The Birth of Cockney Literature
by joseph ridgwell
Lit fiend mail. I know fiends, I know. There are some of you out there, who shall remain nameless, who are oft to remark in an oddly demented fashion that I’m like a stuck record. But stay sane you bunch of crazy screwballs, because today little old Ridgwell received copies of the most hotly-anticipated publication since the Joe Orton diaries. And what a Christmas present it is! With the publication of A Child of the Jago by Kilmog Press you lucky lit fiends are witness to a craft object that is not only pretty, beautiful, and tactile, (I refer each and every fiend to the dazzling sequence of photos below) it also contains some of my finest poetry to date. Focusing on my upbringing in East London and careering right up until the present date it catalogues the heart-rendering changes to the area of my birth in typical Ridgwell style. There are odes, paens, sonnets, ballads and quatrains to lost boozers, widow’s sons, blind beggars, saturday afternoons, knees ups, essex infirmaries, monochrome rainbows, all tomorrow’s parties, ye cherry pey’s, any old iron, leather aprons, saturday night specials, canals, umbra sumus, a photograph of my nan, and countless other Cockney illuminations.
Accompanying the poems are a series of sublime paper-cuts and etchings by master print maker, Martin Ridgwell. (once again I refer you to the photos below). And yes fiends, Martin is related to me, although I’ve never met him, a strange situation I hope to rectify in the not too distant future.
And now wait I hear you say. Where the fuck can a fiend get hold of a copy of this veritable treasure trove of scintillating poesy? Well, once again I have to say stay sane fiends for only 55 copies of this collection have been made, and thus if you snooze you undeniably lose. A handful of copies are available from the publisher direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the rest of you screwballs, a book launch will take place in an unidentified East London boozer in March 2014, with an as yet unidentified line-up of readers, strippers, fire-eaters, jugglers,blue comedians, and other assorted cabaret acts. Stay tuned to this blog for further details of the BIG NIGHT. Thirty copies of the book will be made available for purchase for one night only, the night of the launch of A Child of the Jago!
I know fiends, March is a long way away and plenty of you will be suffering from chewed fingernails and sleepless nights, waiting and wondering, and then waiting and wondering some more, but think of it like this, it’s only sixty or so days away, only 1440 hours before you are able, if lucky, to get your sordid mitts on the sexiest book since the biography of Mary Millington.
Now, get yourself a double pie and mash from Manzes, plenty of liquor, some jellied eels, cockles, whelks, winkles, and some 8% ABV London Porter and sit back and listen to the finest festive record ever made. After all it is Christmas!
December 21st 2013*