POETRY OLYMPICS TWENTY05 CELEBRATES THREE BIRTHDAYS WITH A JAMBOREE OF STELLAR PERFORMANCES AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
On Sunday September 25 , the Royal Albert Hall will play host to Poetry Olympics Twenty05 , a giant jamboree of poetry and music featuring a stellar line-up of some of the finest poets and songwriters Britain has to offer, including Pete Townshend , Linton Kwesi Johnson , Eliza Carthy, Kathryn Williams and many more.
"Poetry Olympics Twenty05 will toast a triple vintage of signal anniversaries," says organiser Michael Horovitz. This event celebrates the 40th anniversary of the First International Poetry Incarnation which jam-packed the Royal Albert Hall in 1965; the 25th year of Poetry Olympics festivals; and the 70th birthday of the Olympic torchbearer and coordinator himself.
"In 1980, Maggie Thatcher tried to boycott UK athletes from attending the sporting Olympics in Moscow," continues Horovitz. "I started the Poetry Olympics as a counterweight to such unsporting attitudes. Poetry Olympics continues to aim for a Blakean Healing of the Nations, opposition to the profiteering military-industrial complex, and a renaissance of minstrelsy in the midst of society."
This year's megagig features diverse artists, singer-songwriters, actors and musicians including Pete Townshend; Rachel Fuller, Jerry Hall; Fran Landesman; Linton Kwesi Johnson; Grace Nichols; Sujata Bhatt; John Hegley; Annie Whitehead, and Horovitz , among others tba. It will be co-hosted by the BBC's James Naughtie, and the new South Bank Centre Director & 2012 Cultural Olympics Captain Jude Kelly.
Previous Poetry Olympics have featured superlative performances by artists ranging from Allen Ginsberg and Paul McCartney, through Ray Davies with Damon Albarn, to Joe Strummer and Patti Smith, and even Kylie Minogue.
"It was like I'd climbed Mount Everest, or jumped out of a plane," said Minogue about her appearance in the 1996 Albert Hall Olympics. "So many things I had avoided for so long were right there. That was what Nick [Cave] was saying to me. 'It'll be brilliant: it'll confront all of your past, all in one fell swoop.' And he was right."
This year's performers have been selected for the quality of their collective lyrics, music, poetry and panache to make for a unique evening of first-class entertainment. The event will levitate the Albert Hall by means of a transcultural time-travelling rocketship which harbours artists who starred in the momentous 1965 Internationale (Adrian Mitchell, Christopher Logue, Spike Hawkins, Horovitz) alongside younger contemporaries (Kathryn Williams, Eliza Carthy, Rachel Fuller, Stacy Makishi) clearly set to carry the baton of vital lyric communications on - towards ever newer departures for future generations.
Poetry Olympics Twenty05 takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, September 25 th at 7pm. Tickets, priced between £5 and £40, are available from www.royalalberthall.com or from 020 7589 8212
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