Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll

Neon Highway Poetry Evening
Liverpool Central Library, 13th July 2004

Reviewed by Adam Ford

In the unlikely location of Central Library's genteel Hornby Room, a large group of poets gathered to read about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well a few of them did anyway, the proposed subject-matter being completely ignored by most of the writers. But though the evening was perhaps not as interesting as its title suggested, the poetry was of a reasonably high standard.

Nafe Jones and Cath Nichols stuck closely to the script, and both delivered seedy depictions of the urban underbelly. Jones impressed with his rap style recollections of mad nights out, whilst Nichols delivered impassioned and angry broadsides against all sides of the prostitution industry.

Amongst many well-known local poets, there were a couple of promising newcomers. Though he shunned the promised topics, Desmond Swords' musings on New Labour, the deaths of the Morecambe Bay cocklers and his Irish ancestry more than made up for it. Swords shuffled rhythmically to and fro, delivering his long, lyrical compositions with an impressive if self-conscious presence.

Finally, featured poet Matt Falaize delighted the crowd with his unashamed celebrations of weirdness. Whilst he too totally ignored the chosen themes of the evening, his mile-a-minute articulation of insane tongue twisters about life in Ormskirk and Cornwall were nothing short of sensational, complete with frantic wordplay and imaginary gangster funerals.

Poetry magazine Neon Highway organises frequent readings at Central Library. For more information contact editor Alice Lenkiewicz at or visit

The next Neon Highway evening – 'Postmodernism and Urban Life' is on Thursday August 19th, from 19.00.