Tag Archives: history

Up the Duff: Criticising Guns N’ Roses Reason

Readers who don’t know or understand my writing over the last decade at the greenYgrey, fmpoetry and here might think I don’t like Guns N’ Roses, and especially Duff McKagan, after my last blog post cited some criticisms. However, they will have missed the point, and one of my biggest motivations in my writing: that everything is criticisable, including your biggest heroes.

Kill Your Idols: Just Be Open to Criticising Them Really

In fact, I’m following the advice of Guns N’ Roses, or Axl at least, as he once wore a t-shirt with Kill Your Idols (metaphorically, I’m pretty sure, as it featured Jesus on, who’s not around any more; I think Axl’s a Christian too, as he wears big crosses now!) on; a punk message I’m sure Duff will understand, and probably support.

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I’m also probably influenced by my decade in university, when I was taught to look at issues from all angles.

I was always a bit of a contrary rebel anyway. I was at a young impressionable age when punk started, followed by Pink Floyd’s The Wall, then a full on Metal and Rock headbanger, so I don’t know if it was nature or nurture.

Unfortunately, Western culture seems to be less open now, partly because of political correctness (somebody’s very offended about everything), and partly because of the openness of social media leading to more crassness and less eloquence, volume rather than quality, therefore making more censorship seem reasonable (I accept that some people may think the same about me; and that I could also sound snobby writing that!)

Duff’s My Closest Guns N’ Roses Life Comparison

Out of the three autobiographies I read, I think Duff was my most comparable life, as he went to university and took up endurance sports to escape the excesses of the rock n’ roll life, or at least to give him another dimension to his life. Duff has also been working as a journalist, and he and his wife have also been supporting animal welfare issues.

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Of course, our lives are not equal or comparable really, as he’s one of the stars of Guns N’ Roses and I’m one of the fans, and that’s the way it’s always been; and always will be as far as I’m concerned.

Dreams do Happen, but so do Nightmares

While it may appear I have an Eminem ‘Stan’ relationship to Guns and other stars, I’m completely in touch with reality; but try not to let it box me in. Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame was a fan who did travel to California (from Denmark) chasing the rock n’ metal dream, and it worked for him!

I’ve written several books since becoming a Doctor of Philosophy, achieving my initial ambition to be published (against those who want to make me a failure), and had a little success (for the nice people who want me to be humble), but I know my place in rock n’ metal music is just as a long-term and not very fanatical headbanger.

Lars Ulrich went to the right place at the right time. Music and writing are both struggling now, due to the internet, but there are still opportunities, and I’m still doing it… because I love writing, and especially writing about things I love, such as rock n’ metal, and its culture of freedom, openness, escape and dreams…

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At Home in Athens at End of Epic Hitch-hike in 1987

We made it to Athens, and my fellow hitch-hiker who was going home, made me feel welcome. He was a cool guy, the kind who’s popular in youth, carefree and conniving, like a young Russell Brand.

Looking back at him with middle-aged eyes and brain, he looks a bit of a user, avoiding national service and living off his parents and friends. I don’t know if he was really on POAK’s books as a footballer, or if they dismissed him because of his long hair and earring. I can’t remember if any of his friends or family confirmed his story or not; and they’d probably have heard it from him anyway. I guess he did play for them, but maybe he just didn’t make it, and his hair and earring was a better reason to give for his image?

I went along with him because I was getting something out of it too. If he’d just been asking for money all the time, and not doing anything for me, I’d have gone my own way; as I’d do with some fellow worker-travellers on Crete, and other people later in life; such as those who tried to claim credit for my writing!

Anyway, I’m probably trying to analyse it too much, due to my time and training in university, and writing career, and the grooming epidemic in U.K./Europe.

You readers would probably prefer to see it as a nice friendship between two people from different countries, thrown together by fate in a magical hitch-hiking ride covering most of Greece by a driver from another country, as one hitch-hiker returned home, and the other finished his over month-long mostly hitch-hiking and sleeping rough inaugural travel journey around Europe.

Here’s the next day’s diary, as it was in all its youthful innocence back in 1987:

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90th Hitch-hiking Lift Greek Gods Heaven and Hell

My last day of hitching on my journey from the U.K. to Greece in 1987 was an epic one, as I travelled through the land of Greek gods, with the final epic lift also providing classic comedy, as there was a breakdown, and we had to be towed part of the way.

