Shortlisted for 2 Saboteur Awards

Good news from Sabotage HQ this morning – I’ve been shortlisted for two of their Saboteur Awards. Between now and 24th May YOU can vote for me in the following awards:

Best Spoken Word Performer
Best Spoken Word Show for What I Learned For Johnny Bevan

If you think I deserve either of those do please go to saboteurawards.org – it takes less and a minute, no sign-ups etc.

Spad

I’m off to perform What I Learned From Johnny Bevan in the Palace of Westminster tonight. This poem felt appropriate, it’s about a spad (a political “special adviser” shooting his mouth off at a party.) It’s only got the vowel ‘a’ in it.

SPAD
Univocal lipogram in a

At a flash bacchanal
cash fans yak.
Blaggards and brash gas Arabs,
scant-clad WAGs and naff Granada drama stars
as banal as pyjamas
all blah blah blah class A fast
and stab at warm prawn snacks,
Parma ham and gravlax,
as a jazz band taps jazz standards
and sad paps snap all that naff razzmatazz.

And what’s that?
Sam Snark – a SPAD.
A Lab SPAD!
A Lab SPAD that charms fat cats and blaggards?
Ach Karl Marx’s aghast!

Sam’s Alan Maran’s bag man
and scandal stalks Alan Maran –
all slapdash laws, dark cabals and back hands,
carnal acts, cash shags and data shams,
Afghan wars and VAT scams.
And as scandal rags lack facts,
Alan Maran stands and stands and stands and stands.

Back at that ball, Sam Snark fast talks a fat cat.
What! That’s Stan McNab
past gangland grandad
a bad, bad man.

Ha ha ha – Stan! Nah. Ha ha ha.
Marx – Pah – that’s crap, Sam raps
Crap! Crap! crap!
Alan’s mantra’s Lab’s Plan A was bad.
Hark, Sam’s hand clamps Stan’s arm
Hand Alan a bank draft, Stan
and Alan can pass a lax tax act. Yah?
Yammas!
Glass clacks
and Stan and Sam lap Cava.

Alas! Raj Slapp, a scandal rag stalwart stands at that braggart’s back
and Sam’s chat’s as flagrant as an Anthrax attack.
Raj scrawls Sam’s tall talk
taps at Whatsapp.
paragraphs and paragraphs that slam Alan Maran
warts and all.

Thanks man! Raj slaps Sam’s back.
That’s a splash!

Ah that’s bad!

A sax cha-cha-chas
as Sam stands haggard, ash.

And a scandal rag armada attacks.
Hacks trash Alan Maran. SACK! SACK! SACK!

Alan’s grand gaff’s all sad ballads.
At Sam’s stark flat
Sam hangs slack.

Judge Crush

Judge Crush

“On yer feet” the court clerk growls
Then in he sweeps – a glour of scowls
a scattergun of plummy vowels
a crude shiv in the felon’s bowels.
He’s wiser than A THOUSAND OWLS!
He’s eighty-nine with cracking jowls
and my libido howls and howls
and howls
I got a Judge Crush

Jury duty just got fruity
whisper it, Milud’s a cutie
sexy never looked so snooty
droopy beauty
I’ve got a Judge Crush

Those liver spots! They look so good
a rich dark brown like Christmas pud
the foreman nods and says “I would”
we got wood!
I got a Judge Crush

Perched stiffly on that padded bench
he nods off to the evidence
Christ Alive! That lawman’s hench
lips quivering like praying tench
He’s ubermensch
I’ve got a Judge Crush

Take me where the crime is filthy
that old geezer’s G-G-GILFY
Watch me plead. I’m guilty! GUILTY!
Milky Milky
I’ve got a Judge Crush

I picture him in Judge’s Weekly –
(gavel pincered half effetely
wig between the legs discreetly)
Truly, madly, judgey, deeply
Meet me!
I got a judge crush

Swear me in on a Mills & Boon
the Bailey’s decked in gay festoons
the court reporter’s not immune
he’s typing like a pissed baboon
Order! Order! Hashtag swoon
Fly me the moon!
I got a Judge Crush

Come Milud, let’s cut this short –
Grab your black cap, clear the court
sentence me to la petite mort
You’ll be glad you got caught.
I’ve got a Judge Crush

One Trick Bishop

One Trick Bishop

Back when he was just a parson
local scout hut fell to arson
so in this dire, desperate hour
he abseiled down his belfry tower.

