Thursday, 4 June 2009

John Hegley

I never really was much of a poetry lover until I saw John Hegley perfom some of his poetry and songs at Lauderdale House in North London back in the early 90's. John was with a group of other comedians and musicians at the monthly lunchtime "Nuclear Family" gigs. Our neighbour in Lambeth , Keith Moore was a musician and he occasionally played tuba or bass with the Popticians, John's backing band. The two songs " Grandad's Glasses" and "Amoeba" were on one side of an 12" single on the Glass Fish label we bought from John on one of those events. It was produced by Robyn Hitchcock who also did the sleeve art and played bass and piano on it. Also on this record is Sue Norton who plays saxaphone and flute.

I suppose what I love about John Hegley's poems is that they make me laugh. Poetry tends to be very serious and sometimes very pretentious. John's poems are serious too ofcourse and it would be hard to find a more dedicated and passionate performer. Humour is serious stuff! Serious stuff can be very funny! John's poems are about everyday mundane things like glasses, dogs and family. He has also written stories and plays for the radio. His "Hearing With Hegley" series on Radio 4 was a wonderful mixture of poems, songs and music.

I was fortunate to be asked to design a book cover for his slim volume "Beyond Our Kennel" in 1998. Published by Methuen.

John coincidentally is doing a lecture today at the Interactive Arts course at MMU in Manchester which I am missing as I write this! I've been to two previous "lectures" that Hazel(my other half ) organised and they are great fun so I'm rather annoyed that I'm missing this one due to circumstances beyond my control.

Discover more about John Hegley at his official website HERE.

John Hegley & Popticians - Grandad's Glasses/ Amoeba


C.J.Duffy said...

Fantastic! Never heard of this bloke before. And you, Mister flash pants designed his book cover.

Just wait 'till I get published you can doodle all over my front covers with your terrific art!

I will have to dig out my library card and get to read some of his poetry.

wastedpapiers said...

I'm always rather surprised when people say they've never heard of him as he's been on Radio 4 quite lot- always popping up on Start The Week etc. He's got loads of books out- mostly on Methuen. He's always touring- does the Edinburgh Fringe every year ( i designed the flyer for this year ). A list of his upcoming gigs on his website. Well worth going to.