Forgottenbee chats with Salford Poet JB Barrington @JB_Barrington



JB Crop mad manc

Photographs courtesy of © Shay Rowan Photography


ForgottenBeeBlog proudly gets to chat with the incredible Salford poet JB Barrington,  kindly making time during his UK tour to get into “mither” or “myther” with the Bee……JB talks about music and its effect on his poetry style, his first live performance, winning “Best Spoken Word” award, and his roots in Salford.

WARNING: Contains poems that rhyme (taken from JB Barrington’s book “Woodchip Anaglypta and Nicotined Artex Ceilings”).


FB   1/   JB, Welcome to Forgottenbee Blog First Question…At what point did you realise that you had a gift for poetry?


Ha ha to answer this question says I think I have a gift. Do I have a gift? I dunno, maybe. I think I must have something as people seem to like what I write which, essentially, makes it all kind of worthwhile. I actually started writing raps in the mid to late 80s. I was a fan of Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys and other such artists of the time but before that if we go back to 1979 and The Jam it was the album ‘Setting Sons’ and a song called ‘Little Boy Soldiers’ where I found myself, as an 8 year old, moved by the written word simply from reading the lyric sheet to the album. Further on from that I remember the lyrics to London 0 Hull 4 around 1986 and also Billy Bragg’s lyrics of the same time inspired me to write just as ‘Setting Sons’ had done. I wanted to create similar feelings with words of my own just as those albums and artists had done for me. As for realising a gift for poetry, if it is a gift! I would say around the late 80s then into the 90s as I started to play guitar and write songs. Writing is something I’d always done but mostly just either to a guitar or something tucked away in numerous books and shoved away under the bed. I never really thought anyone would be interested.


FB   2/   I’ve often noticed that musicians have a natural flare for poetry and indeed sometimes the two come together in a very powerful way such as with the ‘Sleaford Mods’ @sleafordmods. Are you musical in anyway?


I think I’ve just answered that. Yes, I can play guitar and have written lots of songs. I was doing this before I began performing poetry and before I began concentrating on just writing poems. For performance poetry I do think it helps to have some kind of rhythm, as my poems are quite rhythmic in their style of performance and having some kind of musical ability definitely helps. I think so anyway.


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FB   3/   You recently performed in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Does your Northern English dialect cross over well?

I’ve performed there twice and yeah I think so. There are certain words like ‘mither’ or ‘myther’ (never sure how you spell it) that some folk outside of Manchester don’t seem to get and I suppose there’ll always be slang words that don’t cross over but yeah seems to work ok. Dunno really, you’d have to ask someone from Edinburgh.


FB   4/   You are very proud of your Salford roots…What was Salford like to grow up in as a boy?

Simply wonderful. I grew up in a place called Little Hulton, which was essentially an overspill area of Salford in the early 60s. I was born in Hope Hospital in Salford but my Mam and Dad had moved to Little Hulton from Salford 4 years previous. Fantastic place full of character and plenty of colourful characters to go with it.


FB   5/   I admire your ability to stand up and perform poetry live. Do you remember the very first time you did this?

My first live poetry performance was upstairs in the theatre at the Kings Arms on the 9th March 2012. The night was called ‘Poems and Pints’ and it was organised by Paul Heaton and Zena Barrie. Bear in mind that one of my earliest influences and inspirations to write was Paul Heaton and the album London 0 Hull 4 and then for him to be sat in the audience as I did my first poetry performance !! That really was something else…. and yes I was nervous.


FB   6/   Any live performer takes that chance of being heckled. How do you deal with them?

Easy…I’ve got the microphone and I’m louder. They can be the funniest person in the world but nobody can hear ‘em.


Photographs courtesy of Shay Photography

Photographs courtesy of Shay Photography


FB   7/   Have “Words Escaped you” during a live performance?

It’s happened a few times yes where I’ve forgotten the next line or the opening line of a poem but it doesn’t happen that often.


FB   8/   Tell me what JB does to relax?

I don’t ….. it does my head in.



FB   9/   I see that your Salford show is a complete sell out. What do your supporters mean to you?

I feel blessed to have such great support and to know people enjoy what I do made and it’s all the more special knowing it’s in in my hometown of Salford.


FB   10/   Social Media… Do you find it an important tool to promote your shows and communicate with your fans?


I do yes although I do believe you can’t beat simply going out and performing live wherever and whenever you can.



FB   11/   You are involved with the brilliant “James Coburn and the Rum Bastards” film written and created by Nathan Cunningham that is still in its production stages. You performed a superb piece of contemporary poetry to the camera for this film. Will you be submitting more poetry to this project and or are you involved with other projects like this?


Yes. My role in the film is playing a poet (typecast or what eh?) In the film I’m writing a poem about the band and my storyline shows me researching the band. The few lines I perform as part of the trailer was written especially for it and it may be part of the finished thing….who knows?

