Press Release - by Dave Skull

Celebrate Mad Icon William Blakes Birthday with Edgar Broughton / Paul Birtill / Dave Russell / Frank Bangay / Heartssong / Jazzman John Clarke / Lady Beard & The Wall Of Crisps / MC Jason Why
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Press Release - by Dave Skull

Postby madmark » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:27 pm

8pm – 11pm

Stuart Road
Nunhead SE15 3BE

Admission; FREE


Following the success of the return of our ‘traditional’ ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event to mark ‘World Mental Health Week’ to it’s original ‘home’ venue at the IVY HOUSE in Nunhead on October 12th, MAD PRIDE, the mental health rights campaigning organisation, that uses music and poetry to get it’s message across to a wider public, is coming back to this venue with another ‘tradition’ MAD PRIDE have established over the past few years, the annual ‘BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH’, a celebration of the birthday of Britain’s best known and most loved ‘mad’ poet and artist William Blake.

MAD PRIDE first established this ‘tradition’ several years ago, to mark the 250th anniversary of the great man's birth, with the first of these taking place at the IVY HOUSE in November 2007.

The IVY HOUSE seemed to be the ideal venue for this event as it is located just around the corner from Peckham Rye Common, where Blake was said to have his childhood vision of Angels in the tree tops.

The 28th November is the actual date of Blake’s birthday, we are talking spiritualism here. We are talking evoking the spirit of Blake, ‘the Ghost of a Flea’.

Over the past few years MAD PRIDE have tried to maintain this newly established tradition, sometimes working in partnership with other organisations and promoters, who have been equally inspired by Blake’s poetry art and thinking. These include the much missed, Camberwell based, radical mental health arts charity Creative Routes, who had been responsible for the legendary BONKERSFEST! (which ran successfully on Camberwell Green for three successive years in 2006, 2007 and 2008) and the semi regular ‘Muses Cafe’ events, Creative Routes member, poet and artist, Ingrid Andrew’s own ‘Amaranthine Nights’, and mental health poetry publishing and events organisation ‘Survivor’s Poetry’.

BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH- has been something of a movable feast being staged on several occasions at the IVY HOUSE, once at the ‘Joiners Arms’ in Denmark Hill (2010), and a couple of times at the Tottenham ‘Chances’ community and arts centre (2011 & 12), which has been a regular venue for ‘Survivor’s Poetry’ events for many years and where MAD PRIDE have been running regular events over the past couple of years.

Like all of the previous BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH events, this event will feature artists who have been directly inspired by Blake’s life and work. However don't expect some kind of po-faced intellectual, ‘historical’ event, the artists featured are all ‘cutting edge’ contemporary artists.

The events have been titled as BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH in recognition that Blake, who died in relative poverty, was very much ‘a man of the people’ and something of an anti- establishment rebel. It was his ‘politics’, as much as his ‘visionary’ poetry and art, that had inspired many contemporary artists and performers, including the American ‘punk’ pioneer Patti Smith, who was invited by the William Blake Society to give the Blake Anniversary Lecture several years ago, in recognition of her stated love of his work in interviews in the press and media and directly in some of her songs.

Artist featured on this special event will be

the near legendary, cult status, ‘alternative culture’ hero – who first came to prominence in the late 1960’s with the release of the EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND’s first album ‘Wasa Wasa’, a tour de force of psychedelic blues rock, on EMI’s ‘progressive’ label ‘Harvest’ records.

Championed by the much loved and much missed innovative DJ John Peel (RIP) the band went on to release a number of influential albums over an extended period of many years. Very much a part of the Free Festival scene in the 1970’s, EDGAR BROUGHTON appeared on the ‘Spirit of ‘71’ stage, featuring artists who had appeared at the first Free Festival there, at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011. He became something of a spokesperson for the ‘counter culture’, and the band's ‘Out Demons Out’ chant became an alternative culture anthem. The band always had a political’ edge, and were highly regarded as a real ‘people’s’ band.

Now performing mainly as acoustic artist, accompanying himself with his own skilful guitar work, he is a seasoned performer with a powerful and evocative voice. His self penned lyrics are sensitive, profound and meaningful. He is very much an overlooked cultural gem; his performances are not to be missed. We are proud and privileged to have him come and perform for us again in support of MAD PRIDE and it’s aims, this marks his forth appearance on the MAD PRIDE stage, having appeared on the 2011 ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event at the Montague Arms in New X (a sorely missed S.E. London venue), the 2012 ‘Holocaust Day’ memorial event at Tottenham ‘Chances’ (another ‘tradition’ established by MAD PRIDE in recognition that people labelled ‘mad’ were among the first to be exterminated in the concentration camps as part of the Nazi’s ‘final solution’).

