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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

Saturday, 25 June 2016

20.16 Blog #12: Me, You & the EU (Strangled with Quaintness)

That’s my lamppost

That’s my sewer drain

That’s my overflowing bin

That’s my closed pub

That’s my duck

That’s my Scarborough Bridge

That’s my ‘VirginRail Do Not Trespass’ sign

That’s my homeless person

That’s my PoundLand

That’s my PoundShop

Because this is my country now.  We’ve won it back.  Previously, if ever I wanted to leave my house a sweaty Brussels bureaucrat would tell me I needed to A.  Fill in a load of forms B.  Not grow any apples and C. Let an immigrant occupy my home while it was gone.

But all this land is finally English again.  The clanking of armoured knights is a soothing melody amongst the chorus of Shakespearean quills scribbling sonnets.  The tooting of Mr Toad’s car driven by the Fab Four is met with the hazzah of Oliver Twist before he noshes on a giant cake.  Aunt Bessie and Rudyard Kipling get snogging.

We have been sold a premise of yesteryear, disguised as a hand-me-down present wrapped in a comfortable blanket.  But really it’s plastic and false.  Your Great Grandmother would be appalled by it’s shabbiness, it’s damp falseness.

For years the creeping seething undercurrent of Nostalgia has infected both the working class and the middle class.  The working class have been treated to a barrage of propaganda from The Sun and The Daily Mail, a non-stop orchestra of violent threats, lies and bullshittery against anything remotely foreign, and constantly blaming anything that might challenge the white hetcis power structure:  Political correctness, health & safety, fairness and equality in the workplace, multiculturalism, diversity, anti-war, pro-education.  We have become Pavlov’s Dog, drooling and dribbling a frothy anger at the mention of these words.  Like Sun = Hot, Water = Wet and Grass = Green anything remotely Foreign/Europe = Bad.  Question this?  Get shot and stabbed in broad daylight.

The middle classes gave enjoyed their vintage fetes and fairs.  Whilst The Mumford & Sons have proliferated a rustic trilby-wearing folksiness, the Great British Bake Off sent people back into their kitchens.  The sheer scale of Keep Calm And Carry On imagery was more a bombardment than a suggestion.  For God’s sake, they remade Dad’s Army, which was twee even in the 1970s.

We are strangling the world with Quaintness.

And, of course, it is only after the fact we are up-in-arms.  Take a look at this Guardian article.

Artists from Rufus Norris, Lucy Prebble and organisations like the Royal Opera House speaking passionately about the result and how we should remain in the EU.

Fair play to this ensemble of significant British figures for speaking their minds, but by the Seven Above…WHY ARE YOU SAYING THIS NOW?

I’m not having a specific attack against Northern Broadsides, but as an example their artistic director Barrie Rutter makes a passionate and spot-on analysis of the situation.  But Northern Broadsides didn’t Tweet or Facebook about the vote once this past week. The London International Festival of Theatre don’t have anything on their Blog.  Royal Opera House make a statement in the article, but none before the 23rd.

Rutter ends his piece with “Then we start the fightback” but here’s what Durham folk-punkers ONSIND have to say:

I'm so worn out from offering ultimately hollow messages of "keep fighting" every time something like this happens, which is all too frequent. The fact is, for as long as I can remember, we haven't fought. I haven't fought. And things have gone from bad to worse.”

Why is it we constantly need to be beaten back to try and fight back.  Why do we need to be knocked by 2 places to try and step forwards?  Why it is we can only rise when already beaten into the gutter?

Too little too late?

I’m guilty I didn’t do enough.  I don’t do enough.  But I have a very cynical taste in the back of my mouth when fellow artists are stirred to make ART in response.  I suppose I’ll give it a go, I’ll write some poems, I’ll perform them, I’ll moan online.  I’ll try I suppose, but I’m cynical whether we’re “fighting.”

But at least our main export is still actors for Game Of Thrones.

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