Spoken Worlds, Old Cottage Tavern, Burton

It was a night, and a pub, divided. You were either at home or downstairs watching England play Sweden in the Euro 2012 football tournament, or upstairs savouring the best of Burton Spoken Word whilst trying to judge what the score was by the cheers and groans emanating from the public bar. Such is the pull of host Gary Carr that he still pulled the faithful to listen and perform, despite the lure of Roy Hodgson’s finest. Strangely, a musical theme unfolded.

All Around My Hat ( Steeleye Span): Terri and Ray Jolland produced their now obligatory comic sketch , this time name-checking all the poets present – with the ubiquitous hat.

Street Fighting Man(Rolling Stones): When Paris burned with student protest in 1968 and barricades blocked Hausseman’s boulevards, Ray Jolland was there in the city. As some battled with the CRS, the American Embassy was besieged with Vietnam War protesters , and the country ground to a halt with national strikes, Ray decided to write some poetry – and very good it was too.
Let the Children Play(Santana): Rob Stevens reminisced of the golden age of his childhood playing football and cricket in the streets and open spaces, the latter of which extended to four day Tests!

Going Underground (The Jam): Mal Dewhirst name is mud, his life in ruins, as he told of his exciting new project “Dig the Abbey” in which Polesworth Abbey will see more archaeological excavation this summer combined with a poetry project and workshops to celebrate both the initiative and the results. More information at: http://www.digtheabbey.co.uk/

The Curtain Falls (Bobby Darin): Inevitably Mal could also not resist celebrating the triumph of the recent production of The Wall at Tamworth for which his poetry sat easily alongside Roger Water’s better known lyrics.

Milk and Alcohol (Dr Feelgood); There is no obligation to perform original material. Tom Wyre elected to read the prologue to Under Milk Wood. Its sonorous lyricism never fails to delight.

From a Whisper to a Scream (Elvis Costello): Dwayne Read his most diversely written, and performed, material to date starting off with the reflective quiet, Shouting House before closing with a trademark bellow.

The Sting (Scott Joplin): The decline in bees and the pollination of flowers is not the obvious basis for poetic inspiration, but when you specialise in nature poems it is like nectar, and Janet Jenkins wrote precisely on this theme to satisfying effect.

Guiding Light (Television): Host Gary Carr, as always lead the evening with a strong sense of direction, but a soft touch with some customarily economical and well crafted poetry of his own thrown in.

Spoken Worlds next plays on Friday July 20th.

Gary Longden 16/6/12

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