Valentine’s verses with a twist

Attila the Stockbroker
Attila the Stockbroker

FORGET about gentle sonnets or romantic comedies this Valentine’s Day as one of Britain’s most radical alternative poets brings his own brand of punk-inspired political verse to Wigan tonight.

Attila the Stockbroker, from Brighton, will perform at Joe’s Bar on Arcade Street at an evening of poetry to raise money for Wigan Left Unity.

Attila, whose poems cover personal subjects as well as political issues explored from a left-wing standpoint, with the greed of bankers and big business, racism and xenophobia all likely to feature.

The Brighton and Hove Albion supporter will share the bill at Joe’s Bar, which was formerly The Stage Door, with local poets Louise Fazackerley from Wigan and Laura Taylor from Rainhill.

The gig is being organised by Stephen Hall, founder of the Wigan branch of Left Unity, a party which aims to build an alternative left-wing form of politics and already counts artists including legendary film-maker Ken Loach among its supporters.

Stephen said: “I’m expecting a full house. He’s an excellent artist and when I saw him I was particularly impressed by a poem about his mother’s battle with dementia.

“Music and poetry is a good way of getting our message across and also bringing people together and socialising.

“With Left Unity we want to offer an alternative to the mainstream political parties in Wigan. A lot of us are ex-Labour members who feel the party has lost its way, and remember the days when it believed in things like comprehensive education, social justice and council housing.

“With it being Valentine’s Day we will have a bit of fun and cut out some red hearts to decorate the room. It’s certainly going to be a good night.”

Attila is no stranger to Wigan, having packed out Standishgate venue Hartley’s last year and also performing previously at the Diggers Festival.

He has been performing on the music and poetry circuit for more than three decades, with his most recent musical outlet being medieval rock ‘n’ roll group Barnstormer and several songs likely to feature in his Valentine’s Day set.

Stephen is also promising more socially-conscious music as he will round off the evening with a DJ set. However, St Helens poet Laura says the evening will not be entirely political.

She said: “I will be performing a few of my political poems but there will be new material and possibly a few love surprises. Poets all have a soft side and Attila can be quite romantic as well.

“It was a brilliant night when he performed here last year so hopefully it will be a great night which will raise awareness. Wigan is a working-class town and a lot of people are disillusioned.”

Attila the Stockbroker, Laura Taylor and Louise Fazackerley will perform at Joe’s Bar tonight from 8.30pm. Tickets are £5 and available on the door.