AN EVENING WITH SCROOBIUS PIPWaterstones @ Leaf
Most people will know SCROOBIUS PIP as the gritty spoken word artist whose songs with Dan Le Sac – Thou Shalt Always Kill, Introdiction and Get Better – still resonate with the British psyche today. After gaining notoriety he went from playing Britain’s back rooms and open mic nights right the way through to Glastonbury. From working in HMV to signing record deals, Pip (real name David Meads) has managed to achieve what very few do: crack the music industry while maintaining artistic integrity. Within recent years, however, Pip has taken a hiatus from the music and turned his hand to pretty much everything else, including acting, running a record label and hosting his own radio show. Most recently, he’s seen his Distraction Pieces Podcast blossom from a pastime to a fully blown podcasting network.
Over the last two years, Pip has managed to interview everyone from comedians and actors to political activists and victims of some of the worst atrocities known to man, and has shown quite a flair for teasing out the human moments in all the stories that he encounters. Having compiled the best of the podcast into his latest book Distraction Pieces – which comprises sections on mental health and death, taken from conversations with people from all backgrounds and walks of life – the plethora of experiences that Pip has had through his life, make for an insightful read. So, it seems fitting that the launch of this book sees Pip turn the tables and let the public ask their questions.
So it’s with some excitement we are gathered here tonight. Having previously spoken of the very real issue of Liverpool’s lack of support for its music scene, it seems that Pip’s comments have provoked a response, with the event selling out way in advance. Whether this is out of spite or Scousers finally taking notice of Pip’s criticism, it’s great to see a packed room. Arriving onstage to a relaxed applause the event seems initially like a casual meeting of friends. The spoken word artist’s humble and modest demeanour sets the room at ease as he talks candidly with his extremely knowledgeable interviewer Jamie Bowman, who seems to be able to reference everything that Pip says back to some chapter of the book. His tales come thick and fast, and subject matters fluctuate in mood violently between surreal tales of being on Guy Ritchie’s set, Tom Hardy in the middle of Snowdonia being filmed by helicopter, to the topic of drugs and the issues with drug legislation within the UK. Perhaps the most hard-hitting and memorable discussion of the night arrives with the topic of his Housing For Women special podcast, in which he discusses the harsh and often hidden truth of human trafficking. The importance of the uncensored podcast format hits hard, as the programme would’ve been censored if it was intended for network broadcast.
With Pip inviting the audience onstage to ask their own questions it’s interesting to see the vast amount of subjects that he’s able – and willing – to talk coherently on. He draws one final hearty applause with his unabashed thoughts on shit-rag The Sun, and with that the contented audience forms a signings queue that snakes round the room, everyone feeling slightly more enlightened.