Attila the Stockbroker – Petersfield Write Angle
The Townhouse, Petersfield
Attila the Stockbroker filled the room at Write Angle’s November gig – not only with the power of his presence but by filling the space to ‘standing room only’ – the best attendance in a long time. He is a masterly force of nature. His energy is boundless! Whether ranting about his political convictions, playing numerous instruments such as the mandola, mandocello, bass recorder and violin, singing the lyrics he composes, or digging deep into his feelings about illness and family, whatever he does, one feels his sincerity and natural connection with the audience. With a full programme of gigs while touring the country, Europe and beyond, he snatches time to write and compose – he wrote nine songs in the previous three weeks!
“You have to be young and black to rap!” Starting with Spirit of the Age, Attila rapped that, giving the lie to it: “I’ll be rapping to the day I die.”
With his deeply held political views, he rants….and rants. Looking back to the period when England had no monarchy, he sang of the great ranter of Cromwell’s Commonwealth time: ”I have been a ranter for nearly 40 years….but I’m a total lightweight compared to Abiezer Coppe.” More topical and poignant was The Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington who “serve Knightsbridge, not Latimer Road” ending with “Appearances matter more than flesh, skin, hair, muscle and bone.” There was also his Corbyn Supporters from Hell: “We undermine everything that moves.” In Rock n Roll Brexit, he chronicalled the formalities, difficulties and indignities of Europe with borders that he used to experience, saying that, if these had to be suffered again, “I’m British and WE HAVE TAKEN BACK CONTROL!”
In addition to his politics, what we also get is Attila the loving family man. In Never Too Late, his tribute to his stepfather, he tells: “You were the head of the household, I was the stroppy kid”, as a chorus to “Here’s a poem I wrote for you, you decent, gentle man”; ending with “It’s never too late to tell anyone you love them.” It’s no wonder Attila has a fan club of over 6000 people!
At the open mic, newcomer Dick Senior had Referendum in which “John Major’s bastards bided their time” until they were “probing the cracks in Cameron weak”. Still political, he followed with A Famous Old Etonian, where he described Boris as “the Bullingdon” bore with “Government by the Etonians, for the Etonians”. Another newcomer, Denys Whitley, told of schooldays in Ireland with Rabbit Killers, recounting the grisley details of skinning the rabbit then “march back in triumph past the younger kids, holding up the fur and tail”. In Heliport, he told of the solar wind and the edge of the solar system – a physics lecture beyond the capability of this reviewer!
In Rosary, Sue Spiers itemised the things to pack for a holiday in Spain, if that will be possible after Brexit, ending with “Hale holiday, full of gin!” Then, in November 1987 she looked back to the devastation caused by the “worst storm in my recollection” to oak trees and people’s lives. Richard Hawtree’s My Tongue was a version of an early Irish poem about Cormac the king of Tara, in which, all the experiences of childhood, “seduced my tongue to what I’ve left half said”. Colin Eveleigh A Brush With Life paid tribute to his father, “He was never still, mostly silent and ever resourceful, my Dad”, painting everything, even his bicycle, in battleship grey – “was there no end to this dubious stash?” A keen potter, Colin tells, in Pressing the Button Marked Fire “like diving into a volcano” of the excitement of giving birth to new objects that leave to go to new homes but “Those that didn’t make it, I love you even more”.
In Leah Cohen’s Winter ,“Please, bury my feelings. Freeze them till the Spring”. In Child’s Tale, “You love to edit the tale of my life and credit yourself as if you’d written the contents” while in My Selves , she read of meeting her selves in different places including a traffic jam on a busy day, ending with “maybe it’s time we met…”. Jilly Funnell, with guitar, did a duet with Phyllida Carr, on bongo drums – a lovely tribute to Jimmy Lee, WA’s October guest. Then Jilly sang her raunchy Principle Boy, about Cinderella’s disappointment when Prince Charming took ‘his’ tights off, the consolation being “her sisters might be ugly but at least they’re boys.” Richard Lanchester’s Age of Enlightenment was dedicated to poet Heathcote Williams, telling how everyone says, “We got to have more” but all his things are second-hand -”I’m not part of the rush to buy the newest, the latest.”
Andy, from Hoyk in the Scottish Borders menaced your reviewer with talk of imminent class war; then, in The Lonely Man Contemplates His Non-existence, he gave a truly lyrical description of a walk in the rain and mist with his girl, who asked, “have you ever run with your eyes closed without being in control of yourself?” Fearfully he did it and then, while she ran towards him, “I saw every blade of grass spring from her footsteps”. Another newcomer, Bethan Screen, in Sweetheart told how “being a young girl is to be visible and commodified”, and that the attentions of men are “a dripping tap that whisper, whistle and shout.” and after any incident, “you wish you could have reacted in a different, more intelligent and effective way.”
Isabelle Sene, operated on for breast cancer, told of her experience adding humour to lighten it such as when the nurse kissed her before the operation, her father said, ‘They never did that to me!’ She also told of how, when “the consultant marked the breast to be removed, he leaned on her right breast , to which she screamed, ‘NO, THE LEFT’ ‘sorry’ he said, ‘I’m having one of those days when everything goes wrong’!”
Jezz closed off a great evening, singing Cadillac Dream and High and Dry, both very emotionally and sensitively rendered.
There were several raffle prizes, the first a voucher for two meals at fine Italian restaurant, La Piazetta; the second, Attilla very kindly offered his book Undaunted, and third and fourth were vouchers Leah & your reviewer offered, for the Spice Lounge Indian restaurant.
It was a deeply charged, memorable evening with the outstanding and formidable Attila together with a wealth of talent from new and regular open mikers and an appreciative audience expressing their gratitude and still laughing, as they left the room.
Write Angle will be presenting the very confident and comic performance poet, Paul Lyalls, on December 19 for Write Angle’s Christmas special. There will be another open mic spot for anyone to read/perform a poem, song or piece of prose.