Thursday 21 October 2010


THE HEARTLAND: Poem written for the BBC Radio Academy, RadioFestival 2010 -
‘Festival Gatecrash’ Performed and written yesterday in response to the question ‘What’s wrong with radio?’ and delivered live on a panel plucked from the world of politics, piracy, philosophy and social media. Other 'radio rebels' on the panel included DJ Johnny Jay (Pirate Radio) John Morter (Save 6 Music and the mastermind of the Rage Against the Machine Christmas number one campaign) Andy Spinoza (SKV) and Ken Livingstone among others. The debate was chaired by the brilliant Mariella Frostrup and recited in front of packed theatre audience of senior executives, programmers and producers from the BBC, commercial, local, community and internet radio stations. Video footage on YouTube and BBC website links soon come.

 it’s been nearly 20 years since i first held a mic
put it to my lips and said what i like
and in 20 years i bared witness to the evolution a literary explosion,
the publishing revolution but the revolution will not be televised
slipped between art and comedy and demoralised
poetry is all cream tea and margarine-a-lised
rinsed and bleached and sanitised
 its not what’s wrong with radio
but surely what is write right
but it seems so scripted and stuffy and far too polite
for at festivals it’s the writers who stay up all night
and there is a rise in literary salons where words really bite
There is a heartland in-between the rap dream;
the coming of age teen and the rock and roll scene
and the booker prize winner in the back of a limousine
and the struggling poet drinking ink and gasoline
know what I mean?
all we hear is radio ga-ga
lady ga-ga in a meat bra
all we hear is radio ga-ga
lady ga-ga in a meat bra
all we hear is radio goo-goo
elton john and lady lulu
lady madonna, now there’s a lady
 graham norton and paul o’grady
will the real slim shady please stand up,
please stand up, please stand up!
The revolution will not be televised
 but its resonating on Resonance podcast and twitterbooked
The revolution will not be televised
its there on my i-tunes and overlooked
The written word spoken with honest intentions
even though its not mainstream or in the times lit. sup. mentions
Actions speak louder than words
the pen is mightier than the clean page
there is this heartland of undiscovered writing
between the underground and the hay-on-wye stage
what is required i feel
 is a literary john peel
 to open the gates and let in some air and light
 because this revolution should broadcast
and that’s what’s right with radio right?
write, right, write, right!

 © 2010. Salena Godden

*Hey, there wasn’t time to thank the radio shows and producers who do programme slots for poetry and short fiction - but you know who you are and this poem salutes you. Thank you to Radio 4's Today programme for asking me along, kinda scary, but great fun!