By way of introduction to his latest release David Mead, a.k.a. Scroobius Pip, says 'I never read much poetry as a kid.' So it may seem strange that the boy with the stutter from Stanford Le Hope has seen destiny make the spoken word, and poetry, Pip's chosen field. There is no vinyl, disc or MP3 file (Or collaboration from is bedecked partner Dan Le Sac) involved here though. This is Pip's first, somewhat apprehensive, venture into the world of book publishing. Pip has at times struggled with the concept of publishing his poetry as he can rarely be found ready others. He had reservations along the lines of...'There's no poetry out there worth ME reading but YOU should definitely read mine.' Pip prefers to hear his fellow poets live at open mic nights, as long as they're reading their own compositions and not talking through his.

Having once been given a philosophy essay, in the form of a short comic, at a gig, Pip's concept for the book was born. After asking for contributions (via his MySpace page) from world-wide artists to illustrate selected poems, Pip was to find the experience both amazing and humbling. From 2007, when the request went out, until Scroobius had meticulously looked through each of the submissions, the book began to take shape and he realised 'What a great collection (Of entries) I had amassed.'Some of the artists in question have studied Art, Graphic Design and Illustration at such institutions as Manchester Metropolitan University, School Of Design In New York and Lincoln University. Their monikers of choice are curiosities in themselves and deserve checking out, 'Pigflaps', the night time crime fighter and 'TheCowPatLicker' in particular. Each has submitted a piece of art to represent a Scroobius Pip piece, the only stipulation being that it be original, and contain the lyrics to each chosen composition unabridged.

The art to accompany the poetry and songs is diverse and deserving. Influences and styles range from Roy Lichtenstein, Barbara Kruger, Peter Blake and Banksy to those of The Simpson's, South Park, Akira, Dick Tracy, Sin City and the Grange Hill opening credits. Nick Frost, who forewords the book calls it an 'Avatar for the Hip-Hop generation.'

Pip's book takes you on a journey of his discovery from school days, questionable career advice, music store, 'Rat Race', mundanity, creative infancy, through to touring the country in his 1987 Toyota Space Cruiser and his biggest breakthrough courtesy of 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'. Scroobius accompanies each work with a small explanation about how his, often biographical, words came about and also the reasoning behind the selection of each of the art works.

The verbose, sometimes vitriolic, social commentator and urban orator of wonderfully observed slices of life has combined his own comedically deft, often striking and pertinent scribblings together with a fabulous collection of art from fans and artists who understand, and are in-tune with, the very essence, sentiment and emotion of his work. The wordsmith and scribe of the street is a truly magical manipulator of the spoken word and has no doubt opened up an arena of artistry previously hidden, or alien, to some of his ever growing audience. As he says....'I truly believe that any medium that can ignite an interest in something, for someone who might otherwise have been out of reach is perfectly valid.'

The eloquent Essex boy done good. Volume II can only be a matter of time, especially as his second album with Dan Le Sac, 'Logic Of Chance', has been recently released and provides further fruitful artistic manifestations in the making.

Andrew Lockwood.

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