Tuesday 8 September 2020

Three Kings: Kingfisher, King Arthur and the King of Fuh

There have been three kings in my life, and all have a strong connection to the natural world. The Kingfisher, of course, is a well known and colourful bird that fishes like its name suggests. Kingfisher is also the title of a song of mine I wrote many years ago after seeing one of these birds whilst walking by the Glamorgan canal that runs from Whitchurch to Tongwynlais. My song has nothing to do with that experience really but it was the inspiration for the title. Kingfisher has proved very popular and shows what can be done with as few as two chords. I play it in E and A major. Back in the early 1990s I remember hearing it blaring out the doorway of a chip shop in Cardiff’s Caroline Street, and thought, wow, that is my song, I am hearing! It was being aired on Red Dragon FM, a local radio station, by my friend radio host Steve Johnson. Another time I was in the city centre when I heard the unmistakable voice of my friend the late Pixi Morgan, who was a fellow singer-songwriter and busker, singing “Kingfisher’s green, kingfisher’s blue, he’s so lovely but I love you, I’ll be your kingfisher.” Pixi often included my song in his set and must have entertained people with it in many towns and cities. It is a mark of success having a song of yours covered by another artist. Kingfisher is popular with Druids and pagans too and has the line, “Queen of the summer, Queen of the May,” making it an ideal song for Beltane celebrations, and I have often performed it at the Gorsedd circle at Avebury.
King Arthur
Speaking of Druids brings me to the next King. In 1996 I met and was knighted by King Arthur Uther Pendragon, who is a Druid and who believes he is the reincarnation of the legendary Celtic chieftain. King Arthur leads a Druid Order known as the Loyal Arthurian Warband and members are sworn to uphold the Ancient Virtues of Truth, Honour and Justice. I am a Quest Knight and Bard of the order. Once again Steve Johnson and Red Dragon Radio plays a big part in my story. I had been on Steve’s Round Table radio show on the 23 December and we had been talking about what I achieved by writing letters. Little was I to know then that the following morning was not to bring me more Christmas cards or presents but a single letter. It was a reply to me from King Arthur, in response to mail I had sent some time ago to his AWEN Newsletter. Arthur told me a bit about his Druid Order and suggested that to find out more I tuned into a Radio 4 show that was being broadcast in the New Year about him. I did so and was amazed to hear in an early part of the programme the voice of Pixi Morgan wishing people a “Happy Beltane.” It turned out that Pixi had been Arthur’s Herald at the Twyford Down protest camp. So that was how my introduction to King Arthur came about and it continued with my actual meeting with him in person when he travelled to Cardiff with a crew from Sky TV to make a documentary about reincarnation. I had agreed to be knighted in this at Tinkinswood Burial Chambers just outside Cardiff. Arthur extended the invitation to Pixi to be knighted there too and this happened for the TV cameras. Amongst the proceedings that got filmed was me singing Kingfisher. Some time after all this I wrote a song entitled King Arthur’s Coming and it got used by a number of TV shows. The Slate on BBC Wales included me singing a live version, a documentary on eccentrics on Meridian TV used a recording of the song, and so did another documentary on the German ZDF TV. King Arthur, besides being well known in the media as a Druid, is also famous for his work as an ecowarrior, who has been arrested many times at protest camps where he has been trying his best to protect the land. He is fulfilling the prophecy that King Arthur would return when the land was in its greatest need.

The King of Fuh
The third King is the King of Fuh. This King is a fictional character in a song of the same name by American singer-songwriter and actor, Stephen Friedland, who is also known as Brute Force. He and I became known to each other this year because we are both regular performers on the online show ReW and WhO? from New York. The show is hosted by singer, musician and actress Rew Starr and Green Party candidate James Lane. Brute Force has performed the King of Fuh on ReW and WhO? I was not surprised when I discovered that this amazing song had given Brute the nearest he got to his “big break.” In 1969, Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon were so impressed with Brute’s song and songwriting talent that they wanted him released on Apple. And so it was that a limited edition of 1,000 singles of the King of Fuh were pressed on the Apple label. Everything looked as if this was going to be a massive success for Brute but sadly EMI/Capitol Records and the BBC soon put a stop on this happening. It was thought by them that lyrics in the song that use the words “Fuh king” were not suitable for public airplay and so no radio station would play it either. Brute discovered that the taboo about using the F-word on the media at the time was so powerful that his song got pulled from the distribution it should have had. This is so sad because it does not actually use the F-word. The King of Fuh is a song with lyrics that for me make reference to the crazy world we are in, in which the beauty of nature has not been seen as vital to our lives. Lyrics of the song go: “You look up high and you see the sky so big and blue and you wonder why people don't worship beauty, You look down on the ground, you see the flowers there red and blue and brown, And you wonder why people don't worship beauty. There was a beautiful land, There was a beautiful land, There was a beautiful land called Fuh, And in this land there was a king and everybody called him the Fuh King.”
I am happy to say that I have been able to help Brute get some more publicity for his music because I introduced him to Michael Kennedy who runs the SWND magazine in Wales, and who is now interviewing Brute for the November edition. In conclusion, I’d just like to add that I saw a Kingfisher, wrote a song saying “I’ll be your Kingfisher, “ and then went on to befriend two kings! Make of that whatever you will!