Attila The Stockbroker has got something to say
LIZ CROSTHWAITE • Published 17 Jan 2013 10:30 0 Comments
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SPOKEN WORD: Attila The Stockbroker
They say age can mellow you - but try telling that to fiery punk poet Attila The Stockbroker. He's been on the road and earning a living from his craft 33 years, and he ain't having none of it.
"There's this received wisdom that as you get older you mellow out and become resigned and lose your passion," he told The Guide. "I'm the opposite. Given the state of the country and the world, anyone who does not get angry and want to shout from the rooftops about the injustices that are happening is off their heads."
Attila (aka John Baine) - poet, musican and die-hard Brighton & Hove Albion FC supporter (his gigs are plotted to follow the team's away games around the country) - is bringing his vitriolic blend of poetry, dark humour and songs to a two-hour solo set at Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading, on Saturday.
Like the more recent arrivals on the spoken word scene - Scroobius Pip, Kate Tempest and co. - Attila's poetry is less about sitting back and mellowing out than leaping to your feet and being inspired to radical thought and action. And he's got a good line in funny yet thought-provoking songs too (see newish track, the union-bashers-bashing Prince Harry's K**b, which the man was kind enough to sing down the phone to me during our interview).
Yet despite his reputation for espousing radical politics, Attila is wary of falling into the old trap of preaching to the converted, whether at his solo shows, or when performing with his band, Barnstormer.
"That's always been something that I have rebelled against - I literally do every conceivable kind of gig," he explained.
"I do gigs in all kinds of situations. Because of my football association [Attila is poet-in-residence at Bright & Hove Albion FC], above all.
"Obviously a football club contains people from all different points of view.
"I'm often performing my stuff to people who do not agree with my politics at all but we have a shared passion in our football club. I like the Mary Poppins quote: 'a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down' - one of the things I love to do is make people who do not agree with me laugh - hit them with a k**b joke, and then hit them with some politics.
"I'm more fired up and angry and committed to what I do than ever. It's still tremendous, I get to travel round the country and the world and meet so many people and say what I say. I'm not the slightest bit interested in being a celebrity."
It seems that 33 years on the road with his cutting verses - against a backdrop of successive governments that seem to change only to stay the same - have only stoked Attila's fire.
As the man himself writes in Too Much Pressure: 'I hope that I'll make it till I'm ninety-five. But one thing's for sure, Death - you'll take me alive!'
This article appeared in Bracknell News 16 Jan 13