Watching the audience, live music in Camden, London. Before lockdown when we enjoyed the proximity of people and music made us closer. Part of a set from my travels as an engineer, spending time away from home on a regular basis. Finding things to see and do in strange places. The camera had to work hard in this setting, but I love the result, digital grain and a softness I love, but with enough detail to keep the sense of what is going on.


NaPoWriMo Day 21. 99 Red Balloons.

Day 21. How did it get to be this far in? Today we are going with a musical link. The song 99 Red Balloons will always be linked to my time at Swinderby, doing basic training for the RAF. The prompt for this post came from Carrie Etter, poet and teacher thanks Carrie.

I’ve been out for a stroll around Cheddar this morning with a new camera, so I’ll post about that later. Take Care everyone.

99 Red Balloons

Nena hurled her song about the room,
we were all ironing kit, packing, checking
each other for creases and dust,

brasses polished, boots bulled to mirrors,
our last morning at RAF Swinderby, 
pass out day, families were arriving
and we were getting ready to leave.

She was the dark German girl,
leather trousers, with a heavy accent
and her song was 99 Red Balloons,
not lost on us was the anti-war, 
anti cold-war, anti nuclear message.

It didn't matter, we dialled it anyway,
each night in the NAAFI, and soon,
we would head off to all parts of the RAF,
the military.  Her and her song, never came back.
She was a one hit wonder, but the song is fixed
to the day we all wore best blues for family. 

For the passing out parade,  all pride and pleasure,
and then headed out and into the world. 
That song on that last morning, 
when we scuffed the floor for the next intake, 
piled up our kit-bags and closed the door on basic training.


Paris in two days
Is the tower
the arch
the shhh of the metro
the coffee in the bar
the boulevard walk.

The art and architecture
the traffic and noise
the beggar with a rose.

The standing still to stare
at the view from the steps
and where to go next
to tick the box
of we’ve been there.

Paris Metro
Between the noise, the shake and the doors
opening and closing, between the silence
and the noise of a thousand strangers

in the space of a step in a corridor
on the way to somewhere or back
there was the music we heard,

the singing of strings and movements
of arm, elbow and long fingers dancing
where we waited a moment and listened

as the noise of the people and the doors
and the trains and the rush of the air
became background to the music

and time was for a moment unimportant
for a few like us two, who stood together
watching and listening until time broke

like a spell and as silent as we came together
we left again and joined the trains and noise
and closing doors and lives with things and

places we needed to be as the lights flashed
in the tunnel and somewhere behind us all
a string section played on in a different time

with others like us, who though we were gone,
each kept a moment to use when we closed
our eyes and the noise was too much.