My Dazzling, Brief Career As A Post-Punk Performance Poet

The year is 1982, the scene is the Jacquard Club in Norwich. On the bill for the evening’s entertainment are Serious Drinking, a band composed of middle class university graduates who do a reasonably convincing job of pretending to be working class oiks. Their songs are mostly about beer and foopball. Their EP Love On The Terraces is a collector’s item these days. Also taking to the stage is a post-punk performance poet. Incapable of memorising his verses, he has them scribbled on pieces of paper which, as he finishes reading each one, he scrunches up in his fist and chucks into the audience. Nobody knows – indeed nobody cares – that this will be his one and only performance as a poet, and he will not reappear on stage until the new century has dawned. He shouts (among other things):

I spent ten days in a shed
The shed was made of wood
I smoked a pack of Number 6
And drank a bottle of stout
I didn’t eat a fucking crumb
After a while my legs went numb
Then I went and had my bath
Now I’m so clean it almost hurts

That youthful performer was Frank Key The Poet. I am not sure what brought that memory flooding back.

ADDENDUM : I recall only one other piece I shouted at the crowd that night, and only the opening three lines come back to me:

He pushed a boy scout into a lake
Went to a snackbar and stole some cake
He’s a snackbar hooligan!

All the verses followed the same pattern, a rhyming couplet followed by the one-line “chorus”, after each bellowing of which I urged the audience to shout “Yeah!” or “Oi!”, which I am pleased to say they did, with a certain mocking enthusiasm.

2 thoughts on “My Dazzling, Brief Career As A Post-Punk Performance Poet

  1. “Bring back post-punk poetry to the Jacquard Club in Norwich” Likes this #BBP-PPttJCiN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.