Cassock flapping, mental hair,
nervous thumbs-up, little prayer.
A vicar doing silly things,
it fondly plucks the ticker’s strings.

The Synod press team gave it welly
(got a bit on local telly)
Crazy Cleric! cried The Sun
and soon enough near everyone

had heard about the Vicar’s stunt
and stumped up for scout hut fund:
the giant cheques, those wincing smiles
that one associates with piles.

Oh what success! And though they mocked
it made up for his dwindling flock.
His spirits, which would weekly dampen
dried-off when he strapped-on crampons.

Frankly put, his gauche descent,
it made him feel more relevant
So, like a nun (excuse this bit)
he made a habit out of it

and carried on once he made Bishop.
General Synod was explicit:
Headlines, Bishop? Bravo! ‘least
it’s not another: PEDO PRIEST

eh? Carry on! And so he did
each season saw another bid.
On Red Nose Day, on Cancer week
the bishop’s maladroit technique

would garner quids for worthy causes:
frail cats, dyslexic horses,
wartime widows, battered belles.
The Wugged Weverend of Wappels

(as Wossy dubbed him) clipped on clips,
dug his heels, got to grips,
posed stiffly for the grim-faced pap
then chatted with the usual hack.

He’d try to get some godly quote in
(every year they left him hoping).
Till later when he read the thing:
Always with the abseiling!

Never once a piece of scripture!
After time the Bish would sit there
with the paper, feeling glum
as page 5 showed his dangling bum.

And Mrs Bish. would then assert:
I don’t know why you bother Bert!
But Bishops like to help the meek
and so he turned a harnessed cheek

and carried on through hail and snow
and though his flock refused to grow
the public never tired of him
stood grinning in his climbing trim:

Famous in the bishopric
for only having the one trick.
For most shirk sermons if they can
but Christ Alive, there’s good in man

and good he saw, yes good and love
when he descended from above.

Goodbye London!

After three weeks at The Soho Theatre in London I have completed the latest run of What I Learned From Johnny Bevan. We had a superb time at The Soho. The show sold 90% of its tickets and picked up an award nomination – The TBC Award, Off West End Awards. We won’t find out till next year, though. Plenty of time to milk it, eh?

We’re off on tour now. In the meantime, here are some of the things reviewers said about the show:

‘Luke Wright’s What I Learned from Johnny Bevan is terrific’ Lyn Gardner Guardian

‘Wright has a proper power over the English language, a storyteller worth listening to, and I look forward to hearing more’ Tim Auld (for Daily Telegraph)

‘evocative, poetic monologue about personal and political awakening (that) manages to evoke the chaotic passion’ Time Out Critics Choice

‘an impassioned, spellbinding performance infused with humour, humanity and wit’ ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

‘a brilliant show, with a charming performance from Wright’★★★★ A Younger Theatre

‘Really does convey the power of performance poetry, and focused political satire‘ Write Out Loud

‘Wright performs with relentless vigour, his poetry pops and fizzes. a singularly powerful piece’ ★★★★ Everything Theatre

‘An astonishing, thought-provoking and original tour-de-force’ ★★★★★ London Theatre1

‘poet Luke Wright is a singular tour de force (his) language is precise and evocative and What I Learned From Johnny Bevan is politically charged and practically flawless’★★★★ The Play’s The Thing

‘A rollercoaster ride of political poetry & sensational storytelling. Is he the new Berkoff?’ Terri Paddock (founder, What’s On Stage)

‘Wright channels his characters with precision and ease (a) fast paced political tale of happy youth and wasted adulthood’ Theatre Bubble

‘dramatic, humorous, and political’ This Week In London

‘something rather special, Luke Wright’s performance (10/10) was stunning’ ★★★★★★★★★★Virtual Festivals (from Kendal gig)

What I Learned From Johnny Bevan hits London!