He also performed at last years BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH event in this same venue, where he also joined the band ‘Taurus Trakker’ on a rousing version of the ‘Out Demons Out’ chant.(it was pure history man! Classic stuff). This will make it EDGAR BROUGHTON’s fourth performance onstage at a MAD PRIDE event. Once again this much loved and respected artist is very much back by ‘popular demand’. This will mark his first performance at the IVY HOUSE.

People in MAD PRIDE were knocked out when EDGAR got in touch with us via the MAD PRIDE website ( ) a couple of years ago or so, to say he was keen to come and perform for us in support of our cause. He has had experience of mental health difficulties himself, and knows and cares about others who have also had these problems, he has written on the topic of people with mental health problems in his lyrics. EDGAR BROUGHTON had been something of a ‘cultural hero’ and an inspiration to many involved with MAD PRIDE.

We weren't in any way disappointed on meeting the man, what a nice bloke. He has remained ‘true to the firm’ and his ideals and beliefs, unlike many other ‘alternative culture’ heroes’s who ‘sold out’ to the establishment or became cynical and disillusioned, he remains an inspiration. MAD PRIDE want to thank Mr B for giving us a ‘big up’ in his blogs on his website – – where you can also find out more about his other up and coming gigs and hear and download his recent recorded material. This includes his CD of live recordings of his solo performances over the past couple of years, ‘By Myself’, -featuring recently written and new material, plus acoustic versions of some classic tunes from the EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND’s extensive recorded history.

The highly regarded Liverpudlian published poet and playwright, described as ‘bleedin’ fabulous’ by no less than punk poet legend John Cooper Clarke. The equally highly regarded poet Michael Horovitz, (the man behind the legendary Poetry Olympics), has described PAUL BIRTILL as ‘a rough tough poet’ – who’s poems ‘reflect the terrifying ordeal of physical and metaphysical life in British cities with uncompromising humour and unimposing insight’.

It has also been said that his ‘darkly comic pieces’ have ‘urgency, power and pithy directness’. He has also been described as ‘A kind of anti – Laureate who makes Phillip Larkin sound life affirming’ – ‘His stark and hard- hitting verse skilfully echoes the neuroses of life’. Paul has had a number of critically well received collections of his work published over the years he has been writing and performing his poetry, including the ‘Collected Poems 1987 -2010’ published by ‘Hearing Eye’ and a collection of new poems ‘Smoking in the Cinema’ published in 2011 by Sem publishing. He has also had poetry published in the Guardian, the Morning Star and the South Bank Poetry magazine. He has a number of his plays staged in London Theatres, including two short plays that were staged at the earlier this year, and has achieved some measure of critical acclaim for these. His drama ‘Squalor’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Verity Bargate award.

We have invited PAUL back by popular demand, following previous well received performances at the 2010 ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event (also staged at the IVY HOUSE) and at this years ‘Holocaust Day’ memorial event at Tottenham ‘Chances’ back in February. There is a dry humour in PAUL BIRTILL’s poetry, his deadpan delivery make his bleak verse seem hilarious, he could be described as a sort of poetic equivalent to the comic Tony Hancock, we guarantee he will ‘crack you up’, in more ways than one. Another treat not to be missed. Having lived with depression issues himself PAUL is a keen supporter of MAD PRIDE and it’s aims. He has been keen to come back and perform at one of our events again, for our part we are more than happy to have him perform.

the much loved and highly respected ‘alt folk’ singer songwriter, who has been a long standing and highly regarded performer on the small gig circuit around London for many years. He is also known as the ‘musician in residence’ for the regular monthly ‘Survivor’s Poetry’ events at the ‘Poetry Place’ cafe in Covent Garden. DAVE is another strong supporter of MAD PRIDE and it’s aims, who appeared at early MAD PRIDE events in the late 1990’s, was featured on the now rare MAD PRIDE CD ‘Nutters With Attitude’, and has appeared at many MAD PRIDE events over the years, including the 2011 ‘Paranoid Olympics’ and last years BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH.

