The Days of Love and all That Followed

This is an excerpt from Part 2 of my illustrated story “The Days of Love and all That Followed” and this sneaky fellow is Fear, brought brilliantly to life by the talented Ben Whittard.

“Where are you going” Said a familiar voice

For a long drive

My axles are rusted firm

“Didn’t you used to work with Pete the Painter?”

Yes Pete

Retired in May

I remember when he first picked me up from the garage, my coat shining and new

“I heard he was arrested for no tax or MOT”

Well times are tough, people can’t afford to eat

With Cruelty and his mob sitting on the throne

Things are fading away

I used to be white as snow

Now look at me

I ain’t got no wheels

“Rusty old van don’t weep oil”

I can’t help it

I know it’s the tip for me

Ain’t no use in denying it

“Do you remember Nature and her kind caress?” The voice gently cooed

No me old mucker

I just remember mileage

Jobs in Milton Keynes

Not being able to start on really cold days

And expense claims

I remember

Disposable coffee cups on my dash

Fries and soft drinks

Mucky pictures in the tabloid press

I remember off colour jokes

And paint and supplies

Smiling to herself the voice sang a tune “Ah well, Nature was nice

and friends with the Sigh, tell your friends, but whisper it quiet,

we’ll all be back very soon”

The van began to cry, real tears this time, made of citrus and lime. In the fog of his engine he did remember, an image returned. And across the cracked concrete ruins of life a scrap of paper flew. It was an old edition of The Daily Rant, not a nice paper but times had changed. On the back was a delicate scrawl, some kind of prophecy I guess, and this is what it said;

The wind howls over deserted car parks, abandoned washing machines are plotting revenge, Pestilence and Greed’s plans gone astray. Arrogance is thinking of bringing Cruelty down. But in the shadows in between the cracks in the wall, something is growing ever so small. A shoot of recovery a hint of green, reaching out to where the sun used to be. “They are coming” is whispered on the wind, “they are coming to bring back a kingdom of joy”.

Sigh, Love, even The Wicked Divorce, have summoned up an army of sorts. They’ve joined with Hope, Future and Father Sunshine to banish the shadows and return to the days of Love.

©John de Gruyther & Ben Whittard 2014

“The Days of Love and all That Followed” is an illustrated story that I am currently writing. I hope to bring you some more news and maybe some pictures very soon. Meanwhile why don’t you read another small extract from Part One – The Greatest Love Of All

Take Me To Church

I saw this band on the Jools Holland show last night and I really enjoyed their unusual mix of sounds. This is the video for their single Take Me To Church and it has a very powerful and disturbing story – I encourage you to watch it but you may find some of it distressing, however I think the lyrics combined with the images of the video make this an important piece of work.



You can find out more about the meaning behind the video and about Hozier in general by checking out this great Guardian Interview.

Winters’ Call (Audio)

The Fan



Winters’ Call

Started off a stronger man

But wayward went the hopes

I had to find me

Hearts so strange and I am flawed

My sympathies are stretched and torn

It happens

Throw a whisper in my wake

Takes its toll on me again

I always tried so hard not to let you worry

Winters’call and me, yeah
Winters’ call and me, yeah
Winters’ call and me, yeah

The ground was cold again

A Frozen layer of leaves

Pretend I’m happy

Turned away from your embrace

I’m troubled by the words

That fail around me

Throw my passions to the rain

Takes another day to wait

I always tried so hard not to let you worry

Winters’ call and me, yeah
Winters’ call and me, yeah
Winters’ call and me, yeah

Music and lyrics by Harris & de Gruyther. Winters’ Call from the Liquorice Tone E.P. recorded in 2003/2004

©Harris & de Gruyther 2014

Loxton’s Time-Travel Gift Certificates


Paisley Soul MEME


For his birthday this year his family got him a wonderful gift

A time-travel gift certificate

They’re all the rage


As he melted into the bath,

With just the steam, pleasant dripping sounds and his thoughts for company

He contemplated the ageing process


Thirty-Five, just a number

But it swam at him gloomily


How could he be Thirty-Five?

From 12 to now in a blinking of an eye

Still the same in so many ways, excited by Christmas and

Thrilled at the release of Star Wars Episode XVIII

In other ways all he felt was uncertainty and fear

What must it be like to be Sixty-Five?

A brilliant idea occured to him as he dwelt in the tub

There’s only one way to find out his future

Use the certificate and ask the only man who knows.


So he gets out of the bath, dries off and pulls on his Superman pyjamas and monster feet slippers

With trembling anticipation he picks up the card containing the certificate







He was delighted and choked up with emotion

When they gave him this present, so magnificent

The kids had outdone themselves this year

He could feel its significance


He had always wanted to try time-travel

Ever since he saw that film,

You know the one?

That film with the guy from the other thing


A time-travel gift certificate

He smiled to himself

Time travel had become so much more affordable these days

All he had to do to activate it was type in the code

So that’s what he did

And the portal opened, swirling lights before him


But before he stepped through the shimmering window in time

He pondered his mood of the last Four months

His every action feeling perfunctory

Being miserable and down in the dumps


What would he learn from his own future self?

He hoped for happy retirement

Holidays in the sun

He couldn’t envision it the way that life had become


His Dad was happy in his retirement days

Travelling about in his camper van

Seeing things he’d always wanted, a whole new life stretching out in front of him

Is what he had often heard him say

Dad was happy, so maybe he could be too


So he set the date and location

And stepped through the time-travelling doorway

And what did he see?


His own gravestone

Dead at 43


©John de Gruyther 2014

Grand Design

This is a poem from last year that I have re-written as I like to experiment with perspectives..




That’s you today

Can’t concentrate

On anything

Apart from gradual decay

No oil in the engine

Feeling dry

Trying to encounter

Some grand design

Thoughts dwell where they should not



Just give it a shot

Concentration isn’t everything

Shush can you hear

The worms!!

The ground is breaking and shaking

Beneath lonely toes

Can you see the voices




Always misleading

A confused tumble of forgotten denials

Just do it for the money

Like everybody else

Selling parts

Don’t get left out

Outside with the gold

Glazed interest

No life behind the eyes

Songs, traffic and corruption

Cigarettes and alibis

Can still see the box

Oh God! It’s too heavy to carry



Stumbling and tripping

To the sounds of odd music

Autumn chill in your hair

Joints not working as well as they did



That’s you

And all the times that you hid

©John de Gruyther 2014