Phoenix New Life Poetry, Art, and Music

Dave's music

The background history of this page began in 1983 when a small group of old friends came together, going beyond our previous careers as solo performers, on and off since the mid 1960’s, to go into business as a comedy rock band called the “Bumnotes” which, due to personality problems, as often happens, disintegrated in early 1985, but not after producing our first cassettes, which have served to form the basis (with much removed and much added) of the current CD’s, with the original title of “United Against The Absurdity” plus our own “Havivokaltawi/Life Songs” when the remnant of the former band (myself- Rainbow Eagle (David Allen Stringer) and Howling Coyote (Chris Tetsall) regrouped as a duo, with fresh tapes, to include ‘newer’ material, in the later 1980’s, to promote our own gigs, before we went our separate ways (Cornwall and France) by the 1990’s and reverted to being solo performers. After the Year 2,000, with the return of Chris from France, moving to be near us in Cornwall, we had these surviving cassettes converted into CD’s (under the same titles), from which, I have extracted these tracks, as in the originals, as mp3’s as here accessible on this web-page, whilst there are some of the CD’s still available, at £5 plus postage, from us at the main Phoenix New Life Poetry contact address. By way of an explanatory footnote, the title United Against the Absurdity is a translation of the name of a 1970’s Berlin anarcho-situationist movement and Havivo-Kaltawi is Hopi Indian for ‘Life Songs’.

Page contents:

United Against the Absurdity

Track List & Credits

Track 1 – Present Arms Rainbow Eagle (David Stringer/R.E.)
Track 2 – Man It’s Dead (R.E.)
Track 3 – “Dead or alive, it’s a hard hassle” (Chris Tetsall/H.C.)
Track 4 - Monday to Friday (R.E.)
Track 5 – Unemployed Blue (H.C.)
Track 6 - Macho Power, Female Power (R.E.)
Track 7 – Treat yourself to bread and honey (R.E.) -In Tottenham Court Tube Station
Track 8 – Mule Skinner (H.C.)
Track 9 – Down Barbican Way (R.E.)- a true story based on a pub crawl by Plymouth docks.
Track 10 – Chicken Train (H.C.)
Track 11 – Tom Bombadil’s Song (R.E.) For a girl cashier in the Nat West Bank, Leeds
Track 12 – “The Man in the street is on the moon” (R.E.)
Track 13 – The Book of Bull (R.E. & H.C.)
Track 14 – “The only good guru is a dead guru” (R.E & H.C.)
Track 15 – “I wanna be a rock n’ roll star” – (H.C.)
Track 16 – “Crucified on the National Grid” (R.E)
Track 17 – T for Texas (H.C.)
Track 18 - Paranoia (R.E. & H.C.)


Track List & Credits

Track 1 – Elegy of Plastic Puke (R.E.)
Track 2 – Concrete, Concrete Uber Alles (R.E. and H.C.)
Track 3 – Greenland (R.E. & H.C.) An ‘Irish lament’ on the Cotswolds above Gloucester.
Track 4 – Recipe to Make a System Man (R.E and H.C.)
Track 5 – Babylon Zion (R.E.)
Track 6 – Privatised (R.E.)
Track 7 – Lament For the Trees (H.C. and R.E.)
Track 8 – Zones (R.E.) – inspired by the Chernobyl disaster.
Track 9 – Ron Macdonald had a farm (H.C. and R.E.)
Track 10 – Havivokaltawi/Song of Awakening (R.E.)
Track 11 – Rainbow Bird Dance (R.E.)
Track 12 – Rambling Man Blues (H.C.)
Track 13 – Pale Blue Shell of the Sky
Track 14 – “It blows as cool as the wind on the crag” (R.E. and H.C.)
Track 15 – Dumba (R.E.)*
Track 16 – Gypsy Woman (R.E.)
Track 17 – Raindance-Sunflame Dance (R.E.)
Track 18 – Automatic Control (R.E.)
Track 19 – “Get me back into the earth” (R.E)
Track 20 – Dance of Freedom (H.C.)
Track 21 – The Hopi Prayer for Peace (R.E.) as taken from the Hopi Prophecy of 1987

*NB Dumba is a phallic Nigerian earth fertility god totemised in the Iron Wood tree.



Some song lyrics (unrecorded) by David Allen Stringer


(A song to an American country-folk tune, as in Woodie Guthrie’s “Dusty Bowl Ballads”)

Camelford, St Breward, Delabole and Bude,
Egloshayle to Hartland Point, what now can you do?
Long rusty your old railway line and old your people too,
the wages low upon the land, no work in winter to do.

