Spoken word at Crossing Border and beyond

When Gavin was asked to do a spoken word performance at the 1994 ‘Crossing Border’ festival in The Hague, The Netherlands, his manager asked him what on earth he was going to do there. He wasn’t too sure himself. Nobody did expect that in the end the man who once sang the line ‘words disobey’ was said to be the embodiment of the festival’s ideals of merging music and literature.

He decked the stage with carpets, tables, chairs, a TV set and flowers – a long settee, a stereo, a hoover, an ironing board. ‘I didn’t bring any musicians, so I brought my living room’. He played records – Chris de Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ and bawled along to it before moving on to ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’. He talked about getting poetry stuffed down his throat, being Irish. But Kavanagh, cows and meadows never meant much to him, his muse was definitely Wilde.

The audience lapped up the inuendos of ‘Dolls’ – the words so much clearer than in their musical incarnation. And to top it all off, he broke a long kept vow of never to sing a Virgin Prunes song again. Lost for a suitable encore, he returned to the primal sounds of ‘Sweethomeunderwhiteclouds’.

A repeat performance was staged in Brussels, early 1995.

Shagging Tobacco

In 1996 Gavin and Maurice Seezer worked on a spoken word album, which would feature McCabe’s short story ‘Shagging Tobacco’ from the ‘Shag Tobacco’ cd booklet, set against its re-recorded and remixed music. The album was to appear in a spoken word series that Island Records were planning to release. The series would also feature Jah Wobble (reading William Blake), Marianne Faithful (from her autobiography) and poetry read by Bob Marley. Unfortunately, the people in charge of Bob Marley’s estate calculated it would take them four years to get things ready and work on the series came to a halt. In the meantime, Gavin and Island Records parted company. The ‘Shagging Tobacco’ album was shelved.

Closed on account of rabies

December ’97 however saw the release of the Hal Willner produced Edgar Allen Poe tribute ‘Closed on Account of Rabies’ (buy at Amazon.com), which features several artists reading the works of Poe. Gavin’s contribution is the poem ‘For Annie’: