Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

The Hovel Session, York: 25th May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Depresstival Presents..., London: 3rd June

Off Yours!, Leeds: 6th June

Good Shout, Peterborough: 13th June

Supporting Jollyboat, Knaresborough: 22nd June

Brig-Aid Fundraiser, Fruit, Hull: 23rd June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Verse Matters, Sheffield, 5th July

Say Owt @ Deer Shed Festival, 21st July

Say Owt @ Great Yorkshire Fringe, York: 25th July

Working Title, Lancaster, 26th July

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Sunday, 19 June 2016

20.16 Blog #11: Not-So-Secret-Wars

Not-So-Secret Wars

Spider-Man is transported to a planet on the other side of the galaxy, where The Beyonder and Madam Webb, powerful being from another dimension, have transported 4 evil villains to essentially ruin the peace of this world.  Spider-Man, as their champion for Good, must assemble a team to oppose the villains and prove that justice will win out.

It’s a good old-fashioned Super-Man team-up, something the 90s Spiderman cartoon did very well, with Iron Man, Dr Strange, Captain America, the X-Men & Daredevil popping up from time-to-time.  This storyline was inspired by the Secret War comic from the 1980s, which tested the water for a grand heroic crossover event which Marvel as since rolled out so much it’s crushed the grass.

The first 5-6ish issues of Secret Wars are pretty exciting, heroes fight, lose, regroup, battle, have infighting and fall in love like a soap opera.  It sets up some interesting subplots, such as the Wasp being kidnapped by Magneto, the X-Men acting as a neutral force and the Hulk losing his savagery and intelligence making him kinda limbo-ishly useless.  Alas, the last few issues just involve the heroes stranding around watching Galactus, and the Wasp essentially gets rescued, Hulk still does his job and the X-Men help out and it’s all fine.

I rewatched the Spiderman saga, and it’s amazing how the Secret War lasts a mere 3 episodes, essentially about an hour, when it felt so massive back in the day.  I guess with a week between Saturday mornings, it was bound to feel more of a saga.  The sheer scale of the heroes is exciting, Cap and Iron Man remind you how this Spiderverse exists without the Avengers, and Doom proves what a cool villain he is, even when guesting in another world.

Team-ups are always great.  Whether a Suicide Squad, Avengers assembling or rogues gallery playing cards, in comic books and cartoons to see all the Insidious schemers in union it’s always a bigger danger, a bigger reward for victory.  Of course it’s also the soap opera element, in the Secret War comic Titania and Absorbing Man bicker before falling for one another, in the Spiderman cartoon Doc Ock and Scorpion, one an educated Doctor and the other a streetwise private eye, trade insults.

Last night I hosted the 4th Words & Whippets night, a collection of poets from across Yorkshire, Joanne Foxton and Dave Jarman from York, Rachel Bower from Sheffield and Andy Craven-Griffiths from Leeds.  These have always been fun compilations of poets, a mix of people who know each other, a mix of strangers and a mix of styles all melting together in the warm blackness of the Studio.

The night before (Friday) I put on a gig with an assortment of bands and musicians, Depresstival from Leeds, my band Pewter City Punks, poet Imi Godwin, acoustic psychobilly 2-piece Dead Drummer, alt-cabaret FloraGreysteel and American folk-punkers Captain Chaos.  It was a real mixture of not just genres and styles, but genders and sexualities and, if I do say so myself, it did feel like a real diverse mix all upstairs in the steam of Dusk.

These are a bit like super-hero team-ups.  Nah, they are EXACTLY like super-hero team-ups.

Nights like these make an interesting concoction.  Joss Whedon said he wanted to add Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to Avengers:  Age of Ultron because he felt the Avengers for the first film were all a bit “punchy.”  The airport scene in Captain America-Civil War showed a greater diverse range of powers, strengths and styles.  And it was glorious.

The great thing about X-Men films is that there’s always a mixture of powers, and to an extent Justice League and Teen Titans offer this range of abilities (TT is essentially the great format of alien/technology/mutant/martial arts/magic which tend to make up all power-origins).

Yesterday a convoy taking supplies to support refugees in Calais was refused boarding on the ferry, despite everyone having a valid passport and ticket.

This week a fascist with ties to a right-wing organisation, presumably inspired by the fear-mongering of a ‘broken Britain’ murdered an MP.

This week a man went into a nightclub and shot people because they were LBGTQ+ and, possibly, non-white.

Next week we’ll, most likely, vote to leave the EU and see a surge in a nationalism which isn’t limited to patriotically taping the Great British Bake-Off, but one that sees both increased direct and indirect harm to minority groups.

Because we need diversity to fight these wars.  I’m not just talking about our gig line-ups, of course.  I mean how we co-operative, connect and support one another when the going gets tough.

So here’s to diverse line-ups, team-ups, mash-ups and not-so-Secret Wars.

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