Wednesday 10 February 2016

In memory of Pixi Morgan a fellow Bard

Pixi Morgan was a Bard, a Travelling Minstrel and an Eco-warrior

Pixi Morgan's real name was Neill Morgan but Pixi suited him better in so many ways.  There was something magical and mystical about his songs and performance. He originally hailed from Cardiff in Wales but he spent a lot of his life in Glastonbury. He was a modern travelling minstrel, a bard and an eco-warrior, who took part in many road protest camps.  Sadly Pixi passed away on 6 February. He had been suffering from liver failure and had been in hospital in Southhampton where many of his friends and family had visited him before he lost his final battle in this life. He was taken from us too early because he would have only been 50 if he had reached his next birthday this coming April.  But Pixi had travelled far and wide in his time on Earth and touched the hearts of so many people he met along the way. 

Pixi Morgan with Bill the Nirvana fan and King Arthur Pendragon at Tinkinswood Burial Chamber

Usually my blog is about nature and conservation, not about singers and musicians, but I felt that Pixi easily merits being included here, not just because he was a good friend that I have sadly lost but because he was someone who made the effort to do what he could to stop the destruction of our once "green and pleasant land." Pixi had been a part of many of the biggest road protest camps, including Twyford Down and Newbury Bypass. It was at Twyford Down that he met Druid and eco-warrior King Arthur Pendragon, whom he is pictured with above on the occasion of his knighting into the Loyal Arthurian Warband, as a Quest Knight and Bard. At Twyford Down, Pixi had acted as Arthur's Herald and was featured on a BBC Radio 4 documentary about Arthur and his campaigns. 

Pixi had learned what it was like living on the land, in tune with nature and the seasons. He could build a bender, make a small wood fire, and play his guitar and sing when others (myself included) would have found it simply too cold. I remember him doing so on the occasion of his knighting, because I was there too and was also knighted by King Arthur. We were filmed by Sky TV for a documentary about reincarnation but stayed on partying after the television crew had gone. The full story is told here

Songs of Pixi Morgan

Pixi Morgan outside the Red Lion in Avebury

Pixi began cultivating his bardic skills as a teenager when he learned songs by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen and Bob Marley, amongst other musical mentors. He practised on the guitar and after a time when he freely admitted to using basic chords and the three-chord trick, he soon evolved an individual style of finger-picking and strumming and began to pen his own material with songs like Within Us All and Travelling Minstrel.  These songs and others were included on a homemade cassette album he released entitled Heart With Wings.

Heart With Wings

He became an accomplished busker and covered songs by many folk singers and folk-rock bands. Pixi made the songs so much his own that they sounded as if he had written them. Richard Thompson's Beeswing is in this category.  As a busker he knew well what it was like to get hassled by police and security officers and told you are not allowed to play, so Pixi often performed the song Go, Move, Shift by Christy Moore.  Pixi really knew what such songs were about because he had lived the experiences described or knew people like the characters depicted in the lyrics.

Reflecting his interest in the cycle of nature and conservation of the land, he used to play Jack in the Green by Jethro Tull. Another song he took to his heart was Spancil Hill, and you can hear him singing this when he was a protester at the Hill of Tara road protests in Ireland. 

Accursed Road, Rath Lugh 2007, Gabhra Valley

It was while busking in Devizes with Laura Howe that Pixi caught the eye and ear of Dave Davies, who is famous for being part of The Kinks rock group. Davies wrote the song Strangers and had a hit in his solo career with Death of a Clown. He knew talent when he heard it and was so impressed that he invited Pixi and Laura to open for him at a concert at The Barbican in London. 

Pixi and laura meet Dave Davies

Pixi lives on in the memories of his friends and family and in the recordings of the songs he played. To keep his memory alive and to raise funds for his funeral and wake a special CD compilation has been put together entitled ONE FOR THE ROAD