Post-colonial travels of a seminal British Rocker
NEIL ROCK (1936 – 2018)
ISBN: 78-1-887276-41-2 SUMMER 2023 COOL GROVE PRESS
Two Magic Rupees and a Space Chillum are writer Neil Rock’s (1936 – 2018)
lucid essays that bring us closer to a world and it’s populations in transition after WWII and the collapse of the European Colonial age. The subtitle, Post Colonial Travels of a Seminal British Rocker alludes to his childhood growing up in England when the rapid shrinkage of the British Raj also coincided with another invasion on it’s shores—that of Black American music, into the very soul streams of white British youth. Deeply inspired by the Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Rock n Roll, the black men and women who made this music suddenly become subjects of admiration and emulation. Fully affected by this code switch in behavior, our author affords us a fresh look at the aftermath of the Empire as witnessed by an English native who describes his childhood background as follows, “Yorkshire is England’s largest county, an area of industrial cities and large open countryside with quiet valleys dotted with small agricultural villages. Most settlements are old and full of tradition. My playgrounds were places that have names of early English historic provenance: Oakwood, Roundhay, Temple Newsham, Seacroft, Harewood and Cross Gates. In the county there are towns and villages with names such as Streoneshlh (Whitby), Ulaskelf, Thriebergh, Jervaux and Rievaulx, which reveal Yorkshires’ Saxon, Viking and Norman French history. The Shire of York is Hobbit country, the Real Hobbit Country, which having been born in I came to love by exploring it since I was a child of eight years old.”
But in the 50’s, once he heard music from America, this is what he remembers, “My mission in life was to get up and dance, but I’m looking and I’m talking and can’t find any kids who know this jivin’, swing, boogie stuff.” He steeped himself in the music, jamming and busking with other musicians, adding a component to the music that became the unifying soundtrack of the social revolution brought on by the civil rights movement, hand in hand with the anti-war movement— major social factors not lost on the post-war British youth. Neil Rock did not wind up playing in a British rock band, but being a literati, he continued writing about things as he saw them and his calling took him overseas to experience the world without the usual cultural and racial biases towards the ‘other’ people of the world, attitudes enforced and maintained during the colonial age. Through Mr. Rock’s eyes we get to see what else was going on out.