A brief notice (shouldn't be more, as I took part therein) of the Sub
Voicive Tribute to Richard Caddel Camden People's Theatre, London, 9 vi 2003
(I took no notes, and went to the pub afterwards, so this is all rather
Unfortunately advertised readers Kelvin Corcoran and Roy Fisher were unable
to appear; but their absence was compensated for by a 15-minute video
recording of Richard reading.
Lawrence Upton, who compered, opened explaining the nature of the event.
Clive Bush opened by reading the Weardale section of "Caddel's "Fantasia on
the English Choral Tradition", setting a style in that he (as everyone else)
made no attempt to echo or shadow Caddel's quite distinctive reading manner.
The revoicing of a piece as seemingly specific to its author's voice as the
"Fantasia' I found exciting; the readings of Caddel's work alone would have
made the evening worthwhile. Clive went on to read a long poem, one of a
series to be published shortly, deriving from paintings by Poussin; a
reading of great clarity, with evident resonances.
John Seed followed, reading first a selection from Caddel's "Ice Berg Tip
Poems", as first published in the Grosseteste Review. I greatly enjoyed
hearing them voiced with a Northumbrian accent... John went on to read his
poem on the view from Ric Caddel's (Durham) kitchen window, along with a
couple of others from his first books published by Ric & Ann's Pig Press.
He concluded with a chance juxtaposition, a poem by John Riley, "Memoriam",
from the same issue of Grosseteste Review as the Ice Berg Tip Poems.
I read next opening with an Old Welsh adaptation from the JACKET 22 Tribute
edited by Peter Quartermain (<http://jacketmagazine.com/22/caddel.html>) and
then some sections from UNHEALED, a work-in-progress focussing on the Gulf
"War" likewise drawing on Old Welsh originals (an unlikely interest we
shared); and I finished with my favourite of Ric's "Rigmaroles", one indeed
of my favourite poems.
Peterjon Skelt's video of Caddel reading at the 1991 launch of PROSPECT INTO
BREATH was a delight, even taking into account the poor-quality sound -
early days for that technology. (I understand it may be possible to tidy it
up a little.) Richard-back-in-1991 spoke briefly about being interviewed,
read the "Rigmarole: Night-Driving in Correze", dedicated to Lucy Caddel
(she was in the audience for this reading), and concluded with the
theme-and-variation sequence "Ground".
This was followed into a break, and Ken Edwards opened the second half
reading Caddel's sequence "Baltic Coast". (Ken had once depped for Richard
at a festival in Lithuania...) Again it came across well in a "new" voice,
despite being tricky to read. Ken followed with a piece "Radio". from his
Pig Press book, INTENSIVE CARE. Perhaps it was just context, but I suddenly
heard shared formal concerns/structuring modes with some of Ric's work...
Ken concluded with the last part of his solo (or multi-voice) piece "Glory
Boxes", a fine book that seems to lack a publisher. A surprise encore was
Ric's pasquinade on anthologies.
Allan Fisher concluded, reading atmospherically from enlarged A3 sheets the
whole of Ric's early book "QUIET ALCHEMY". This was an intriguing choice;
certainly I never heard Ric read work this early in date. But Allan voiced
it very much in his own way - using different registers or speeds to
allocate multiple voicings or display other formal concerns. I enjoyed it
very much, and found it extremely illuminating. We should perform one
another's work more often than we do, if it can be this interesting.
Lawrence made the necessary closing remarks, and some of the assembled
company went round the corner to drink wishy-washy southern beer.
A good evening, I thought.