Sunday, 8 August 2010

Poetry Festivals, Poems And Things...

God… I miss her.
I’ve still got most of the house to tidy up after the carpet was laid.
Got to get rid of loads of stuff but that’s difficult because I don’t know what she wants out there, so that bit’s going to have to be postponed until we’re together
again, and we can ship a trunk ?

My parents are not in the best of health, either.
The old man’s pushing ninety next month and seems to be in and out of hospital every other month, so I made a decision to cut the gigs down to those already booked.
Hopefully this will calm me down somewhat ?
There’s a nice one coming up at The Elephant & Castle, tho’…

It’s a weekend poetry festival and I was asked if I was interested after last year’s Rhythms of the World, as was my mate and stage colleague, Grant Meaby.
They’ve got different guest poets either day and we’ve both been booked on the same day along with John Hegley, Chris Bowsher and Al Damidge among others.




Now I have to admit, because of something that occurred when I was a lot younger (mid teens if you need that info’ ?) I’m no fan of ‘The Elephant…’ and to be honest I’ve never been back since, but hey ! Everything changes in time, so like the tart I am (we are… Sorry Grant) we joined up to train and tube it down…
Actually we’re up against some stiff opposition ‘cos Chris and Al ain’t bad, and programmes on poetry on Radio 4 aren’t just given away to slouches so Mr H. will definitely be a force to be reckoned with, so quite independently of each other we’d both decided to just ‘Go for it’ and to hell with the ‘Grauniadista’s’ that tend to infest the audiences of these things.
I have no time for their political correct attitudes, telling us what we can’t say or write or think, so I tend to treat them with utter contempt.
Grant on the other hand, just rips the piss out of them when they get on his goat (Notice a bit of bestiality creeping in there, did you ? Oh well, fuck off to the R.S.P.C.A. and report it then… There’s a good little narc’…)
Seriously tho’… They get on my tits so I ignore them… Even at poetry festivals.
John Hegley however, is the real deal and so we spend the train journey sorting out set lists.
I have to say it’s a nice little venue.
Unfortunately, a couple of the others who were supposed to appear, pulled out at the last moment and so apart from an open mic’ slot for anyone in the audience, it’s down to the five of us.
Ok… One, two, three… Go !
Grant, me, John Hegley, Al Damidge and Chris Bowsher…
John was working with his brass accompanist, Al with his guitar and Chris with a backing track and so Grant and I were the only ‘solo verbal’s’.
How did we do ?
We did ok.
Held our end up without any problems.
I overran on my twenty minutes…




Time flies when you’re having fun, and I was sailing…
I have to say, thinking about it after the event, that it was probably one of my best ever London gigs ?
There was an old George Robey one that I remember with affection from the nineties, but this one was up there with the good ones.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and the audience seemed to as well, so that’s the bonus.
I’d never met John Hegley before that night, seen him a couple of times but never met, and he’s a nice bloke… Funny too, and with a great audience rapport.
I mean, I just attack ‘em, John just takes the piss but he does it in such a way that you couldn’t take offence.
All in all, for a couple of ‘Shire’ poets hitting the city with serious ‘opposition’ we did ok… maybe good even ?
The audience seemed to think so if all their comments after the event were to be believed ?
So we trained it back with big smiles on our faces.
If you are ever asked to do a Pullens Poetry & Spoken Word Festival at the Elephant & Castle, then do it.
Can’t be fairer than that.
I can’t speak for Grant but I suspect he’d jump at being asked back, as would I ?
Nice gig, guys…

Now all I have to do is find my bloody house deeds for the documentation that Haddy needs to get her visa and that is proving somewhat difficult.
I’ve got papers strewn everywhere all over the house, but buggered if I can find
them ?
The bank statements arrive sometime in the next six weeks along with a current P.60 so I’ll have to wait until then at least, but the shops are finished except for the electrics…
We’re getting there slowly.

Now I’ve just got to finalise my stage for this year’s ‘Rhythms of the World’ festival and I’m up to date.
Nearly there, though.
We eagerly await news from our South African poet, but I have the feeling his visa application will be refused… Dunno why ?
I just have that feeling.
Maybe after the shit we had to go through last year to get Tatyana Lar from Russia ?
We managed to get her visa’d up with about four days to go, but the visa situation has got a lot worse since then, and with an election looming to vote out the worst and most venal bunch of crooks Parliament has seen since the days of the ‘Rotten Boroughs’, it ain’t gonna get much better…

Here's a thing that just 'occurred' one night...
(If you are old enough then you know the rhyming structure ?)