Luxulyan to Zennor, Caradon to Mount,
The gorse and bracken creep across small fields as you get out,
Leaving but graveyard Celtic Cross to mark where you have been,
to make way for some Magnate grand to profit from your land.

We’ll build you a New factory, a new council estate,
In some far-off smoky city, for your labour we wait;
The terms they will be ours, the profit for a few,
You’re born to serve production lines far from your primrose lanes.

Fowey, Hayle and Penzance, once blessed by the Sea made
With many a fair trading sail and many a fine fish shoal,
Built to last a thousand years, of stone amongst hills green,
Where are your young people now, these years past not oft seen?

Their houses they are being sold at prices out of reach,
Lured away by chances of gold-paved cities like that Dick
Whittington of Pantomime once sought in London Town,
When they return, nowhere to live reckon they’ll feel let down!

The Old Man by the cottage gate, gatherin’ timber from the wood,
Diggin’ in the rich leaf-mould till his long life grows cold
will tell you how it used to be ere the company moved in,
sold the Hamlet once lively to retired business men!

I came down to a chapel that once was full of song,
In it was parked a tractor- I wonder since how long?
I came down to St Neots and what did I see?
A crowd of weekend refugees pricing up property!

I asked a friend in Warleggan if his big house had a home
For a woman here born and bred, driven out of her home;
He said that he was sorry – “- -only in the winter time;
We’re all booked up with grottles, makin’ money is no crime.”**

And if you want a reason from those who rule this land;
They’ll tell you it’s quite simple, each must now for himself fend,
The means for this, employment, the new owners won’t provide,
Made elsewhere their profits, do damn the countryside!

They’ll tell you where to go to school and where you must find work;
Tell you how much your wages and what must be your rent;
We must leave a few farmers to grow our workers food-
We have no room for sentiment; ‘tis all for your own good!

The tales the same in Cymru and up on Scotia too;
It echoes o’er the furrow in Cumbria and Norfolk too;
‘tis more than a sad story or a “Dalesman’s Litany”*
‘tis time to rouse the people to know their enemies!

David Allen Stringer (1973)

“Once Upon A Time You were” – (A Song)

Once upon a time you were a child in a magic land
and your mind could make flowers grow, like jewels in the sand:
but sorrow’s dark tides them swept away
and left you to replant them with a loveless hand.

And now your wisdom turn your soul into a show-case
of all the pasts you have been through, but you just can’t stand the pace
until you thought that death was peace
and that the breath of silent peace was death.

The heritage of struggling of centuries grips your mind;
in your own web your struggling, to be free to yourself unkind,
until the dawn breaks on the hill
are you then for a moment only still?

You ask no more where you’ve come from or where you’re going to,
you’re so tired of thinking now, that you’re tired of dreaming too:
but what you saw in dreams was pure
and, in them, the answer lies if you could but cry!

You walk with your love down the street, clinging to the need to burn,
and flow like water in the night, but sometimes your eyes turn
away from hers, to tell themselves
that you are still afraid pain will return.

And so I sang this song for you, knowing I was once like this,
struggling to deserve the joy that simply comes and is,
a refugee that shuns the light, for fear it make a shadow of brief delight,
for fear it make a shadow of brief delight!

David Allen Stringer (1976)

NB: basic tune chords: Middle C (3) G (3) F (5)

then F, C, E (2) C, D, F and D(3) G, C. as on an autoharp/piano/guitar

A Hymn for Harmony

or One Key Secret of Harmony

(to be sung as in a traditional seventeenth century ‘High Church’ Liturgy)

Let’s surrender our self-will to the rhythms of Natural Creation,
then, in will flow harmony through living ways of all-compassion,
ever trusting to Creation’s universal, guiding Cosmic Spirit,
then how to create perfection we will clearly see, as felt;

Live in accordance with all laws of ecology,
so to be from all crises and disharmonies free,
for our lives’ temples have been by our Creator designed
and can never be by purely human systems defined;

Let us learn from the rhythms of the seasons and oceans
so as to learn when to act and from action to rest,
imbued with an ethos & ethics of non-violence
and all our relationships will evolve for the best,

for the Hellenic Golden Mean is of balance the path
when we in One all-giving life-force have childlike faith,
then all egoisms that might us divide
will dissolve, no more needed, everywhere, world-wide!

Love & Light ever are, cannot be contrived
and will flow between all beings blessed by being alive-
so let these our criteria on all things of judgement be,
for all that has arisen from human activity!

Let’s abandon all life-styles that our Earth can harm,
and whatever our passions, may our Inner Selves remain calm
for the peace that we will manifest flows from within ourselves
and thus, all our problems, given means, in time, resolves!

It must be more than an ideal in seeking, talking heads-
as we need to live it, every day, instead;
IT IS, WE ARE, so let’s conform to Creation’s perfection
and always upon it have times and spaces for tranquil reflection!


