Back before hip hop made its way from across the pond, young, angry, working-class youths took to poetry to address politics, fascism and boredom. Accessible, protesting, diverse, inclusive, political, working-class, humorous yet also deadly serious, Ranting poetry appeared in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
Platforming young rowdy writers with something to shout about, it was closely allied with punk and reggae and was the vibrant precursor of today’s spoken word. Far from the literary establishment, Ranting was beer-soaked, spit-stained and real … and Stand Up and Spit is bringing it back and touring across the UK in 2017. Performing tonight :
Kate Fox is a stand-up poet who’s originally from Bradford and was inspired by punk poets like Wild Willi Beckett in her late teens. She has been a Poet in Residence on Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Glastonbury Festival and the Great North Run. Her solo shows include “Poet in Residence”, “The Starting Line”, “Kate Fox News” and “Good Breeding” which was made into a Radio 4 show. She has been commissioned to write and perform poems for BBC1 (Including 2014’s “Great North Passion” in South Shields and the Great North Run, 2011 and 2015), BBC2’s Daily Politics, Radio 3’s “The Verb”, 6Music and many Radio 4 shows and has performed at venues from Latitude to the Stand Comedy Club, the Soho Theatre to Oakland University, USA and Turku Literature Festival in Finland.
Nick Toczek is a writer and performer working variously as poet (and one of the original ranters), journalist, magician, vocalist, lyricist and radio broadcaster. He is a best-selling children’s author who has worked as a visiting writer in thousands of schools. His book on anti-Semitism, Haters, Baiters and Would-Be Dictators, was published by Routledge last year and a collection of his best dragon poems Dragons are Back! has just been published by Caboodle Books.
Tim Wells is made of reggae, lager top, pie and mash, and Leyton Orient FC. As ‘Teething Wells’ he was an original teenage ranting poet. Since long trousers he has published several poetry collections, Everything Crash published by Penned in the Margins, being the most recent. He runs the Stand Up and Spit blog.
‘London poetry landmark’ – TLS
‘suedehead bard of N16’ – the Guardian
‘bizarre character from the East End’ – the Times
‘a neatly twisted line in rhetoric’ – NME
‘Working class hero’ – Morning Star