‘There are stories if you listen’ is one of the things we all need to hear. Kate Tempest puts her soul into every breath, capturing the presence of the hundreds before her. Meanwhile I’m sat at my laptop with Kate on Iplayer. I don’t watch, I listen and write. It’s as if i’m listening to a poetic lecture. What follows is how I felt about it.
People cheer as Tempest shouts ‘EUROPE IS LOST’, saluting that simple statement which rings loud in our hearts. She adresses the ones who forgot to vote in Brexit because they didn’t think anybody would listen. But equally these are the people who registered and voted in a General Election which took everyone by surprise. The youths are rising and want to be heard. Tempest slips anecdotes familiar to our own experience, engaging us in a dance with memory. She perfectly captures the tinder, tweeting, love seeking generation. The generation who have so much to give but struggle to find their path. In this way I say thanks to Kate Tempest for holding space for our worlds to be exposed. A world where we live in masks, but inside we are processing so much feeling.
‘The gods are at the doctors,
need a little something for the stress.
The gods are in the toilet,
having unprotected sex.
The gods are in the supermarket.
The gods are walking home.
The gods can’t stop checking Facebook
on their phones.
The gods are in a traffic jam.
The gods are on a train.
The gods are watching adverts.
The gods are not to blame.’
It feels as if I’m involved in a friendly, yet fierce, pep talk to the masses. In her last song, she reminds us ‘There is so much peace to be found in peoples faces’. This simple statement is situated in a song which encourages ‘more empathy, less greed, more respect.’In this moment we are reminded of our humanity. A moment which will be held with those present for the rest of their time.
In a time of political unrest, Glastonbury reminds you of what community feels like. Hundreds of people collect whilst they are engaged by performance. Thats what Kate Tempest delivers. Yet it is not contrived. She delivers a fine tuned picture of the reality the overworked and underpaid generation live. Kate Tempest has the ability to reach a diverse collective because she describes modern British life so well. For the youth that feel disconnected and lost in an individualised world, she speaks the words they didn’t know they needed to hear. Embracing sensitivity and at the very same time shouting about it. Not just with volume, but with absolute passion running through her veins.
It’s been a long time since a poet inspired me in this way. Inspired me to think about my history and the culture I have grown in. I always thought British people had such a confused identity. Tempest reminds me that identity is fragmented here. Her repetition of ‘lost’ echoes through my body. As someone who has felt that way and never been able to describe it, this poetry helps me. It reminds me that I am not the only one feeling alone. From the crowds engagement, the energy is transmitted through my screen. I feel togetherness.
It’s this kind of poetry which makes me feel that an awakening is happening. People are dissatisfied and in need of a release. Through Kate Tempests set they gather and purge themselves of their dislike for the social order. The plus side for me is that I learnt more today than I do at university.
Thanks for listening!
PHOTO CREDIT: Kate Tempest