Read Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos

27 July 2017

Extracted from Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos. The album of the same name by Kate Tempest has been shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize. 

The squats we used to party in
            are flats we can’t afford
The dumps we did our dancing in
            have all been restored
 
Pints are up two quid
            the staff are beautiful and bored
You think it’s coming round here?
            It’s falling on its sword.
 
It don’t feel like home no more
            I don’t speak the lingo.
Since when was this a winery?
            It used to be the bingo.
 
I’ve walked these streets for all my life
            they know me like no other.
But the streets have changed.
            I no longer feel them
                                    shudder
 
                                    Alright alright, I get the gist.
 
            Whose city is this?
 
It doesn’t want me no more.
I’ve had a glimpse
            into the future.
It stinks.
 
            London’s a walled fort,
            it’s all for the rich,
            if you fall short you fall.
You know where the door is.
 
            Board up the broken,
 
do it up,
            sell it back
 
make it bespoke.
 
                    It’s all out in the open.
 
            It’s fine, man,
            hike the price right up
and smile with your friends
            in the posh new nightclubs.
 
My streets have been dug up.
            Re-paved.
 
                    New routes for commuters.
 
           The landscape has changed
 
I’m looking for the old tags,
           the graffs that once meant
                    safe territory
 
but it seems
           every hieroglyph gets whitewashed
                                                        eventually.
 
 
The musical publishing rights to the album Let Them Eat Chaos are owned by Domino Publishing Company Limited.
 

This extract is taken from Kate Tempest's new long poem, written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize. 

As Kate describes it, 

This is not a transcript of the album, but a companion to it, in the same way that the text of Brand New Ancients works as a companion to a performance piece. I enjoyed the challenges of asking the page to support the words and asking the words to support themselves without music. I hope the poem works as a poem, and holds its own.’
 

Let Them Eat Chaos is a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year. 

Let Them Eat Chaos

Let Them Eat Chaos

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE

Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a moving play for voices. Seven neighbours inhabit the same London street, but are all unknown to each other. The clock freezes in the small hours, and, one by one, we see directly into their lives: lives that are damaged, disenfranchised, lonely, broken, addicted, and all, apparently, without hope. Then a great storm breaks over London, and brings them out into the night to face each other - and their last chance to connect. Tempest argues that our alienation from one another has bred a terrible indifference to our own fate, but she counters this with a plea to challenge the forces of greed which have conspired to divide us, and mend the broken home of our own planet while we still have time. Let Them Eat Chaos is a cri de coeur and a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.

Read extract  

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