Bad Boy Billy Blake's Big Birthday Bash
Celebrating the 250th anniversary of William Blake's Birthday, Bad Boy Billy Blake's Big Birthday Bash - an all day event - was organised by Mad Pride, Mental Fight Club and Creative Routes - and held at the splendid Ivy House in Nunhead, close to Peckham Rye Common, where as a child, Blake had his first vision, seeing a tree filled with angels - bespangling every bough like stars.
The day was a mix of performances by poets (including Jazzman John Clarke and Zolan Quobble) and bands (including The Children appearing with Lol Coxhill, and Mark Astronaut & The Otters).
Manchester based band The Children with Lol Coxhil
At the start of the event I talked about Allen Ginsberg's theory that Blake actually sang his Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience, to his friends. Ginsberg himself set a number of Blake's songs to music and regularly sung these during his poetry readings. I played recordings of Ginsberg and assorted musicians, including Dylan, performing these from an audio collection of Ginsberg's work, Holy Soul Jelly Roll - Poems and Songs 1949 to 1993.
I also made the board stencilled with Blake's dictum -
I Must Create My Own System Or Be Enslaved By Another Man's
which was placed on stage.