My multi-awarding winning debut play What I Learned From Johnny Bevan is now on tour, followed by three weeks at the incredible Soho Theatre in the heart of London’s West End. You can watch a short extract below, it’s in 360 video,  click and drag to look around the scene, it’s like you’re on the roof top with me.

There’s more info on the show here. You can book tickets for the Soho run here.

IDS - in only one vowel

IDS
A univocalism in “i” for Iain Duncan Smith

This is IDS.
This swinish thin grin spilling cringing scripts,
this priggish birch whip,
this piss-dripping fright-witch
with whitish skin wig,
this jiggling tit hitting skint Brits in mining districts,
this grim Christ victimising sick spirits with dwindling titbits.

This is IDS
mimicking kings
ripping ribs in glitz grills
licking his lips thinking this is bliss
piling it high, sipping his gin fizz
whilst Brits flinch in windchill
sticking pins in him.

This is IDS
inking his lists: girls with six kids,
inciting right-wing print kingpins,
hissing pish, stirring fright
twisting victims till victims stink
till victims swim in ill will
till British dimwits drift right.

This is IDS.
I wish him midnight shifts.
I wish him sinking ships.
I wish him limp dicks.
I wish him shit picnics in drizzling mist with ISIS.
I wish him blind with hindsight.
I wish him illicit kinship with pigs.

Ron's Knockoff Shop

Ron’s Knockoff Shop

Cool London sloths go North to Bolton.
Oz – proto fop on lots of pot.
Hol – posh kook; long socks, blond flop.

Oh!
Bolton’s not so droll.
Bolton’s not got Rococo blocks.
Bolton’s not got dons or profs
Bolton’s got no dotcom showrooms
no comforts for London cohorts.

No, Bolton’s got lots of old workshops
lots of soot
lots of fowl old folk
(orthodox lowbrows
who mop floors or drown sorrows)
Oh, poor old Bolton. Soz.

*

Lo! Bolton’s got Ron Ock –
odd-job bod, compost gob.
Ron’s shop flogs knock-off dross:
low cost LOCOG togs,
non-cotton “Cotton Socks,”
row on row of dolls for tots,
old promo photos of Bjorn Borg,
poo-brown ponchos,
goth porn, crossbows, off food,
docks for “oPods.”

Ron’s old now,
Ron’s got no boss.
Ron’s got know-how.
Ron knows how to hold forth,
knows how to shop for top knockoff tosh,
knows how to coff-off no good cops.

Front of shop:
Ron plonks bottom down on worn old stool
scoffs pork roll,
downs shots of scotch,
croons old Motown songs,
blows soot, blows snot, blows bottom off.
Ron’s dog, Bozo, growls soft growls,
both bollocks lollop.

London toffs stroll from block to block.
Oz spots Ron’s old shop.

“Oh cooool shop!” Oz hoots. “Hol look!”
Hol looks: “Oh wow!”
Hol drools on Ron’s hotchpotch lot of knock-off rot.
“Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh Oz!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!”

London sloths blow lots of dosh
on Ron Ock’s cosh of knockoff tosh.
Oh Ron Ock!

“Good, good” Ron scoffs, “now sod-off.”
“Sod-off. Oh, so … NORTH!” Ho ho ho.
Sloths opt not to sod off.
Sloths opt to stroll off, so so slow.

Ron LOLs
rolls sloth’s dosh.
“London morons.”
Locks shop for long month off.
Roll on tomorrow.

Battle

Lora Stimson and I have made another song. This one is called Battle. It’s a song for when the drinking has stopped.

