Friday, November 15, 2013

Roy Harper - in the dock - Same Old Rock

You know, if I were whoever is webmaster at, I would be kicking myself for having programmed the front page picture for November 16th to be this one:

(It says, "On this day, 16th November 1984, I appeared with Roy Harper on the Old Grey Whistle Test.")


Because this was the major music headline for November 15th:

Veteran Folk Singer Charged With Child Sex Offences - The Telegraph, 15th November.

Roy Harper, of County Cork, Ireland, is due to appear at Hereford Magistrates' Court on Monday accused of nine sexual offences charges in total, West Mercia Police said.
A spokesman for the force said: "The summons relates to two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13, three counts of indecent assault on a girl under 14 and four counts of gross indecency with a girl under 14. 
"The charges are in connection with offences alleged to have taken place in Herefordshire between 1975 and 1977 and relate to one victim."
I can't argue that the track's a cracker - I've written about the recording of it, and the legends about it, before, here, but blimey, Roy, 12 is a bit young, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Oh Dear, I'm sorry to hear this story about Roy Harper. There are very few musicians that I admire for being the person that they are as much as for the music they make or made, but Roy is one. Worse than that, like you I have had Valentine for a long time, since I was 17 in fact. So I've been aware of the lyrics in "Forbidden Fruit" for nearly 40 years and I think that it seemed OK then, so now I feel almost complicit.
In the case of Jimmy Saville I'm quite happy with the (slightly Stalinist) way the BBC has excised from Top of the Pops.
Roy Harper though? It's complicated...
We stand in a another place now and the view is different. It's not like it was on the maps they gave us at school.

Roger Thorpe

Peromyscus said...

The the arrest was for an incident a few years later than Forbidden Fruit, though, so the track isn't 'about' this alleged incident. I guess whether that seems like he did it twice, or it seems more like the woman is making it up, is down to our own internal workings. I suppose I'll hold out for the court case.

As for complicit, I watched Lolita once and it never occurred to me that either Nabokov or Kubrick might be pedophiles - artists write about all sorts of stuff they don't condone and haven't actually practiced, so there's that.

I never liked Jimmy Savile and he was not creative, so he hasn't left any art that might suffer from him being written out of history. One difficult one for me is Gary Glitter. I saw a huge compilation of Glam rock recently with no GG in it, and it wasn't 'right'. Obv I don't want Paul Gadd to have any more royalties or whatever, but the tracks were massive and pretending they never existed isn't going to solve anything.

Separating artists from their art is problematic area which has being going on since Wagner if not before. Even more complicated in this case where as you say, he seemed to be someone to like as well as produce music to be liked.


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