Where: Hastings Community Arts Centre, 106 Russell Street, Hastings.
When: Monday 11 May, 7.30pm
What: I’m the guest reader at the Hawke’s Bay Live Poets’ Society monthly meeting.
Contact: Bill Sutton, phone 06 844 4196, email suttb70 (at) gmail.com
Last year, I went to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse play at the Queen’s Wharf Events Centre in Wellington. Knowing that Neil Young + Crazy Horse = the rockers, not the folkie stuff, I went along expecting powerchords, guitar solos, and feedback – and that’s what I got (barring a short acosutic interlude in the middle).
But (when I could hear at all) I was amazed to hear people around me complaining “Why isn’t he playing the hits? Where’s A Man Needs A Maid? Where’s Lotta Love?”
If this happens even when an artist is playing old but lesser-known material, imagine what it’s like for the long-established band, going out on tour yet again, that tries to play material from its new album. Nobody wants that shit – they want the hits from twenty years ago! Sleater-Kinney seem to have avoided this in their recent reunion tour, but for most rockers of a certain vintage, the gap between musicians’ expectations and audience reaction must be hard to take.
I may be ageing, but I’m not a rock star – what are those three preceding paragraphs even about? So when I read at the Hawke’s Bay Poetry Society next Monday, I’m going to try out some of the new poems I’ve been writing this year – along with some poems that have been knocking around the “set” for a while.
I attended the first New Zealand Poetry conference in Hastings in 2013, and found the Hawke’s Bay poetry audience to be knowledgeable and appreciative, so I’m not too worried about their reactions to “the new stuff” – though I can always distract them by stabbing a Hammond organ with knives: