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Roger McGough's joinedupwriting on Tour

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
Im a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. keyworthdavid@gmail.com https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-keyworth/49/b3a/b83 My debut poetry pamphlet is available at www.wildpressedbooks.com/david-keyworth.html
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Poetry Please Please You
A poet who had a UK number-one single in the 1960s, and who Meghan Markle is allegedly a fan of, is currently on a tour which includes a date at his home town of Liverpool.

Mersey beat poet Roger McGough is promoting his new collection joinedupwriting. He was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2001, which may or may not mean more to him than the OBE for services to poetry in 1997 and a CBE in 2005.

Poetry, Roger McGough, Stratford upon Avon Playhouse, Liverpool St Georges Hall, Halifax Square Chapel Arts Centre, Nottingham Lakeside, Beverley East Riding Theatre, Surbiton The Cornerhouse, Literature Careleon, Cambridge Summer Music F
Roger McGough. Nick Wright photography.


The Scaffold - made up of McGough, John Gorman and Mike McGear/McCartney - were signed to Parlophone records in 1966. Their version of Lily the Pink was a UK number one in 1968.

The chart-topping poet was born in Litherland, Lancashire, on the outskirts of Liverpool in 1937 and went to school in Crosby. At Hull University he served as a hall librarian. Fortuitously, this was the same time that Philip Larkin - a statue of whom now stands at Hull railway station - was the new university librarian. Larkin later included McGough's poetry in The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, which he edited in 1973.

The Mersey Sound: Penguin Modern Poets 10 was an anthology of poetry by three Liverpool poets. It was published in 1967 - the year of the Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The book was a crucial stage in the development of McGough's recognition as a major poet of his generation, as it was for Brian Patten and Adrian Henri.

LiTTLe MACHiNe, Roger McGough, Stratford upon Avon Playhouse, Liverpool St Georges Hall, Halifax Square Chapel Arts Centre, Nottingham Lakeside, Beverley East Riding Theatre, Surbiton The Cornerhouse, Literature Careleon, Cambridge Summer Music Festival
Cover of The Mersey Sound, 1983 edition. Roger McGough right, Adrian Henri, centre and Brian Patten left Fair use,https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4679773


The Mersey Sound included Let Me Die a Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death/ not a free from sin tiptoe in/ candlewax & waning death/ not a curtains drawn by angels borne/ 'what a nice way to go' death
(Let Me Die a Youngman's Death, 1967).

The poem was later included in The Nation's Favourite: Twentieth Century Poems (1999) edited by Griff Rhys Jones.

The Collected Poems of Roger McGough were Published by Viking in 2003.

Poetry, Roger McGough, Stratford upon Avon Playhouse, Liverpool St Georges Hall, Halifax Square Chapel Arts Centre, Nottingham Lakeside, Beverley East Riding Theatre, Surbiton The Cornerhouse, Literature Careleon, Cambridge Summer Music Festival
Roger McGough. Nick Wright photography


McGough's new collection joinedupwriting promises readers "forgotten friendships and the idiosyncrasies of family life to the trauma of war and contemporary global politics."

Said And Done (Arrow, 2005), McGough's autobiography is rich with name-dropping delights - including encounters, friendships, working relationships with the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Allen Ginsberg, Pete McCarthy and Salman Rushdie amongst others.

On one episode of the BBC's Later with Jools Holland, 2004 McGough read a poem - Thank U Very Much - about encountering the Oasis Gallagher brothers - who demanded that Roger McGough tell them all about his friendship with John Lennon.

Poetry, Roger McGough, Stratford upon Avon Playhouse, Liverpool St Georges Hall, Halifax Square Chapel Arts Centre, Nottingham Lakeside, Beverley East Riding Theatre, Surbiton The Cornerhouse, Literature Careleon, Cambridge Summer Music Festival
joinedupwriting Roger McGough LiTTLe MACHiNe


On some of the tour dates, McGough will share the stage with LiTTLe MACHiNe (Walter Wray, Steve Halliwell, Chris Hardy). The Scottish poet Don Paterson (b 1963). once said: "A poem is just a little machine for remembering itself."

LiTTLe MACHiNe say of themselves: "Poetry is the best words in the best order and LiTTLe MACHiNe have been just as careful in creating new music that can move the feet for words that move the soul."

At Liverpool, Roger will be supported by 'Olympic composer '(Pure Gold: a 4x4 Relay Race) Luke Carver Goss, and the Bard of Barnsley (Poet-in-Residence for Barnsley FC), Ian McMillan.

The Liverpool date is at The Neoclassical St Georges Hall, which opened in 1854, boasting gold leaf and porticoes and billing itself as "the world's first commercially air-conditioned building." In 2017 the hall staged an exhibition to celebrate 50 years since the publication of The Mersey Sound and a concert by Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore.

In addition to writing, publishing and touring his own work Roger McGough broadcasts the work of other dead and living poets - on Radio 4s Poetry Please which he has presented 'for about a quarter of a century' since succeeding author and broadcaster Frank Delaney (1942 - 2017).

Meghan Markle reportedly read McGough's poem Vow at the wedding in Rome, in 2019, of a fashion designer and energy entrepreneur (Misha Nonoo and Michael Hess). Their guest-list apparently included Prince Harry, model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Perhaps Meghan Markle found personal resonance in the lines:

I vow to honour the commitment made this day
Which, unlike the flowers and the cake,
Will not wither or decay.


Meghan Markle and the rest of us had a new poem to enjoy by the 82-year-old poet at the start of 2020. He circulated a poem about Brexit, to mark the UK's divorce from the EU on 31st January.


STAYING IN (31/1/2020)

When Big Ben bongs
And some sing songs
I'm staying in

I leave the cheers
To the Brexiteers
I'm staying in

What's done is done
So have your fun
But I wish we were staying in.


Roger McGough

Tour

7th Feb: CHICHESTER Festival Theatre with LiTTLe MACHiNe 7.30pm 01243 781312

6 March: STRATFORD UPON AVON Playhouse with LiTTLe MACHiNe 7.30pm 01789 333990

22 April: LIVERPOOL St George's Hall with Ian McMillan & Luke Carver Goss 7.30pm. 0151 233 3020

24 April: HALIFAX Square Chapel Arts Centre with LiTTLe MACHiNe 7.30pm 01422 349 422

10 May: NOTTINGHAM Lakeside Arts. Poetry Festival, Lakeside with Michelle Hubbard and Peter Ramskill, introduced by Georgina Wilding 3pm. 0115 846 7777.

22 May: BEVERLEY East Riding Theatre with LiTTLe MACHiNe 7.30pm 01482 874050.

13 June: SURBITON The cornerHOUSE with Stewart Henderson 7.30pm. 0208 296 9012.

4 July: LITERATURE CAERLEON with LiTTLe MACHiNe 7.30pm. 01633 430194.

10 July: CAMBRIDGE Summer Music Festival Cambridge Union with LiTTLe MACHiNe, 7pm. 01223 357851.


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Why? Mersey beat poet Roger McGough back on the road
When: 7 February - 10 July 2020
Where: See http://www.uktouring.org.uk/rogermcgough/dates.htm
Cost: See http://www.uktouring.org.uk/rogermcgough/dates.htm
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