The Indelicates’ Words – An Interview

Something a little different on the blog today. I’ve been listening to The
Indelicates rather a lot of late (check them out folks, they’re worth it)
so it’s with a huge amount of pleasure that I’m able to welcome half of
their writing team, Julia, to the blog. Julia has, with Simon (the other
half of the song writing team), just released a collection of poetry,
called Words (which is really rather good).

So, welcome Julia. It’s a real pleasure to have you here. Can you tell us
about the book? How did it come about?

Simon and I had been thinking of fun ways to pass the time while
leaving our label, and making the second album, forming our own company,
and the abundant other projects we’ve been working on in the last few
months. We’d met a few years back at a poetry slam of the old kind, where
people would shout and heckle and so on, and so the fact that we’d been
writing for a while had always been a part of our brand when we started
the band. So Simon collected together some of the most recent poetry for a
book, as well as a collection of some of the lyrics we are most proud of,
including some from the new album.

How does it feel being multi-talented?

Terrible. You get bored very easily, and never have any money. On the up
side, you get to have people call you multi-talented 😉

What sort of audience would you hope the book appealed to?

I’m pretty sure the book appeals to Indelicates fans as an insight into
what we used to do, and while poetry is a sort of dead art, some of the
poems there are really very beautiful (Simon’s. Mine are just one-liners
really 😉 ). The Manhattan Project is a poem that has been on my wall for
a few years now, and is what I turn to when I feel like I am losing touch
with the things I make and do.

How long did the book take to write? How old’s the oldest poem in there?

Simon’s long Quicksilver poem was written towards the end of our poetry
writing days, and most of the later poems in my section were written as
part of a collection called Shepherd. Some of them were written this year.
So they are a selection from the last 5 years I’d say.

From listening to the words in your songs it’s pretty clear that you think
words are important. With that in mind, what do you think lyrics should
do? Do you, as a band, have a message?

I find myself enjoying the extreme ends of the spectrum. I prefer dance
music and classical music to most pop, but if I am going to listen to
songwriting it generally only interests me if there is some content in the
writing. I don’t think I always thought this way, but I certainly do now.
That said, I think that most political songwriting of the last ten years
is godawful shit. I think If I were to have a message, I’d feel a bit
embarrassed about it… But generally: leave the internet alone, stop being
stupid, pay attention, practice empathy with the people around you, and
don’t be a cunt. Other than that, I find that as I am utterly incapable of
writing stories, songwriting is a good way of telling them at least.

In the book yours and Simon’s poems are divided into two sections. Is that
a reflection of the writing process? And how does that (poetry) writing
process differ from that of writing songs?

Poetry, if you are into form, structure, and perfect verse, is MUCH much
harder than writing songs. If you are most contemporary poets it is quite
easy. I was more into Imagist poetry than anything else, I like the idea
of stripping out unnecessary words, and I enjoy preciseness in language.
Simon is similar, but can write in any style effectively, and was always
much better at performance poetry than me. We split the book into sections
as, while we have similar themes, we write quite differently. I think in
songs you can keep lots of words in, so there’s less editing to do 🙂

Who, or what, influences you?

For me, musically probably Mozart, Lots of dance music, Carter USM, Dylan,
Peaches, quiet a lot of lesbian electro stuff, and proper, old style,
nasty Cabaret. At the moment, and for the last six months, I’ve been
listening to the Threepenny Opera over and over, as it’s just amazing. And
is probably influencing me 😉 I really like Alan Moore, Terry Pratchett,
Neil Gaiman, and Malcolm Gladwell (see him talk, he’s WONDERFUL). Oh, and
I only recently realised how much of what I think is influenced by
W.B.Yeats. Weird. Simon and I influence each other quite a bit too.

This one, really for Simon (if he’s there): Why should we distrust language?

He’s not. Er, because it’s a lie? But all we’ve got?

How about you tell us a little about the band?

Er, you can probably fill this in. Suffice to say, we’re called The
Indelicates, we are about to release our second album (Feb 2010), and we
do a whole bunch of other things like Punk Rock schools workshops,
Storyteller recordings, The Book Of Job: The Musical! my solo stuff,
simon’s solo stuff, a concept album David Koresh Superstar, and have just
become incorporated.

Are there going to be any readings from the book anywhere? Would you treat
gig goers to a couple of your poems?

The poems wouldn’t go down to well at gigs. We had a launch though, which
was great fun 🙂

Tell us a secret.

No 🙂

Julia Indelicate is going to be entered into the OED and you can write its
definition. What does it say?

Oh balls. hmmm… ‘Famously sought asylum from the UK, in the USA’

What’s next for you?

As above 🙂

Anything you’d like to add?

Keep on keepin’ on, as Keith Totp would say.


Go here for their website and shop.

And here are the Indelicates performing (my favourite song of theirs) We Hate the Kids.

And here’s the rather brilliant video of America.

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