East End poet Gladys McGee in a 1984 Apples and Snakes gig at the Captains Cabin pub. During the 80s Billy Bragg ran a popular gig there too which many ranters performed at.
This nautical pub was just off the Haymarket. As well as Apples and Snakes gigs, Billy Bragg also ran a night before he made it big. I was his keyboard stand on a few occasions.
There were some great line ups at Apples and Snakes in the early days, this flier from 1985 has Seething Wells, Levi Tafari, Little Brother, Porky the Poet, Nick Toczek, Surfin Dave, the Mad Kiwi Ranter and more.
In the outrage of the afternoon
The velvet couch smothered the waste paper basket until it was dead
the lamp flex strangled the dining room chairs till they croaked into splinters
The carpet arched its back and tipped over the coffee table, breaking all its legs
The electric fire scorched the potted plants until they withred neatly to nothing
The cushions chomped on smaller cushions and flubbered over the strewn foam plastic
The vacuum cleaner chundled the ironing board
The hairdryer blew all the book out the window
The vegetable slicer shredded th curtains to crimpolene coleslaw
The cheese grater rubbed the wallpaper to confetti
The electric toothbrush burrowed into the heart of a shrieking armchair
The eiderdown suffocated the poodle pyjama-case
The mattress hurled the blankets onto the floor as the bed booted their soft defencelessness
The stereo unit mouthed abuse at the television screen
The drinks cabinet threw sharp-edged wine glasses at the silent ornaments
The coffee percolator spat black spit at the unarmed skirting boards
The ashtray toppled over, murking the gut of a crystal goldfish bowl
And in the midst of it all
In the midst of it all
Was Suzi Dishcloth’s sadness
As deep as midnight
Her one unquestionable power.
With sadness she could mash a city to nothing.
Ann Ziety gigged widely as a poet, particularly with New Variety and Apples and Snakes gigs. This poem appears in the 1992 Apples and Snakes The Popular Front of Contmporary Poetry anthology that celebrated their first decade.