Though Are the Wonders of This Brief Life 17 The Spawn of the Swinging Sixties Chapter Ten Ice Spoke of the Spells of Calm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

From Though Are the Wonders of This Brief Life Book Two.


A Leftfield Narrative 1


Ice Spoke of the Spells of Calm is the second in a four-part series of writings inspired by my time at Leftfield College. It was created out of modified versions of three previously published pieces: Ice Spoke itself, West of the Fields Long Gone, and She Dear One who Followed Me, which first saw the light of day at Blogster on the 10th of August 2006. From Ice Spoke I lifted A Leftfield Narrative 2 and Nice Guy on the Sidelines, while A Night in Scorpio's and One of the Greats were taken from West of the Fields, having first served as its introduction and main body respectively. She Dear One who Followed Me and its intro, now known as A Leftfield Narrative 3, have been reproduced in their entirety. The “definitive” Ice Spoke was published at FaithWriters in August/December 2007.


A Night at Scorpio's


Thanks to the large quantity of notes I committed to paper while at Leftfield, this long vanished college can live again through writings I've painstakingly forged out of them, such as the poetic piece below. It was based on several conversations I had with Jez, a great Leftfield friend. He was a tough-talking kid with a rocker's quiff from Liverpool who I think had been around during the Punk days at Eric's, but whose heart was pure gold. I'm sure these talks took place late one night in late 1982 in Scorpio's, a Greek restaurant opposite the college on the Finchley Road following a performance at college of Lorca's Blood Wedding in which I'd played the part of the Bridegroom.

The previous summer Jez had played Malvolio in a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the play's action having been transplanted to an Arcadian swinging sixties.

And while Jez interpreted Malvolio as a brooding relic from the previous decade, I as Feste was perfectly of my time as a wandering minstrel in flowing hippie clothes. When we re-performed it at the college the following winter term we were like returning heroes, at least that's how it seemed to me. I was young then...that's my excuse anyway...


I think you should be

One of the greats,

Carl, but you’ve

Given up and that’s sad...

You drink too much,

You think, ____ it

And you go out and get _____,

When I’m 27 I’d be happy

To be like you...

In your writing,

Make sure you’ve got

Something really


Then say...'Here, you _______!'

You’ve got the spark of genius

At sixteen, you knew

You were a genius,

At nineteen, you thought

You were a failure

& now you think...

What’s genius anyway?


A Leftfield Narrative 2


The piece featured below begun as diary notes written on spare scraps of paper, only to be shelved for more than two decades. They refer to a single evening at Leftfield, almost certainly taking place in 1983, but perhaps '82. It gives some indication of my social hypersensitivity and unceasing need for attention, affection and approval within a social setting, and the way it affected those who cared for me.


Nice Guy on the Sidelines


Those sad faces

My soul was

in knots

I couldn’t speak!

I felt like the nice guy

On the sidelines,


but strong…

I spoke

Of the spells of calm

And the hysterical




Then anxious


I’d only approached

The latter

By my third

And Gill said

Your eyes are


You must be


Sally said: “I’m afraid…

You’re inscrutable

You’re not just


Are you?”

I spoke

Of the spells of calm

And the hysterical




Then anxious



A Leftfield Narrative 3


On and off throughout the 1980s, I catalogued my days through notebooks, cassette tapes, odd scraps of paper, and so on. Some of these rough diary entries produced She Dear One Who Followed Me which is featured below. It first existed as a series of scrawled notes based on conversations I'd had in 1982 or '83 with a very dear friend, Madeleine.

One of these resulted from an incident in which I'd made a fool of myself by storming off during a gig featuring myself and fellow singer-guitarist Denny after I'd caused something of a scene by breaking a string.

The first section begins with “It was she”, and ends with “you could hurt me, you know”, making use of extracts from several separate conversations, all of which were also edited; while the second, taken from a single edited conversation begins with “You are a Don Juan” and ends with “there's something look”. The final section, also taken from a single conversation, was reproduced word for word. Portions of the piece were translated from the original French, Madeleine's native tongue. As a whole, it provides something of an insight into how my friend saw me in those a far more complex individual than my good time guy image might have suggested. She was not alone in doing this.


She Dear One Who Followed Me


It was she, bless her,

who followed me...

she’d been crying...

she’s too good for me,

that’s for sure...

“Your friends

are too good to you...

it makes me sick

to see them...

you don’t really give...

you indulge in conversation,

but your mind

is always elsewhere,

ticking over.

You could hurt me,

you know...

You are a Don Juan,

so much.

Like him, you have

no desires...

I think you have

deep fears...

There’s something

your look.

It’s not that

you’re empty...

but that there is

an omnipresent sadness.” 

Submitted: November 23, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Carl Halling. All rights reserved.

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