Photograph of the day – Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson pictured in Jan 2009 when he appeared as part of the Cathedral Quarter 'Out to Lunch' festival

Johnson is the second living poet to be published in Penguin Classic series and the only Black poet to be included in the list.

Having seen him perform live twice  i can’t recommend him enough. The inflection and rhythm of his words are difficult to categorise but his inclusion in the Penguin Classic series is praise enough. Listening to his mellifluous bass tones be it set to music or on his own, is an experience that i wish alot more people would share.

I particularly like his poem/song ‘Inglan is a bitch’ perhaps is most well known song.

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  • William Markfelt

    ‘listening to his mellifluous bass tones be it set to music or on his own, is an experience that i wish alot more people would share.’

    Type his name plus the word mediafire in the google search box.

    Up pops ‘Bass Culture’ and ‘Dread beat and blood’, should anyone feel desperate enough to share the experience 😉

    For me, he’s part of that post-punk era when things got interesting, as opposed to the chubby crayons in three primary colours of punk.

    Gang of Four, Linton, the Au Pairs, lots of sexual politics, ‘Riverside’ on BBC2 (I remember seeing David Sylain doing a solo acoustic guitar version of ‘Ghosts’ on that, much better than the mothership’s version). Start to factor in the likes of A Certain Ratio’s fractured funk, Shrieback’s spine being the bassline, etc, etc, etc, and it made for a very, very interesting period in music, poetry, design, art, politics.

  • Excellent – Loved the link to “Inglan is a bitch” my personal favourite is Time Come : also like It Dread inna Inglan

  • Nordie Northsider

    The man is a genius. Anyone audacious enough to rhyme ‘murderer’ with ‘furtherer’ is OK by my book. Incredible how wide his influence is. ‘Inglan is a Bitch’ is namechecked by Belfast’s Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, for example.
    The influence of West Indian dub on Modern Gaelic Poetry – discuss.

  • William i’m not sure i’ve heard some of the bands you name checked there….i guess i was punk lite 🙂

    By far and away the most interesting band from here at the moment and the best live band i have seen in a long time is And So I Watch You From Afar. Can’t recommend them enough, the interesting thing about them is that they don’t bother with words or any of that singing malarky, they come on and play hell for leather.Two guitars bass and drums. Great band

  • Agreed Nordie, his influence cannot be underestimated.
    I took this about 10 minutes before his performance at the Black Box (which was full to capacity). He came on stage just him, his words and a microphone. At one point i looked around at the other members of the audience who by and large were swaying in rhythm to his words.
    He is a captivating, inspiring performer and writer.

  • William Markfelt


    Google is your friend regarding some of those post-punk names.

    If you’re on a poetic trip, Atilla the Stockbroker comes heartily recommended. Same sort of furrow as Linton, but from a white, socialist, working class perspective. And in every joke, a jibe,

    I’ll take on board what you say about ‘And So I watch…; and investigate them. I’ve never heard of them, and they sound kind of interesting to me. Cheers!

  • Oh i Know John sorry Attila, he even used a shot of mine for one of his many self produced albums (bout 3 or 4 years ago)
    Heres a shot of ASIWYFA taken at their gig at the Ulster Hall last year which i think captures their energy

  • Colin Carberry

    I’m delighted to see LKJ on this site. I’ve been a fan of his for years now, and frequently take his Selected Poems down from my shelf and read along while listening to his classic dubs. A great poet and thinker.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I’d chime with the LKJ praise, fantastic man. ‘Reggae Sounds’ is hard to beat for evoking and heightening the power of the music through his lyrics.

    Getting away from his lyrics / poetry for a minute, as a dub fan (though no expert) I rate ‘LKJ In Dub’ from 1980 as probably the greatest dub album I’ve heard.

    Btw if anyone else is into that late 70s / early 80s era of Jamaica-meets-London dub reggae, can I recommend a compilation called An Even Harder Shade of Black. Has some great stuff from King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Jah Woosh etc, produced by Leonard Chin of Santic All Stars.