To that music clinging,
as evening passes on,
see no reason for living
except to sing my song,
eating, sleeping, that’s our kind
but I’ve got something on my mind;

When I was oh so little
I heard sweet birdsong born,
some people’s first sounds living,
may be sirens, road drills, car horns
and if I play my music,
that’s just me clinging to my life;

Always shouting and preaching,
maybe they’re right or wrong,
some people just kept on drinking,
I played my piano all night long,
they say I’m always day-dreaming,
something locked up in my mind;

Make it come out in birds’singing,
make it come out of your mind,
make it fly into the night sky
or you’ll go out of your mind,
while I’m to my music clinging-
aren’t you tired of asking why?

Brains were made for thinking,
sorting out X and Y,
bodies were made for dancing-
you can’t do that when you cry,
these notes mix pain and pleasure,
like a thorn and rose entwined;

These notes flowed on like rivers,
carried me out of my mind,
started rambling, empty places,
left with my blues behind,
collecting what I’d scattered,
things you’d thought you’d left behind;

Repeat Ist Verse to complete song.

David Allen Stringer


(Thinking back to my childhood near Sheffield)

We played Indians on the ‘Mountains of the Moon’,*
old wooded tips near childhood village home,
with bows and arrows through bracken and broom,
of Robin Hood we were bold ‘Merry Men’;
*i.e. ‘Native Americans’
the pond like a blue jewel in the clay
was to us, a sea, that Summer’s day,
shady gully where its streams through thickets sang
was our explorers’ hidden Amazon;

those games we played, small things of life to glance,
the near horizon then in heedless seasons’ dance
gave us excitement such as to which we’re blind,
grown older, simpler joys harder to find;

our parents made sure that we were fell fed,
no need to fret about base camp with its bed,
so long ago it was, when I of it thought,
with a child’s paint box did I those times paint;

we watched plants taking over slag-heap waste,
knowing a forest grew, no fear or haste,
looking forward to Autumn berries’ taste
while fishing where streams into clear lakes race;

I still recall, was it mere nostalgia?
Does memory teach what we did not know before?
So I strode back, bigger, older, to that place
Where beyond walls, we had our free-roaming space;

I feel so sad, I don’t know what to say,
I found a way across the new motorway
and found a stagnant marsh of puddle clay,
concreted over with goods yards, with railways;

I feel so sad I do not want to stay,
while a lone bird sings its heedless life away
on a scrub-oak surviving in the waste
where few brambles still grew for berries’ taste,

while all along and all around this tree
a concrete and barbed wall to eternity
stretched as if to say ‘your tree is doomed’,
like all those glades before entombed

while calloused hands of men who cannot see
the sumptuous joys of life have come to stay
to mark out what they’ll burn and throw away
where the sun shines on deserts where no kids can play!

There’s spaces to play at football or at golf,
spaces all wired round, as to the set plan:
but there’s no spaces left for roaming free,
and no more fish ponds like there used to be,

no spaces to go beyond fences and walls,
‘all must be walled and fenced’ is their decree,
fences and walls to regulate you, me,
as Time does when the factory buzzer calls!

Fences and walls, an ‘Iron Curtain’ falls
between our lives and life’s forms to explore:
but some fences just aren’t worth breaking down!

Walls, fences, our sacred obsession be,
we’re raised in walls, our builders we must be,
we have our consolations planned you see-
to work all day, all night watch crap TV!

‘They’ want our whole Earth made a factory
where there’s a safe job made for you and me
that stretches its webs out further and destroys,
till there’s no room for roaming, footloose boys

who dream of being Huckleberry Finn
while the future’s prepared that walls them in
and having stolen where we would roam free,
they build us institutions for kid’s play;

The freedom of a child to roam and play,
was it all an illusion of yesterday,
to be housed, fed, clothed by payment for the toil
of others, their lives spent, inside building the wall?

In my mind’s eye, the images they remained
of places we were happy, like a stained
glass-window, in a light more pure,
shattered by clanking machine’s routine roar!

David Allen Stringer

( Re-written, 10th November 2020, from a 1970’s original)

NB This ‘Lament/protest’ whatever represents my early ecological awareness and ‘green loathing’ of most modern ‘developers’ (I had already been aware of much of the ancient oak, beech and birch woodland for open cast coal in my early teens) and could, in more recent times, be likewise applicable to our National Education curriculum, the construction of HS2 and several other notorious ‘walls’ worldwide, as in Israel/Palestine and South Western USA; the most insidious walls are, of course, the ‘internalised ones’ of obedience to convention/imposed regulations, as grow out of imprisoning kids inside physical walls (even if not malevolently but ‘for their own good/safety’!)