NADINE (DORRIES IS THAT YOU ?)

AS I GOT HOME ONE EVENING AND TURNED ON MY TV
I SAW THE NEWS REPORTER INTERVIEWING AN M.P.
THE M.P. SQUIRMED AND WRIGGLED LIKE A FISH UPON A HOOK
AS THE INTERVIEWER ASKED WHY THEY SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT TO BOOK ?

NADINE… DORRIES IS THAT YOU ?
OH NADINE… DORRIES WAS THAT YOU ?
SEEMS LIKE EVERY TIME WE CATCH THEM DOING THINGS THEY SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO DO ?

THE NEWS REPORTS GOT FUNNIER AS M.P’S CHANGED THEIR TACK
SAID THAT THEY WERE HONEST AND THEY’D GIVE THE MONEY BACK
OTHERS START PROTESTING, SAID THAT THEY’D DONE NOTHING WRONG
LIKE WIPING DOGSHIT OFF A SHOE, IT REALLY STARTS TO PONG

NADINE… DORRIES IS THAT YOU ?
OH NADINE… DORRIES WHERE ARE YOU ?
SEEMS LIKE EVERYTIME WE CATCH ONE DOING THINGS THEY SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO DO ?

CAMERON MAKES A STATEMENT… AND SO DOES GORDON BROWN
BUT NO-ONE MAKES DECISIONS AND THE CRAP SWIRLS ROUND AND ROUND
GET RID OF THE SPEAKER SO IT’S GOODBYE GORBALS MICK
CALLS HIMSELF A SOCIALIST THE GREEDY HYPOCRITE

NADINE… DORRIES IS THAT YOU ?
AH NADINE… DORRIES WAS THAT YOU ?
SEEMS LIKE EVERYTIME THEY CATCH ONE DOING THINGS THEY SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO DO ?

DRY ROT, MOATS AND BOOKCASES, SECOND HOMES AND TAX RETURNS
PAID FOR BY OUR TAXES NOT FROM ANYTHING THEY’D EARNED
NOW NADINE’S ON THE TELE’ ‘WHY’S THE PUBLIC ACTING ROUGH ?’
‘CAUSE YOUR SNOUT’S BEEN CAUGHT MID GOBBLE AND WE’VE ALL HAD QUITE ENOUGH…

NADINE… DORRIES IS THAT YOU ?
AH NADINE… DORRIES WAS THAT YOU ?
SEEMS LIKE THEY CAUGHT ANOTHER DOING THINGS THEY
SHOULDN’T OUGHT TO DO ?

Dunno' why I wrote it in capitals but I did, and cut and paste is so much easier, isn't it ?
And then there was something that occurred while I was watching a dvd of The Long Riders, Walter Hill's Jesse James story with all the acting brothers in, Carradine's, Keach's, Quaid's, Guest's et al playing the related gang members, and as they got to the scene in the bar when they argue about which songs the musicians are going to play...(great soundtrack by Ry Cooder...)

REBEL WITHOUT A PAUSE (Originally 'I'm a Good ol' Rebel')

Political correctness
is a plague upon this land
Add control freaks in our government
Those things go hand in hand
They want us to stay uniform
to their eternal shame
It’s easier to control us
if we all think the same ?

Don’t talk of immigration
‘cos that will get them mad
They’ll refer to you as racist
(And other things twice as bad)
But what they keep forgetting
And why people make a fuss
Too many are fuckin’ scroungers
paid for by all of us

We were born with brains to think with
and a sense of humour, too
But it’s now a crime to use them
It might cause a to-do
We beat the bloody Nazi’s
so that people could speak free
Not for another tyrant
to gag both you and me

Listen to Harriet Harman
Or then again, p’raps not ?
She’s the best recruiting sergeant
that the B.N.P. has got
Fill jobs with bloody quotas
either ethnic or woman
And we’ll flush the ‘Great’ in Britain
directly down the pan

and here's a golden oldie and the one that John Hegley really liked at the festival...

