Friday, 4 November 2011

Sepia Saturday: Musical Refrain, or...I'm Repeating Myself

I've shown this photograph before, but I make no apologies for posting it one more time. It was taken, back in the day, as they say, and like much of what occurs during rites of passage, it all seems so unreal now. Then, all things were possible. Grab your guitar and play the world. The working days may have been mundane, but they were little more than tolerable pops and crackles on the vinyl of our dreams.

Endless hours of toughening up our fingertips, ignoring the time, leaving the doors to our minds on the latch, and laying a 'welcome' mat outside for ideas that turned up, unannounced. We were always home to inspiration.

I posted this poem in January of this year. I think it goes some way towards explaining what occasionally drives young men to frame their feelings in little more than three chords.

The Rocker

You came into town on a big tune,
Trod the boards, and raised dust,
Struck the chords and freed the rust,
Thrilled the hordes and became a must.
All across the sprawl, they danced,
Hung long and loose, and dropped their guard,
Hurled abuse and shook the yard,
Broke the truce and thought real hard.
You made your play with a forty-five,
Screamed and flipped, and stirred the loins,
Tore the script and blessed the joins,
Stood, curled lipped, and took the coins.


  1. If you could play the guitar as well a you write poems I hope you kept it up.

  2. they say the past is a foreign land ... great poem

    Thanks for the comment on Xerxes. I wanted to submit it to Poetry 24 but as I cannot email it doesn't seem possible.

    best wishes Isabel x

  3. C, F and G - they work for girls too! LOL

  4. Spot on Martin! Took me right back to ‘the day’!

  5. Both the photo and the poem really do conjure up an era. I spent much of that era in Liverpool.

  6. Nice photo. Did you play very well? I took guitar lessons for over a year and never could play a thing. A total waste of time and money for me.
    Nancy Javier

  7. Wonderful! My mind is strumming along back with you to the '70s.

  8. I too balanced poetry and pop for many years - both halves of the mind/spirit thus fulfilled, the intellectual and the emotional. I never got quite the exuberant reception reading my work as I did thrashing it out along with bass and drums!

  9. I wonder if it was that time in history, or that time of life that made it (more?) possible to "leave the doors to our minds on the latch"?

  10. Refrain, repeat, recycle --- it matters not. Like a fine piece of music it sounds even sweeter on the second listening.

  11. I'm glad you posted the photo again. I missed it the first time around.

  12. Love it - the poem and the picture :)

  13. Hi Martin,

    I am really enjoying your blogs! Love the picture and the poem; I've never played and I like how you described creating via guitar.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to visit.

    Happy SS, and have a great week.

    Kathy M.

  14. Thanks, everyone. I still strum a little, now and then. The Ibanez I'm playing in the photograph is on a stand, within easy reach from where I'm sitting. It might just be time for us to become reacquainted.

  15. How is it that I just KNEW you still played. I also suspect that you are still "always home to inspiration." Today it was your turn to inspire us.

  16. I'd never heard of the timple until we moved to Lanzarote, and my first experiences were of it being played alongside a variety of other stringed instruments, in a fairly clattering style. The playing on Tres Timples completely changed my mind. Perhaps you could try it out in Cambridge!

  17. I wish i had stuck with the guitar more, I have one but irarely pick it up now and never could do anything impressive with it. It's a great instrument, so portable and so popular.


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