“Life’s a Gamble” Penetration

Punk music in the 70’s was a breath of fresh air into a music scene that had become stale. Bands were releasing concept albums and were recording with orchestras and choirs. Punk brought it back to basics and made music relevant again.

One of my favourite bands was Penetration fronted by the fantastic Pauline Murray. When this single came out in 1978 I was convinced it would be a big hit and although it got air plays and support from people like John Peel the band never achieved the success they deserved.

Punk also ushered in the first of the performance poets with people like John Cooper Clarke opening for the Clash. Performance poetry has always been considered a lesser art form by the poetry establishment but like punk it has revitalised an art form that seems to have lost its way and no longer considered relevant by most people. It has been the performance poets who have become the voice of the disenfranchised and marginalised and as was shown by Tony Walsh, after the tragic bombing recently in Manchester, it is performance poets who have been able to give a voice to the grieving and a defiant answer to those who would divide us.   




Poetry should  be technocolour graffiti

In five foot high letters on city walls

There for all the world to see

Some people think it should be calligraphy

Neat words written on vellum

Stored in dusty libraries


Poetry should be a rough blanket

Wrapped around the cold and weary

Trailing in the ditch and dirt

Some people think it should be needlepoint

Delicate stitches fashioned in silk

Displayed in forgotten corners of museums


Poetry should have laugh lines and wrinkles

Like a pensioner who has lived life too much

Poetry should have jokes and punch lines

Tears and heart stopping moments

Some people think it should be obscure and oblique

With words garnered from academic textbooks

Only uttered out loud in a monotone drone


Poetry should be punk songs for gobby teenagers

Rebellious anthems for aging socialists

Monday morning and Friday nights

Dirty weekends and muddy festivals

The trouble makers defiance in meter and verse


©Jeff Price July 2017