John Hegley

Liverpool Everyman
23rd February 2008

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Although not cutting edge enough for me, the wit and charm of John Hegley was a pleasant enough way to spend ninety minutes on a Saturday night.

Never having seen him perform on stage before, his most impressive gift was his rapport with the family audience at the Everyman. Whether it be when he stopped halfway through reading his short poems, or else when he stopped singing (he did sound like Billy Bragg!) or playing his guitar before finishing his whimsical songs, to speak to individuals in the packed crowd.

At times during his songs he divided the audience up into four sections, and each section were asked to join in at a particular part of a chorus. Sometimes it proved to be a bit of a lame exercise but at other times produced a lot of laughter from the assembled masses.

In regard to his poems, he delved a lot into his A-Z of poetry. A stood for an armadillo called Toby. D stood for a dog who was always flatulent when in company with people. And so on....

My favourite poem of his was called Consuming Death, in which he slagged off people for eating the meat of slaughtered animals.

The subject matters of his other poems ranged from the art of taxidermy, Mother’s Day, whether wearing glasses or contact lenses is best (glasses adorn Hegley), to the praise of Phil Grey, who used to play for his beloved football team Luton Town.

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