Tag Archives: spoken word

Shall I compare thee to…?


Music fans, readers of poetry, viewers of art – do you compare?

Making comparisons in every day life seems natural.  People compare themselves to others all the time: judging their own performance at work or socially; judging their own views against someone else’s; judging their own appearance in comparison with someone else’s; judging their child’s progress at school against that of the neighbour,  the list of comparable situations is endless.

Read about new or up and coming bands and you’ll find they are always compared to other artists in their genre.  Is this fair?

Copy and articles in the media compare bands and music artists to each other.  Captions in magazines introduce groups with the words “For fans of…”, or “Sounds like…”, and liken them to other artists.  This gives the listener an idea, but the suggestion will always be embodied in the listener’s mind.  Why should a band’s sound be twinned to someone else’s in order to be recognised?

There can be no denial that similarities can be identified.  Take Australian rock band Airbourne, notoriously likened to AC/DC .  Lots of the components are there including two brothers, copycat riffs and a lead singer who appears to model himself on a mix of Angus Young’s lead guitarist antics and Bon Scott’s loveable cheek, wit and raspy vocals.  But take away those saleable characteristics, put on to entertain the crowd, and it’s the music that is different.  They do have their own exciting sound, despite it being peppered with something familiar.  Examples of other bands in multiple genres could be dragged up for pages and pages to come, but every one of them is different on some level, it’s just discovering how the sound affects the ear on a personal  level and subsequently how it moves the listener.  Surely that’s what it takes to be a true fan?   I like Airbourne.  I like AC/DC.  I don’t like Airbourne because they have been likened to AC/DC.

Can poets be compared to each other?  Look at the current poetry and spoken word scene, huge and ever growing in popularity.  Many London poets have been witnessed ranting along in monotone modern London  dialect, a little bit street, a little bit middle class, sharing messages about political concern, personal opinion, dilemmas, glitches in our social systems and either make light of them or or target the audience with soapbox fury.  The familiar strain seems to be, who can shout the loudest?  Then again, all their words are valid and their work is listened to and applauded, because they cannot be compared.  Each one has something different to offer and listening hard, or reading close, will open minds and stimulate.  The beauty in each one can be identified as something unique.

Can authors be compared to each other?  Can painters or designers be compared?  Probably, but please try to ignore the comparisons dictated by someone else, it’s lazy.  In writing about bands for the last three or four years, I have been guilty of making a comparison or two myself.  I will do my best not to in future.

There will always be something in a style that stands apart in each group or individual.  That style will catch the eye if we want it to, regardless of any similarities marked alongside anyone else.

Long Live The Fans!

Anna xx

Something new

me at lp cafe

Despite being a little under the weather, I dosed myself up with a fine mix of Benylin and various cold defying products and pushed myself out for a great evening this week sharing some of my words with Watford’s finest wordsmiths at The LP Cafe, the little home of vinyl, coffee and splendid homemade custard tarts set on the edges of the ring road.

Organised by the Caffeine Dreams collective who literally juggle clever words and balls, it was an evening of reflection and humour, mulling over rights and wrongs, the recent election, global issues and scenarios that are pretty unbelievable (I shall mention that one in a moment).  Then I came on and mucked up the cause for discussion and opinion.  Well, it was the LP Cafe afterall, with everything from Iron Maiden to Churches hanging from the walls.  So, I went straight in with a couple of poems from my new pamphlet and read it’s self titled “The Will To Gig” and “Eggs Fudge and Arctic Roll”, a poem about an intern dealing with the backstage needs of rock and roll bands. I did decide, however, to share “Like”, found here on this blog in the hope that it may have provided some food for thought on my part.

What makes it so special about events like these, when writers all come together with a few listeners thrown in for good measure, is that any topic whatsoever is entertaining and enlightening in itself, and this evening brought everything to the floor – from demonic, psychedelic sexed crazed adventure stories (I don’t know what that guy was on, but he can share Benylin with me any time) to mental health issues, politics and how the Bible came into existence (loved that one!)

Checkout the Caffeine Dreams Facebook page and also The LP Cafe which hosts a lot of different events for the local community.  Watford gets to be a better place with guys like these.

me at lp cafe 2