Well here we are in August. Today’s blog starts with the sad news of a fellow poet who has passed away.
He was someone I only knew briefly. But, his entrance into my life has been profound. He was a kindred spirit. A lover of Jazz and The Beat Generation. He was anti establishment, despite – or maybe because – he worked in banking in the City of London in his younger life. But his love of Jazz and the hedonistic writing of the Beats made Jazzman John Clarke follow his own road. One full of discovery and zest. He seemed to have had at times a difficult life, but he never let it get him down. Instead he showed the verve and spontaneity of what he called himself – A Jazzman. His poetry drove along to rhythms I admired. I have listened to recordings he has done, and seen videos he is in. The charm of this excentric Shamanistic reveller never ceasing to amaze me. His conviction being so pure and free because he believed in what he was doing. I was introduced too him via the Internet by Chris Free from Mr Free Shirts and the Singer, Songwriter of the superb band – The Sound Of Popart. Whose latest album’s title The Beat The Beautiful And The Loaded could sum up John very easily. His words could be beautiful, and were often loaded with thought provoking statements. And he was always a true Beat as far as I was concerned. When John and I began to converse it was fantastic. Here I was – the lesser experienced performer, but someone who admired what I was hearing and seeing. His enthusiasm matched my own. He loved I had written books about Jazz and Blues music. From the conversations we had – it was only natural I ask him to write the foreword to my third book in a music trilogy. This book – Runaway Soul! saw him place an everlasting stamp on my life, because he very graciously said he would be honoured to do so.
Here is a snippet of what he wrote about my poetry:
“The words quickly draw you in with the staccato of repeated one-liners that proceed to propel and project the reader forward and all the while the poet’s unmistakable voice is present, laid bare, loud, clear and uncluttered.
Then, like a stray spark from a flame, urban reality kicks in… “
John Jazzman Clarke
For me he was a true British Beat Poet, his words will remain, but for now he is riding the phantom bus to bluenote heaven.
Thank you for reading. Please look up John Jazzman Clarke and let his beat keep going on.
I know I will.