Monday, 2 April 2012

Britain Has Got Talent. An apology.

I’ll tell you all now. Valentina has been to several DGPS events. Yes, the very same poet on Britain’s Got Talent knows of me, and I of her. I can’t remember the last time I searched out a video clip online but, when word started going around that ‘Sonja the Bear’ was on the telly, it became one of those need to know situations.

Valentina didn’t even get a chance to deliver her poem on Saturday night. Alesha Dixon, professed musician, should understand that sometimes things need a while to build. I’m not saying that it would have built to the next Forward Prize but hey, we’ve all had a dodgy first line or two. As it happens, I have seen the full poem I think. One of our events (and please note: we will continue to be INCLUSIVE as a platform) saw three outfit changes, audience participation, animal rights preaching and some borderline racism (ignorance assumed) from the red dressed poet lady and, to be fair, she has had some good ideas- if not necessarily always with the greatest of delivery.

This then, is an apology from me.
I joined the bandwagon of tweeters on Saturday night out of despair and anger firstly. I was wrong to do this. I have performed some truly horrendous poems as I have struggled to find my own real voice and so, as an active encourager of people to read poetry, I shouldn’t have done that.

I want to praise Valentina. How many of BGT’s audience would have even considered the word poem on a Saturday night. I’d like to bet that in several living rooms, dorms, pubs and takeaways the word poet has been mentioned a fair few times tonight by the jeering masses. I’d like to think that somewhere along the line, poets are going to hit back in those conversations and give the people what they want.

Albums sell on lyrical quality alone, Dickens has made a nice recovery in the press and there are so many places out there now that you can go in order to write, hear, read and discover poetry- Valentina does not deserve to be mocked by the public. She has brought to light, be that dark shadow or gleaming beacon, the P word on prime time TV.

Valentina hasn’t been to a Blackpool Dead Good Poets event in ages. I will no doubt get the chance to promote the group in a more positive light over the coming days as people ask me if I know the crazy poet. There will be an open mic event, call it Blackpool’s poetic comeback, on the 20th April at the Number 5 Café, Cedar Square, and it is always great to see interested new faces.

Now then, if only BBC2 would get their fingers out, we could start infiltrating some more. Long may the madness continue and if you are a poet, writer, playwright or general wordsmith- don’t shudder away at the hysteria but respond to it. We are all, as far as the mockers are concerned, in this together, so keep on writing.

Thanks for reading,

PS We have been delegated the great honour of guest editing the Lancashire Writing Hub website for this month. You should definitely check it out, the team there work so hard to keep things fresh and relevant. Find it here. 
Oh, and this week’s theme is Shower. Can you word out my colloquial subject link? 


Ashley R Lister said...

It was typical tabloid TV and I don't know whether to roil against the producers, the contestants or the audience.

Whenever I watch BGT, I'm always reminded of Ben Elton's Chart Throb. It's a novel about a BGT-style competition where the characters attempting to win are divided into BLINGERS (good-looking and flashy), CLINGERS (those with a sob-story) and MINGERS (fodder for the first few weeks).

Ultimately this makes the show more entertaining for me as I try to pigeon-hole the contestants by these categories.


Lindsay said...

Gah you've made me feel rotten too now. I called her poetry shite. I guess when I have the guts to stand up and read my poetry I can pass comment on someone elses.

Anonymous said...

Aww, aren't you all nice people... I'm not nearly as generous. Maybe nobody has ever told V that she isn't actually very good. Fortunately swans are protected so she will not be fishing shotgun pellets out of her feather covered behind. I've never seen Britain's Got Talent although I've seen a clip of Ryan's mother and I know Susan Boyle won. I presume that the rather evil producers only showed Valentina (I thought it was Walentina??) was so that the nation could laugh at her or throw the tv out of the window as I wanted to do with my computer when I foolishly followed the link that a fellow DGP sent me saying 'this is brilliant'. Now that she is a tv star I fear that we will no longer be 'entertained' by further performances (fingers crossed)