(i.m Peter Ronald Brown, 25/12/1940 – 19/5/2023)


His words will resound for as long as there are films
And Rock music, for just as Scorsese savours
Sunshine Of Your Love in his films, so do the fans

Of Clapton, Baker, Bruce, Procol Harum, and his own
Unique oeuvre rejoice in the voicings that spumed
Words of fire from within Pete’s poem kiln.

Pete Brown was the original English Beatnik, and more,
A North London Bluesman. Psychedelicist, Progster,
And one part West Coast by the sea. He was like all

Of those bright jewish boys, who spilled out of London,
From Pinter and Wesker, to Berkoff and Kops,
Each dreamt free, and each of them shaped their own

Special corner.  Pete with his jew-fro in 1969
Could dare rooms. He told me that he learnt to sing
Later on, and crooned, after his Broken Ornaments

Shattered, before raising Piblokto! to a cultish peak
Where songs loom over all other art through what
They engender in others, and Pete’s energy and invention

Sustained and remained despite cancer’s pain.
It was only a few weeks ago he talked of the plans
He had on a phonecall, our friendship having flowered

After meeting on a Hastings bound train. Born in Surrey,
Soho was his stamping ground in the 60s. And before
That, in the 50s, in polo-neck and waistcoat,

He was part of the new poetry and with Michael
Horovitz, New Departures, defining British voices
To capture and let each line float. He sent me plays

Of his from that time; free associations on Alice,
With each moment more playful and in some ways
More charged than even Lewis Caroll’s chorale

Of disguised desire; Pete’s work was more carnal
And more open, always to art’s cards. But imagine
A man who elevated the poem and who then did

The same for the lyric practically the next year.
Starting and stirring for Cream the linguistic mix
In their menu, moving from bright blues to near metal

The White Room becoming a place to defeat each dark fear
With majestic music and words bound to both the heart
And the bedpost, and to the streets beyond, as evolution

In verses and lines became aim, and Pete always scored.
Those Thousands On a Raft sailed beside him as each word
Released oceans from which even those on dry land

Could still gain. But unlike Reid, or Sinfield, Pete became
A performer; a vanguardian using the avant-garde,
Rock and blues to conjure fresh colours from Brown,

Whether with Graham Bond, or Phil Ryan, whose death
Left Pete decimated and yet in counting the ways,
He stayed true. For as each partner passed, from Jack Bruce

To Ginger, this brightly bound Beatnik knocked on the door
Of intent; whether that was in Hollywood, or in an A&R
Office. Pete gave his time sweetly; short and adorable,

Shuffling, he was song’s soldier patrolling the poem
Parade to invent new ways to be, and fresh ground
To conquer. He was always on tour; Europe had him,

At nearly 80 years old on the stage. I saw him in ‘18
At the Cream 50th Anniversary concert, as Malcom Bruce,
Kofi Baker and Will Johns played their Uncle and Dads,

While Pete in his prime sang, singed and blazed beside them,
Restoring at once that explosion. To quote the Cream song:
‘I’m so Glad,’ Pete was the designated mourner also,

For that whole generation. A BBC Four commentator
On all manner of albums and styles. A documentarian, too
And Scrosese subject, a Go-to for the info on the high

Beyond those eight miles. He found lasting love
With his wife Sheridan and seemed to have the largest
Garden in England. His home in Hastings was both

Country seat and Sea view. Where we once talked
All night about films and politics, music, Leonora
Carrington and Viv Stanshall who he also knew

And helped: Noble Jew. Who while being born on
Christmas day was as in Jonathan Miller’s old joke,
‘Not really a jew, just jewish.’ Pete was for Palestine,

Peace and freedom, and for each life and line
His thoughts flew. So, read his books, hear the songs
And listen well to those lyrics. ‘Íts getting near dawn,’

Pete. We miss you. The colours are running. 
Its stunning, this sudden loss. Friends, fans, kids
And family kiss you, and we will always keep asking,

Where are you, Brownyboots?


                       we’re blue. 




                                                                   David Erdos 24/5/23









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