Zoot Allures!

Denis Gould getting down to it in the SVA

Denis Gould getting down to it in the SVA

Jeff Cloves - still burnin'

Jeff Cloves – still burnin’

Friday night saw the launch of ‘RiffRaffRocks’ – the latest poetry pamphlet from 2 of Stroud’s literary legends – Denis Gould and Jeff Cloves.  Impeccably dressed in their zoot suits, these jazz cats showed all the young dudes how it’s done down at the SVA, where the ‘John St Social Club’ – as they call their Friday night knees up – was in full in swing. The elegantly dressed Ella Fantazia was cutting some rare grooves on the decks, and the mood of the crowd was convivial. Alot of Stroud’s gliterati were there – poets, clowns, goddesses and freaks. With libation in hand I settled down to an hour of poetry (Jeff feels more than an hour of poetry is too much, and I have to agree – keep it short and sweet!). Their new collection has a music theme, and each poem references at least one musical inspiration – from Jazz, Blues, and the Counter Culture – Dylan and Cohen were there in dispatches of course – and the ghosts of the Beats were evoked. This could have been a poetry reading in the City Lights bookshop in SanFran, circa 62 – and it’s not surprising that is when Denis started out and Jeff, not long after. The RiffRaff Poets (with the late lamented Pat West) – as they became known, first performed at the St Ives Festival in 1970, and they’ve been regulars of Glastonbury Festival over the years, in Pat’s Poets and Words Tent, alongside Denis’ letterpress, which produced the posters which define this grassroots movement. This is DIY culture at its best – anarchic, libertarian, peddle-powered and people-focused – long may it continue!

Riff Raff Poets - SVA 4 April 2014

Riff Raff Poets – SVA 4 April 2014


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