ROCK’N’ROLL ZERO’S (A TALKING BLUES)

I left school feeling lonely and blue
Got all my exams but I didn’t have a clue
‘till I thought of an idea that sounded grand
I’d get me mates together and we’d form a band
and make it really big in the music business…

But starting at the bottom, no-one cared
We played all the covers and the money got shared
and in a couple of years we’d got a few fans
then the singer buggered off… He’d got marriage plans
So we had to start all over again…

So we all pulled together… got a new front man
and a new direction… Well, that was the plan
But one day the bassist didn’t show
and that’s down to the whiz’ or maybe the blow
Didn’t matter, ‘cos he was a loser anyway…

So we hired another and the years went by
We thought we’d make a recording… Give it a try
But it cost a few quid and we hadn’t got it
and we did have a chance, but we just shot it
arguing over who spends what ?

So we drifted along ‘till the band fell apart
The others blamed me but they had no heart
It wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t to blame
We all did our best and I thought it a shame
that we never had a chance of making it big…

Then one night I was down the pub
Talking to this bloke about some new club
And he said ‘Man, if you picked up your guitar
and got yourself a band, then you could go far…’
And I thought ‘Been there… Done that… What a tosser…’

But the more I thought, the more it appealed
I’d been straight for too long… My fate had been sealed
So I rang up me mates, we rehearsed a bit
Even found a drummer who had his own kit
and believe me… That is a miracle in itself…

So we hit the pubs and the clubs and we strutted our stuff
Put the money in the kitty so we all had enough
And we started building up a real fan base
With guys buying us drinks and groupies to chase…
You know… Just your average rock’n’roll sycophants really

But we kept on playing ‘till the shit hit the fan
While driving back from a gig in our clapped out van
For our lead guitar, who’s the mildest guy you could meet
Said ‘It’s a shame we’ve got a drummer who can’t keep a beat’
which was definitely the wrong thing to say…

Because the drummer got mad instead of mellowing out
he rose to the bait and gave the guitarist a clout
and before you knew it the fists were swinging
I got punched in the face and my ears were ringing
And we all ended up in a ditch at the side of the road…

And when I finally got home that night
My girlfriend met me at the door, asked if we’d done alright ?
I was covered in bruises from head to foot
but so were the others ‘cos I’d put in the boot
and steel toecaps and human bones don’t really mix… Do they ?

So I gave them a day to piss them all off
I rang ‘em all up but they just said ‘Fuck Off’ !
They’d decided I was at fault and they hadn’t a prayer
with me in the band, but that was unfair
‘cos I was writing all the material…

So a few years passed… I’d put down the guitar
I had a straight job and I’d gone quite far
But escaping one night from the T.V. cops
I channel surfed straight into Top Of The Pops
And Jesus Christ Almighty ! I used to play with them…

And my tears flowed down as the memories came back
When we were out there doing it just for the craic
Me, rocking on rhythm… Lead guitar screaming
Singer out front either posing or queening
The bass player trying to turn up the heat
and the drummer… who never could stay on the beat
And my son turned to me and he said with a frown
‘I dunno why you’re upset and it’s bringing you down ?
They’re crap !'


Yes, it's taken from experience... Not necessarily mine, however...
I actually started off as a drum roadie and I can't play guitar to save my life but travelling, rehearsals, gigs and the attitude that keeps you going... Yeah, I know all about that stuff.
The rest is just what happened to others we knew in the early '70's...

2 comments:

GRANTS PAGE said...

Oh yes indeed, Pullens was more than just good, it was excellent, it's fair to say that Chris, you understate it in your blogg, despite being up against some mighty performers, who we love and respect, they were good but we were exceptional that night, and, to be fair, so was the audence bless them. Oh I'd jump at the chance of going back to do another, we Shire folk, not Hobbits you understand, can belt out a good poem or several when we have to!
Cheers
Grant

Chris Ripple said...

Hey Compadre

Cheers for that.
I've never had an audience like that one in London, ever.
They listened, they got what we were on about, they got the analogies, they even applauded and narry a cross word after...
Oh that all audiences were the same, but I reckon we'll be back to the usual chips on shoulders misery guts soon enough ?