The late, great Ray Bradbury said: “I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”
And let’s not forget what the top drawer John Waters has to say: “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!” Quite right too, so if you’re after a bit more than Redskins records and gigs in pubs, and you’re after something to read on the way to see Brighton and Hove Albion, Peterborough United or Swindon Town then have a butcher’s at these…
Attila the Stockbroker‘s biography amply covers the early days of ranting, how could it not?, and follows his career, in which he’s not stopped gigging, up to 2015, and he’s still at it. It’s a lively and informative read and features a veritable who’s who of Ranting poetry.
You can get a copy here
Janine Booth was a Ranter in the ’80s who gave it up to be a trade union activist. Fighting the same fight but with different weapons. A couple of years ago she started gigging and writing poetry again and has become a firm favourite in pubs, on picket lines and also on book shelves. She has several books: poetry as well labour history, and worker’s rights. ‘Mostly Hating Tories’ seems to sum up her oeuvre well.
‘I Can’t Sleep ‘Cause My Bed’s On Fire’ is the debut collection by young poet Emily Harrison. She’s fast become a live favourite and is gigging aplenty. She’s got the political edge of the older poets with the vibrancy and kick of the younger generation (I know, some of us never lost it!) In particuar her work deals with mental health, but in an engaging, humouress and revealing way, that makes it easy to talk about a subject that for many of us is difficult to deal with.
Snap up a copy here