After a three year break from touring, it was a delight to see the return of poet Tony Walsh, known to many as ‘Longfella’ (he is 6ft 5″) back on stage this week. A debut jaunt over to Preston’s finest music venue The Ferret and another school night outing for me, but well worth the drive to see one of the UK’s finest spoken word artists doing what he does best.

Fresh from playing Blackpool the night before, where he received a standing ovation, it is clear to see why Tony has become one of the nations favourites. The evening was a rollercoaster of emotions and the audience were encouraged to partake in a journey that went from hysterics to heartbreak and back again. The poems do resonate with many, and the topics remain loyal to Tony’s working class upbringing which he talks about candidly throughout the evening. From love to loss, world wars, sex, rock and roll, kids, depravity, families and frivolity, it is a pure adrenaline rush of emotion and you cannot simply describe the mix as a collection of poetry and do it justice, it is so much more than that.

Tony briefly touches upon the poem that thrust him into the limelight in the most tragic of circumstances, we all know the one, yet before that tragic period, another poem, representing the struggles of teenage pregnancy was the one he was known for, and it is a beautiful, heartbreaking tale of a young mum with limited vocabulary trying to express herself inarticulate, yet with meaning. ‘A Girl, Like, Y’Know’ tells one young woman’s story, and never has minimal vocabulary been so powerful.

A personal highlight, and one that certainly packed a punch, was ‘www.walnutwhipped.co.uk’ (give it a whirl on google!) is a hysterical encounter of a man tortured with confectionary, and yes it is a bizarre as it sounds but it is clever and despite its ridiculous nature, something that is most likely lurking on the dark web somewhere…(not sure what flavour monster munch, will ask Tony next time I see him…). Proving he really does “put the KY in kinky” (you had to be there – and if you weren’t, make sure you are next time!)

All of these tales can be found in Tony’s book ‘Sex & Love & Rock & Roll’. More information of Tony’s books and tour dates can be found on his official website HERE