Tag Archives: The Big J

Lighting, Rigged

Janine Booth, of Blaze fanzine, has written this poem about a sexual assault she experienced when flogging fanzines as a teenager, it captures both something of the fanzine writer’s activities, and of the murkier side of the gig scene, the assaults that no doubt happened more often than they were talked about.

Lighting Rigged

Standing by the ticket table,
flogging run-off, stapled zines
Hold as much as I am able,
twenty pences in my jeans

Flogging run-off, stapled zines,
collated on the window sill
Twenty pences in my jeans,
cash goes to the printing bill

Collated on the window sill,
written with a young fan’s passion
Cash goes to the printing bill
and booze and fags and anti-fashion

Written with a young fan’s passion,
sold to same at sweat-soaked gigs
Booze and fags and anti-fashion,
mixing desks and lighting rigs

Sold to same at sweat-soaked gigs,
powered by punked-up singers, players
Mixing desks and lighting rigs
lapped up by the ticket payers

Powered by punked-up singers, players
I’m chatting with the table guy
Lapped up by the ticket payers,
tap what money can not buy

I’m chatting with the table guy
of favourite bands, guitars and bass
Tap what money can not buy,
he says he’ll take me round the place

Favourite bands, guitars and bass –
at seventeen, it’s all my rage
He says he’ll take me round the place
to show me all the rigs backstage

At seventeen, it’s all my rage –
this techy guy has volunteered
To show me all the rigs backstage,
I’ll learn my stuff about the gear

The techy guy has volunteered
to show me things I’ve never seen
I’ll learn my stuff about the gear,
perhaps I’ll write it in the zine

He’ll show me things I’ve never seen,
expand my learning and my fervour
Perhaps I’ll write in in the zine,
spread the news and knowledge further

Expand my learning and my fervour –
that’s what teenage me expects
To spread the news and knowledge further –
nothing else do I suspect

That’s what teenage me expects
as the backstage door falls shut
Nothing else do I suspect
of this friendly fellow, but

As the backstage door falls shut
I smell the breath and feel the hands
Of this freindly fellow, but
this closeness was not what I’d planned

I smell the breath and feel the hands
he rams his lips full on to mine
This closeness was not what I planned:
he slavers, pants, he’s crossed the line

He rams his lips full on to mine:
his pindown grip, abrasive chin
He slavers, pants, he’s crossed the line
and leaves his pawprint on my skin

His pindown grip, abrasive chin
I pull right back and push away
He leaves his pawprint on my skin
I hear him laugh at me and say

I pull right back and push away
I miust have missed the nudges, winks
I hear him laugh at me and say
I surely didn’t really think

I must have missed the nudges, winks,
ignored the signs in his inviting
I surely didn’t really think
we’d come in here to see the lighting

Ignored the signs in his inviting,
what a fool that I believed
We’d come in here to see the lighting:
how could I be so naive?

What a fool that I believed
a person meant the words they’d used
It’s my fault I was so naive
I must have got my wires confused

A person meant the words they used?
Another meaning overrode
I must have got my wires confused
I’m meant to know the words are code

Another meaning overrode
I feel like such a bloody fool
I’m meant to know the words are code
I wipe my mouth and keep my cool

I still feel like a bloody fool
I try to put it from my mind
I wipe my mouth and keep my cool
and leave my self-esteem behind

I try to put it from my mind
and hold as much as I am able
I leave my self-esteem behind
standing at that ticket table

Janine Booth

You can’t really put a book on the Internet…

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.

AttilaBook

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.

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Available here

‘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

EmilyCantSleep

Holiday In Sellafield – The Big J

From Outside Edge, 2, 1986

Forget the Costa Brava, don’t go to Benidorm
They’re full of germs and foreigners, and our camp is just as warm
The air is really bracing, and hidden costs concealed
It really is all good clean fun on holiday in Sellafield.

