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Punk poetry: Scroobius Pip chats to The Guide

Published: 8 Dec 2012 06:300 comments

Poet, rapper and regular collaborator with Reading's dan le sac, Scroobius Pip is bringing his first spoken word tour to town this week.

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poet, rapper and regular collaborator with Reading's dan le sac, Scroobius Pip is bringing his first spoken word tour to town this week.

With his penchant for tackling the grittier side of life in his hiphop- and punk-influenced verses, and a slightly self-depreciating manner that belies his passionate and witty onstage delivery, Pip is stopping in at venues (including Sub89) that are more often frequented by guitar bands and DJs, with the aim of bringing performance poetry to a different audience.

"Rather than doing it in theatres and dark coffee shops, when I was booking this tour I wanted to do it in proper venues, in places I have played with my band, which had moshpits and crowd surfing, to show that spoken word does not have to be in dingy coffee shops with people sitting quietly and stroking their beards," Pip explained. "It's a proper gig - the set is an hour long, the support acts have half hour sets."

Support comes from Kate Tempest of hiphop band Sound Of Rum, and off-the-wall comedian Brian Gittins, and Pip was enthusiastic about the chance to share a couple of his favourite artists with fans.

"I have toured with Sound Of Rum, and Kate Tempest is one of the best in the spoken word scene. I love the fact that there's going to be people who have never heard spoken word before and the first thing they are going to have is Kate Tempest, because she's amazing, she's at the top of her game.

"And I'm almost even more excited about Brian Gittins, because he's a comedian. I want to show that spoken word can have light heartedness and have seriousness. He's very odd but every time I have seen him he's stolen the show."

Pip got into spoken word because, as he explained, it was one of the only outlets on offer to him, growing up in small-town Essex. "I got into it through necessity. I was in a few bands and I live in a small town in Essex and there were no producers or anything like that and I started doing spoken word because I was able to do it off my own back.

"In general I'm writing all the time, I will always be writing notes and lyric ideas on my phone and when I'm able to I will sit down and turn them into a full thing. I have not had too many situations where I have had to force myself to write."

Such small beginnings have taken him a long way, to producing a Top 40 album of verse set to beats (Distraction Pieces), curating his own stages at Bestival and Camp Bestival, producing his own book of illustrated verse, Poetry In (E)Motion, and even playing Wembley Arena, when he and le sac supported Frank Turner earlier this year. But, in the end, it all comes down to

the words.

"I'm excited to get back to that because I started off in the spoken word scene and came up that way. It was not until I did a spoken word set a Latitude last year and 4,000 people turned out and were paying attention, that I thought that I had not done that in a while." said Pip. "Bestival was crazy rammed out, but even with Bestival and Camp Bestival , in my head it's more about the other poets, getting other poets out there and getting them heard. I have seen it over the years at the festivals, the crowds build and build and build and there's numerous nights in London - none of which I am I any way involved in - like Bang Said The Gun and Homework. That's great, that they are absolutely rammed; particularly if people are turning out just for spoken word, and not for a particular poet."

Scroobius Pip is at Reading's Sub89 on Tuesday, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 from www.sub89.com

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