Sunday 2 October 2016

Kate Tempest on BBC2

Last night I watched Kate Tempest perform Let Them Eat Chaos on BBC2 - a brave move for the Beeb, but one I was grateful for. Poetry, as you may know, is something I love (a lot) and anything that moves it further towards mainstream media is good with me.

So, where to start? Kate is a dream; her talent, her energy, her obvious love for what she does - it was something incredible to watch, and something I want to see more of. Let Them Eat Chaos is an epic poem/story, set to music, full of emotion. Full of every emotion, really - anger, love, heartbreak, sadness, humour. Is humour an emotion? I'm lost, now, because I'm in awe.

The poetry touches on some Very Big Themes: drugs, consumerism, poverty, the reality of life in this mad little country we call home. Kate is loud and bold and explicit, but reserved and shy at the same time. She's her own little apocalypse on that stage and it was fascinating to watch - she started out as a rapper, and that's obvious and it suits her writing well.

Let Them Eat Chaos tells the story of 7 different people, all finding themselves awake at 4.18am on a south London street. They lead lives that are both the same and incredibly different; lonely people, sad people, poor people, broken people - a reflection of society, and they don't even know each other until they meet on this night, brought together by a force of nature. The narrative goes on to warn us that we're disaffected, indifferent and alienated and alone, but that we needn't be, and we shouldn't be, and we can't be if we want to see this world start to heal.

I loved watching Kate perform, and that was just on TV - I'm hoping to catch her in Manchester later this year, and I know it'll be even more incredible to watch her live, to see the emotion in reality. If you didn't catch the performance on BBC2 last night then please please watch it on iPlayer; please open your mind to poetry and please let the message of Let Them Eat Chaos soak in.

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