Sometimes when I walk into work I hear Martha and the Muffins. I wonder if Liz Bennett (AKA Big Bad Betty) hears Leadbelly. Maybe not, perhaps she’d rather stay with the beach theme.
I cannot say I know Bad Betty well, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’d say she was a straight arrow ready to snap, a thrown brick about to crumple, or an unpulled punch about to gently stroke your face. There’s a kind of paradox of directness and tenderness in the way that Liz relates to you and what her work presents.
Who else would tell you that you have a:
… what a success
your soul is empty
… what a shame.
I’ve only seen Bad Betty perform once, at a recent Jam Jar slam and I’d say it was one of her first experiences sharing her work in a forum like that. There was a rawness and an openness in her performance that, for me at least, signals that someone is taking a new and calculated risk as an individual and as a writer. I’ve never felt more sick than the first time I read a poem in public. I’ve also never felt more alive.
Liz’s work is grounded in the far more collapsible empire of contemporary suburban barbarism. Harshly observant and critical, yet bleakly personal, I’ve had the pleasure recently of reading some of Liz’s work and I’m delighted that she has agreed to be a part of Words or Whatever on Friday night at Blackstar. I hope she feels more alive than sick.
I’m assuming she writes because she has to, and that if she was one for doling out advice, she’d tell you to write if you had to and don’t be afraid to bear your soul.
She tells me that it is not a catharsis but a release of thoughts that swirl through the grey matter usually between 4 and 5 AM whilst in the company of dogs.
Liz is not much one for this whole interview bullshit, so I’ll leave it here and instead take 2 quotes from one of her inspirations Myles Na Gcopaleen/Brian O’Nolan, which seems surprisingly fitting as a way to let you know what to expect from Liz on Friday night:
Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular, and by nature it is interminable, repetitive, and nearly unbearable.
I am completely half afraid to think.
Liz (AKA big badbetty )is a middle aged housewife from the suburbs who lives a life of so called domestic bliss that involves juggling many children, cooking many meals, and working too hard paid and unpaid. Sounds familiar ? She sees herself as an observer of life and has worked in many varied and unusual settings to equip her with the material she writes about. Liz believes that there are no limits as to what she writes about and makes no apologies to those she may offend.
Writers who have inspired her are Dylan Thomas, Myles Na Gcopaleen, John Cooper Clark, and the Sex Pistols.