Battle

The cash machines are out of service
bled of notes for beer and chips
the dirty city doorsteps strewn
with chicken wings and pizza crusts.

There has been a battle here.
The soldiers long since carted off
in taxis cabs, drape-dragged by mates
half-howling songs of grotty love
in terraced backstreets, buttons popped,
all bloody-gobbed victorious.

And now they roam the airy mall
showered, shaved and purposeful.
They’re zipped up neat to mask the dogs
that nip and growl inside their skulls.

A poster in a cute font asks:
Can you do a drink-free month?
And most could if they wanted to,
live without the white light nights
get by without oblivion
but what then, huh? Just more of this?

More fist-balled strolls around the shops
or boxsets on the half-bought couch?
Do more, they say, enrich your life.
But drink, you see, is not like life.
It’s life stopped dead, a slurred pause.
Do more? No, thank-you, I want less.

Poem for a benefit gig in aid of the refugee crisis

Poem for a benefit gig in aid of the refugee crisis

Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.
Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.
Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.
Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.
*

So, maybe, we’re just Warhol’s worn out kids:
we’re numb, been rubbed so hard the doctor’s pricks
elicit nothing save the tiniest of blinks:
our petty dramas clog our kitchen sinks

and everything beyond that’s sales or myths.
But if that’s true, then what’d you make of this:
last night in First Class as the drunk train crept
through well-kept towns a woman wept

at some clever old Booker winner’s words?
We in the West don’t feel – no, that’s absurd.
And so perhaps, it’s more the opposite:
we feel too subtly. Our instruments

of empathy are tuned to recognise
the pregnant glance, that sad truth in the eyes,
prosaic horrors hung from half-heard lines.
Our hearts are only stirred by the sublime.

And so when we see war our pathos fails
it’s like a ton of shale dumped on our scales.
Our needles freewheel at those photographs.
It all too much, it’s crass, sometimes we laugh.

What privilege that is, to only feel
those tragedies so fine they’re scarcely real.

Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.

But let’s not think ourselves too rarified
from hours of news the image that’s survived
in our fine minds is little Aylan Kurdi.
Pretty raw. Not intricate, not wordy.

The old dead child trick, but consider this:
the image mainly featured in the press
which smacked us as it flashed across our palms
was of that boy held lifeless in the arms

of an aid worker. Strikes a different tone
to Aylan face-down on the sand alone.
Come on, it tell us, help us with the plan.
Give generously and you could be that man.

And so the worthy-famous Twitter on:
So hard! Cos I imagine that’s my son.
They issue statements like they’re presidents
and blithely retweet charity events.

Well, maybe we’re just massive egotists
we’ll give ourselves but not our self to this.
Is this piece of theatre interactive?
Will I have a say in how it’s acted?

And as the refugee crisis gets worse
at last my pithy take on things – in verse.

Showmepicturesofcoffinsshowmebodiesfloatinginwaterplayviolinsandshowmeskinnypeoplelookingsad.

But still, damned if you do, damned if you don’t
we save our spleen for those who can but won’t.
The ones who cling to comfortable lies
screeched at them from the newspapers they buy.

CONSERVATIVES IN SHOCK COMPASSION FAIL
Another crime to chalk up to The Mail.
A sneer for those stood clutching Starbuck’s lattes
the ones who turn up late to pity parties.

But so what if it’s part performative
or only stirred by picturing our kids
in that man’s arms in place of little Aylan?
So what if all this feels like shoddy fiction?

Kind acts are still kind acts, despite the fuss.
This world makes fucking hypocrites of us.
So be it. Rather be a hypocrite
than be that guy who NEVER gives a shit.

But when the benefits and clothes drops stop
perhaps we might consider how we shop
or what we read. And when we stand to vote
perhaps our minds will see a capsized boat

or stir up nights of solidarity,
remember who it is we wish to be.

* This is a quote from a Sun column by controversialist and professional twat Katie Hopkins.

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