Roy Harper – How Does it Feel? – a song about hypocrisy and playing society’s game.

This was always one of my favourite Harper tracks. I used to love it live and it was recorded well on Flat Baroque and Berserk.

It is a song about the games people have to play to fit in with society and be successful. We give up our time and prostitute ourselves to a system and a boss. It is ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’ and fitting in. We have to hide who we really are behind a façade of respectability that masks our true nature.

People become broken down by the system and lose their spark and individuality. They turn to drink. They turn to religion. They vote for a limited number of versions of the same establishment. They become servants, hypocrites and nobodies.

If you try to be your own man and think, and don’t follow the dress codes, behaviour codes, thinking codes, you become hounded, ridiculed and destroyed.

If you play the game and try to be a success – to earn more, keep ahead of the rent, the mortgage and outgoings, you are sucked into trying to make your way in a cut-throat society where you trample others to get on and become a sycophant to the bosses.

Instead of living wild and free in nature we are shackled to an existence that sucks the life out of us.

It’s a game. None of it’s real. Real life is in harmony with nature – running free.

This was always my kind of song!

How Does It Feel? – Roy Harper

How does it feel to be completely unreal
How does it feel to be a voter
How does it feel to be a voluntary heel
I wonder who’s it is
I see you queuing up outside Saint Peter’s gate,
You can feel bonafide if you ride with the tide
But it’s not real

How does it feel to be out on your own
How does it feel to be thinking
How does it feel to be out on the run
With the mindless world at your heels
I wish I had no answers to put to you
Cos they got me so high tied I feel
Like most of me has died
And it’s real

And outside on the dragon
And inside in the cold
Mammy’s on the bandwagon, daddy’s just getting old
And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real

And how does it feel to be the master’s right hand nose
How does it feel to be lieutenant
How does it feel to be stood on someone’s toes
With a leech bleeding you for rent,
When you say you want a bit more rank
You wanna be a bigger wheel
You can feel magnified if you hide in
Your pride… It’s not real

And how does it feel with a white flag in your fist
How does it feel to have two faces
How does it feel with your god strapped to your wrist
And him leading you such a chase
You got one set of words for him,
And you got another for me
You’re gonna feel mystified when you’re identified
Don’t worry kid it’s not real

And outside on the dragon
And inside in the cold
Mammy’s on the bandwagon, daddy’s just getting old
And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real

And through the blood spew heavens
The roar of lust complains:
Please let me in I have no sin, but you know I’m not real

This is a live performance from 1969 that I’ve never seen before. It’s a little more controlled than the passionate performances he put in at gigs but it’s good to see.

If you are at all interested in my writing on Blues and Rock Music you can check out my books here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1474797981&sr=1-2-ent

I would recommend the Blues Muse or In Search of Captain Beefheart to get you started:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blues-Muse-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1518621147/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00TQ1E9ZG/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474886379&sr=1-4

or

537 Essential Rock Albums Pt. 1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/537-Essential-Rock-Albums-first-ebook/dp/B00OEMO7TA/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474902569&sr=1-3

Opher’s tributes to Rock Geniuses

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ophers-World-Tributes-Rock-Geniuses-ebook/dp/B00U0NLP4W/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_32?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474967124&sr=1-32

If you would like some of my Sci-fi I recommend Ebola in the Garden of Eden or Sorting the Future to get you started:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ebola-Garden-Eden-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B0116VXVIY/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474886688&sr=1-19

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sorting-Future-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1533082669/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474886738&sr=1-10

If you would like a sixties novel I recommend Danny’s Story or Goofin’ with the Cosmic Freaks

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dannys-Story-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1533487219/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474886738&sr=1-9

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goofin-Cosmic-Freaks-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00MT3GWIK/ref=la_B00MSHUX6Y_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474886872&sr=1-18

Happy Reading!!

14 thoughts on “Roy Harper – How Does it Feel? – a song about hypocrisy and playing society’s game.

  1. It makes sense it’s this date, as he also appeared on Swedish TV then too, although there’s no surviving film, there is an audio recording available.

      • I used to have a couple of photos that were used on the Live in Les Cousins album. A photographer at college took them and gave them to me. I gave them to Darren to use on the album and they went missing somewhere. It was of Roy from that era with his fringe.

  2. Looks like I hadn’t – as I’ve just found some notes lying around with other bits and pieces of info of TV stuff and it’s not ticked off.
    I don’t think I came across a suitable place to put them in.

      • What’s to stop you putting anything else in now?
        But it doesn’t matter because there’s no mention of any of his other TV appearances (Whistle Test, Supersonic, Night Network etc), except Rockpalast in Germany.

      • I could put something in. I’ll have a read through and see. But I never intended it to be in any way a complete thing. It’s more the feel of it that was important. It’s with Roy at the moment. I’m giving him some time to settle back in and then I’ll have a chat and see where it goes. It will depend on whether he and Tracy like it, I guess.

  3. I wouldn’t worry about it – the book is not a gigs and appearances list history.
    Leave that to the anoraks, besides there’s already websites with that kind of info.

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