THE COLLOQUIUM FOR UNPOPULAR CULTURE presents:
UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE (dir. Anthony Wall, 1982) – rare screening of documentary portrait of dub poet Michael Smith, presented by Vivien Goldman
WHEN: Monday 6 March 2017, 6:45pm
WHERE: Room 674, 721 Broadway [at Waverly Place]
Free and open to the public.
Event page here
In his lifetime Jamaican dub poet Michael Smith (1954-1983) released only two singles and one Dennis Bovell-produced album. His sole poetry collection appeared after his death and is now out of print. Yet few of those lucky enough to have seen him perform live have forgotten the phosphorescence of his performances, the fire and finesse of his verses, the wit and charisma of his delivery. He was said to be a Rastafarian, an anarchist. Most of all he was a sound artist – building on the innovations of Oku Onuora, Mutabaruka and Linton Kwesi Johnson, but putting more emphasis on experiments with voice and texture. His death (though many claim he was assassinated after a clash at a political rally) is still keenly felt.
UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, very rarely screened in public, is a rich and many-layered document of Smith’s first visit to Britain. It shows him debating the merits of pioneering Jamaican poet Louise Bennett with Linton Kwesi Johnson and C.L.R. James in the latter’s bedroom; performing among the fruit markets and yam stalls in post-riot Brixton; reanimating Shelley’s Song To The Men of England at Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey; exploring the archives of slave-port city Bristol and meditating on imperial humiliation.
Michael Smith, Trainer
VIVIEN GOLDMAN is a journalist, broadcaster and post-punk musician; a compilation, Resolutionary, was released to widespread acclaim by Staubgold in 2016. A Londoner by birth, she wrote Island Records’ biography for Michael Smith on its release of in 1982. She teaches courses on reggae, punk, David Bowie, Fela Kuti and Bob Marley at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. The most recent of her five books is The Book of Exodus: The Making & Meaning of Marley’s Album of the Century (Three Rivers Press). She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.