Book review time. I first met Janine Booth when she was 16, when she came to interview me at a gig the night Brighton reached the FA Cup final in 1983, which means I don’t remember much about it.
A few years later she joined our ranks as The Big J, a clever and forthright political performance poet and we did some great gigs together.
Then she went off to work for London Underground, get involved in the struggle, join the RMT executive and raise a family.
Now she’s back on the poetry scene and, having done storming gigs all over the London spoken-word circuit, she has just published her first poetry collection, accurately entitled Mostly Hating Tories and it’s well worth a read. Even better, catch her live — she has a natural aptitude for verse.
Here’s my favourite, an excerpt from her rewrite of Rudyard Kipling’s If:
“If you can buy an MP or a question
Or hire a lobby firm to do the deed
If you will pay the price of an election
Ensure the ‘business’ candidates succeed
If you can fill the unforgiving boardroom
With men whose moral compass points to none
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it
And — more — you’ll be a capitalist, my son!”
Janine’s book — and a full roster of her countless other activities as a political activist and author — is available from janinebooth.com.