Monday, 29 June 2015

J B Barrington

Ralph's new found interest in Spoken Word Poetry was further piqued recently when St Helens Central Library announced that J B Barrington was performing there courtesy of St Helens Arts Service. So on Friday it was off to the library (and not to pay a fine for a change) to catch the show!

Having recently published some of his spoken word and supported the force of nature that is Sleaford Mods (who have just played Glastonbury) he is very much in demand, so it was great to be able to catch him in the intimate surroundings of Central Library's Reference Room, ably accompanied by Carol Robson.

Both will be performing during The Greater Manchester Fringe in July. Carol in The Kings Arms and J B in Salford Arts Centre.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing Carol Robson's performance was both forthright and brutally honest, talking not only of her own health problems but commenting on what ails the NHS. Having overcome her own battles she now, through her poetry and spoken word battles for others. Not only that she performed her show at last years Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews.

Tonight she regails us with both spoken word from her book Words Of Darkness And Light as well as some wise and witty monologues. 

One highlight for the audience was her poem Debris with it's heartfelt commentary on the plight of the homeless.

J B Barrington takes the stage to enthusiastic applause and immediately gets the audience onside with his charming cheeky chappie style. Setting down his Addidas bag of tricks he launches into a well practised, quick fire comedy routine that sits well alongside his machine gun spoken word performance. he's witty, wise and wonderfully eloquent in his Salford twang. His asides about his Mam seem comfortingly familiar, evoking memories of similar events and sayings in my past life

Me Mam Dunt Like To Text’: ‘She said Margaret’s got rid of her BT line/ She don’t ring anymore she just texts all the time/ She sent one Tuesday saying Harry’s had heart attack/ Then I have to pay cos I ring her back’

Smartly attired and reading from his book Woodchip Anaglypta and Nicotined Artex Ceilings J B Barrington takes us from heartwarming to heartbreaking to politically astute and incisive in swift assured steps. A highlight for me is his rendition of She Holds His Hand with it's simple but emotionally effective words.

She holds his hand
He’s no longer as strong as what once he could be
They fell in love in Salford 1953
She holds his hand
His legs have grown weak on his feet he’s unsteady
She cleans him she feeds him she helps him get ready
She holds his hand

Never once does she wish to let go

Through the 65 years of blood sweat and tears
He’s the most wonderful man she’s ever known
She holds his hand
Just to make sure he’s alright
She sings him to sleep with a sweet kiss to keep
And she holds his hand all through the night

She holds his hand

It's hard to avoid the obvious similarity between J B Barrington and John Cooper Clarke, but really it's only the accent and the nervous swagger that are the same. J B is capturing the mood of a younger generation and the travails that affect them in his often angst filled but equally poignant words. He is as likeable as he can be acerbic and if you get the chance, catch his Manchester performance in Salford Arts Centre on July 25th.

Carol Robson will be appearing in The Kings Arms, Salford on July 4th and 9th.

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