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Guns N’ Roses Song Remembered On The Road

I didn’t remember citing a Guns N’ Roses song in my diary travelling through the old Yugoslavia in 1987 until re-reading it recently, but was delighted to do so, after naming my memoir of the journey: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller.

Living the Dream is sometimes a Nightmare

This page of the diary also shows that I have always preferred slim waify women, preferably blonde, or honey brunettes, considering a Samantha Fox lookalike fellow traveller a ‘bit overweight’. That’s because when I said the same after a ‘relationship’ with a similar looking woman went pear-shaped people just thought I was saying that.

It also shows that I have usually been too standoffish with women, and was usually happy to take the easier option of watching the view go by, or get drunk, than enter into a relationship, or take the necessary steps of courting to make that happen. That was down to good ol’ simple shyness or uncomfortableness, and one of the reasons I liked a drink.

It also features a meeting with an old man, that was as far as I know genuine. I didn’t try and visit him in Athens afterwards. The book does include some similar situations that were dodgy, in part featured because of the grooming situation I knew was going on in Britain and Europe, and as a general warning for youth about the dangers on the streets; as bands like Guns N’ Roses were also warning.

Warnings for youths about grooming were a constant during my decade of writing, and I also tried to do the same in (post) university and work. It was my goodbye present to youth, as I passed into middle-age; as seen in poems such as the fictional what could have been Professor Green / Plan B inspired Middle-Aged Memories.

Maybe I should still be trying to be a youth, as Lemmy of Motorhead seemed to be, and was loved for it, and as I’ve said before, the goldlilocks zone for women is still 21-40; but only if they want to be with me for me, and not gold-digging! But, to be truthful, I hanker more after mature sophisticated conversation than partying and debauchery; although it’s nice to have an occasional drink.

I’m sick of explaining everything I write, but then remember that my doctor and professor examiners didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do in my PhD. I was beyond them then; in my head and world anyway, and their perception of me; which I think was generally classist, and sexist where applicable.

It’s quite ironic that people were trying to retire me when I was in my early 30s, but now they wonder why I don’t want to go out on the town when I’m in my early 50s! C’est la vie!!

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Happy Solar Eclipse across U.S.A. and Everywhere, Two Months Travelling Thoughts

Looks like everybody’s having a great time waiting for the solar eclipse in the U.S.A. and I hope everything goes well for you on the big day, especially if you’re in the path of totality. It’s an historic occasion, and should be a historic memory for you… which is the kind of good event experience I recommend in my books.

Travel Diary Thoughts

Like arty creations do, I’m fast-forwarding ahead to the end of the batch of diary I wrote about in the last blog post, with an image of the packet the two months of pages were sent in from Crete, after I’d bought an exercise book to write the diary in from then on.

As I discuss in the diary page, I’d tried for work in Pirgos on the south coast and Chania on the north coast of Crete, and was now trying in Paleohora, back on the south coast. It didn’t turn out well for work there either, but I did find good work after that in Platanias, which is just to the west of Chania on the north coast.

This page includes reference to ‘worker-travellers’, which is what I named my book after: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. It was quite an idyllic setting, with a tent community living on a nice beach out of season, with campfires at night.

The last paragraph contains some of my thoughts on the first few months of my travelling, and has more evidence of me being on a conscious journey of knowledge and experience seeking, with hopes that they would grow me as a person.

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Writing Home to Myself: Sending Diary

There were a lot of times when I was travelling I wished I was totally free of humanity; with no relations to worry about, or worry about them worrying about me; but family is good in other ways, and has benefits such as being a base. The way I travelled back in the 1980s, before all the portable and online technology of today, I may not have kept a diary together, and been able to write the book I did.

First Batch of Diary

The arriving in Rome day of my diary, scanned into a couple of posts ago, was the last of 17 pages of what I think was originally a notepad I sent home to myself from Rome; containing my journey hitch-hiking from west Wales via Belgium, France and northern Spain from August 25th to September 16th, 1987.

Here’s a scan of the envelope, with the postage wrong in typical traveller style:

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I don’t know what the situation is now for long-term travellers, I guess most just do it online, but back then you usually relied on getting your mail sent to ‘poste restante’ at post offices around the world, providing a post office address that you planned to visit in a couple of months.