As well as his own acerbic, incisive and quirky songs, such as his paean to the ‘Burglars of Britain’ (‘the salt of old Albion’s Land’) and his anthaemic ‘Crackdown Tribunal’, which could and should be the theme tune for all those fighting the horror of benefit ‘assessments,’ with his powerful voice, and angular dynamic guitar dexterity, DAVE also performs some brilliantly original musical settings of William Blake’s poems, which he is sure to treat us to on the night. DAVE, also a visual artist himself, is very much inspired by Blake’s poetry, art and ideas, so he was a ‘must have’ artist for this event. We are pleased he was able to do it, another special treat not to be missed.

You can Google up DAVE RUSSELL who has presence on ‘facebook’ and ‘You Tube’ if you want to get more info on and see and hear samples of his music and art.

AKA ‘the Poet Laureate of Hackney’ is a highly regarded published author and performance poet, with a long standing reputation in poetry circles and performance poetry circles,

Nationally and internationally, as well as around the London small gig scene. FRANK was one of the founders of ‘Survivor’s Poetry’ and before that had organised fund raising poetry events for the ‘Campaign Against Psychiatric Oppression’. He documents some of the history of this in his article ‘An Uphill Struggle, but it’s Been Worth It’, in the book ‘MAD PRIDE’ A Celebration of Mad Culture’, first published in 2000 and still available from

He appeared at early MAD PRIDE events in the late 1990’s and has appeared at many more over the years. He appeared at the first ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ events at the IVY HOUSE in October 2004. His most recent ‘billed’ appearance at a MAD PRIDE event was at this years ‘Holocaust Day’ memorial, back in February, where as usual he wowed the crowd with his potent performances of his deeply evocative and moving poetry.

Recently FRANK has begun to adopt motifs of his beloved gospel and blues music into his Poetry and performance with dazzling effect. Frank has often worked with musicians, even fronting his own ‘Topsy Turvey Band’ – who have also graced the stage at previous MAD PRIDE gigs. FRANK has also recorded several CD’s with musical accompaniments, for the most part this has been through his links with the Hackney based mental health charity ‘Core Arts’, with which he has long standing close association.

You can get hold of copies of FRANK’s recorded material via the Core Arts website. FRANK is a bit of a regular face at MAD PRIDE events, he is something of a ‘fan’ for many of the acts we have staged and enjoys coming along. We will often encourage him to get up and perform a couple of his poems as an ‘unbilled’ spontaneous performer, he is a regular crowd pleaser, a total legend – again we are always proud to have him perform at our events, another cultural ‘gem’.

FRANK recorded a version of one of his musical hero’s, the late Kevin Coyne’s, songs ‘Mad Boy Number 2’ on the tribute album ‘Whispers in the Offing’, put out after his tragic early demise – (available through Life and Living records – - and also featuring DAVE RUSSELL’s version of Kevin Coyne’s song ‘Strange Pictures’), and is now known to perform a beautifully fragile and melancholic acapella version of Kevin Coyne’s evocative song ‘Looking for the River as part of his set’.

Frank has always been something of a fan of EDGAR BROUGHTON also being influenced and inspired by him. Just as he is powerfully influenced by the poetry, art and philosophy of William Blake, so this event is ‘double bubble’ for him, it would have been cruel and criminal not to invite him.
For our part MAD PRIDE are always pleased and happy to have an artist of the quality and reputation of FRANK BANGAY perform on our stage. He has been an inspiration to us and a long standing supporter of MAD PRIDE and our aims.

the duo featuring poet, artist and singer, songwriter Ingrid Andrew, accompanied by musician and all round lovely bloke Lawrence? together they become the mighty HEARTSSONG. Shamanic, slightly shambolic stripped down earthy pagan ‘roots’ music and poetry – HEARTSSONG is sure to cast a spell over you. Ingrid has also been much inspired by Blake both as a visionary artist and poet, when she heard we were staging this event she got in touch to request a spot, who are we to deny her desires?

After all without the good offices Ingrid and the ‘Amaranthine Nights’ she had been running in various venues in Camberwell and at Tottenham’s ‘Chances’, and her keenness in wanting to be a ‘partner’ in BILLY BLAKE’S BIRTHDAY BASH events, we would have been lacking a venue for the 2010 event, which was staged at the ‘Joiner’s Arms’ in Denmark Hill, where she gave over one of the regular nights she had booked there for this special event. Ingrid also designed the posters for the 2010 and 2011 BILLY BLAKE events, the latter staged in partnership with ‘Survivor’s Poetry’.

The highly respected Lewisham based ‘beat’ poet, who is something of another legend on the poetry circuit, small gigs circuit and ‘hip’ jazz scene. Known if for nothing else for his seemingly superhuman stamina and tenacity (as well as for his great warmth and humanity), he is out gigging or jamming, participating in, or helping to run poetry and creative writing workshops, he will frequently turn up at open mic events on those rare nights he does not have pre booked events to perform at, such is his dedication to his art. It’s like an addiction for him, an adrenaline kick that keeps him sparked – he is no spring chicken, but boy can he bark!

