FEATURE: Rowan McCabe, A LOOK BACK AT 2015 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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We here at NARC have decided we’d end 2015 with a fond look back at the year just gone, and who better to tell us than some people who’ve had an utterly fantastic year; and for whom 2016 is sure to be just as exciting.

Next up, it’s immensely talented poet Rowan McCabe.

So Rowan, how was your 2015?
My 2015 was class, thanks. I’ve done a lot of things that terrified me and none of them made me die. In fact, most of them went really well.

What was your best moment of the year?
Best moment of the year was doing my first proper run at the Edinburgh Fringe. I’d literally just got there and I was standing outside the venue flyering. I’d made a sign out of gaffa tape and an old stick and painted the words ‘Geordie Cultural Ambassador’ on it. It’d been about 5 seconds when this lad came past and said “I know you! I taught a lecture on your poems at Northumbria Uni!” Then he said it was a shame he couldn’t find a written copy of my stuff anywhere, to which I replied that I had books for sale with me. Then he bought one! And brought lots of friends to the show as well! It was an amazing way to start the run.

Your worst moment of the year?
Worst moment of the year was the general election results. It took me a couple of days to get over that, it was like someone had died. I suppose they have really, lots of people have under austerity. I also learned that day that social media tends to just reflect your own opinions back at you. I was certain the whole world was as fed up as I was. I must have been wrong.

Your favourite band of 2015?
It’s got to go to Phat Bollard. They’ve took the art of busking to new heights. I’m yet to find out where I can actually go and see them live but I’ve looked at a lot of their stuff on Youtube. Sure, they swear a lot in public and the odd 5 year old might run past and hear that. But they’re speaking the truth about what’s wrong today. And, when you think about it, who’s the real foul mouthed busker? Is it the man swearing about corporate greed on the high street? Or is it The Man, in his gold encrusted underpants, shouting about the state of his lobster-infused caviar?

Your favourite song of 2015?
I’m going to cheat for this one and say The Past Is A Grotesque Animal by Of Montreal. It came out years ago but I just found it recently and it really, really is my favourite song of 2015. I love the thick synth and the rough-around-the-edges guitar. The lyrics are pure poetry as well. ‘I find myself searching for old selves | While speeding forward through the plate glass of maturing cells’. It’s genius.

Your favourite film of 2015?
OK right, my favourite film I saw that actually came out this year was The Theory of Everything. For a poet with arms like toothpicks, it takes a surprising amount to make me well up at something really. I can only recall it happening one other time, when I watched a documentary about Johnny Cash just after he died. But after The Theory of Everything, I stayed in my seat in the cinema and tried to hold back the sobs while everyone filed out. Not one of my finer moments.
Funnily enough, my friend Chops met Stephen Hawking on a cruise ship this year as well. He sold him some biscuits. Said he had a great sense of humour…

Your favourite gig of 2015?
Back Yard Rhythm Orchestra with Pikey Beatz and The Baghdaddies at the Cluny. I love Back Yard Rhythm Orchestra, they’re the best band in the North East for me by far. That was a really good gig too, everyone was really up for it. I think you know it’s been a good one when you look like you’ve showered in your own sweat…

Finally, what’s 2016 got in store for you?
Well I’ve recently become a door-to-door poet. So I knock on people and ask them what’s important to them, then I write them a poem about it. 2016 is all about doing more of that really, hopefully taking it national as well. It’s really fun, seeing if I can get people interested in poetry who wouldn’t normally give it a thought- it’s sort of what I’ve always been trying to do with my life, just on a whole new level. I just made a snazzy new website for it and everything if you want to have a look, it’s here.

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