Mr Philip Ridley
Love, for Ridley twenty years ago as much as today (he announced in the final poem he is 'still that same boy') is brutal and beautiful, callous and hopeless, multicoloured and meaningless. The 'singer' of the songs doesn't want his beloved to leave him anything in rememberance of their affair, only 'a bottle of smoke' so he may 'choke' on it. Almost every aspect of a relationship is re-imagined as a chain of animalistic and fetishistic images. The foolishness of love and trying to encapsulate love is screamed from the rooftops in Ridley's coltish rhymes and fast metres, hammered home with his no-bullshit humour.
This performance, first devised while he was a student at Saint Martin's College of Art, must have been the calling card that launched Ridley's polymath talents into the world, and it now serves him and the Soho Theatre very nicely as a supporting piece and advertisement for his new play. His storebank of images is as surprising and delightful as his 'proper poet' contempories Carol Ann Duffy and Selima Hill, but Ridley is unconfined to the page and to the rules of the page: at times his wordplay skims the register of the angst-ridden adolescent or hopeless romantic. His cheekiness belies a true artist at work, sweating humanity; like the anxious speaker of one of his poems, whose love has him sewed up at every orifice, I hope Philip Ridley never comes apart at the seams.