Monday, August 07, 2006

The Rhythm Festival 2006

The good news is that when you get old
and crusty and pasty and rusty
you can still sit in a field
filled with other crusty, musty old hippies and wannabe hippies
and wish-we-had-been hippies
and wear inappropriate pixie hats
and ethnic gear that barely hides your lumps and bumps
and folds of flesh but it’s a blessing
that the young tasty, lusty guys and gals
who have strayed here by mistake thinking it’s 2006
don’t say, Hey granddad you’re insane and sad and mad
and it’s bad for your heart and skin and legs
and don’t start on about 1966 a-bloody-gain

So then Donovan drifts on
with his anachronistic, impressionistic,
joss stick wish-flicks, an old dogs with old tricks
and the barely alive dig the shtick and the beer flows
and granny pogos and the moon glows
and the headbands and the flowing scarves
and the fat flab and the skeletal grey-pony-tailed
pointy stick-jeaned, ringed and tattooed, unglued, rude, screwed
misplaced, uncased, released, nearly-deceased
(love and peace)
and weathered, withered flesh of an audience
gasp the last breath of the sixties and seventies before the music
fell apart in the eighties and we sit in our folding chairs
and Arlo sings about Alice and the man says,
What’s Really Changed? And we cheer!

So the kids jig to the knockabout Dylan sound-alike Steve Gibbons
two lane and there’s no sign of rain
and by Sunday night everyone’s too tired
to cheer for an encore and top of the bill
is Jerry Lee Lewis who is wheeled on
and gamely tackles a selection of his hits
Goodness Gracious, we’re in our motorhome
which is convenient and has its own lavatory and shower
and the tent next door are playing loud music
and it’s past midnight for god sake -
don’t they know we want to get to sleep?
What kind of festival is this anyway – Woodstock?


Roger Stevens said...

Just got back from The Rhythm Festival. Which, despite the poem I wrote there, we really enjoyed. We needed the break as we were feeling very miserable, having had to say goodbye to our very old, deaf, blind, arthritic and dearly-loved dog – Judy. It was an odd mix – definitely not for young people. Our favourite bands and artistes were – Donovan, Arlo Guthrie, Nine Below Zero (a band we knew nothing about – but who played some fabulous blues – loads of energy and good humour), John Otway, the Blues Band, Roy Harper, The Dylan Project and Geno Washington. I was also recognised by some Killer Rabbits fans. Weren’t you Roger Radio Rabbit? They told us that they played our album recently. That brings the number of people I know for a fact who have definitely played it into double figures. We talked about old times and I redirected them to our website. Maybe they’ll buy the CD.

michael said...

Glad you had a good time - sounds like fun despite the old hippies etc.
Watched you throw sticks for judy on an old tape you sent us a while back -Roger and Jilly Go Silly In Thbe Lake District. It was a bitter sweet memory of things past. Standin g in the rain , looking for Schwitters grave etc. I have a Nine Below Zero CD somewhere- I'll sned you a copy if I can find it. I might even send you a copy!

Russell Ragsdale said...

You humor provides a pleasant window through which to view bright moments without too much disturbing my, don't shake me too much, grumpiness. Laughed, enjoyed, remembered, went to be early. Thanks for this poem, Roger!

Cocaine Jesus said...

sounds like you had fun and didn't do like the advert and take all your clothes off!
speaking of nine below zero i used to work with their old roadie who then became nik kershaws road manager.


oh, OK.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Sorry to hear about Judy, I know you've been expecting it for a while but it's always a horrid time, I got a really strong sence of her personality from some of your poems about her.

As for the poem I loved it, I should think it would have gone down really well if you had read it at the festival.

Liam Wilkinson said...

Hi Roger,

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I'm so sorry about your lovely dog - I know how hard it must be for you, mate. Keep your chin up!

The Rhythm Festival had me in knots! I wanted to go but couldn't. Just to see Arlo would have done it for me.

Cambridge was just superb. Had my guitar signed by Richard Thompson! A bloody nice chap!

Anyway, all the very best to you. Remember - every bad week has its good weekend!

Liam Wilkinson said...


Tremendous poem.

rch said...

Hey Roger, I love the beat of this and all the great imagery. Sounds like a wonderful time, thanks for a great read. Take care,


Prmod Bafna said...

Hey roger!! sounded like too much fun! By the looks of it i'd love to have been there!! :p I'm sure you had a fun time there! Nice poem too :)

gulnaz said...

sorry about your really hurts...but she was loved....
the festival sounds like lots of fun and the poem is a great read...:))


This poem is great, it made me laugh. It celebrates getting older, memories retained, time gone, no applogies whatsoever because there should be none.

Rock on!