I recommend Scroobius Pip to Heddwen. Well, I recommend Scroobius Pip’s oeuvre to Heddwen. I’ve only met him very briefly (having queued to do so) and there’s not much point recommending him as a person because I don’t think Heddwen and Pip will ever bump into each other at a party. I would be very jealous if proven wrong.
I recommend Pip’s oeuvre to Heddwen because she enjoys performance poetry, and Pip is by far the best spoken word artist I have ever heard, seen, or smelled. His work is completely accessible but still has remarkable depth and emotional resonance. He addresses dark themes with tenderness, poignancy and humour, but he can also get you dancing around rapping to yourself, slightly sozzled as you clean the kitchen at 2AM.
Pip’s versatility is unique. While most musicians can play stripped back sets and alternative arrangements of their songs, that’s nothing on the transformation Pip’s words undergo. I’ve seen him live in several different settings. At Latitude he performed an intense spoken word set to a packed out tent and was the perfect end to a great weekend. I enjoyed it so much that I held onto the same weak bladder that caused me to miss Simon Amstell the day before and waited until the very end before I sprinted off to the porta-loo. At Reading festival he performed with his backing band and the tent, rather than being silently spellbound, was a mass of moshing and Pip’s performance was bursting with raw energy. Then, with the same material as Latitude and Reading, his Edinburgh Fringe show was theatre, stand-up, and spoken word all rolled into one. This is down to the power of his writing, his impressive sense of performance, and an unrivalled ability to adapt.
As well as his constant touring, he does a lot of different things. He releases rap albums, he runs his own record label, he makes his own music videos, has hinted at screen-play writing and he makes his own excellent podcast, which deserves its own post and will probably get one. His interaction with his fans is interesting – he is a DIY success story and maintaining a relationship with his fans is an important part of that. The best example of this is his spoken word graphic novel Poetry in (e)motion which is full of brilliant, idiosyncratic artwork all sourced from his talented fan base back in the days of Myspace. My signed copy puts my Pip doodle to shame, but that’s not very difficult.