The Goldmark film of the 1995 launch of Vale Royal at the Royal Albert Hall. At this point I was relatively new to possession by poetry in public, never previously having had anything published. (On the other hand I’d played guitar in a lot of clubs.) Mike Goldmark had to give me a big half-friendly shove with the flat of his hand to get me to walk out onto the stage of the Royal Albert Hall armed with poem (and trusty old classical built for me by my father) a total unknown in the company of Allen Ginsberg et al, in front of four thousand people. My slot was about fifteen minutes and in a fairytale moment of my life I recited - whispered - some forty introductory triads from the seven-hundred of the total work.
Perhaps performances these days are not so hesitant (I don’t like the word ‘perormance’ in connection with poetry, poets are are not actors, they remove all masks and stand naked). Still for me there is a charm in this film.
Vale Royal, which probes the psychogeography of Kings Cross, took me the best part of 23 years to write, much of that time holding out in squats and derelicts while doggedly incubating the theory of the poem - which proposes the building of a Blakean city of the arts at the heart of future London. Watch this space for a recent video from the British Library in which I cover the background to Vale Royal, telling the story of my initiation into the Kings Cross mysteries on the rooftop of a Georgian derelict in Somers Town in 1973.