Though Are the Wonders of This Brief Life 33 Book Four The Boy from the Tail End of the Goldhawk Road

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

Though Are the Wonders of This Brief Life Book Four

The Boy from the Tail End of the Goldhawk Road

I was born Carl Robert Halling at the tail end of the Goldhawk Road which runs through Shepherds Bush in west London and which in the mid 1960s served as one of the great centres of the Mod movement, whose dandified

acolytes were infamous for their vanity and hedonism.

I was raised in nearby Bedford Park, a comparatively genteel district close to

the largely working class area of South Acton.

My first school was the Lycee Francais du Kensington du Sud, and by the time I was 4 years old I was already bilingual.

I wasted little time at the Lycee

in establishing a reputation as a troublemaker, a popular one admittedly, but a troublemaker nonetheless, constantly in trouble.

I was popular, that much is certain, not just with girls but boys too and blessed with a vivid imagination but I was a near impossible pupil which caused my poor mother a good deal of heartache, and on at least one occasion she drove me home in tears.

I seemed born to controversy, being impatient, disobedient, mischievous, remorselessly attention-seeking,

a true imp of a child, on which the full force of the innate depravity of Man appeared to have landed.

At the same time, I was friendly, sincere and open, a good friend, and well-liked.

My Judo teacher at the Budokan in Hammersmith once told someone no doubt with a sickly feeling in the pit of his stomach that whenever he heard me he always knew it was Saturday.

I was no less a trial in the quaint little back streets of suburban west London.

My roughness could hardly have been helped by the popular music of the times.

By the time it came for me to leave the Lycee my scholastic standing had improved a little, and after some months spent at Davies Preparatory School, I received the most glittering school report of my entire young life; and was actually declared an excellent pupil.

*

No Golden Honour

Golden in the class
Honour certificate
No problem
But mademoiselle
Was to cry
Something changed,
Who knows when?
Something changed,
Even I don’t know why.

*

Tiny Capricious

Impish

Tiny, capricious, impish,

Perfect imitations of head prefects,

Nearly got caned for it,

Get your hands out of your pockets!

*

Cackles of laughter before grace,

Up before the head prefects,

Endearment to the seniors,

Friend of all the tough guys,

*

The most popular bloke in the third form,

Constantly in trouble,

Ingenious smile on an angel’s face,

Tiny, capricious, impish.

*

Tiny, capricious, impish,

Perfect imitations of head prefects,

Nearly got caned for it,

Get your hands out of your pockets!

*

Refugees from the Underground

In '67 the Hippie phenomenon entered the mainstream to became an international obsession...and it was in that very year I harried my mother into making me a psychedelic paisley shirt which I went on to wear with a peaked Dylan cap and possibly also purple corduroy jeans.

By the end of the decade though, the relative innocence of my infatuation with the Hippie dandies I witnessed each Thursday night on Top of the Pops and other frothy Pop programmes had mutated into a passion for actual social revolution, whose apologists I read about and viewed with awe.

As for the commercial chart Pop of the early '70s...it was the music from a world I no longer even barely acknowledged as existing.

Strangely enough though, it was a world that produced several hits in 1970 by a band known as CCS which had been masterminded by Pat Halling's close friends Mickey Most and John Cameron, and fronted by no less a figure than Alexis Korner, including the top 5 smash, Tap Turns on the Water.

It also produced Glam Rock, a heterogeneous mixture of Pop and Rock allied to an outrageous androgynous image, which started to infiltrate the British charts for the first time around 1971.

The Glam Rock era of ca. 1971-'73 was to some extent a revival of the sartorial flashiness - and musical simplicity - of early Rock and Roll...and one which swept a host of gifted young musicians who'd been striving for major success since the early 1960s to fresh levels of stardom in the UK and elsewhere.

Yet, despite the Pop star status they enjoyed in the UK, several of these were viewed as serious album artists as well as TV idols.

They included - in addition to the aforesaid Marc Bolan - David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Elton John, all of whom had been previously involved in some form or another with Art, or Progressive Rock...refugees from the Underground in other words.

Thanks in some measure to their efforts, Pop underwent something of a rehabilitation in Britain from about 1971 or '72, and they strutted around on TV in flashy attire and stack-heeled boots, while assailing the Pop charts with intelligent and imaginative singles in the Glam genre which harked back to the golden age of the mid-sixties.

For my part, though, I remained indurate, viewing the effeminate antics of T.Rex and the Sweet with all the horror of a typical macho adolescent male. But that was soon to change.

*

She'd Loved Me Without Doubt

She’d loved me without doubt

An unusually beautiful person

Both in nature and appearance

With tender slightly slanting

Green eyes

She’d loved me without doubt.

