Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Sunday, 1 January 2017

20.17 Blog #1: Rogue 1-2017

Better reviewers than I have summarised 2016 and Rogue One.  My rating of 2016 has been poor from a personal level, Things Happened which knocked me down.  Like a mid-90s anarchist punk song, I [tried] to get back up again.  Everyone seems to agree that 2016 was a sad year for deaths, the [increased] rise of the far right and further instability for security.  They also tend to agree Rogue One was pretty great.

Let’s be right about this, Star Wars has always been a continuum.  It didn’t end in 1983, it continued with the various novels and comic books and the adventures I created with my hand-me-down action figures in my Granny’s front room.

I’m not keen on the narrative that Star Wars ‘came back’ in 1999 and it was crap, and then ‘came back’ in 2015 and it was ace.  Because, for all it’s flaws, Lucas was trying to expand the universe of Star Wars with the Phantom Menace, he tried to show us a different world to that of the sterile Empire.  He tried to introduce the Jedi council, not the disparate Jedis in hiding in deserts and swamps.  He tried to set up the dawn of a new character arc for Anakin Skywalker.  He obviously failed, because Phantom Menace is an incredibly flawed film, like a stuttering lightsabre trying it’s  best to vzzz and vuummm.

By contrast, 2015’s The Force Awakens is a riotous romp, but recycles a huge amount of materials it’s hard to differentiate the references from the tributes.  There are so many nods to the other 6 films it’s like a vigorous head shake.  But it’s forgivable because it’s fun, frantic and funny.  It’s everything Star Wars should be, heroes vs. baddies in SPACE.

So what is the worst Star Wars film?  Attack of The Clones of course, because even though Lucas failed to craft a decent film with The Phantom Menace, he had the chance to rescript, recast and pass the baton to another director, as he did for Empire Strikes Back.  As it stands, he did not and we are left with another outing of CGI nonsense and lacklustre plot.

Even though the previous instalment was rubbish, he didn’t learn his lesson.

That’s why The Force Awakens tried to play it safe with familiarity.  And though chronologically Rogue One comes before The Force Awakens in the Star Wars story, clearly the 2016 is a contextual ‘sequel’ to 2015 film and Gareth Edwards toned down the references and nods (though still there) to try and explore a new (old) world under the surface of smugglers, traitors, saboteurs, assassins and rebels and not the force-wielding samurai of the other films.

And that is why, if we consider 2017 a sequel to 2016, we must take the past and make it better.

Each year we inevitably say:  “Have a happy and peaceful 2017” and wish each other the best, but all years have negatives and positives, with the remnants of the old year, whether good or bad, still clinging to the hull.  Creating our own sequel is hard, we cannot erase the past, and we cannot erase the right-wing victories and rise of fascism that will bleed into this year.  But we also have the opportunity to rethink this 2017 as we always rethink a sequel.

Let’s make 2017 neither Attack of The Clones, nor even The Force Awakens.  Although not perfect, let’s make it the Rogue One of the 2010s.

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