Attila the Stockbroker: Arguments Yard. Venue 444, Silk, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
It’s back to the 1980s with a despised female Tory prime minister, recessions, political turmoil and a Labour party in retreat. Or so it seems in the world of poet, songster and author Attila the Stockbroker. For it feels like his time has come again with a certain feeling of déjà vu in the world of politics – the medium that has inspired so much of his work since the early 1980s.
Performing to a packed room in a nightclub near Edinburgh Castle during this summer’s Fringe Festival Attila still has all the fire and passion about the world’s injustices that propelled him to fame all those years ago. His show was a sort of retrospective as he reflected on his life through his autobiography Arguments Yard published last year. With a mix of poetry, anecdotes, readings and opinions, as well as music played on his mandola for his songs, the poet is a charismatic performer – albeit not one for the faint hearted or those of a Conservative disposition. As a poet he makes his stance quite clear for on his shirt is the Adrian Mitchell quote: “Most people ignore poetry because most poetry ignores most people.”
Real name John Baine, Attila the Stockbroker gave the audience (of who many were paid up fans) what they wanted to hear. Namely his view of the world rather than the one seen through the eyes of the Daily Mail. Whether it was Prince Harry in the nude or workers fooled into voting against their own interests by a Tory press, Attila takes no prisoners as he tells it like it is with the passion of a man thirty years younger. In a world of conformity it is good to hear an alternative viewpoint put so eloquently and convincingly.
The most touching moment of the Spoken Word gig was his tribute to his mother who had battled Alzheimer’s Disease. The Long Goodbye was a poignant elegy from a son to a mother recalling their long relationship, her many lives and influence on him, and written with a bitter sweet humour to the appreciative audience.
The show has ended but the poet is on tour nationally.