The Downs Concert

Back in May, Tim and I queued for two hours for tickets to see Massive Attack’s first concert in Bristol for 13 years. Yesterday, the big day finally dawned and it was wet and windy but excitement won out over cold and we headed up to the Downs.

Kate Tempest

The concert had expanded from a handful of special guests into a small festival, with three stages packed with acts. The one I was most excited about, after Massive Attack themselves of course, was Kate Tempest. After seeing her on TV and in YouTube videos, I had the brief pleasure of experiencing her live last year and have been itching ever since to see more of her. Yesterday, I got my wish.

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To really see the state of things is lethal

hold your ownHold Your Own
by Kate Tempest

I bought this poetry collection when I went to see Kate Tempest as part of the Bath Festival of Literature, and like her live performance, the book is inspiring.

Tempest’s words fizz with righteous anger and passion, but they are also highly intelligent, filled with classical references and political insight.

Just take this collection’s premise. It centres on the myth of Tiresias, who as a young man disturbs a pair of copulating snakes and is punished by the goddess Hera, who turns him into a woman. Years later, she is “allowed” to return to the form of man, but then another encounter with the gods leaves him a blind clairvoyant. Tempest takes this story apart into four chapters – childhood, manhood, womanhood and blind profit (see what she did there?!) – each of which is a sequence of poems about Tiresias and the myth’s parallels to modern society and her own life. This gives her a natural route to discussions of gender, sex and relationships, but also poverty, community, age, politics and the future.

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