Rome Photos Built on Fantastic Day

This post is dedicated to a fantastic Italian woman from Milan, and a nice one from Reggio Emilia, and the good Italians I’ve met on my visits there and elsewhere, as well as my fellow campers at Camp Nomentano in 1987!

There’s an old saying that goes something like ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’; but I sightsaw it in a day; well, enough for me, although I probably only saw a small amount of what there is to see, and that from a just the surface category.

A Canadian traveller staying at Camp Nomentano reluctantly went sightseeing with me, showing me around, as he’d already done it. It was an amazing day, with lots of stunning sights on a hot sunny day. We also went to see the busking team at their regular slot. I took three photos: of the Colisseum, St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and the Altare della Patria ([alˈtaːre della ˈpaːtrja]; English: “Altar of the Fatherland”) [Wikipedia], having to now look up the latter.

Heavy Rock Videos and Road Trip Music Spain to Italy in 1987

After an eventful time in northern Spain my last day was a good one socialising with a fellow worker-traveller in Figueres, home of Salvador Dali. The first day’s diary below covers that. I then hitched across the south of France into northern Italy, where the hitching was good, and the Riviera cliffs to beaches scenery even better. I spent a night sharing a room in Nice with another hitcher I shared a lift with, after his suggestion. I briefly stopped in Pisa and Florence, before reaching Rome, told in the second day’s diary below. The whole journey’s told in my memoir, The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. If you want to see the diary days in-between these two, please request.

Scorpions and AC/DC in Spain, 1987 Hitch-hiking Lifts

I didn’t take any photos in Spain or collect any memorabilia, apart from a couple of pesetas; I probably would have in Barcelona, but as my diary extracts show, my lift took me straight past it. I kept a coin or two; or note if that’s all there was, as in some countries; from each country. Here’s a photo of the two peseta coins I kept:

Hitch-hiking in Northern Spain

As my diary extracts show, hitch-hiking in northern Spain (Basque region) was difficult, but the lifts were eventful when they happened. Some Germans lifted my mood playing the Scorpions, and a local put AC/DC on.

The German ‘Scorpions’ lift, walking above Zaragoza and arriving in Figueres (I found out while there it was Salvador Dali’s birthplace: the museum was closed as it was a Saturday!) all made it into my fantasy fiction travel around Europe to Google Maps original concept XaW Files: Beyond Humanity book; cross-referencing through time and writing genres, via the motorways and crossroads of my mind; neurons of memory and creativity perhaps travelling from different parts of my brain, and meeting at the greenYgreyesque corpus callosum.

The Zaragoza to Figueres lift started off a spaghetti western storyline in Chapter 6 Episode 18: ‘I had felt shimmering significance in Figueres, time distortion in Barcelona and at a crossroads in Zaragoza.’ I had made it to Barcelona in 2013.

The German Scorpions lift was referenced in a fantasy storyline with the real Scorpions singer Klaus Meine, twisting it around to him having read my memoir, which is of course separate to the greenYgrey trilogy: ‘Klaus was very understanding about it, and gave me a lift to Hannover, his home town, which was on my way west. He played the Scorpions’ Worldwide Live album on the way, which is one of my all-time favourites. I told him I’d referenced a couple of Scorpions songs in the opening paragraph, and he said that was a coincidence, because our drive reminded him of one in The Guns N’ Roses Worker Traveller.’

My 1987 Diary 

Here’s my diary recording my brief time in Spain. I had intended spending longer, but as I write in the diary, the hitching wasn’t very good.

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In 2005, after a decade in further education I became Dr. Marc Latham, the Chav Philosopher; possibly Blighty’s best value and poorest doctor of philosophy. My memoir, poetry and fiction books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marc-Latham/e/B004SP40J0/

Salvador Dali artwork is available on Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/artist/salvador-dali

Paris, 1987, Eiffel Tower Experience Monumental!

Although travel for the sake of travel was the main reason for my first travelling experience thirty years ago, I wanted to see as much of the world as possible, with significant world sites second only to beaches at the time; I originally only planned to do Europe and North America, a hitch-hiking sojourn ending in L.A., then buzzing with my favourite rock and metal music. So reaching Paris after a few days was totally uplifting and quite mindblowing, especially as the sun was shining hot summer heat. It would stay mainly sunny for the rest of my trip over the next month, until reaching Athens at the end of September. Here’s the photos I took in Paris, from and of, the Eiffel Tower:

This memoir was published as The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller, and like Marc Latham’s other books is available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.