Kill the fatted calf! Ralph's in the house!
This month saw poetry in commotion's first feature act: Ralph Dartford. Supported by an varied open mic of local talent, Ralph's feature was an explosive crescendo to Poetry in Commotion's second event.
Dartford, a founding member of "A Firm Of Poets" collective, has been doing his thing in West Yorkshire, running poetry events, adult writing workshops and performing his poetry for many years. Having supported high profile acts such as Kate Tempest and wowing audiences at events and festivals across the country, it may come as a surprise to hear that until this week, Ralph had never performed at an event in his home town of Basildon. (Can you believe this? The multi-cultural, bohemian, hipster hub that is Basildon?)
It is a shame, that a successful artist spawned by this place had never had the chance to perform here to his friends and family. However, it is heart warming that through our hard work, a scene is emerging which should mean that this will no longer be the case. Poetry in Basildon now has a home and it is called Poetry in Commotion.
Ralph's set was eclectic and energetic. His style is affable and conversational, yet cuts to the deep core of heavy subjects with apparent ease. Through his words we walked the streets of Basildon, as well as in the shoes of downtrodden immigrants across the world and finally enjoyed a generous helping of Spanish omelette. For me, the strongest piece was a recollection of a teacher from his youth. This was a heartwarming description of all that educators can do to help the young, without even touching a curriculum. Maybe it's because I teach, and still have rose tinted glasses firmly affixed to my face about what we can achieve, but it left me with a lump in throat and a spring in my step.
Both myself and Ralph will be appearing in Christopher Ian Smith's upcoming feature film: New Town Utopia. More details to follow about this soon.
Thank you to all who came along and performed. Many of us have complained that there is a lack of culture and opportunity in our town. It is amazing to see so many local poets stepping up and becoming the change we wish to see in the world.