Squandermania with Don Share and Barry Andrews at the Swindon Festival of Poetry

4 Oct

I guess the obvious question is: did I manically squander my evening last night? So I won’t ask that.

The music was very Cinematic Orchestra / The Free Association (David Holmes) – sinister moody-style jazz travelling from 1970s Shaft to Lemon Jelly.
And Don Share, editor of Chicago-based Poetry magazine, recited to the music.

It was a full partnership music-poetry fusion that came together only that afternoon, given the transatlantic geographical gap between musicians and poet.
The name and poetry came from Don’s anthology. The improvised music came from former XTC band member, Barry Andrews (who’s on his thirteenth album with Shriekback) alongside Jon Buckett, Brendan Hamley and Catherine Shrubshall on drums, guitar and sax.
Don loves XTC so he was enticed to Swindon from Chicago for the festival and this one-off gig.
Whilst I enjoyed the overall vibe, the poetry was lost on me. Don’s mic was too low down in the mix which, combined with a soft Memphis accent, meant it was hard to hear. Which was a shame because I loved the words when the music went into breakdown, and also enjoyed band jazz-rocking out.
And don’t get me started on the stage – a backdrop of bright white tiles when a black box was needed and, it seemed, every single stage light was on. The show needed a dark, intimate smoky club vibe and instead got a strip-lit kitchen feel.
Did the words and music go together? Maybe the words but not sure about the delivery. Not when I’m used to consummate music-and-poetry artists such as Scroobius Pip, Ghostpoet and, just lately, Zena Edwards.
Mixed success but I was glad I was there.
PS A quick props to Sam Loveless who’s the best event host by a country mile. It helps, I’m sure, that he’s a radio DJ. Interesting, informed and genuinely enthusiastic, his intros build excitement as well as the warmest welcome to the waiting poets.
Written by Louisa Davison.
Squandermania, part of the Swindon Festival of Poetry, came together at the Phoenix Theatre, Swindon New College, Saturday 3 October 2014.
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One Response to “Squandermania with Don Share and Barry Andrews at the Swindon Festival of Poetry”

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  1. The Roof of the World at Swindon Festival of Poetry | Festival Chronicle - 7th October 2014

    […] Festival of Literature moved and integrated the two effortlessly because she felt them inseparable. Don Share and Barry Andrews gave a joint performance because Don loved Barry’s music and wanted to […]

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