Monday, 30 May 2011

Carry On Strummercamping

So yesterday I was very privileged to compare the Hempen Jig acoustic stage of Strummercamp Festival.  I’ll just break that down, Hempen Jig promotions is a Leeds-based organisation run by members of Bootscraper, a fantastic folk-punk band anyone who fancies decent song-writing should check out.  Strummercamp is a 3-dayer festival set up to commemorate Joe Strummer and everything he did for people and music.  I could only do the Sunday, as I’ve been in Stratford-Upon-Avon seeing the RSC’s Macbeth and Merchant of Venice (don’t forget I’m a theatry person as well as a dirty punk).
So early train of 7.12 and, after a few hours, Huddersfield Town football fans, The Clash tracks on my iPod and google maps I found the site.  I chose mostly the chilled out poems early, Stars and Friends, before moving into the ‘political’ ones to great response.  The crowds seemed bemused during the sets but afterwards got a fair whack of people asking after my stuff and saying they enjoyed my stuff.  SO THAT WAS GOOD.  Met some great guys in bands, check out Perkie, Speed Dinosaurs, Billy Liar, Darran Poyzer and Throw Rocks At Cops, currently uploading the CDs I bought.  Find them all on Facebook NOW.  Managed to catch spot-on sets from Stand Out Riot, Chief and The Selecter, which means I’ve seen every 2tone band :D
The strange thing about Strummercamp is the sort of ‘holiness’ of Strummer.  I hope I summarised my love for Strummer in my poem on Facebook ‘This Ain’t A Scene’ which you can find under the notes section of  The problem with making men and women into legends is that it stops them being human.  Hercules was a legend, Joe was a man but his deeds and tasks were far more practical, exiting and meaningful.  To me anyway.  Punk took away that element of the bloated rock star that The Stones, The Who, The Beatles and prog had evolved into.  Joe was a spokesperson, a great musician, a force...but still just some bloke at the end of the day.  And that is what makes music (of all genres and artists) special.  “If you’re oh-so fucking special then who cares what you have to say?” sings Frank Turner.
So hopefully will get to do more stages and festivals if people will have me.  Speaking of which, this Sunday is Barefoot In The Park, a ace day of poetry, spoken word, story-telling and music so be sure to come down to Hyde Park in Leeds this coming Sunday 5th, google to find more info.  Me and my girlfriend might be working on some fanzines of poetry and images to plug too, but more info on that to come.
To finish here’s  track of me paying tribute to Gil Scott-Heron who sadly passed away on Saturday.  A great influence on me since I first heard ‘On The Subway’ off a Clash influences CD.  Political and exciting poetry, unafraid to hit issues head-on, with so much confidence it gts deep into your head.  Maybe someone will do Scott-Heroncamp?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

"We have met the enemy, and he is you."

It’s been a while since I posted up on here, but so much has happened and continues to happen and will happen and never stop happening.

I’ve been confirmed to compare the Acoustic Hempen Jig stage at Strummercamp Festival 2011 (!/event.php?eid=149613175098567).  Obviously this is ace, but will require oodles of stamina to perform all day in the ten minute slots.  Some ace bands are on Strummercamp so will be a great day and chance to perform to new audiences with a mix of poetry.  Strummerville supports up-and-coming musicians so it’s a worthy cause: folk, punk, dub, ska, soul all featured.  The real music Joe strove for, soulful and meaningful.  Honest, rebellious, rockin’.  Perfect to perform This Ain’t A Scene It’s a Goddamn Warzone (!/note.php?note_id=192034400836128).  I’ll be writing some new material for the gig too, plenty of new poems to try out.

I’ve also been confirmed to do some stuff in the Letter To The Man (from the boy) structure at Barefoot In The Park, run by some very good friends.  Barefoot’s been going a few years now and tries to accommodate all styles of writing and performance, so I’m really psyched to perform to a crowd of poetry-lovers and hope I can do them a good show.  Plenty of other ace spoken worders as well, plus music.  And a Slam, first one I’ve done since probably the last Barefoot!  I’m on 4.05pm-ish, more info here:  Will also be probably maybe definately hopefully having a bash at the ol' SLAM BATTLE.  First one for a while but I'm geared like a gearring.

Previous ‘gigs’ include Nick Card’s poetry event before the debut of his play A Grave Reunion.  It’s surprising when you think “how will I fill a ten min slot with non-political and non-daft material” but I got away with it, trying out poems that are just enjoyable spoken word pieces rather than thematic.  Also the passionate Alex Peck asked me to do some poetry before a march at York Uni to oppose research funding from companies involved in the arms trade.  Whilst wholly controversial, I think it’s fair and important that students of York Uni, no matter their department, demand their Uni does not get involved in a business that causes damage and destruction.  But York Uni was built in the 60s to support the local community and I grew up on the campus and visit every so often so I think it’s my right as a member of York and the local community to protest as well, we all have a hand in this and it affects us all.  I hope my poem was satisfactory, I was quickly done but seemed to do the job so maybe something to work on in the future.

I also watched Small Soldiers today.  What an ace film examining the modern and dangerous aspects of society where warfare is rebranded as action and this blurred line invades the home and poisons families and communities, more dangerous still when linked with children’s notions of violence and corporate marketing.  But Major Chip Hazard is fucking cool.  “You’d be crazy not to be scared”.

Oh, and I’m on Twitter now:  @HenryRabyPoetry