Celebrated poet and musician John Hegley is back at Waterside with his latest show, Biscuit of Destiny, based on his most recent pamphlet, A Scarcity Of Biscuit, published by Caldew Press in 2021.
The show – which won a Lustrum Award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 – contains poems from this new pamphlet, but not exclusively. As well as introducing audiences to a clutch of new verses, John Hegley also performs a few older favourites: glasses, dogs, trainspotters and furniture.
It delves into the more eccentric side of Romantic poet John Keats, courtesy John Keats’s hobby horse, alongside everyday goings-on in the Hegley homes of now and yesteryear. There’s a cardboard camel with a moving jaw, seven drawings of elephants, myths, discos, daleks, the search for a sense of self-worth, and “a teacher who made a word of difference. Yes, it took only one word.” There’s optional community singing and opportunities to dance along too. We’re told: “The show, devised for adults, is not unsuitable for the odd nine-year-old.”
As well as introducing audiences to a clutch of new verses, John Hegley also performs a few older favourites: glasses, dogs, trainspotters and furniture.
He was the Keats House poet-in-residence in 2012, and in his pamphlet, A Scarcity Of Biscuit, John Hegley weaves a colourful collection of musings, drawings and dialogues around the poems, letters and loved ones of John Keats. If you are a lover of Keats’s poetry, or are newer to the poet and want to explore his work, this collection allows the reader to share in the author’s enthusiasm and passion for one of Britain’s best-loved literary figures.
John Hegley was born in Islington, North London and now lives in the neighbouring borough of Hackney. He was educated at schools in Luton and Bristol before studying Sociology/European Literature and the History of Ideas at the University of Bradford. John has a cult following, having toured nationally and internationally for the past 40 years, and regularly appearing on BBC Radio. He he has been a Perrier Comedy Award nominee, and his livelihood has mainly been made by creating and performing content for workshops, festivals and theatre and radio. This has consisted of songs, poems, drawings, and other activities, including French baroque dance. With his band The Popticians, he featured on the John Peel sessions in the 1980s. He hosted the Border TV poetry series Word Of Mouth, presented three series of Hearing With Hegley on BBC Radio 4, and in 2010 he presented Warning, May Contain Nuts, challenging stigmas around mental illness. In 2019 he toured art galleries in England with Putting You In The Picture; working with children to explore and respond to artworks with drawing and writing.