Thur 14th Feb-DIY POETS presents:- 

A night of spoken word and music with local bards, DIY Poets, featuring Steve Carroll, poet, novelist, and slam winner and music from DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show who provide fantastic dark, bluesy and comic Americana from the Bagthorpe Delta. Free entry!

OK so what the hell has the event described above got to do with punk rock? Well nothing and everything really. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Well it is poetry which is pretentious crap right? Well open your mind read on and discover. A bit of discovery never hurt anyone, unless you are a Native American of course.

The DIY poets are a diverse bunch who meet together monthly and put on events quarterly. They are in fact exactly what it says on the tin. It’s funny how many places I see that thing we punks like to think we own. That  ‘DIY’ness, get up and bloody do somethingness. I’ve seen it in some parts of the punk world, some self help groups, some writers groups and some churches. As an aside I attended Rebellion Festival a couple of years ago and on the Sunday morning I popped along to church. What really struck me was that what was being preached from some at the Rebellion stages varied very little from the woman minister who was preaching. Next to seeing The Rezillo’s  (who were awesome, beyond my wildest expectations) my second favourite thing I heard that weekend was an old Chinese  proverb which came out the preacher’s mouth ‘money is like salt water. The more you drink the more you need’. Good slab of anti consumerism there, but I did see some great bands.

Anyway fast forward to The Alley Cafe and Bar. A veggie and vegan place down a small alley in Nottingham.   First up a handful of DIY poets then guest poet, then band. (in no particular order cuz my memory is fading like Jimmy Saville’s popularity. Each Diyer gets 7 minutes to do their stuff.

Jim Willis - A gently speaking traditional poet doing a fine line in metaphor, simile and witty observation. Be quiet and listen.

Clare Stewart - As it was Valentines Night Clare shared a vinegar poem ( vinegar poems were an old tradition, instead of sending someone a love poem, letter etc. you could send them a hate poem) and did a clever three way dialogue between her head, heart and hormones. Thankfully her hormones won.

Eagle Spits - Spat venom about Atos Death Squad, a dead baby  and pain. Happy Valentines.

A Sole - Miserable git time with a sharp witty edge. Poems about suicide bunnies and having sex with JK Rowling. Simply surreal.

Frank McMahon - Founder of DIY poets 9 years ago. Sharply dressed, behatted geezer who  poeted  a social criticism, lamented a football teams delegation and getting sloshed because didn’t need to get up early to catch a train to an internet date.

Miggy Angel - Garry Johnson meets William Blake in a dark London alley way. There is beauty to be found amongst the dog shit, broken glass and knife wounds. Kind of These Dark Satanic Banksy murals. John Cooper Clarke is justifiably a fan.

John Humphries - music of a splendid nature obviously permeates John’s poetry. An ode to Johnny Cash’s last days said rhythmically in a bruised Cash voice. Poetry inspired by Patti Smiths autobiography and a love for Billy Childish. As pointed out by John, the poster for tonight’s event was a picture of a scary, disturbed, strung out Billy Childish face, do not expect love poetry just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

FEATURED Poet - Steve Carroll – poet, novelist, slam winner - Funny, spot on. Poems about wanting to kill a patronizing prat, a dodgy night out as a youngster going to see The Sisters of Mercy and shouting Whamker at George Michael (good chap). Witty, speedy, unhinged delivery from a nice bloke who looks like a gangster.  The man is class, quick and his poem about visiting American poets always finishing their set with a leachy lurve poem is funny as punk is supposed to be. This chap has been around for years, apparently but his stuff is fresh and delivered with enthusiasm and good natured banter. It was Valentine’s Night so it was ok to talk about masturbation. Read his stuff and go out and see him, that’s what I would suggest.

Last up - DH Lawrence and the Vaudeville Skiffle Show - Musicians making pleasant tuneage whilst enjoying themselves immensely are very difficult to beat. This 4 piece who interchange instruments do just that. If it was possible for a movie to copulate with an album then they could well be the bastard offspring of O Brother Where Art Though and Nick Caves Murder Ballads. Skiffle, blue grassy acoustica with one of them drum box thingies you sit on (the type of thing you don’t often see in Asda). Guitars and banjos and beautiful voices from the swampy bad lands between Nottingham and Derby. If they were to do covers then Country Death Song by Violent Femmes would be a great one to choose. I just said that so you would have an idea of what the hell I was going on about so it’s only polite to out and check the song out OK songs about death, booze, drugs, prostitutes and death. Beautiful harmonies and sad songs which Willard Grant would be proud of.

So a fine, fine evening. Great attitudes and no egos. The small venue was pretty full and they did an awesome cup of Chi. Off home now but DIY poets are back tomorrow.


Review by Eagle Spits- (17 February 2013)