Saturday, 14 October 2000

From a blog post

By Chris Goode.

Adrian Mitchell, my teenage affection for whom has for some time been evaporating, pops up as a talking head to say how great it was that the Mersey Sound poets spoke "directly" to their audience, not wishing to bamboozle anyone with ambiguity. I think this slightly misrepresents all three poets, to differing degrees, but it also begs a whole stack of questions about what "directness" -- which I would agree is, in respect of some of its connotations at any rate, a worthwhile aspiration -- actually is, how it is signalled, where it is located. Is Roger McGough's mundanely expressed coyness about love relationships and homeopathically surrealised suburban moments really more direct than Keston Sutherland's strenuously candid, fiercely blazoned failure to articulate the unmanageable totality of our social relations? I suppose McGough's work is "direct" in the way that water comes "directly" out of a tap: the machinery of transport, filtration and (in some places) fluoridation is invisible; any sense of connection to the natural water cycle is generally suspended until some crisis of supply hits home. And similarly, the efforts of selective obstruction, occlusion and abstraction that support McGough's chirpy, laconic utterances are totally concealed. I'm surprised that a good socialist like Mitchell isn't concerned about that.

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