Seething Wells – Cool Notes No.3, 1982

Seething Wells is one of the many “new wave” poets that have recently become popular. I met him at Victoria Park, Hackney, at a May 1st Festival where he was speaking … or whatever poets do. It was the easiest interview that I’ve done so far. We just sat down on the grass and had a chat, and were only interrupted once by a female punk (I’ve been told that punkette is sexist) so with a piece of chewing gum stuck behind his ear “Swells” chatted and I scribbled…
How long have you been performing for live audiences?
Since January 1981. I did 120 gigs, 20 of them were free just for publicity. Most of them were local (Leeds and Bradford). I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland yet.
Where have you got the worst audience response?
At the Jam gig in Leeds, only about 1/2 of the audience were hostile and I got pelted with cans. But the London Jam gig was OK.
Have you noticed much difference between appearing up North and down South?
London audiences are spoilt by too many gig, they appreciate you more up North. Though it depends on the venue. I prefer playing carnivals and marches.
Are there any subjects that you get problems writing about?
Well at the Crisis Oi gig in Bradford I took the piss out of the “macho” image and that didn’t go down too well. I don’t like the word poetry. I’d prefer “ranting” or “barking dog music”.
Can you tell us something about the EP that you done?
Red Saunders, who is part of Radical Wallpaper records, taped about three gigs of mine and Attila the Stockbroker, and it went on from there. We’ve sold about 5,000. (That was on May 1st)
Can you see poets …. or ranters …. becoming more popular in the future?
I think they will… I’m surprised that it hasn’t taken off before. It’s much easier than playing in a band, all I need is my lyrics and a PA.

Swells… a skinhead whose a poet… not a skinhead poet… so he told me.

Well that’s it really, cos I didn’t expect to meet Swells so I had no questions planned. By the way he likes a First World War poet, Wilfred Owen, and American, Gil Scott-Heron. He also helps produce a great fanzine Molotov Comics.



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