dependable goal-scorer, and, more importantly to Ernest, a proud family member. Ernest was cheering Walter’s every touch, even when he missed a sitter! The game ended 1-1 so honours were shared. The spectators came onto the pitch at the end, to congratulate the players, and to celebrate a return to some sort of normality for Stroud valleys life. read more

A Swindon Town Great War Pilgrimage

A Swindon Town Remembrance Pilgrimage

We must have numbered a football team,
Umbrellas unfurled at the cenotaph,
Where we spoke of Walter Tull and Spurs,
And Swindon Town and Northampton Town
Footballers who fell in the Great War –
The rain providing a suitably melancholy backdrop,
As we made our hilltop climb to Christ Church,
A welcoming peal rather than a knell
Resonating across the Old Town sky,

While we gathered, inside, by the war memorial,
Inscribing George Bathe’s name on a remembrance cross,
George Bathe, STFC, KIA 1915,
A memento mori for all to share,
Carried by George’s great-nephew, Phil,
Before we made our blue plaque way to Radnor Street,
To talk of Freddie Wheatcroft, star Swindon striker,
Killed in Action,
And Alfred Williams, the Railway Poet,
And the writer Edward Thomas who loved Swindon so much,
Killed in Action.

A Swindon Town Remembrance Pilgrimage

We must have numbered a football team,
Umbrellas unfurled at the cenotaph,
Where we spoke of Walter Tull and Spurs,
And Swindon Town and Northampton Town
Footballers who fell in the Great War -
The rain providing a suitably melancholy backdrop,
As we made our hilltop climb to Christ Church,
A welcoming peal rather than a knell
Resonating across the Old Town sky,

While we gathered, inside, by the war memorial,
Inscribing George Bathe's name on a remembrance cross,
George Bathe, STFC, KIA 1915,
A memento mori for all to share,
Carried by George's great-nephew, Phil,
Before we made our blue plaque way to Radnor Street,
To talk of Freddie Wheatcroft, star Swindon striker,
Killed in Action,
And Alfred Williams, the Railway Poet,
And the writer Edward Thomas who loved Swindon so much,
Killed in Action.

read more

Captain Swing in Gloucestershire

‘And lo and behold! Here I am!’

It was a perfect autumn day for a bike ride,
Mournful golds and russets and crimsons,
Sun dappled and splashed as I climbed the wolds,
To leave the pastoral valleys behind,
And so reach the wide, open, brown-ploughed fields,
Up above Avening, on the high, back lanes
Around Chavenage and Cherington and Beverstone,
On my cyclo-geographical trip to the Troubled House inn;

Back in the winter of 1830,
These lanes were thronged with anxious farm hands:
Families were hungry with bread prices high,
With wages low, and winter indigence
Threatened by these new threshing machines;
And so the Captain Swing riots had made their way
From Wiltshire to Gloucestershire –
Smashing threshing machines, burning hay ricks,
Penning threatening letters to farmers, signed by
The half-mythologised gentleman on a white horse,
The impossibly ubiquitous Captain Swing:
“this is to inform you what you have to undergo gentelemen if providing you Don’t pull down your meshenes and rise the poor mens wages the married men give tow and sixpence a day the single tow shillings or we will burn down your barns and you in them this is the last notis
From Swing”

‘And lo and behold! Here I am!’

It was a perfect autumn day for a bike ride,
Mournful golds and russets and crimsons,
Sun dappled and splashed as I climbed the wolds,
To leave the pastoral valleys behind,
And so reach the wide, open, brown-ploughed fields,
Up above Avening, on the high, back lanes
Around Chavenage and Cherington and Beverstone,
On my cyclo-geographical trip to the Troubled House inn;

Back in the winter of 1830,
These lanes were thronged with anxious farm hands:
Families were hungry with bread prices high,
With wages low, and winter indigence
Threatened by these new threshing machines;
And so the Captain Swing riots had made their way
From Wiltshire to Gloucestershire –
Smashing threshing machines, burning hay ricks,
Penning threatening letters to farmers, signed by
The half-mythologised gentleman on a white horse,
The impossibly ubiquitous Captain Swing:
“this is to inform you what you have to undergo gentelemen if providing you Don’t pull down your meshenes and rise the poor mens wages the married men give tow and sixpence a day the single tow shillings or we will burn down your barns and you in them this is the last notis
From Swing”

read more

The Burial Chamber

It stands at the end of a street
(Bungalows, cars, caravans, camper vans,
Children playing in the road and on the driveways),
There, behind a gate and beyond the signposts.

A six thousand year old burial chamber,
One giant stone forty-five degrees athwart
Another four, in a suburban enclosure,
Precarious yet adamantine-firm;

Cremated bones were found here.

It stands at the end of a street
(Bungalows, cars, caravans, camper vans,
Children playing in the road and on the driveways),
There, behind a gate and beyond the signposts.

A six thousand year old burial chamber,
One giant stone forty-five degrees athwart
Another four, in a suburban enclosure,
Precarious yet adamantine-firm;

Cremated bones were found here.

read more

World War 1 – Blue Plaques Walk

STROUD RADICAL HISTORY:

ALTERNATIVE HERITAGE WALK, Friday 12 October 2018

World War 1 – Blue Plaques Walk, commemorating those who fell in a foreign field, and those who died at home from their injuries, remembering fallen soldiers and also conscientious objectors, and the families devastated by the war.

We will explore Nailsworth and some of the surrounding villages, sharing our families’ WW1 stories, with some performances of WW1 themed poetry. There will be contributions on tangential themes from other members of Radical Stroud. If YOU have any stories or poems to share, bring them along.

STROUD RADICAL HISTORY:

ALTERNATIVE HERITAGE WALK, Friday 12 October 2018

World War 1 - Blue Plaques Walk, commemorating those who fell in a foreign field, and those who died at home from their injuries, remembering fallen soldiers and also conscientious objectors, and the families devastated by the war.

We will explore Nailsworth and some of the surrounding villages, sharing our families’ WW1 stories, with some performances of WW1 themed poetry. There will be contributions on tangential themes from other members of Radical Stroud. If YOU have any stories or poems to share, bring them along. read more