*

Gautier, Borel, O'Neddy, Baudelaire

I first read of the of the French Romantic extremists of the 1830s, such as Theophile Gautier, Petrus Borel, Gerard de Nerval and Philothee O'Neddy, who could be said to have constituted the very first artistic avant-garde of the Modern Age, in Enid Starkie's classic biography of Baudelaire, a book which I eventually dispensed with as I did a once treasured copy of Les Fleurs du Mal...they were not alone.

*

I Was a Decorative Dandy and Gallant

I was a decorative dandy and gallant, swathed in delusive charm, and the more I was flattered and complimented, the more peacockish I became.

I was deeply in thrall to the feminine, which may have been why in my own person, I sought to duplicate those qualities I found most irresistible in the fair.

This as I see it is the very essence of heterosexual dandyism, of which I was an acolyte.

*

You Knew New Wave

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

Perhaps you became a Rockabilly Rebel for a time, inspired by some contemporary Hepcat act such as the Stray Cats, who fused classic Rockabilly with a New Wave attitude, or you embraced the Mod Revival pioneered by Franc Roddam's film version of the Who's concept album Quadrophenia, although as I recall, that had all but faded by the onset of the new decade.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

However, seminal New Wave band the Jam continued to fly the flag for the Mod Revival until 1982, when chief songwriter Paul Weller formed The Style Council, who would not have been seen as New Wave in the UK, although they would have done in the US, but what precisely does it mean?

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

Well in Britain, it was used to describe a form of music which while flaunting a Punk Rock attitude was marked by a relative virtuosity perhaps intended to ensure its longevity.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

And given that such New Wave acts and artists as Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, XTC and the Police enjoy classic status, it was a canny development.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

Oh how electric with rebellion I was...but then rebellion was omnipresent throughout Britain in the '80s, fuelled by Post-Punk, Goth, Indie and so on.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

A degree of nonconformism is of course natural to the young of every age, but since around '55, rebellion has grown at such a furious rate in Britain that language and behaviour that would have have been widely perceived as iniquitous only a few decades ago now leaves most people indifferent.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

You knew you were part of the '80s when you knew that Punk was no longer at the vanguard when it came to epater le bourgeois, and you were scouting around for something to replace it.

*

That Wins Oscars

Yours was the sort of

Performance

That wins Oscars,

*

You were frightening, sinister,

You put everything into it

I took a step back,

*

You get better every time

How good can you get?

I’m proud to know you,

*

People love you,

You should hear the way

They talk about you.

*

Compulsively Strange Compulsively She

She is strange

And exciting

Compulsively ironic

And yet there’s fear in her eyes

*

She seems to be frightened

Of her man of mystery

Or is she still being ironic?

Compulsively strange and compulsively she.

*

I Cherished a Grim Obsession

I cherished a grim obsession with a hyper-intellectuality so at odds with my actual effervescent personality as to verge on the grotesque, and affected a largely fictitious sense of desolation which was only dispelled once I came to know Christ, at which point I acquired true and total purpose for the very first time.

*

Chances Are

If you knew him long enough, chances are

he'd tell you so to his face, and chances are few would feel moved to correct him. But he was no child prodigy, was in fact if anything the antithesis. Yet, his childhood was, on the surface of things, one masterminded to foster a high achiever nonpareil, and while the latter

never came to pass, a genius ultimately emerged. And If you knew him long enough, chances are

he'd tell you so to his face. As if to compensate. As if to compensate.

*

The Renewal of the Mind

The fact is that within a short time of giving my life to Christ, I began to experience extreme difficulties when it came to writing creatively, as if the Lord was preventing me from expressing myself on a literary level.

The outcome was that I eventually gave up writing altogether, although I kept on periodically attempting to do so, only to end up destroying the results.

Precisely why it was that I became so burdened by a kind of forbidding leaden heaviness each time I tried to write for about ten years from the mid 1990s I can't say for certain, but I have my theories.

To begin with, my work back then reflected a continuing preoccupation with subjects that had held me spellbound prior to become a born again Christian.

I glorified these despite a false admonitory tone which served as a cover for my true motives.

Furthermore, some of my writings mixed truth and fiction to produce an unsatisfactory hybrid.

God requires that all those who take the name of Christian adhere to absolute truth to the very best of their ability.

Others contained passages manifesting a dangerous degree of disrespect for the holy things of God; and I thank the Lord he allowed me the opportunity of decimating these.

Finally, in January 2006, God made it clear to me that I was sufficiently mature on a spiritual level to be able to write again.

I've come a long way from being the kind of man who once composed an essay so savagely misanthropic that one horrified individual he'd paid to read it referred to as a “didactic screed”.

And if ever proof positive were needed of the transforming work of the Lord Jesus Christ in a sinner's life, it was the difference between how I used to write, and how I write today, and how this reflects the renewal of the mind.

Edited 15/2/18; 2/3/18.


Submitted: December 18, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Carl Halling. All rights reserved.

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