Have I ensured that a world socialist revolution will never happen?
A book by Steve Wallis (www.socialiststeve.me.uk)
Girl who may have had blue eyes
Rhiannon Williams, a girl in my class at Stanwell Comprehensive School, Penarth, was the first serious love of my life. My taste in women or girls is usually very good and Rhiannon certainly wasn’t an exception – she had an extremely beautiful face and a very sweet personality.
The best way of describing Rhiannon and the impact she has had on my life is to include lyrics from the start of a musical poem (some of which will be sung by myself unaccompanied but some will be spoken) that I wrote partly about an attempt to meet up with her on my 40th birthday, the 14th of May 2006 (a Sunday). The poem was originally intended to be a song, and was originally called Can’t Wait Until Sunday, but when my plans to meet her on that Sunday failed I renamed it Couldn’t Wait Until Sunday. The full lyrics can be found on my socialist website , accessible from the musical poetry page. You will probably recognise some of the songs that I’m including snippets of, sometimes with modified lyrics; a full list of those songs is provided on the website page containing this song’s lyrics. [The lyrics below are taken from version 5 of the song.]
I’ve been on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams!
My shadow’s been the only one beside me!
My broken heart’s been the only one that’s beating!
When I was young, I never needed anyone.
Those days are gone!
I don’t wanna be
All by myself any more!
Those two verses summed up my love life up to that point in my life – very much one of broken dreams and feeling alone: I never had a relationship with anyone when I was young, and had not had one for over four years. The relationships that I did have weren’t particularly long lasting or fulfilling, partly because they weren’t with the women I most wanted to have them with. Although there had been many women or girls in my life with whom I had experienced strong mutual attraction, they had mostly turned me down due to putting the future of the world ahead of their personal happiness. If I had spent a lot of my life in relationships, that would have cut across my socialist activities.
However, at that point in my life, I was in dire need of somebody to lead the revolution with me and be the other main person in my band, and I expected that person to be a woman with whom I’d have a relationship. I had eliminated pretty much everybody else from my past, so I was most hopeful that Rhiannon could be that person.
Those two verses are followed by the first chorus, to the tune of the Bangles’ Manic Monday:
It was yet another loveless Monday oh-u-oh,
Couldn’t wait until Sunday oh-u-oh!
That could have been our fun day oh-u-oh!
It could also have been a pun day oh-u-oh!
Followed by another loveless Monday.
After that I say the words: “Let’s step back in time to when I was at school…” and then say/sing the following:
Rhiannon was the most beautiful girl in the world!
She had a lovely Welsh accent and long dark hair (not curled).
She was also reete petite!
Rrrrrrreete petite! She was really sweet!
The sweetest girl you’d ever want to me-ee-eet!
I had sung Jackie Wilson’s Reete Petite on karaoke very well shortly before writing the song, which helped me come to the conclusion that I wanted Rhiannon to be the person I was looking for to be in my band and lead the revolution with me.
That verse is followed by the second chorus, for which an original tune came to me when composing it (together with much of the rest of the song) in a police station cell on the night of the 12th/13th of May 2006, as follows:
At school we didn’t analyse history –
They didn’t want us to learn how to become free!
I was very good at trigonometry
But got fed up of looking at plants in biology!
I only got a ‘B’ at O-level chemistry;
Exams then relied (much more than now) on memory!
With my ‘A’ at O-level French I was really chuffed,
But when I try to remember it now, I’m completely stuffed!
Rhiannon was not very good at learning by rote
But in my heart, she (most of the time) struck the right note!
While Rhiannon had to do resits, trying to remember things like quotes,
I was starting my A-levels – I got an ‘A’ at maths a year early but mustn’t gloat!
She left to become a nurse in a GP surgery
While I went on to university.
I even ended up with a PhD
And wrote software to analyse the economy, policies and conspiracies!!!
