EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2001

The New Rock 'N' Roll

Serendipity's a great thing. Headed out at lunchtime for a caffeinated beverage only to find it raining, so took an executive decision to do the very short walk up the road to the coffee shop at The New Wolsey Theatre. Idly flicking through the new programme (Sep 2001 to Jan 2002), I struck gold. 'Cos John Hegley is coming to town! Well, I was excited.

Mr Hegley is a modern day poet. From Luton. With national health glasses. And a dog called Hessian. Years ago he had a spot on an Anglia TV what's-on programme. I vividly remember him doing a piece from Diss, where he turned the "i" into an "h" on the town sign. Remember the Department of Stealth and Total Obscurity? You had to be there.

Making his way up the meeja ladder, he went from local telly to Radio 5 to publishing books of his work to the giddy heights of his own show on Radio 4. In September, me and the missus will be seeing him in the flesh for the fourth time. Here's what I remember of the first three occasions:

John's Journals   Lowestoft, 1993-ish
The Marina Theatre? Drove with Gail and Stella in the middle of winter. Packed a flask of coffee and a big bar of chocolate in case we got stuck in the snow. John's backing band, The Popticians, were there, while the audience shouted out "amoeba!". Cold but good fun.
Writing his own name!   Colchester, 1994
Arts Centre, the converted church. Whatever year it was, that Saturday night was the first ever draw for the National Lottery. Nigel, his faithful guitarist and sidekick, played along in more ways than one. Last time seeing John Hegley BC (before children).
Makes little sense: Luton News   Ipswich, 2000
Bizarre gig, this one. Organised by the Ipswich Poetry Society, only found out about it at the last minute, and luckily got a babysitter. Odd venue behind the library. Just John. You have to hear him read his own work: it's all in the very de-lib-er-ate delivery.

Did I mention that he's a very funny chap? Go visit his newly launched website for a sampler of his poetry. It's most likely not the kind of verse you studied at school, which has to be a good thing. And, it occurred to me, two tickets (take a friend) still cost less than a single ticket to Portman Road.

Be seeing you!