Resurrection man

Murray Lachlan Young went from being a poet with a huge record deal to playing imaginary gigs in a barn. Julian Hall discovers how he got his mojo back

ven after a ten-year break from performing at the Fringe. the name Murray Lachlan Young needs little introduction. But his story requires plenty of context. A decade ago. the then 26-year-old performance poet was splashed across the front page of the Daily 'Ii'legrup/i for signing an unprecedented Elm deal with HTML Some critics were incensed. Michael Hot‘tiwltl. founder of the Poetry ()lympics. said. among other things. "his work sucks' while the Observer's Barbara lillen suggested Young wasn't fit to be burnt with BSE-ridden cattle. liven Norman 'I‘ebbit weighed in to offer that his poetry was ‘some sort of half bastard verse'. These are all quotes that he wears like trophies now and. even though his Edinburgh show that year was marred by some people spitting at him. he has the tumult in some perspective. ‘I look at it now and it makes me laugh. I think "good on you l\1urray" for having the balls to go out and trying to make a mark on the world. That said. when the story became the story. it started a personal bell-ride.' Despite the publicity. both good and bad. and supporting the likes of the Pet Shop Boys and Julian Cope. Murray's stanzas on sex. drugs and rock‘n'roll did not shoot up the charts. A new broom swept clean at EM] and the era of the ‘pop poet' never came. Murray literally took the money and ran through a five—year period that he muses was ‘all a bit sketchy because I was drinking quite a lot‘. His route was a circuitous one that took him from padding around in a dressing gown trying to avoid his own infamy. to Paris to film Roland Joffe's litre] with Gerard Depardieu and then to Sicily to perform in ‘old orange factories converted into groovy arts centres.' Journey‘s end. at least for a while. was a return to his cottage in Sussex where he bought a

woodland holding. ‘1 went into some kind of

weird bucolic meltdown and built a make-believe country pub in a barn. I put on entertainments



where I would get on stage and be unable to speak. I had no real interest in anyone coming. I just used to stand behind the bar.‘ When time at the bar was called. Young‘s performing days duly re— opened. His tirst comeback gig came in 2004 with a run at London‘s Old Red Lion and then a ‘rehabilitation tour‘ with punk poet and circuit stalwart Atilla the Stockbrocker.

‘l'd forgotten that people really liked what I did.‘ he notes. ‘When l went on stage people responded and I developed a new style. relaxed. mature. and making genuine contact with the audience as opposed to thundering it out like at Wesleyan preacher.’ Ironically it‘s immaturity that is a factor in helping Young get the focus. consistency and connection be is seeking in Edinburgh. As well as his ‘adult show‘ he will be performing a children‘s show at the Fringe. ‘lt was a result of watching the way my own children [now aged three and seven] respond to rhyme and words. Having an audience of children is a great grounder; if you don’t connect. they start talking.’

Audiences at Young‘s ‘adult‘ show can expect themes such as Arnericanisation and junk culture. a folk pastiche called ‘A-Dogging I Will Go‘ and poems like ‘Hey You with the Samurai Sword‘.

‘Edinburgh is deeply interwoven in my life and identity. My father was bom there and I‘ve been up regularly since I was a baby. including eight Fringe appearances.‘ Whether the city takes him to its heart this time remains to be seen. but at least there‘s likely to be no spitting at his gigs.

Murray Lachlan Young: Cautionary Tales for Children, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, 5-27 Aug (not 13, 20), noon, 516—27 (its-£6), family ticket £16. Previews 3 8: 4 Aug, £4; Murray Lachlan Young, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, 5-27 Aug (not 13, 20), 9pm, 529-210 (EB-£9). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £5.

Rebel ink

With his first book due out and the premier league of poets joining him at the Fringe, Luke Wright tells Brian Donaldson that the key to more success is having a rapport

There are times r‘eoi‘ie t" on t'w' past might be warren: to t‘ iv the" Ali you ean uc s re‘li‘ct tia k pro in "K or‘ 887th tliCl 84“ Liv) Tl‘itim Qt‘ 1"”. .. t‘i"'t""‘tt"t‘t‘ poet Luke \‘.right has been “Lina those l7l0l7t(}ttts lit Poet Laureate. 7‘ s i'vxiw

st‘l; ttr‘t‘tit shoe. from last year, he railetl aga r‘st rriarry things. SLlClt as Richard hilatleley. ixr‘itl'im Motitir‘ ithe actual poet Laureate and the Lon f. Olyrriprtts, News that the arts tiutlciet tt i t‘ slashed to help the fattening spentfing t:il1 ‘i i' thi- 2012 Games had the knock-art effect of Aisle ‘i'l ithe 'poetry t)t)yt)arri'i' which \‘rright is arm illltllit‘l part oft having to abandon their plans t i t‘li't‘. Edinburgh due to lack of funds \"v’ritiht has but one conclusion to make '| il‘ill‘ls iii. sltititiiriii if? of the Olyriipics has come bdt‘l'. ti, l‘i.ltll‘i 'iif,‘

Still, it's not as though Wright it. sit. in it Creative things to do In the aiiturrii: let art book entitled Who ll/rifes ibis Craft" Aisle lfier Joel Stickley is published in llitf'dhll Hamilton and hes been tifgittlltSItltl his Pi wtri Party Wthll Will feature appearances from thi- big-hitting likes of Murray Lachlan Young .lohn Hegley and Lenin Sissay He also straw/ed |.". the time to tie the knot and buy a flat too

But it's his solo show that wrll take up 'iiost of his August thinking. He (itiStiflllUS Poe? t‘L Man as; a stripped-down affair. 'I wanted to get back to storytelling and get more of a rapport going. I looked at what | Old Wltll Poet Laureate and it was really like Spinning around in the dark It's not rust about hitting people With a good gag. there should be niOre of a conversation,‘

Certainly. much chat must have been hart about the themes behind his ptll)ll(;ll‘y' shot for this year. 'lt'S abOut this frenzy of writing where I'm splashing myself wrth blue ink' A noble idea. ‘Then someone told me it looked like a Blue Meanie bad Just come on my face.‘

Luke Wright: Poet 8 Man, P/easarice Coortyard, 556 6550, 4-25 Aug, 5, 70pm,

{9—5 70 (5:7—f8l. Prevrews until 3 Aug, 55; Luke Wright's Poetry Party. Dr Roberts Mag/r; Bus. Midd/e Meadows Wa/k, 07790 235963, I l 8. 72 Aug, noon—midnight, free.

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