Friday 3 June 2011

Peter Griff and I, the 'Nam

Mate, the crap piled up so fast in Cheltenham you needed wings to stay above it.

In this dirty old part of the city
Where the sun refused to shine
People tell me, there ain't no use in tryin'

The sound of the iron butterflies never ceases, Wessex and Westland all whirling blades and the thud-thud-thud as they pass overhead. The lock-ins don’t lock and tarts stand openly in the Regent Arcade, this pirate radio war with the sound right up so that soldiers and time-servers can learn how they’re doing. When it’s not hot, it’s raining. When it’s not raining, it will be soon. The air is the colour of a sputtering valve, the glass sooty. Here in the ‘Nam, Cheltenham, fortified and held against an enemy that owns all the land. Out there and Charles rides and roams, in the green these pleasant pasture seen. In the green, that most unpleasant land Charles watches and Charles hunts. The snort of the horse the baying of hounds. Invisible in their hunting pink and Charles knows the land in a way the corporals never can. The Animals are our backing music. We’re low over the ‘Shire and the streaks from the arrows of desire are painting the night, gold, divine as they ripple from the rocket drums of the iron butterflies.

We gotta get out of this place!
If it's the last thing we ever do ...
We gotta get out of this place,
'cause girl, there's a better life ... for me and you

This colonel? He's barmy, mate! He's worse than bonkers. He's evil. It's bloody' pagan idolatry. Look around you. Strewth! He's barmy... I ain't afraid of all them bloody' skulls and altars and nonsense. I used to think if I died in an evil place, then my soul wouldn't be able to make it to Heaven. But now? Bugger! I mean, I don't care where it goes, as long as it ain't here. So wossit you wanna do? I'll kill the wanker.

The horror, the horror. 

Art: John Wynne Hopkins.


  1. Deliciously devoured in and between each line. You are a clever fox! And we learn of this in 'nam....

  2. We were holed up in a caravan and Charles was all around. Where we watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor.