Swords Into Plowshares

We need more eyes to see and more ears to hear! There’s still a lot that’s wrong!!
Where’s the voice of this generation?

Every Day Another Story

There was a time back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when people – a minority of people obviously – marched to BAN the BOMB. The world-wide PEACE MOVEMENT fought to stop weapons proliferation. Peace, world peace was the goal. Idealistic perhaps, but people simply didn’t want any more wars. The memory of WWII was still fresh in people’s minds. 80 million people had perished. By the war’s end, horrific firebombs were targeting civilians – and then, in 1945, the two nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were detonated. The nuclear weapons were soon refined and made immensely more powerful. They were produced in the thousands. Their purpose was to exterminate entire cities. Drop enough of them and the radiation and ensuing climate change would kill off the majority of earth’s vegetation and fauna for several years, including humanity. “Overkill” became an operative term, a military objective.

Luckily, almost miraculously, these…

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Friday Favorites — Grace Paley

I do like people who are willing to protest and try to make the world a better place!

Impromptu Promptlings

Grace Paley

There’s a case to be made that Grace Paley was first and foremost an antinuclear, antiwar, antiracist feminist activist who managed, in her spare time, to become one of the truly original voices of American fiction in the later twentieth century. Just glance at the “chronology” section of “A Grace Paley Reader” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a welcome new collection of her short stories, nonfiction, and poems, edited by Kevin Bowen and Paley’s daughter, Nora. 1961: Leads her Greenwich Village PTA in protests against atomic testing, founds the Women Strike for Peace, pickets the draft board, receives a Guggenheim Fellowship. 1966: Jailed for civil disobedience on Armed Forces Day, starts teaching at Sarah Lawrence. 1969: Travels to North Vietnam to bring home U.S. prisoners of war, wins an O. Henry Award.

Such political passion may seem in keeping with those times, but Paley didn’t slow down once…

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Fabulous Nick Harper Gig at Kardomah94 – Photos and review

Nick had this crazy idea that he would do a tour of requests! Having just been out with the band he thought he’d do a solo tour and play any song requested. As he has, in his 24 year career, written a 100 songs and played a substantial number of covers this was quite an undertaking. Some of those songs had only been played live a couple of times and some he hadn’t played for a couple of decades; so there was a lot of learning and relearning.

All people had to do was email in their request and Nick would play it. True to form they seized the opportunity to requests old favourites they hadn’t heard for yonks and to come up with the hardest ones they could think of – and some of Nick’s songs are pretty complicated and difficult.

Undaunted, Nick took on the task and has been playing to sell-out venues across the country. Hull was no exception.

The Kardomah94 is a brilliant venue – just suited to the delights of Harpic. Rich and Lou are consummate promotors and had it all sorted. Despite the lousy blizzards outside the place was packed, warm and buzzing. The great crowd were treated to an in-form Harper giving them a great does of surround sound, a plethora of fiery guitar and some spectacular vocal acrobatics.

We were regaled with songs dating back to his first and second albums, a couple from the last album with the Wilderness Kids, a song that has only ever been wheeled out twice, some great favourites and two brilliant definitive covers in Prince’s Purple Rain and Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

It was different to a normal Nick Harper concert. While it lacked the usual continuity of a normal gig it was an opportunity to hear Nick in top form delivering some of his best work. It was brilliant. What a guitarist!! What a singer!! What a songwriter!! What a performer!!  The only thing that was missing was a broken string!

A brilliant night out! Thanks to Rich and Lou for sorting it and Kardomah94 for being a special place!

Rock on Nick! You’re a genius!!

Here’s a few photos:

Happiness – Are we happier? Do we need a happiness Revolution??

Reading around it seems that the happiest state of being is that of a hunter/gatherer society. They have the best ratio of work to leisure, a fulfilling life, variety and pleasure. Of course we must not romanticise. There was disease, dangerous animals and food shortages. It was not ideal. But these cultures seem happy and fulfilled. Unfortunately with coming up 8 Billion people we can no longer live this way.

Moving to a move agricultural base certainly caused great problems. We had to toil for much longer in the field at tasks – weeding, sowing, watering, nurturing, looking after livestock – that were not very satisfying.  It brought people together in greater numbers which created more disease. It created anxieties over weather, wild animals and theft. We’d moved into ownership and potential loss. There was less time for leisure and pleasure. Life could be fraught and precarious. There was often violent theft and pillaging requiring greater security and the advent of powerful overlords. But villages were supportive and there was a quality of life.