The JAZZMAN is also a published poet, he has had a number of collections of his poetic works published over the years, including the stunning
Recently the JAZZMAN has been performing as part of the ‘hep’ ‘Family of Cat’s’ musical coolective, alongside the goddess of eccentricity, the exotic ‘Geisha’, and beautifully voiced blues, jazz balladeer Liz Hans, who ‘wowed’ the audience with their supernaturally stunning performance at the ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event at the IVY HOUSE on October 12th.

Sadly John was not available to come and perform with the ‘Cats’ on this date as he had a pre booked gig elsewhere. The JAZZMAN had been an unannounced spontaneous ‘open mic’ performer at the first ever ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event at the IVY HOUSE in October 2004 and his legendary ‘Swing It’ outfit performed at the following year’s event. John has worked with a number of musicians over the years, he is able to ‘busk’ his poetry over any kind of musical accompaniment, he has also released CD’s featuring his poetry and music under his own name and with his floating ‘Jazz Circus’ act which released an album under this name which featured jazz and blues improvisational guitar legend Billy Jenkins (of ‘Voice of God Collective’ fame).

John has been a long standing friend and supporter of MAD PRIDE, performing at many events for us over the years, he is also known for his involvement with other socially conscious charities and causes, such as ‘Art Saves Lives’ and ‘Creative Routes’ with which he was involved in musical projects for the Mayor of London’s ‘Liberty’ disability arts Festival (and is featured on the now rare Creative Routes CD ‘The Statute of Liberty’), and was also a key figure in the planning and staging of the much missed semi regular ‘Muses Cafe’ events.

Another published poet, JOHN has had a number of collections published including the ‘Ghost on the Road’ put out by ‘Tall Lighthouse’ and the most recent collection ‘All the Way from Kathmandu’. We know that the JAZZMAN is a major fan of the Blake Boy – and has been much inspired by the man, so we had to invite him to do something for this one. We knew he was a big fan of, and inspired by, many of the acts on the ‘bill’, - after all were all singing from the same hymnbook here, and the hymn we are singing is-
‘Jerusalem’ –
‘I Shall Not Cease From Mental Fight’
Viva the Mental Fight!

What can you say about a band with a completely mental name like that? Seems appropriate for a MAD PRIDE gig. We first discovered this melodic acoustic guitar ensemble when they requested to do a spot on the ‘Midsummer Madness’ event we staged at ‘Chances’ back in June, where they performed under the name ‘Broken Biro’. ‘We have a tendency call ourselves different things each time we play gigs’, said a spokesperson for the band, who’s quirky names tend to belie the beautiful and sensitive nature of their harmonic tunes and melodies.
They had missed the opportunity to get a spot on the recent ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event at the IVY HOUSE so we decided we would try to squeeze them in for a spot here..

In keeping with the nature of the event we have decided to keep it purely acoustic music and poetry. All of the featured artists are performers of the highest quality and originality (something of a MAD PRIDE ‘trade mark’).
All of the artists are performing for free or for basic expenses, thanks to the new management of the IVY HOUSE, who have said they will make a contribution towards organising and promotion costs, we are able to make this event FREE admission. How’s that for ‘value for money’ in these financially trying times?

The IVY HOUSE is located nearby to the 343 and 484 bus routes, from London Bridge, Peckham Rye BR station, Denmark Hill BR station, Dulwich, and New X Gate and Lewisham BR stations. Local parking is limited however.
The IVY HOUSE is now serving a fine selection of quality ales and beer and food is available
MAD PRIDE were pleased to return to the IVY HOUSE for the ‘Celebration of Creative Lunacy’ event, it has always been something of a favourite venue for us. We are pleased that this fantastic venue was saved from being lost as a community resource, we are now very much looking forward to bringing the BILLY BLAKE BIRTHDAY BASH to it’s original ‘home’ there. We want to thank the new management there for giving us this opportunity.

We look forward to seeing people for this fabulous evening of top quality acoustic music and poetics, as a contemporary celebration of a historical figure; after all you couldn't get a better value night out, especially with acts of this originality and quality on offer.

For more info about MAD PRIDE go to-

For more about the IVY HOUSE and other events there go to –

For more info about William Blake and other Blake birthday celebration events go to- ... _1_1713701
among others.

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