I often say that I don’t like poetry or Jazz but that’s not what I mean. There are a few poets I like (mostly Northern, mostly edgy) and a fair few Jazz tracks I enjoy (mostly when I don’t know it’s Jazz). What I’m lacking is a map and a guide. Both art forms are so vast and varied that I don’t even know where to start; like being in a field of a million different wildflowers and told to choose my favourite by name.
I’m quite eclectic in my music tastes, thanks to friends, Spotify and BBC Radio 6 Music. It helps that I’ve cast off the tribal shackles of my youth where the only acceptable sounds came from, for me, a narrow canon of rock and metal (I did have a secret stash of Kate Bush albums, obviously) . I also ignore charts, trends, critics and being cool in general. This frees me to listen to French café music or Motown or film scores or Delta Blues or whatever.
In terms of poetry, school went out of its way to put me off any form of verse or arrangement of words (except rude limericks, of course). I learned to hate poetry with a passion and when asked to write a poem for homework, all those years ago, I handed in the lyrics to War Pigs by Black Sabbath (I, or should I say Ozzy, got 8 out 10). Oddly, though, I’ve written my own poetry since I was 18 years old.
I think we all need a map and a guide when we encounter art (or faith for that matter). Otherwise we end up being surrounded by stuff we don’t even like. There’s so much art and music out there why waste time on that which doesn’t inspire us or challenge us or make us light up. So, if you want suggest some good poetry and Jazz, I’m open to your guidance.