What is the world coming to I'd like somebody to tell me if somebody knows. The end seems in sight with the endless bombings, shootings, and violence plaguing America, but for England the end might be even closer when it comes to respectability. I used to believe that men as great as Henry The Fifth and Sigfried Sassoon still could exist and relish in the current England, but now I know better. What I am going to illustrate here will tell you all the things they never want you to know if you are English, Scottish, or any of the countries in the United Kingdom or Commonwealth. I would never move to England now. You couldn't pay me to. My dream about England was based on good times in the past there, but now I know that the country is full of hatred for foreigners and is not even a pale shadow of its former self. The recently deceased Margaret Thatcher set the country on the road to ruin and then it was decimated into a narrow minded nationalistic country where the crime rate, poverty, and pollution especially what I call "Emotional Pollution" has all but destroyed it. I have been treated with unforgivable nastiness by a lot of people in England and I know my belief in that country still able to hold within its tightly shut walls heroes and kings to be was a complete and total fabrication. In this blog music doesn't take a backseat because it is the only thing that heals poor Henry The Fifth when he comes back to see what his beloved England has turned into.
Henry wakes up one morning not long after Saint Crispian's Day and his brilliant victory at Agincourt to wonder what the future holds for England. He is proud of his country. It is a vast and great and handsome, beautiful land where the people have solid moral values. It is made out of the solid stone foundation of trust and love. He wants to know if England maintains its brilliance through the ages. He is in for a big shock. He gets up on his horse and lo and behold that horse turns into a Pegasus and a Time Machine- he flies on its courageous wings and then boards its suave comfy inside of a spaceship type of machine to go forward into the world of England today.
The first thing he does is to see what England turns into over the next several hundreds of years and already he is very disheartened, but not totally shaken of his love for his country. He goes to Victorian England and is in Soho one night when there is a loud scream and the sound of running, frantic feet. A tall blond man in a suit with a few blood stains on his tie accidentally runs into him. The two behold the differences in each other and to make up for the run in Henry and the tall blond man go for a swim in the Thames. Whilst swimming they have a conversation:
"Henry: And who art Thou? How darest Thou to run into me the sovereign King of England?
Man: I confess, sir, I am a murderer of prostitutes and my name is Jack, but not Jack Falstaff as you can see. I serve in what is called The House Of Lords and they have nicknamed me "Jack The Ripper" in the papers.
Henry: Sblood! I think you art a sick and perverted man for killing, but tell me what is this word, a prostitute?
Jack: A prostitute is a woman who sells her body for cheap sexual longings and who oftentimes carries diseases.
Henry: What!? Horrible! Ghastly! We had Harlots, but I suppose they were better than this. Still, couldn't you just try to educate these women and help them out of their wicked ways?
Jack: A valid point. I suppose I should try that, but I am a man with a mad and twisted mind to most people, a man who doesn't think enough. Still, you look like someone I've envisioned when I've read Shakespeare, but surely it cannot be so. Are you The Noble King Henry The Fifth?
Henry: That is me. Thou art correct in thine assumption. This England, this city tis big and crowded and dirty, but it looks interesting. Wouldst thou mind giving me a little tour?
Jack: Not at all, sir. I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. There is a theater here called The Globe where they put on all of Shakespeare's plays. Would you like to go to it?
Henry: First pray tell me who is Shakespeare?
Jack: Hah! Only the greatest writer ever to come from our country. Don't worry sir, I do not mock you. He has preserved your Glory forever and people will talk of him, talk of you, and possibly talk of me forever. I wonder how much fouler the air and the country will be then, though. I do not like a lot of what I see around me. It does my head in. That is why I turn to these fits of violence and murders.
Henry: This Shakespeare sounds like a most great man and writer indeed. Shall we go for a little tour after we dry off?
Jack: I'll take you all over the country if you'd like. You may not like this new London much, but there are good aspects to it I suppose. Good food and drink. People are tightly bound together. Everyone bids everyone else the same token respect if they too are friendly for the most part, but I am a man of violent means of showing my distaste so they are all hunting after me. They think I am not a man, but a crazed, raving animal. Animals shouldn't be hunted down human or furry ones.
Henry: Show me around, then. It sounds like there are some things that I will like some that will horrify me."
So Henry gets a tour of London from none other than the infamous Jack The Knife. He is already shocked, but most of that is remedied when the people of London help bring him up to date as much as he can be. He gets along well with most of the people and delights in the pubs and entertainment. Jack turns out to be somebody who is so confused, so off his head that his violence can't be cured, but he at least knows that what he does shouldn't be done by anybody to anybody. Henry isn't completely disillusioned yet, but there is much that he misses from his period of England. The two of them decide to see the beginning of the 20th century before heading into the 21st and are forced to behold the First World War.
They are so shocked and horrified by what is going on that they cry, especially Henry. Jack says "Time May Heal This Tortured Land But It Won't Save The Poor Soldiers From All Nations" Henry is determined to lead a large Army to the 21st century so he takes a huge number of soldiers from England and Germany to the 21st Century that he, and it turns out, Jack The Ripper even, are so curious about. They are going to see just how far their two Englands have slid into destruction that along with the whole Army all Hell will break loose and Judgement and Damnation will be passed upon this current England.
The first thing that happens is that Jack sees London now and goes completely ballistic and stands up in Trafalgar Square and demands people to stop abusing each other and polluting the planet:
"You are a bunch of fools and swines! You call me a murderer, a madman, an insane animal, but you have no civilities towards each other nor do you have them towards anyone else in the whole world. You spit in the streets. You leave trash all over the public parks and pollute the air. You have no sense of the history of this country or what it is supposed to be and you don't care. I hate you all! You should be so ashamed of yourselves for how you live, but you don't care about anything, anyone but your own interests and your selfish, sick, twisted little world ten times worse than any murder I ever have been unfortunate enough to commit."
