A couple of weeks ago, I met up with the poet Michael Horovitz (who I previously blogged about here). Michael confirmed that he would be nominated for the prestigious Oxford Poetry Professorship, something the Guardian wrote about recently.
It would be wonderful if Michael took this position as he is quite unlike any of the other candidates and really would be a refreshing choice. If you are an Oxford graduate, you can vote for Michael by registering at the Oxford Poetry Election website.
My interview with the writer Michael Horovitz appeared in the Times on Saturday. You can read it here.
This piece had a curious gestation. I contacted Michael in December as part of my ongoing attempts to track down a lost London counterculture magazine of the 1970s to which Michael had contributed.
I asked him to help, and he said he would, but only if I first wrote a feature about him based on the many anniversaries he was about to celebrate, including his own 75th birthday. It was blackmail, but of the nicest sort because Horovitz is an extraordinary figure, who I had great fun interviewing and writing about. He also has a fridge packed with some of the most delightful cupcakes I have tasted in years (and I have tasted a lot of cupcakes). The piece then proved to be a surprisingly easy sell to the Times and has directly led to a couple of other pieces that are now in the pipeline. To all of which, I say ‘Hurrah!’
Michael has worked with artists and writers as distinct as William Burroughs, Paul McCartney, Lenny Bruce, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Joe Strummer, David Hockney, Peter Blake, Allen Ginsberg and Patti Smith, and of his many achievements, the one I sadly didn’t get space to write about in the Times was the part he played in the unexpected cultural renaissance of Kylie Minogue.
It was at one of Michael’s Poetry Olympics events at the Royal Albert Hall in 1996 that Kylie first shook off her Stock, Aitken and Waterman pop image when she performed a tongue-in-cheek spoken word version of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’. ‘Indie Kylie’, the NME star, was born.
Michael currently has an exhibition of his paintings on display at Art@42 in Notting Hill Gate until the end of April, and a documentary about his life was broadcast on Sunday on BBC Radio 4, which you can listen to here.