I was a shouting poet in my teenage years. I never had any formal training in writing poetry, or shouting come to that. But that was what I did anyway. I used to gatecrash local gigs and get up on stage while the band was tuning up and just blast a few poems out until I got pushed off the stage. The reactions from both band and audience were somewhat varied, from the basic “Get off the stage, you cunt” to the more infrequent “Have you got any more you can do?”
I even had a few fans who would egg me on to get on the stage even when I couldn’t be bothered or I was too pissed to remember the words. Most of them were young girls, oddly enough. I met one of them at Blackpool Rebellion a few years ago, purely by chance, while waiting for John Cooper Clark to arrive (he never did). She wanted me to get on stage then and shout some poetry. I didn’t, in case you were there and think I might be the Scouser who did just that. I just shook my head and sipped my beer.
Anyway, back to the 80s. I was approached one day by some bloke in a suit who said his name was Marcus Featherby and he was looking for a shouting poet to go on some compilation record he was putting out, similar to the Bullshit Detector records that Crass did. I was tempted, until he explained that there would be no payment and he would then have the right to do whatever he wanted with anything he recorded. After I turned it down we both went our separate ways. I don’t know if he ever did make that record or not, but Marcus Featherby did go on to create Pax Records and bring The Mau Maus to the world at large, as well as release singles by The Exploited and Infa Riot amongst others.
Do I regret that decision? No, not really. I never had any desire to be famous, and even less to make any money from my writing. Still don’t, come to that. But one thing I always knew was that I didn’t want anyone else to make money from my writing either.
So why am I telling you all this? I just wrote myself a short cameo role in an as-yet untitled story, doing basically what I describe in the first paragraph. It’s been fun reliving those days in my head, but I don’t think I would want to go back to living them full time.
Incidentally, a few of my poems were printed in one of the UK Horror Society newsletters in the mid-80s. If anyone has a copy of that newsletter they would be prepared to sell to me (or even just photocopy it) please let me know.