Before David Scott became Argh Kid, his dream was to have a career in music. Ten years later, he has been invited to be the Poet Laureate at Kendal Calling festival, named UEFA’s Official Poet, written a film for Manchester United FC and last weekend was invited to host The British Sound Project – a music festival held at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse. Taking place the day after National Poetry Day, the British Sound Project curated a line up of both local and established bands who shared the stage with Manchester’s own Argh Kid.
With an abundance of wit and charm, Argh Kid makes any Manc feel at home when listening to his poems. Smiles of Mancunian pride washed the faces of the Victoria Warehouse audience and although many were itching to see Mallory Knox grace the stage, the warmth of Argh Kid’s performances set the night up to be a great one. One poem in particular, ‘Nanna Calls Me Cock (Manc for Dummies)’ , which showcases Mancunian slang such as ‘ring stings’, ‘minger’ and ‘chufty badge’, stood out as a big crowd pleaser.
Following in the footsteps of Manchester greats such as JB Barrington, Lemn Sissay and John Cooper Clarke, Argh Kid is quickly making a name for himself as a poet whose words represent the people of Manchester. Just as John Cooper Clarke shared stages with legendary Manchester bands such as The Buzzcocks, Joy Division and The Fall – Argh Kid has likewise supported Happy Mondays and contemporary legends The Charlatans.
Manchester has a proud rich history of working class poetry and its inner city is home to a plethora of emerging talent. Spoken word collective Young Identity is a shining example of why Manchester can sleep easy knowing that its poetic tradition is in good hands.
Young Identity is a collective of young poets led by its own alumni as well as co-founders Shirley May and Ali Gadema. Holding free weekly poetry workshops at various spaces around Manchester, Young Identity offer an inclusive and supportive environment for young writers to write, share and listen to poetry.
19 year old Young Identity member Isiah Hull, was invited by Kate Tempest to perform on Strong Language Live on BBC Two last Saturday 30 September. The televised event was also aired in celebration of National Poetry Day and featured Tempest – the Mercury nominated wordsmith. Kate Tempest has blurred the lines between poetry and music in recent years, her latest album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ being described as a long poem and released as both a book and an album.
As a young poet and singer songwriter from Manchester, I too can feel the boundaries between poetry and music blurring – but I’m not sure if they were ever so distinct to begin with. All spoken word has a rhythm to it, even in our everyday conversations, so it is obvious to me that the relationship between poetry and music will always be very close.
My experiences of performing poetry at music open mics have more often than not been very positive. Especially from the point of view of a songwriter, words play an integral part to how the popular music industry has been shaped from the early 20th century through to the present day.
Poetry may be perceived by some to be old fashioned or uncool, but this depends on how we define poetry. In its broadest sense, poetry is in all of us whether we like it or not. How we structure our utterances and manipulate the tools of our own language in different situations. Poetry can be found in the most ordinary of places and articulate the most extraordinary of things.
Argh Kid sits somewhere between the two – using his toolkit of Mancunian dialect to strike a chord with those who share his own experience. Undergoing a surge of growth in sales and popularity, the state of poetry in the UK is only getting stronger. With young audiences being exposed to poetry performances like Argh Kid’s appearance at The British Sound Project, I am confident that this growth will continue to flourish.
Eddie Toomer – McAlpine
Photos provided by Ask Me PR