I went to one of my favourite second-hand bookshops the other day - and came away with a brand new book.
Ripping Yarns, close to Highgate Tube, is always worth a careful browse. It's run by the actress Celia Hewitt - who is currently working on a biography of her late partner, the radical poet Adrian Mitchell. A great performer too! I heard him read a couple of times, and was mesmerised.
Come on Everybody is Adrian Mitchell's collected poems, more or less. It contains the work which made his name in 1964, such an iconic part of the anti-Vietnam war movement: 'To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam)'.
If like me you love Ripping Yarns, then make the most of it - 'Don't Just Think About It, Do It!', in the immortal words of the Edgar Broughton Band. There's a rent review looming in the autumn, and Celia needs all the help that she can get to keep the shop afloat.
Earlier in my life, I was in a position to commission a poem from Adrian Mitchell to mark New Year 2003, and then went round to his home (with my daughter, then six) to record him reciting it. I still have his signed manuscript - and with Celia's blessing, I'm posting it on this page (it's not in Come On Everybody):
I'm a bit late to this wonderful post and thrilled by 1) the news that Celia Hewitt is writing a life of her husband (I'd love, also, to read an oral history of this amazing man), and 2) the ms. of "All the Light There Is." Huge thanks, and I very much hope that Ripping Yarns is doing well.
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