The staff are warm and radiant, each one a bright young spark
And you won’t get lost at night time ‘cos they all glow in the dark.
Our magic moondust molecules will keep the kids at heel
You’ll have a real mind-blowing time on holiday in Sellafield.

The wildlife’s somewhat different from what you get elsewhere
But don’t worry, they’re not vicious; in fact, they’re all too high to care.
Now Lourdes is a famous pilgrim shrine where many a wound is healed
But there’s nothing to match the therapy that you get at Sellafield.

“The soil is safe” says Government mouth from the other side of the fence
“The fact that the vegetables cook themselves is just pure coincidence”
Our green fingered gardeners cultivate some leeks that make nutricious meals.
You’re sure to have the time of your halflife on holiday in Sellafield.

The entertainment’s just explosive, there’s thrills and spills and fun
Come and see our one-man double act prove two heads are better than one.
We really don’t like Greenpeace, we wish they hadn’t squealed
and spoilt our chances of luring you to a holiday in Sellafield.

The Big J, 1986

Janine85

Arguments Yard – Attila’s Autobiography

There was a fun time to be had at the launch of Attila the Stockbroker’s autobiography Arguments Yard.
The gig was busy and many gig goers of the Eighties, the decade that is!, met old friends they’d not seen in ages.
A crew of us downed a few beers and headed along to the Borderline on Sept 25th, 2015. Most of us were old enough to be talking about the Attila gigs we’d seen in our youth. Where did it all go?
Joining us was Oi the Poet, Garry Johnson. It was good to see Garry out and about. Hopefully he’ll be turning some gigs in in the not too distant.

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Prof. Matthew Worley, Janine Booth and the Bro’s Grim.

Attila has been ranting for 35 years and the book is an invaluable record of ranting poetry and the musical and political landscape of the early 80s. Attila carries his story through to today, where I’m pleased to see he’s still ranting and beer drinking.

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Attila and Dagenham Pete, who plays an important part in the book.

Attila read, as well as doing a set with Barnstormer
Janine Booth turned in some poetry, as you’d expect the audience also mostly hated Tories. Jeremy Hardy cracked some jokes as the bar filled. One time ‘zine editor, Colchester Utd fan Steve Lamacq DJed with some choice choons.

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Teething Wells and Saffia.

The Newtown Neurotics, as per, put in a good performance. It was especially good to see them and Attila doing Andy Is A Corporatist live.

You can get the book here.

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Janine and Gary, who’ve both survived so many ranting poetry gigs.

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Lisa and the Neurotics’ Steve Drewett.

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Attila and Robina.

Gigging at the Poetry Library

On 2nd September 2015 we had a Stand Up and Spit exhibition at Poetry Library on the South Bank.
Tim Wells gave a short introduction to ranting poetry and he, Janine Booth and Emily Harrison read.
It was a packed house, and a mixed crowd.
You can hear the event here.

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Our gifted graphic designer, Renee O’Drobinak, with some of our exhibition.
Big thanks to all at the Poetry Library.

Stand Up and Spit at the Poetry Library

Ranting verse sprang from punk and reggae in the early 1980s.
This grassroots poetry was angry, political, sweary, boozy and funny – a predecessor of the vibrant spoken word of today.

Original ranters Tim Wells and Janine Booth as revisit their early rants and serve up new work, while young poet Emily Harrison is performing her own contemporary, sardonic working-class verse. Tim Wells will also be doing a short introduction to ranting poetry and an exhibition of ranting material will be on show. As well as some drunk ranters.

The evening is inspired by the Stand Up and Spit blog, which has been collating ‘zines, reviews and interviews from the heyday of Ranting Verse, helping modern audiences to rediscover this pre-internet phenomenon.

In association with Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions. Stand Up and Spit is funded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Saison Poetry Library at Royal Festival Hall.

Please note, this free event requires a ticket. Please book your ticket by emailing specialedition@poetrylibrary.org.uk

2 September 2015, 20:00pm – 21:30pm

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