Let me explain myself. I’m an independent filmmaker living in Rochester. Over the course of, well, however long they allow me to write these articles, I’m going to highlight one of Medway best kept secrets. One at a time I will focus on a local artistic talent within the Medway towns.
There seems to me something brewing around here. Whisper it, but it might even become a ‘Medway Scene’. Filmmakers like me, poets, musicians, visual artists, photographers, writers are busy creating. That, taken on its own, is nothing new. But there is a buzz, a real sense of artistic change in the air. The Fuse Festival is fun but this is something else.
I have lived in a few places, big places like London and Birmingham and for a little while now I have felt something unique about Medway. The art that is being made around here feels raw, exciting. It’s an independence of spirit and a DIY ethic. The NEED to create. It feels like Medway means it. It feels like Medway has something to say. A Medway Vision. Over the coming weeks I hope to prove that…
First off, let me introduce a group of beat poets I have been working with. There are three of them, they call themselves, perversely, a trinity. I can’t tell you their names. They work in secret. Determined to only write poetry and discuss nothing else, they asked me to produce their first CD of poetry. The go by the moniker of 7th Adventure Recordings and mix a surreal and dark set of words to an even more surreal and darker set of beats and noises.
I have worked with one of them before, secretive even then, he went only by the name of Polarghosts. He provided soundtracks to three of my short films. I liked his style, dark and dream-like, nightmarish really. When he told me about his interest in beat poetry my ears pricked up. He had grouped up with two others who shared a passion for beat poetry and together they wanted to redefine what poetry and beat poetry was. Beat poetry came out of the post-war USA in the 1950’s. Using music, often jazz, as a backdrop the poets usually performed stream of consciousness writing to a hip crowd. The legacy lived on but transformed and the melding of music and spoken word paved the way for rap music in the 1970’s.
Beat poetry in its own right kind of fizzled out. But the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg are still revered. 7th Adventure Recordings are presenting, what they call, beat poetry for the 21st Century. The music is still sometimes jazz in form, but it’s all electronic minimalism and has more in common with techno music. The words are not about 50’s America and the post-war lost ’beat’ generation but do share the stream of consciousness feel that those earlier poets had. Even the sub-title of the new CD ‘Poetry for the Blank Generation’ conjures images of the original beat poets but repackages it, Generation X-style, for a new generation of misfits.
Their new CD is something of an ‘EP’. 8 short poems with distinct identities, 9 minutes running time. Their words strike to your very soul. It’s like listening to a character in a dream. You can hear them and understand but you are never quite sure what they mean. Partly scary, partly uplifting, the CD is unusual in that it looks and feels like a new EP from a band including cool artwork. But it’s poetry. This really is poetry with a difference.
I have seen poetry performed a few times. It was ok but pretty dull and bourgeois. I was always attracted to beat poetry as it contained a raw energy. And who can resist the romantic image of the beat poets from 50’s America, travelling, drinking, free to create and thereby define a generation. Ok, I’m guessing that this bunch of Medway beat poets won’t be defining a generation, but if you want to explore a dark and surreal underbelly rather than listen to poems about funny people on a train or how the pretty the countryside is then this group might just become your favourite new poets.
7th Adventure Recordings seem destined to remain secretive and have no plans to perform their work live. That seems a pity, but, as with so many Medway artists currently at work, their vision is what makes them tick. Their vision is what makes them vital. Their vision is what is making Medway bubble with ideas and passion. And we wouldn’t want that to change.
Their new CD by 7th Adventure Recordings, ‘Curious Fascinations – Poetry for the Blank Generation’, has just been released and is available from www.themoontheeye.co.uk or www.7thadventurerecordings.tumblr.com priced £3.