I squeezed in a reference, in the last line of that chorus, to a computer simulation/artificial intelligence language I designed and implemented at Manchester Metropolitan University called SDML. I will discuss my work on that language in chapter YYY.
The following verses summarised my interactions with Rhiannon:
With her friend Carolyn, Rhiannon often chased me down the street!
I was very shy then, especially with someone so gorgeous and petite!
Eventually I plucked up the courage to chase them instead –
We were all good at running and no-one finished way ahead!
They didn’t chase me again any more
And the love we shared began to thaw.
We later went on a school exchange to St Pol de Leon (Brittany) in France.
On the ferry, I was too nervous to speak to Rhiannon, never mind ask her to dance!
But we were together one hot sunny day
In a barn containing many bales of hay.
Then someone told me Rhiannon was depressed
So I wanted to comfort her and I did my best!
But when I got near
Her depression turned to fear
And she threw a cup of water over me!
It was our most romantic moment and thinking about it later filled me with glee!
This is followed by the second chorus again, and:
Two decades later, I contacted Rhiannon through Friends Reunited.
When she put a second profile on the web, I was delighted!
She had taken a look at my website including my favourite songs of all time;
She probably thought that many of my choices were sublime!
But the genres of heavy metal and hip-hop left big gaps
So she told me that she is still into heavy metal (!!!) but hates all rap.
I was watching the TV programme Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned one evening, when either David Baddiel or Frank Skinner asked everyone in the audience to put their hand up if they had registered with Friends Reunited. About half did so. I had clicked on an advert for Friends Reunited a few years before that but had been disappointed to find that all the schools on the site were in the USA. I was so pleased to find out that there was now an equivalent UK site that I browsed it immediately after the programme. There were other people I was interested in finding out about and possibly contacting, but there was one person in particular who I went on the site to look for – Rhiannon.
I found Rhiannon’s name on the list of pupils who had left Stanwell School in 1984. At first I thought she had put herself on that list despite leaving school after resitting her O-levels (probably at the end of 1982) so that I would find her, but that is the rational place for her to register herself to be listed with other people in our year at school (and probably where she would have been put by default if she had merely specified her date of birth). When I clicked on her name, I viewed her (very brief) profile, and read that she had become a nurse in a GP surgery in Bristol and had a nine year old son called Eric who was mostly well behaved. She said that she was not married, but didn’t specify if she had a boyfriend.
I happened to be going back to Penarth to visit my mum the following weekend, and (bearing in mind that Bristol is quite near Penarth and that Rhiannon could well still have had relatives living there) I suggested that she went there too to meet up. Before sending the email, I put quite a long profile for myself on the site – which was automatically truncated due to its length, as I found out when I tried to view it later. In the email, I told Rhiannon about my personal website, because I thought she might like to know more about my life, work and politics.
Rhiannon didn’t contact me that weekend, but when I checked the site after returning home (to Manchester), her name appeared twice on the list of 1984 school leavers. She had obviously registered again, probably with a different email address. I clicked on both instances of her name, and found both the old profile and a new one that was a bit longer. As I mentioned in the above verse, Rhiannon told me about her musical tastes in the new description. She also said that Eric had become a (not particularly well-behaved) teenager.
I contacted Rhiannon again through the site, and suggested that she remove the old out-of-date profile. Soon afterwards, I checked the site again and she had actually removed the new profile (clearly indicating that it had been for my benefit), leaving the old one there.
The new profile was a big clue that Rhiannon would play an important role in my future, probably in my band and perhaps as the main other person to lead the world socialist revolution. I will mention my other failed attempts to meet up with her, between that one and my 40th birthday, later in this book. I soon realised that she wouldn’t reply to one of my messages by email and probably wouldn’t phone me either (except perhaps on a special occasion like my 40th). I’ve never been sure as to whether that was because such an act would be very unromantic after never having seen or spoken to her for over 20 years, or if it was because she wanted to discourage my interest in her because a relationship between us would not be a positive act in the struggle for socialism. Perhaps it was a combination of both reasons…
The next two verses mention my musical tastes in hip-hop and (not particularly heavy) metal:
I therefore listened much more to the Fugees,
Ms Dynamite, Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas.
