We went to a poetry gig this afternoon at the Sip Coffee bar in Richmond. Top of the bill was a local poet (and Sip regular) Rantin’ Richie. Home-grown culture with a bit of an edge to it is not an everyday occurrence round here. This afternoon was quite treat (and, as usual, the coffee was good, too!).
Local musician Tim Crawshaw came along as a support act, singing several songs he wrote a few years ago, revived in an act of ” musical archaeology”, although they sounded new, fresh and relevant. Three of us stepped up from the floor – I read three of my poems, Barbara Hughes sang a poignant feminist song she’s written (sadly, although it was a real highlight, it doesn’t seem to have found it’s way onto the internet, so no link!) and Psy Harrison (singer with the Ceiling Demons) borrowed Tim’s guitar and sang the first song, The Roses, from the band’s album, Nil.
The rest of the afternoon was given over to Richie’s poetry, most of it taken from his new book, From Wandsworth to Wordsworth. The foreword to the book was written by Attila the Stockbroker, which gives readers unfamiliar with Rantin’ Richie some idea of what to expect but Richie’s voice is his own and his range is greater than the recommendation might suggest. He name-checks Bob Cobbing and Gabby Tyrrell. While he was reading one poem (I think it might have been The Child of the Forest) I was reminded of Lawrence Ferlinghetti – and an interview I heard on the radio with him a few years ago in which he said how the world still needed Beat poets. It was good to see they’re still around.