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McGoohan’s Blues

Roy Harper
Language: English


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[1969]
Parole e musica di Roy Harper
Nell’album intitolato “Folkjokeopus”

Folkjokeopus
I was eighteen when I first heard Roy Harper sing this song live and it shook me. I’d never heard a song so packed with angst, insight and social commentary. There was so much to absorb.

‘And the bankers and tycoons and hoarders of money and art
Full up with baubles and bibles and full of no heart
Who travel first class on a pleasure excursion to fame
Are the eyes that are guiding society’s ludicrous aim’


It could have been written about now, couldn’t it?

Roy sang the whole 20 minute epic with passion and gusto and it hit me like a hammer. I had to listen time and again to internalise the information it was giving out. For me it was the most important song I had ever heard; a poem put to music. Roy was articulating the thoughts that were chasing around in my head.

I love songs stuffed with thought-provoking meaning. They don’t get much more stuffed than this. And in this age of trite Britain’s got talent and The Voice they do not get more necessary. The TV is filled with soaps and crap. Music is sanitised to boredom. The establishment controls the media.

Roy was commentating on it in a way that I had never heard.

At the time Patrick McGoohan was producing a series called ‘The Prisoner’ which was probably the best bit of television I’d seen. Roy took its rebellion as a theme. This epic song was a departure and innovation. I thought it was the best song I had ever heard.
(Opher Goodwin, in Lyrics stuffed with meaning – McGoohan’s Blues – Roy Harper)


“E i banchieri e i magnati e gli accaparratori di denaro e d’arte
Pieni zeppi di cianfrusaglie e bibbie e totalmente privi di cuore
Che viaggiano in prima classe per una gita di piacere verso la celebrità
Sono questi gli occhi che stanno guidando la società verso la sua fine grottesca.”


Una canzone di protesta che sembra quasi sia stata scritta oggi per commentare la corsa alle presidenziali negli USA…



Ispirata alla serie TV britannica “The Prisoner”, sceneggiato fantapolitico e rivoluzionario scritto ed interpretato tra il 1967 ed il 1968 dall’attore ed autore americano di origine irlandese Patrick McGoohan,

Patrick McGoohan, “The Prisoner”


Un agente segreto che ha appena abbandonato ogni incarico viene rapito e segregato in un villaggio fuori dal tempo da misteriosi personaggi che cercano in ogni modo di estorcergli informazioni di cui lo ritengono in possesso. Tutti i personaggi, compreso il protagonista, non hanno nomi o vengono chiamati con dei numeri, totalmente spersonalizzati e disumanizzati:

N° 6: Dove sono?
N° 2: Nel Villaggio.
N° 6: Cosa volete?
N° 2: Informazioni.
N° 6: Da che parte state?
N° 2: Non posso dirlo. Vogliamo informazioni. Informazioni. Informazioni.
N° 6: Non ne avrete!
N° 2: Le avremo, con le buone o con le cattive.
N° 6: Chi è lei?
N° 2: Il nuovo N° 2.
N° 6: Chi è il N° 1?
N° 2: Lei è il N° 6.
N° 6: Io non sono un numero! Sono un uomo libero!
N° 2: (Risate di scherno)

Nicky my child he stands there with the wind in his hair
Wondering whether the water the wind or the where
I fear that someday he might ask me if mine is the blame
And I’ve got no reply save to tell him it’s all just a game
And Heather and I lay together and I was in love
She weighted up the gains and the losses and gave me the shove
The fear of mankind’s untogetherness pounds in my heart
The deceit of my friends the betrayals of which I am part
And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my two feet standing here questioning

And I’m just a social experiment tailored to size
I’ve tried out the national machine and the welfare surprise
I’m the rich man the poor man the peace man the war man the beast
The festive consumer who ends up consumed in the feast
And my fife eyed promoter is clutching two birds in the bush
He’s a thief he’s as bad as the joker they’re both in the rush
He’s telling me Ghandi was handy and Jesus sold his ring
(Dunno who to, God maybe)
“And everyone knows dat dis dough’s gonna make me de king”

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my two feet standing here questioning

