There’s a lot of talk about how mainstream poetry is nowadays, but back in the 80s we were covered in national music papers, to a predominantly non-poetry audience. It seems to me, that whilst we are in a healthy place with spoken word, we’re still reaching to niche audiences. Who’s to blame? I leave that for you to decide.
The NME, 5 May, 1984 reviews that years Poetry International.
The NME, 5 February, 1983, reports on an early open mic festival
The gossipy Jaws column in Sounds, 26 February, 1983, has froth about the (rather good) film Party Party, Ozzy Osbourne, One The Juggler, The League of Labour Skins and this snippet about what had been on the previous weeks telly:
‘… An exciting weekend’s viewing on the old goggle-box just recently. In between scanning the forthcoming videos from Cabaret Voltaire‘ excellent Doublevision label a quick flick of the switch revealed numerous pop combos selling their wares.
Friday saw Paul Weller give a brief snatch of his Style Council before ranting gleefully about the new wave of British poets. The BP’s were represented by Joolz, Little Dave and Seething Wells amongst others and the whole prog came out giving a rather good report on what is, undoubtedly, a worthwhie movement.
Saturday, which was interspersed with footage of more Doublevision product namely Z’ev, TG and 23 Skidoo, had Depeche Mode on Jim’ll Fix It. Gangly Dave Gahan crooned along with a young girl fan who actually managed to out-sing the young Mute-ant…
Red Wedge had a few tours in 1987 campaigning for the Labour vote. The Women’s Tour had a good line up that included Frank Chickens, Coming Up Roses (who included two former members of the much missed Dolly Mixture), and Joolz.
Sandie Shaw and Rhoda, amongst others, appeared at the London gig hosted by Sandi Toksvig.
From NME, 31 March, 1984
As per usual for any poetry festival, some highs and lows on this bill.
Seething Wells write up from the NME, 4 August, 1984.
Bradford’s 1 in 12 Club is a club that’s been running since 1981. It’s run on anarchist principles and does sterling work. It regularly put on Ranting poets through the 80s.
From NME, 31 March, 1984.
The poetry promoters launch their first book.
Poets of a certain age, and stage of inebriation, sometimes flick through the book and ponder ‘where are hey now?’.
There’re some decent poets in the book: Attila the Stockbroker, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mark Steel, Little Dave, Nick Toczek, John Hegley, Claire Dowie, Ginger John, John Agard, and Marsha Prescod amongst many othes.
Emily Harrison reading the book en route to a gig.