there's something about poetry that is close to themes of justice, truth, liberation and 'maybe the voice of the spirit'. it's true of art in general that it has that strain but somehow i'm beginning to think that the poet gets to it quicker or more intensely. maybe because it's just words or maybe because it's more marginal or maybe because you have to say something... i am so convinced about this that i have decided that if you move to an area and want to connect with people into spirituality and justice find the local poets and it won't be far away. i chatted with a guy in lancaster earlier this year about exactly this theme and idea.
this year at the big chill i spent a few hours in the words in motion tent once more hearing the astonishing jean binta breeze. she is the closest i have met to what i imagine a full on prophet/ess to be. and ursula rucker was also inspirational and equally hard hitting. but what amazed me in the tent once again was how many of the poems touched on deep themes from everybody even in the open mic slots... when i was at school poetry was inaccessible - i just didn't get it (how does school manage to make music and poetry a turn off?! weird). but now i'm thinking that walter brueggemann's thesis that it is the language of the poet that we need to hear to voice counter imagination is more directly about poetry than i was thinking before. i had thought of it as a tone of speech. but no - unleash the poets in your midst or seek them out. if anyone has any favourite poems or poets do add a comment - i'm keen to expand my ignorance.
all that is by way saying a highlight of the big chill
was the poetry/spoken word - words in motion. i have added a few photos
(i really didn't take many this year) to flickr of this year's big chill. it was a treat to see david byrne - surprisingly i have never seen talking heads. two discoveries were erik truffaz
and the white tree - both of whom i'll be seeking out some more music of. listening to laura b play on a stage in the enchanted garden whilst sitting in a hammock was sublime. lamb, norman jay, hexstatic, bonobo, orbital, basement jaxx and so on was all wonderful. seeing a few thousand people dressed as zombies for a film shoot the night before the festival was fairly amusing and harry
duly obliged. mr scruff's tea tent
proved to be a great hang out with 'music for grown ups' as he described it and great tea - music for the old folks?! seeing sky lanterns going up in droves
was also typically magical big chill. but mostly it was nice just to unwind, enjoy glorious unbroken sunshine, hang out with jen for our 22nd wedding anniversary at her first visit to the chill.
the only downer was chris cunningham - the man is a film genius no doubt technically but his opening music video was an assault on the senses so violent and abusive between a man and a woman that i felt physically sick and left - what is going on his head to create that kind of a narrative i have no idea. i looked on the big chill forum and several people cited him as a highlight which i just found bizarre - maybe it got a lot better or maybe i turned into mary whitehouse overnight - i hope so (that it got better) and i hope not (the mary whitehouse part). if anyone in the audience had experienced violence or abuse i dread to think what they felt. there are a lot of families with kids there at the festival - it just wasn't in keeping with the spirit of the festival imho. but hey - we left and recovered though the images have haunted me a several times since...
love the chill. thanks to the organisers who know how to create the most amazing festival. it all ended with a huge zombie bonfire - the purging of demons or something?! this was my fifth year in a row so i guess i'm a regular now...
simon who came with us along with joel and harry has posted a review here