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
SO MASIVE THANKS TO HEMPEN JIG FOR HAVING ME IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS
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 facebook.com/henryrabypoetry. 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?
Listen here: http://soundcloud.com/henryrabypoetry