Joolz – Rock Garden 1983

Sounds June 18, 1983

Flaming Joolz and her friends, framed by the geometrical highlights of the recently refurbished, hi-tech Rock Garden, looked an odd sight. Out of place, out of sync, out of touch and out of wavelength with the beer-throwing, out on the town audience, they could only struggle to find any sort of common thinking ground.
Joolz found a couple of solitary punks to pick on: “What are you doing here? It’s a bit trendy, isn’t it?” It could have been a rhetorical question, although trendy was the wrong word to choose.
Surprisingly, Joolz is gentle. She doesn’t rant. She seethes calmly but with a satirical sting on the tip of her tongue. Her blows are aimed well beneath the belt but they have none of the ranters’ boring insistency. There are no endless rounds of sibilant, explosive, pugilistic alliteration; she finds the path to the pus softly, jovially even, but with vital ironic twists and turns. The razor cuts are quick, clean and philosophical.
A seeing eye, a vituperative lip, a sensitive heart, Joolz gives what she gets and refuses to suffer bigotry and blindness from anyone, whatever their shape, form or politics.
Experiences, opinions, friends, enemies – Joolz bases her poems on more personal encounters than the ranting bunch. They may be witty and wordwise but she rams home the point with her common sense, cynicism, humour and emotion. She dares to expose her hurts to puncture blinkered vision.
A short set. Four poems but an abundance of insight and grit. You sense the Northern inferiority complex, enforced by Southern superiority (of course) fighting back.
‘Oi For Art’ lambasts the Hampstead highstreet version of the Harlow skin as depicted in the play Oi For England, the old street-to-stage blockade.
Then comes a tale about Deborah which parodies the present black magic/tribal/occult/cosmic fascination which possesses the posi-crowd. Batcave-a-bozo.
But her best poem was the last one, ‘The Tetley Bittermen’, a stirring account of her encounter with the brutal, prejudiced attitudes of the Tetley drinking morons that frequent the pubs and streets in Yorkshire. One particular strain of a breed, you could say: ‘You punk, me 15-pint-a-night man and I can beat the shit out of you’. Warfare and worse.
As she describes the hatred in their eyes, the sterility in their minds, the alcohol in their red rubbery faces and their fear, their deep-seated fear of the unknown, I shake. I recognise the identikit. The last note is bitter and final: “Only those that are not the targets can feel sympathy for violent men.”
Joolz moves and means it

Rose Rouse



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