Back to perform with us is Murray Lachlan Young, 13:10-13:40 Sunday. If he’s new to you/ you’d like a reminder, read on:
In his own words:
“Current regular gig – Poet Laureate of multi-award-winning BBC6 music.
“Murray has also written for Shakespeare’s globe, The CERN institute in
Switzerland, MTV USA. 2015 saw Murray’s co-adaptation of the critically acclaimed Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood Movie Directed by Kevin Allen and starring Rhys Ifans, long-listed for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
“Murray’s 2017 satirical verse collection How Freikin’ Zeitgeist are you? Reached No. 1 in the Amazon poetry charts. His new book is a 6000-word poem The Mystery of the Raddlesham mumps.”
If there’s one poet on the bill this year that 19-year-old Fay would be freaking out over the notion of witnessing live (25 years later; sorry, love), it’s this chap. Just as I was expanding past my jazz/ folk/ classical roots with a life-altering Britpop mixtape by my best mate at university (let’s not get into what happened when I was introduced to techno and trance), going clubbing for the first time, and working out that I actually stood a chance of getting off with girls, MLY was turning up on the late-night TV shows my brother and I were watching being all louche and curly-haired and insouciantly foppish, wielding an unrepentant and rhyming wit. My brother grew his curls out and started competing in poetry slams. I started wearing tight velvet trousers and enormous silk shirts with waistcoats. Basically: there’s a legacy (even though it’s me now performing poetry and the last time I saw my brother his hair was razored very short).
Anyway, if you’ve not experienced this dandy highwayman (who’s done pretty much every Glastonbury since 1996 except 2015), you need to imagine a kind of Russell Brand of poetry, only with better hair. I mean this, you understand, in a good way. His voice is the dry side of fruity (barely changed in all this time) and, I’ve discovered, he can do wickedly accurate impersonations (19-year-old me is frankly swooning now). Whimsy barely covers it when it comes to the delivery, words used, topics covered, and occasional musical accompaniment (Casio keyboard/ wurlitzer accompaniment to a poem about being stalked by the Rolling Stones, anyone?), but nothing’s beyond his pen – from the politics of public personality to the public personalities of politics, seagulls, and the gullibility of the public – MLY, as you’d imagine from someone who’s been Poet-in-Residence to various clubs and radio stations (often concurrently) for the last couple of decades or so, can write about pretty much anything, at very short notice. It often rhymes, and/ or follows standard ballad or even limerick format, but you get the strong sense that Young is messing with everyone as he does so – a double-bluff, a knowing nod about the accessibility, predictability and limitations of hard rhyme, which he repeatedly subverts by either breaking out of it, over-pronouncing something into fitting, or reaching out with his extraordinary vocabulary and snagging the exact right word.
19-year-old me may be struggling to fit the person who wrote “Simply Everyone’s Taking Cocaine” with the one doing children’s poetry in drag, but shhh! no-one tell them. In the meantime, 44-year-old me will be drinking it all in, taking photos, and maybe sending one or two to my brother while I’m at it…