Tuesday, 14 September 2010


what does he mean?
does he know how much of an insult that is?
i mean, i know the guy and its a great review one of my best
with my plank review this has been my best town for reviews
in fact west of the rockies has been good for reviews
but Hippie?
he calls me a Hippie
cos its written by Peter Birnie and i like the guy
every year we chat about shows and stuff
but really
tear the show to shreds
call me an amateur
give my story away
tear me to even smaller shreds

You can burn my house,
Steal my car,
Drink my liquor
From an old fruitjar.
Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes.
Well you can do anything but
So here's the review
Genius of Jem matched by gems from Samurai

Shifting gears after years of giving us performance-poetry gems, Jem Rolls simply relates his adventures as a participant in the 1990 Poll Tax Riot in London. Although this hour of storytelling isn’t in the same complex world of wordplay as the Rolls rants we’ve come to love over the years, it’s still a rich and poetic trip through this man’s magnificent mind.

No fan of Thatcherism and its Dickensian distaste toward the poor, Rolls marches up Whitehall toward Trafalgar Square with tens of thousands of like-minded Brits. Blocking their way is the war machine of all modern urban police forces, praying for provocation so heads can be busted and headlines written for Rupert Murdoch about evil anarchists tossing bricks and bottles.

Rolls has already related his fascinating family history, a mixture of Jews and Methodists with lots of cops in the clan, so it’s then fascinating to hear how this big hippie pacifist passed on the violence and focused instead on simply pissing off the bobbies by staring them in the face and asking, “Were you a bully in school?” The result is both terrifying and hilarious and, as always, filled with so much physical action that Rolls is drenched in sweat by the end.

SO ... that's ... not bad
And below is the Plank review. Plank being an online culture thing. Not at all bad in its way. Though one can never be sure online reviews have any significance at all
One Man Riot: like an elephant in heat
Gloria Davies
One Man Riot is an autobiographical monologue that reveals the roots of Jem Rolls’ performance poetry and spoken word activism. Rolls’ epiphany came during the 1990 Poll-Tax riot in London, where he was swept up by the crowd and found himself facing a line of riot police wielding clubs and shields. Instead of meeting violence with violence Rolls chose to hold up a mirror, in which each man on the line could see himself reflected.
As Rolls tells it, this was a tremendously empowering experience. As he portrays it, in this one-man tour-de-force, it’s a breathless chase through the streets of London, fueled by rage, confusion, solidarity and exhilaration.
As he charges forward with his manically graphic narrative, Rolls takes time to segue into a little genealogy, which surprisingly reveals that he hails from a long line of policemen. An interesting tidbit that figures later in the story.
Rolls is a big man – 6+ ft. With arms and legs akimbo, a plastic and expressive countenance and the super-charged energy of an elephant in heat, he conjures the madness of the moment. Rolls’ trademark raucous humor forms the bedrock of what would otherwise be a somber piece, transforms it into a mad romp, and takes the audience along for the ride.
For anyone who gives a damn, and chooses to declaim in the face of oppression.

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