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I love Blackpool. I really do. Last Thursday I headed up there in the van – just as I did last year – to make my way to Rebellion Festival, which takes over the Winter Gardens for a four day extravaganza of everything to do with punk, and manages to shoehorn a little poetry and spoken word in there too.
It’s a gem of a festival in a joy of a town, and just being there puts a grin on my face. Add to that the opportunity to catch up with old friends, and sup the occasional half a shandy, and life is damn near perfect. And this year – incredibly – turned out to be even better than 2012. I think the literature/poetry stage was a new venture for Rebellion then, and while it was good, there were a few teething troubles. This year, with art from various punk notables displayed round the walls, and the ceiling draped off, the room was warm and inviting, and busy. Above all, the sound was good, which makes life better for everyone, audience and performer alike.
Highlights? Well, joining Ross Lomas of GBH as he was interviewed by John Robb about the autobiography we’ve written together was a bit unexpected, and a lot of fun. I hope we did City Baby justice. Then, of course, there was my set, which gave me the opportunity to give a first run-out to ‘Bongo Bongo bad’, written just 24 hours earlier, published by Poetry24 the same day, and dedicated to the ridiculous Godfrey Bloom MEP. And finally, what better way to round off the evening than with a ringside seat for the set by Justin Sullivan & Dean White of NMA on the Almost Acoustic stage. A performance of passion and power few artists could dream of matching.
At the end of Friday night, happily replete with conversation, music, and beer, I wove my way gently down the seafront on my bike, crawled into the van, and slept the sleep of a very contented man. Thanks to everyone I met, chatted with, and had a pint with. Above all, thanks to Paul the stage-manager for all his work making sure the poetry/literature stage ran smoothly, to everyone who came along and enjoyed my set, and to Rebellion Festival for inviting me along in the first place.
Hopefully I’ll see you all in another twelve months. If not before.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, all the very best till then…