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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Blog 148. Shirley Temple Jesus & the curse of the S.W.A.Ms.


I’m trying to decide whether to reconnect with Shirley Temple Jesus and all that stuff.

Building work and ‘settlingin’ is done, life is normalising and I want to get my head round some new writing. Part of that has been dragging through archives and back-files – mainly my own – looking up some old pieces trying to reconnect with direction. It feels like I wandered off a path in the woods, got tangled in the brambles, bogged down in swampy stuff but now the light is penetrating and that track I stumbled off about 18 months ago is near.

One of the ponderings is whether to revisit performance poetry. I often found the actual performing grim and the aftermath gruesome. But if you write performance poetry (rather than just poetry that you read out loud) then it aint complete till it’s PERFORMED. So there’s a dilemma.

Secondly, as someone who’s never engaged (other than me little bloggy) with social media – it seems that there is no point doing anything these days unless you then spend ten times as much effort tweeting / facebooking / instagramming about the thing you did. Add to that an aversion to joining groups an allergy to cliques - I’d better just stay home (I should maybe get that analysed!).

Anyway – as well as peering into my own brain attic I had a look in that of an old NE poetry pal and came across a short performance of mine (below) which made me smile. Still relatively new to the scene, I was with two of the performance poets I admired most on the NE scene – Steve Urwin (who posted this piece) and Poetry Jack. It’s one I grew to enjoy as I got to grips with performing solo over the following couple of years.
Shirley Temple Jesus


This piece also made me think about the whole issue of S.W.A.Ms (smug white advantaged males) and how they just need to HAVE everything BE everything – from Blair and Bush and their testosterone fuelled Armageddon escapade to the fckwit lion killer from Minnesota. Even (over this side of the pond) the guys who pillory the SWAMs are often SWAMs. Example - The Now Show on Radio 4 with their core presenters disgorging banalities in a parody of satire – days old ideas punctuating tired ‘in’ jokes, with fillers of cliquey radio 4 references and dreary personal anecdotes – to what sounds like an anaesthetised audience. Sure it beats the ubiquitous comedy panel/game show but...

We used to do satire so well in this country (Spitting Image anyone?) and yes – who would argue that those strings were not (literally) pulled by SWAMs but they seemed to have hungry anger and genuine creativity and a comic pulse and enough of reign on their egos that the satire was sharply, sometimes brutally focused on deserving targets.


Maybe – with hindsight – this explains why everywhere – Jesus who was after all a Palestinian Jew - is portrayed as a white Caucasian slightly hippy bloke who could probably fit the tired BBC radio 4’s 6.30 hams’ half hour. Even Jesus got SWAMd.

1 comment:

  1. On the Brayden Beat, That was the Week that Was, Bremner Bird and Fortune, Clive James' Show... yes we used to be allowed satire. As it turns out, our peerless leaders have always been 'no joking matter'. I must get out more too but -- I never really feel I am the entertaining type. More the dedicated recluse really.

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