Meanwhile the ticket collectors are punching their holes
Into your memories your journeys and into your souls
Your life sentence starts and the judge hands you down a spare wig
Saying: “Get out of that and goodbye old boy have a good gig”
And the town label makers stare down with their gallery eyes
And point with computer stained fingers each time you arise
To the rules and the codes and the system that keeps them in chains
Which is where they belong with no poems no love and no brains

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my two feet standing there questioning

Meanwhile the TV commercials are sweeping the day
Brainwashing innocent kids into thinking their way
The wet politicians and clergymen have much to say
Defending desires of the sheep they are leading astray
And Ma’s favourite pop star is forcing a grin he’s a smash
Obliging the soft-headed viewers to act just as flash
The village TV hooks its victims on give away cash
The addicts are numbers who serve to perpetuate trash

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my stupid poetry shuffleing

And the bankers and tycoons and hoarders of money and art
Full up with baubles and bibles and full of no heart
Who travel first class on a pleasure excursion to fame
Are the eyes that are guiding society’s ludicrous aim
And the village is making its Sunday collection in church
The church wobbles ‘twixt hell and heaven’s crumbling perch
Unnoticed the money box loudly endorses the shame
As the world that Christ fought is supported by using his name

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my stupid poetry burbling

And the pin-striped sardine-cum-magician is packed in his train
Censoring all of the censorship filling his brain
He glares through his armour-plate vision and says “Hmm, insane”
The prisoner is taking his shoes off to walk in the rain
And the luminous green prima donna is sniffing the sky
She daren’t tread the earth that she’s smelling her birth was too high
Her bank balance castle is built on opinion and fear
Which is all she allows within three hundred miles of her ear

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my stupid poetry burbling

And I’ve seen all your pedestal values your good and your bad
If you really believe them your passing is going to be hard
And I’ve thought through our thought and I know that its blind silly season
Occurs when our reasoning is trying to fathom a reason
And if you really know it’s all a joke but you’re just putting me on
Well it’s sure a good act that you’ve got ‘cos you never let on
But if all of that supersale overkill world is for real
Well there’s nowhere to go kid so you might as well start to freewheel

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my two feet standing there burbling

And I had this dream in here same time as standing awake
These various visions rushed through as I giggled and quaked
The distant guns thunder my end and I duck for a while
Auntie Lily is handing me candy she chuckles I smile
And our village is where I was born and it’s where I will die
And I’ll never be able to leave it whatever I try
The ebb and the flow of the forces of life pass me by
Which is all that I’ll know from my birth to my last gasping sigh

And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see the dying lying there obeying

My age and my time
The blood fire wine and rhyme
That fills my dream reminds me of an atom in a bubble on a wave
That held it’s breath for one sweet second then was popped and disappeared
Into fruitful futilities meaningless meaning
Meaningless meaning

Under the toadstool lover down by the dream
Everything flowing over rainbows downstream
Silver the turning water flying away
I’ll come to see you sooner I’m on my way
And there’s a mirror that I’m looking straight through
And I get it
And there’s a doorway that I’m ducking into
To forget it
But flashing just beyond the sky the shattering midnight gathers
And reminding me behind my mind the earth quakes the sun flakes flutter

Over the mountain fairground
Candy flies stay
Under the moonshine fountain
I’m on my way
Lemon tree blossom ladies
Poured my tea
After the blue sky breezes following me
There’s a river that I’m making in with
And I know it
And I’m floating to I don’t care where
I just go it
But flashing just beyond the sky the shattering midnight gathers
And reminding me behind my mind the earth quakes the sun flakes flutter

Daffodil April petal hiding the game
Forests of restless chessmen life is the same
Tides in the sand sun lover watching us dream
Covered in stars and clover rainbows downstream
And the question in the great big underneath is forever
And the fanfare that I’m forcing through my teeth answers “Never”
But the flashing just beyond the sky the shattering midnight gathers
And reminding me behind my mind the earth quakes the sun flakes flutter

The pumpkin coach and the rags approach and the wind is devouring the ashes

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2016/2/24 - 15:17



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