“I’m not your Stepping Stone”

(an early 1980’s ‘Punk’ song)

You told me when you took me by my little hand to school
how I was your ambitions, all your longings to fulfil;
they told me how my future would fill papa with pride
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

They told me I was clever and they sure did fill me in
about how all my talents were of such use to them;
then they told me my intelligence needed bringing into line
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

So they told me but I’d rather go with my best friend, Charlie Brown*
who walked into the class-room and acted like a clown
and was always pointed out to us as one who’d to hell go down
but he’s not your stepping stone - - no he’s not your stepping stone!

Our headmaster confided, one doomfull , fifthform day,**
that Spider had been expelled, having put this girl in the ‘family way’
but, for the sake of the school’s repute, one word we must not say
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

And some of us at this were sad, while others proud declared
“He hangs around the docks cafe, his fate he well deserved,
If he had been brought up like us and all the rules obeyed - -“
but he’s not your stepping stone - - no he’s not your stepping stone!

So I left school eventually and much to my relief,
set out to see the big wide world, worked for this company**
‘when you have worked here for fifty years, a boss you may yet be’
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

‘All you’ve got to do is wait for someone else to die,
then we each get our promotion after o’er his grave we’ve cried
and your wages then might rise by a few quid or two - - -‘
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

I met a man in Uniform, asked he ‘Are you unemployed?
Why not you join the army and be well paid and deployed
to make victories for our generals, who have such fame enjoyed?’
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!

And then I met this woman and she liked to drink my wine,
liked me to spend my money, in groovy places to dine,
as to buy fashionable clothes, so in society to climb
but I’m not her stepping stone - - no I’m not her stepping stone!

Of course she said she loved me until she pregnant became,
then ran to mummy and daddy to say I had caused her shame;
they threatened to expose me unless we married became
but I’m not their stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!

But she said she still loved me and I finally agreed
and then found myself lumbered with big-screen TV on HP,
but then I jacked my job in ‘cos the foreman’s job bugged me
but I’m not his stepping stone - - no I’m not his stepping stone!

Everyone had a conference to discuss that problem – ME,
my mum and dad, her mum and dad, the social security,
plus all my old school-teachers and a psychiatrist too
but I’m not their stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!

They wrote a Book about me while I sat in the cafe
with my new leather jacket to juke-box my life awhile away,
a word for me invented – now I was ‘deviant’
but I’m not their stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!

‘There’s yet hope of Salvation’ said the Social Security,
‘by sections 13 and 30, he shall remoulded be
into a cog refittable that can still turn usefully
but I’m not your stepping stone - - no I’m not your stepping stone!

The P.M. called an urgent meeting of the Cabinet
‘Our country’s profits will collapse unless he cooperates,
this scummy little greasy cog decides our machine to hate!’
but I’m not their stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!

This Johnny to escape this fate, dossed round for charity†
for everyone with cash to spare needs someone to pity
to serve as an example of what one should not be
but he’s not their stepping stone - - no he’s not their stepping stone!

The tourists they saw him on the quayside at St Ives,
singing ‘down by Frisco Bay’, wondered ‘shall we feed these
or shall we feed the sea gulls? This bread’s gone stale, who cares?
but he’s not their stepping stone - - no he’s not their stepping stone!

This dosser met a guru who smiled “Now embrace me
and you can have a little of my vast divinity!”
And then he met a Jesus-freak who said “You need a Lord to serve!”
but I’m not their stepping stone - - no I’m not their stepping stone!
After all this he wondered “what is wrong with just being me?
Every where’s a supermarket, selling branded identity,
so don’t ask me to be polite as I don’t live you to please
cos I’m not your stepping stone, no, no, I’m not your stepping stone!

David Allen Stringer (rewritten November 2020)

*Charlie Brown – the anti-hero of the late 1950’s rock song, to quote “Walked in the class-room cool and slow, said to the teacher, teach me daddy-O, Charlie Brown, he’s a clown, he’s gonna get caught just you wait and see –why is everybody always picking on me?” – I had a close school friend just like that.

** These anecdotes are 100% true in my early, personal experience, all others are real observations of others

† Johnny, a common name for the heroes of many 1950’s rock ballads, like a sort of ‘everyman’.

PS This ‘manifesto’ becomes all the more and more relevant these computerised modern days with so many pressures on young people to “conform/fit in” or else be left in Limbo/ ‘the black hole’

There are also a few song lyrics scattered through my collection of Cornish poems My Cornish Dreamtime, Poems, Song, Chants and Prayers by, for and around the River Fowey –see in the Phoenix Publications page!

Published on  February 23rd, 2021