Feature: Rowan McCabe – A Look Back At 2016 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Over the last twelve months, we’ve had our pages filled with some incredible creative souls, we asked a few of them to be kind enough to share some words on a year that the world all went a bit odd. Next up, it’s poet Rowan McCabe.

So, how was your 2016?
On the whole, it was brilliant thanks.

What was your best moment of 2016?
Being a Tent-to-Tent Poet at Glastonbury. I wasn’t really supposed to be writing for people around the campsites, but I decided to do it anyway. I ended up bumping into Michael Eavis’ granddaughter by complete accident and writing a poem for her. When I told her what I was doing was a health and safety issue she said: “No it’s not. Someone did a poo in my shoe last night, that’s a health and safety issue.”

And your worst moment?
Difficult one! I feel like I should relate some kind of hilarious and embarrassing anecdote, but I’d rather tell the truth. My girlfriend’s back problems got so bad she couldn’t walk. She’s fine now, it turns out it was relatively simple to fix, but it was horrible to watch that happen. After years of trying to get the NHS to do something, we finally gave up and she went to see a private chiropractor. It was one of the hardest decisions for us, private healthcare goes against everything we believe in. But when someone you love suddenly can’t walk anymore your ethics kind of go out of the window. I feel like we were forced into a position where we had no choice, it made me really angry.

Your favourite band of 2016?
I got into Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys in a big way this year, particularly Theme From Symphony No. 5. It’s not new music, but once you hear a Japanese surf-rock version of Beethoven, everything else feels like a waste of time.

Your favourite song of the year? 
I love the new Bonobo track, Kerala. I’ve been a big fan of Simon Green for years. I’m fascinated by the way he walks a really thin line between mainstream dance music and nu jazz. It gives me a huge amount of inspiration as a poet actually, which is weird, considering there’s not a lot of lyrics in his stuff. It reminds me that art can appeal to lots of people, yet still be really innovative and unique.

Your favourite film? 
I, Daniel Blake. But it wasn’t for the reasons you might think. I didn’t find it eye-opening or surprising, I felt like I understood the struggle people like that have gone through (and are still going through) quite well already. But, for the first time in my life, I saw a major film in this country try to change something, to push against the propaganda. When the Labour Party started holding screenings of it, and there was talk of the film influencing decisions over benefit cuts, it made me want to pick up a camera. I don’t think I’ve ever had that feeling before.

What was your favourite gig of the year?
LCD Soundsystem at Glastonbury. I danced and danced and danced and danced (and nearly cried at Someone Great, too).

And finally, what has 2017 got in store for you?
Hopefully, I’ll be taking Door-to-Door Poetry on a tour around the country, knocking on strangers all over and proving you can write a poem for literally anyone. If all goes to plan, it’ll be happening Autumn next year.

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