Moving to an industrial times it became far worse for the majority. Hours in factories were long, the work was unsatisfying and dangerous. It was unhealthy. Housing was poor and disease was far greater because of cramped conditions. A small elite lived very well but the majority lived in squalor.

Modern times have seen improvements in living standards generally around most of the world. In the West we have seen living standards rise, earning power rise, work become less dangerous and healthier. Technology has made many jobs simpler and taken a lot of the effort out of chores. Medicine has made life safer and mortality has risen dramatically. We no longer have our children dying on us. We can plan pour families. There are pensions and welfare benefits. We can travel, buy things, and have a great quality of life. There is less war and less violence. But has it made us happier?

Perhaps the next revolution needs to be a happiness revolution where we focus on how to make people really happy?

Northern Lights – a Poem.

Northern Lights


Psychedelic cascades

In scintillating clouds

Streaming through the sky

With mesmeric majesty

In illuminations of gaudy display

Of glorious flourescent waves.

Magnetic colours

Wafting on the solar breeze,

Crashing on the seas

Of the moon

As electrons shine

Particles charge from the sun

To excite the eye

And flow across the retina.


Opher 17.3.2018

Empowering Girls and Women Solves Problems

By empowering women we can solve a large number of problems.

Overpopulation is one of the biggest problems. It is causing the destruction of the planet. We need to get out population back under control and rein it back. When girls are educated and have a career fertility rates drop. We need to educate girls. So many cultures have a misogynist attitude towards women. They need challenging. Girls need educating and careers.

There is a wealth of talent that is not being exploited. All those brains, ideas and talents need channelling in order to make the world better.

We desperately need a feminine perspective around the world. Men are making a mess of it.


There is no room for Sexist Misogyny anywhere!!

Around the world 90% of countries have misogynistic, sexist laws. They allow forced marriage of young girls, marriage of girls under the age of puberty, the beating of wives, restrictions on voting, restrictions on movements, restriction of freedoms.

It is time we made a fuss and stood up for women. It’s time we insisted on the UN Charter of Human Rights. These women need freeing.


Looks to me like Corbyn got it dead right!

Well, after all the hysteria with the scurrilous Daily Mail and Express trying to stir up hatred against Corbyn, when the dust has finally settled, I reckon he has called it spot on.

I’ve listened to the ranting Tories, with Boris and stupid Gavin Williamson, trying to sound big and stirring up anti-Russian sentiment, insulting and bombastic. But the bottom line is that they do not know for definite who is behind this.

As more facts come out there is less certainty. It now seems that this particular nerve gas – novichok, can be made anywhere. How was it administered? Why are there no CCTV footage or suspects? Is it conceivable that it was planted on the daughter and she just happened to unpack in the restaurant? Unlikely.

I think it is quite likely that it was Putin and the Russian government. He has made a speech about going for them. They have interfered with Brexit, the Trump election and are carrying out all manner of cyber attacks. But could it have been the Russian mafia? Or the Ukraine? Or even someone trying to pin the blame on the Russians?

I’m not a 100% sure. Nobody is!

Who wants a cold war? Who wants a war? Not me! I’d rather be 100% certain before pointing the finger.

What is wrong with waiting until it is clear beyond any doubt?

I hate this knee-jerk reaction. Jeremy Corbyn is doing his job. As opposition leader his job is to question. Good for him. We need people who are strong enough to stand up against all the others and stick up for what is right.

Hilary Benn and co are just waiting to get the knife in. I think that his father would be ashamed.

Hate Abuse on Social Media – Sadiq Khan reads the abuse he has received.

There is no room for hatred on the net. Kick it out.

The type of offensive personal abuse that Sadiq has received is shocking. Unfortunately he is not alone. There is far too much abuse on the net.


Night Markets in Hong Kong

Hong Kong never shuts down. In Temple Street on Kowloon you can buy anything.

They have thousands of stalls and there is lots of bustle; a multitude of foods and just about anything you might want to purchase. 

I was looking for Rock Music and was sold a number of CDs and DVDs. As soon as the vendor realised what I was after guys arrived with suitcases of CDs and DVDs. They were very cheap! They were very unlikely to be genuine but they all seemed to play very well!