I recently rapped along to the Peas’ “Where Is The Love?” on karaoke
And sung along to the bits of the song with a melody:
People crying, people dying!
Will you practice what you preach
Or will you turn the other cheek?
Rhiannon would be able to help me identify good heavy metal
But I’ve bought some great CDs already by Guns ’n’ Roses, Pat Benatar and Billy Idol:
“With a rebel yell, we want more, more, more!”
This is followed by the first chorus again, and then the verse:
I had invited Rhiannon to see me on my 40th birthday in Wales
But I was arrested and spent a night in a police station cell (not jail)!
Being a political prisoner stopped me getting there
And my mobile was confiscated so I don’t know if Rhiannon tried to ring me, and really cares!
I will talk about my periods of time as a political prisoner in several chapters of this book; for details of the 40th birthday occasion, read chapter YYY.
When I checked my mobile phone for messages late in the evening of my birthday, there were no voicemail or text messages but I discovered (using the 1471 service which provides information about the last person to ring the phone number) that somebody had tried to phone me using a mobile phone with a number that I didn’t recognise at about 6pm. I rang that number and left a nice message on the voicemail in case it was Rhiannon. Chances are she did ring, especially since I strongly urged her to do so irrespective of whether she could come to see me, wanted to be in the band or wanted a relationship with me, in a message I sent her via Friends Reunited. However, I cannot be certain one way or the other!
The next verses are as follows:
It doesn’t have to beeeeeee perfect!
But it’s got to beeeeeee worth it, yeah!
I need someone who really cares
And someone who really dares!
On Sunday we could have listened to many romantic songs
And to some of those songs we could have sung along.
Maybe she’d have kissed me! By the deep blue Penarth sea! Kissed me!
Katrina and the Waves is my favourite band of all time
So maybe we’d have gone walking on Sun Street or on sunshine!
I might have gone with her walking where the roses grooooooow!
Walking where the roses grow!
Girl with blue eyes (maybe)! Girl with blue eyes! I loved you!
I was listening to Walk on Water, Katrina & the Waves’ final album, at one point in my life while thinking about Rhiannon, and the song Girl With Blue Eyes (sung by a male member of the band, Kimberley Rew, rather than the usual singer Katrina Leskanich) came on:
Girl with blue eyes
Girl with blue eyes
You’re not the first in time
And it’s a slippery slope to climb
The chorus followed:
Whatever happiness was measured out to us across the years
After all, it far outweighed the tears
Girl with blue eyes
I love you
Then came the second verse:
And if it’s time to have a child
And if it’s time to have a child
Would I be there at the end
Would I just be one old friend
The song finished with the chorus twice more.
In some respects, it is not a particularly appropriate song for Rhiannon and me, and I would certainly need to change the lyrics drastically if it ever became a Galaxia/Red Day song. Rhiannon was the first in time, there wasn’t much happiness or tears measured out to us across the years, and suggesting having a child together would be extremely forward at such an early stage of our (lack of a) relationship. However, an even more serious flaw is that I can’t remember what colour eyes Rhiannon has got!!!
At the time I heard the song, I thought that Rhiannon must have had blue eyes because she was the most beautiful girl in the world! It was only later that I realised that this was a bit racist or fascist of me – that is the rationale of the Nazis’ ideal of the Aryan race with blond(e) hair and blue eyes! This, I feel, was another example (albeit in a small way) of me hindering the possibility of a world socialist revolution happening.
After this, I started paying more attention to what colour eyes people have. As it happens, those women who I have had the strongest feelings towards – including someone with the initials MM and a nurse called Emma, both of whom I will talk about later in the book – have tended to have brown eyes!