Stand Up and Spit

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Following the success of last 2015’s London series of Stand Up and Spit we are very excited to tell you that we are once again working with original Ranter Mr. Tim Wells to bring a national Ranting series to the UK.  Over the coming months we will be announcing and presenting Stand Up and Spit events across the country so look out for Ranting coming to a town near you.

Often shouty, sometimes sweary, but always inspiring verse which protested against social injustice and growing inequality, Ranting poetry of the 1970s and 1980s holds an important but hidden place in British history.

 Upcoming national Ranting series events

Click each event title for more details

Evidently – Salford – Monday 9 May – with Tim Wells and Laurie Bolger – at Eagle Inn, Collier Street, Greengate, Salford

Find the Right Words – Leicester – Thursday 19 May – with Kate Fox – Upstairs at the Western, The Western Pub, 70 Western Road, Leicester

WOWfestival – Liverpool – Thursday 19 May – Leaf Tea Shop, 65-67 Bold Street, Liverpool

Poetry with a Punch – Bradford Literature Festival – Wednesday 25 May – with Jay Bernard, Asma Elbadawi, John Hegley, Selina Nwulu, Nick Toczek, Ralph Dartford and Atif Tauqeer.

Freeway Poets – Bournemouth – Wednesday 15 June – with Emily Harrison, Surfin’ Dave and Tim Wells – The Winchester, 39 Poole Hill, Bournemouth

HOME – Manchester – Saturday 23 July – with Linton Kwesi Johnson plus Michael Smith film screening – HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester

Stand Up and Spit 2016 postcard

About Ranting

Ranting poetry was proletarian, accessible and diverse, performed to large audiences who would not have called themselves poetry lovers. It was allied to punk and reggae and was the real precursor to today’s vibrant performance poetry. Whilst many assume that spoken word originated in Hip Hop, Ranting Poetry was a generation before, with roots reaching further back into the 1960s. Ranters responded to reflect the wider state of Britain, particularly friction with Thatcherism, high unemployment and social unrest — themes which still resonate today. Through the poets, their work and the response of audiences, spoken word became a trajectory for protest, underlining the creative, social and political importance of that cultural moment.

At a time when spoken word poets are at the forefront of literary awards and interest – the 2014 Forward Prize winners Kei Miller and Liz Berry; the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2012 and 2014 Next Gen Poets including Kate Tempest, Jane Yeh, Emily Berry – and whilst young people are disengaging from politics, connecting with this effective and inspiring cultural form of protest may help to transform their views.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Speaking Volumes and Tim Wells are creating an exhibition to show some of the brilliant creativity of Ranting poets, from the poems to fanzines, from music press cuttings to photos of the era. None of this material has been shown before and much of it has been rescued from original Ranters’ houses or fans’ collections. Look out for the exhibition as it tours the capital!

Arts Council England are supporting a London tour of Ranting poetry which runs from March to July 2015. From the British Library to the Black Cultural Archives, from our headliner at the Camden Centre to pub readings at the Betsey Trotwood, the tour will include performances, panels and participation events. Check out the full listing below.  Tim_Wells

Tim Wells’s enlightening blog Stand Up and Spit has now also been developed into a full website (check this) with the aid of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Read about the era, the original poets and the establishment’s reaction to them – and you will also be able to listen to audio clips from interviews with some of those poets soon too.


London Ranting series events 2015

Click each event title for more details

SUS at Bang Said the Gun – Thursday 26 March at The Roebuck, Borough

Stand Up and Spit Launch: Forgotten Rants – Thursday 23 April at Vout O Renee, Tower Bridge

Talking Liberties – Friday 15 May at the British Library, Kings Cross

SUS at LATE at the Library – Friday 15 May at the British Library, Kings Cross

 ‘Zines Workshops – Saturday 13 June at the Alternative Magna Carta, Farringdon

Stand Up and Spit at the Betsey – Saturday 13 June at The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon

Stand Up and Spit: The Main Event – Thursday 18 June at the Camden Centre, Euston

Crossing Over: The Legacy of Ranting Poetry – Thursday 25 June at the Black Cultural Archives, Brixton

Stand Up and Spit Exhibition – at the Saison Poetry Library, Southbank, dates TBC

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