Henry echoes the same sentiments in a choked up speech that ends in helpless tears:
"Fools! Traitors! Philistines and Rotten Innards Of Pig's Blood! This country is full of destruction, death, murder, treachery, selfishness. I cannot believe mine eyes! What can your excuse be!? How can you call this even a world!? There is nothing but war, violence, and blind hatred. My home is now a place I can't even recognize. You don't live properly and do not wish to know how. There is only one thing in common- the wars yet these wars be the cruelest, most disgusting, and most devoid of any kind of honor that I hast ever seen. I will punish Thee Anon by setting lose upon thee plagues and all the fires of Hell! You will rot in this prison that you call with mocking tongue England! Swounds! This is not England anymore at all! I can't stand it. Dear Lord I believe I feel the tears are coming to mine eyes. The beauty and splendor of my home all but destroyed forever."
And what do the people do when Henry is there weeping? They laugh at him. A fight ensues and all Hell breaks loose. To escape from the violence the Army quiet the crowd and Henry goes to a record store not even knowing what a record is. Followed by Jack who picks up some records also wondering what they are. When they see the prices on some of them they are even more curious as to what these little square containers with striking sleeves might hold. They are shown how to play a record by the kind man who owns the store and find in record and music lovers some hope and in rock and roll, folk, progressive, British Invasion, and psychedelic music the one thing that is great about the 20th/21st Century world. Soon Henry has ransacked every store all over England and is determined to learn all he needs to know about the more modern world through music. He is curious about America too. Henry finds that not all people are bad and so does Jack. The only problem is keeping people from to them stupid questions that need not answering to them.
Bold and Honorable Henry finds out through learning how to understand the lyrics of the music that the world has disintegrated into endless wars, that people disrespect each other, but also that there still is some love. His most hated band is Iron Maiden and he has them publicly executed by his soldiers. To him they represent a perversion of the England he loved and cherished. His taste is much like mine. He loves the music of the 60s and 70s and finds it amazing. He buys an electric guitar and learns how to play it. Jack turns out to be quite a good singer and is taught how to sing rock music by none other than Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney along with Rob Halford and Arthur Brown. Halford has made him smile with "The Ripper," but he way prefers Toto and is interested in America, but after they learn of what America has turned into Henry, Jack, and their Army have some hard thinking to do. Can people be re-educated? Can the world be saved? Or are we all doomed because we've essentially just thrown all the greatness we once had out the window and are selfish, destructive, and horrifyingly poorly educated individuals? Unfortunately, after much debate, much time, and much thought Henry is determined to hardly spare anyone from his anger and the world is punished accordingly. England gets the worst of it and when the soldiers from World War 1 meet the soldiers of today they are so shocked by how bad a lot of them are that the new soldiers need to be shown that they are not worthy of fighting for England at all. The England they fight for isn't really England. After a fortnight's worth of living in the 21st century what happens to the world is that Henry finds that he alone can't save it, but can only take the lives of the people who have turned it into a tragic and destructive nightmarish devilish place of hate and destruction. Everywhere they go they try to bring peace through educating the people, but the people refuse it. Jack becomes head of The London Police! Maybe you think that's the biggest shock, but the biggest shock of them all is perhaps that Henry has become a fine musician and writes songs. His songs will be what is through top volume played all over England as it goes up in fire to be rebuilt again to a modern version of his England. Henry loves everything that he's found in the record stores, well almost everything. He hates heavy metal, but he needs some heavy music for his day of vengeance so he finds the best he can use is hard progressive, heavy folkrock based stuff, and hard psychedelic rock all of which blow him completely away and inspire his own music. You should listen to all of it. Music is salvation. Most people can have the door shut right in their face and they wouldn't have opened it for you either so don't feel too bad about not being able to do much to turn them on to a better way to live.
The best place to go for finding out in real life about how far England went down the shithole is actually an album from 1969- Bulldog Breed's MADE IN ENGLAND. The followups were two very different sides of the same hard psychedelic golden pound- T2 made somehow soothing blasting heavy power/melodic progressive rock on IT'LL ALL WORK OUT IN BOOMLAND and Asgard made the ultimate damning of what the world has become with also a one off release IN THE REALM OF ASGARD. These two have been firm favorites of mine for quite awhile now (BULLDOG BREED and ASGARD that is- I love T2, but don't have one at the moment), but there are some new brilliant albums I've been listening to. The most obscure of them is probably a richly augmented duo called Evensong whose one album on British Philips from 1973 is something of a tragic pop psych/baroque folkrock masterpiece that is as yet to be discovered by most people. And I've been digging a lot of bands from the States and from Europe. Thank Heaven for music and blame Hell for the world. The two are getting closer all the time...
I hope that my story will open up some eyes or at least make some people think. Get out in the streets and do what you did in the 60s- SPEAK UP AGAINST WAR, VIOLENCE, AND PREJUDICE! Have some consideration for other people and not just yourself. Try to make your life and your own world a good place, but don't try to turn on people who are nothing but bigoted, small-minded, and selfish fools who are making the world harder and harder for someone like me to be a part of. I have a lot of very strong negative feelings about much of what I see in England and America, but right now England is the country I am the most angry about or it could be something of a tie between the two. We certainly have a stupid view of our countries as being great when we've lost almost all the greatness we once may have had. Whether there still is time to mend and to heal we'll just have to wait and see if there is.