The Library With Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Exclusive chat with Sam Duckworth

Sam Duckworth produces some of the most thought provoking music coming out of Britain today. Where many of his peers are concerned with the hems of their jeans and stains on their converse, Duckworth aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly battles racism with a keen poetic eye. His second album “Searching For The Hows And Whys” is released this week and is typically forthright with its world views. Albums standouts include “The Children Are (The Consumers Of) The Future”, while the whole work contains a keen social conscience.

A long term book worm, Duckworth agreed to a few probing questions on his reading habits…

I also have a small soft spot for wrestling autobiographies

Q – What’s your favourite book and why?

American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. Once you get over the intensity of the scenarios you start to relate to the social commentary that is scarily accurate 17 years on. The Bateman character can could easily describe many city workers in London, New York or other major world cities and the reader can easily relate to many of the elements that induce his psychosis.

Q – What other authors do you enjoy?

I’m a big fan of gritty fiction with strong socio-political overtones, so Brett Easton Ellis, Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk are mainstays. I also have a small soft spot for wrestling autobiographies – the first Mick Foley book is fantastic.

Q – What are you reading at the moment?

Purple Cow by Seth Codin

Q – What book made the biggest impact on you as a child?

Probably “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, it was my GCSE English text and the first book I really enjoyed. I wasn’t much of a reader until my late teens.

Q – Songs like “Call Me Ishmael” suggest a literary background. What impact do influences like these have on your work?

I love the imagery in Moby Dick and have a bit of a fetish for archaic nautical language. Books have an amazing power to captivate your imagination and cultivate strong mental images and this is something I have aspired to when writing lyrics.

Q – In the past you have spoken of your admiration of such singers as Billy Bragg and Woody Guthrie. To what extent do their writings inform your work?

The thing that impressed me most about Billy’s lyrics the first time I read them was his ability to challenge/describe an aspect of society in an intelligent way whilst using personal and colloquial language. His personality is so evident in the songs and its a lot easier to relate to what he is saying as a result. I also admire the directness of his and woody’s political messages. Sometimes its important to cut straight to the heart of the issue whilst at other times it makes sense to take a more subtle approach and both do this very well.

Q – You’ve been vocal in your support of anti-racism groups, and other political causes. How did you become involved with these causes?

I experienced a very small incident with racists about 4 years ago and was very shaken up by it. I felt compelled to do all i could to stop the bnp infiltrating into my town and my society. I got involved with love music hate racism at glastonbury 4 years ago and have been fighting the fight with them ever since. It was books like one no many yeses by paul kingsnorth that made me believe that i had the ability to be a part of change.

Q – What political writers do you read?

Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Stiglitz, Michael Moore and Paul Kingsnorth.

His personality is so evident in the songs

Q – If you could make a BNP member read one book, what would it be and why?

Either “A Long Walk To Freedom” by Nelson Mandela, because it exudes compassion, class and dignity, a few things they could do with learning, or the “Progressive Patriot” by Billy Bragg as it addresses the BNP’s fallacies directly.

Q – How do you think literature acquires timelessness?

By Connecting with peoples humanity, by emotionally inspiring them or by gripping them, shaking them up and leaving them thinking differently to how they did before they read the book.

Q – Would you ever re-read the same book?

Definitely, I think it’s important to, as with many things you miss a lot the first time around. It can also help to re motivate/challenge certain aspects of your life.

Q – Are there certain qualities you look for that would draw you to a book?

Strong characters but with room to create your own landscapes and have the ability to relate the character to your own life.

Q – Which character from literature have you most identified with?

“Ishmael” from Moby Dick, he is one of the great literary characters. Herman Meville was able to create a multi faceted character that dealt with many issues that affect us all, such as social class and gods.

Q – Are you ever tempted to write your own book? What would it be?

I don’t think I have the literary grounding to write a book but am currently keeping photo diaries which one day may be the basis for some memoires, but it’s a safe bet to say you won’t be reading much from me any time soon!

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