Nathan Cunningham @LowGeese – In the film, JB’s poetry kind of tells the story of ‘James Coburn And The Rum Bastards’. Having a presenter, or narrator for a rockumentary is a little bit on the spotty student side so we wanted to do something different. JB’s a great performer so it’s going to be interesting to see him act too. He’ll be pleased to know that I’ve just binned a very homo-erotic love scene in which Vini Reilly from durutti column tries it on with JB after they’ve been chasing a chicken, naked, oiled up, down some back alley in Salford. Hahaha! Only messing. JB’s gonna be putting a big shift in for us and we’re all looking forward to it.

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FB   12/   Drum Roll………Congratulations on your award for the winner of “Best Spoken Word” award at Greater Manchester Fringe last year. No doubt a hugely proud moment for you. How did that award make you feel, and who would you most like to thank for helping you to achieve this prestigious award?


Yes, it was a proud moment…. I think the only thing I’d ever won before that was a Goldfish on Silcocks fair in 1978 and our kid flushed it down the bog. Seriously though yes it was a great moment. I went to Manchester with my girlfriend for the Fringe awards and I was up against a whole host of talented poets and Phil Jupitus. I didn’t think for one minute my show would win but it did. Obviously I’d like to thank everyone that came along to the show, Salford City Radio for their support and on-going support people like Zac Peach, Paul Sewell, Daz Earl and Tony Thornborough as they play my poems on their shows. Zena Barrie at The Kings Arms and Debbie Manley at the Fringe for their support not only for the show that won the award in 2014 but also my first Fringe show ‘Words For Class Heroes’ back in 2013. They’ve all been great.


FB   13/   You have a wonderful book of poetry available at the moment “Woodchip Anaglypta and Nicotined Artex Ceilings” one of which you recently sent me and is now a treasured possession. Where can your supporters get a copy of this from, and get to see you live?

Its available via the ‘buy book tab’ on my JB Barrington facebook page  plus you can always pick one up at a show.





FB – Here are two of my favourite poems from JB Barrington’s  book:



She holds his hand

He’s no longer as strong as what once he could be

They fell in love in Salford 1953

She holds his hand

His legs have grown weak on his feet he’s unsteady

She cleans him she feeds him she helps him get ready

She holds his hand

Never once does she wish to let go

Through the 65 years of blood sweat and tears

He’s the most wonderful man she’s ever known

She holds his hand

Just to make sure he’s alright

She sings him to sleep with a sweet kiss to keep

And she holds his hand all through the night

She holds his hand

Just like she did before

Time got the best of those pains in his chest

She’ll still hold his hand evermore.





We’ve saved all year and the time is here

for a fortnight sun aboard

It won’t be long before we’re on that plane

and when it lands we’ll all applaud

They’ll bus down top the local town

where the shops and bars are bigger

Where the olive skin trim from the gym

puts shame to o my faccid figure

The tanned up skin and whiter teeth

adorn the shimmering sands

I look like I’ve bathed in a bucket o’bleach

and just my teeth are tanned

And the bellies hang with the belly gang

over shorts that show short legs

We fall in love with the two for one

the sun and cheap cigarettes

And the English girl wants English beer

she wants Budweiser Becks and Stella

After egg & chips she grips her hips

to Flamenco for her fella

The observations form conversations

of who might be on them yachts

From the whites the blacks the thins the fats

the haves and the have nots

With studious looks we sift the books

at Carousel Karaoke Bar

Where every Mam and every Gran

thinks their horrible kid’s a star

Tracy’s up for the umpteenth time

she’s murdering Adele

By 1am when the morning comes

she’ll be gone like a bat out of hell

The northern folk crack smiles and jokes

with a sense of finesse and flair

Then the sound of the south with a massive mouth

pollutes what was a calm sea air

Sheila helps Joan try and work her phone

the stray cats get shooed away

As I burn my knees I catch a breeze

and try and make it last all day

To enjoy the heat with scolded feet

you’d have to be a Lizard

Drive me up the M62

drop me off in a Pennine blizzard

We’ve saved all year the time is here

so I’ll plaster on fake smile

Where the water gun and the blistering sun

are fun…..for a while



JB it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on ForgottenbeeBlog. I could ask you loads more questions, but “Words escape me….”


Inspiring Salford scribe,

visited Bee’s Hive

#6words #micropoetry


 JB Feb Mar Poster For Live Gigs

 Photographs courtesy of © Shay Rowan Photography @shayster57

Lovely stuff, touches heart strings and the odd raw nerve” – Johnny Vegas
“Brilliant and funny”Terry Christian
“Quality” – Peter Hooton (The Farm)

“Great Poems, Northern Class” – Steve Cradock (OCS & Paul Weller)

Twitter:    @JB_Barrington


WordPress Blog:



6 responses to “Forgottenbee chats with Salford Poet JB Barrington @JB_Barrington

  1. Great interview! So much respect for anyone that does live ‘spoken word’ …I wish I had the confidence to stand on stage & ‘speak’ my poetry, but without a band behind me I’m a shrinking violet!
    PS “with a whole host of talented poets …and Phil Jupitus!” Hilarious! 😀 x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David, totally agree about the ability to stand up takes a lot of belief and skill. Something I would love to do perhaps in the future who knows. Wonderful that you have such wicked talent and are able to use your music to do the same 🙂 X


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