Scottish born and father of 3, BBC Presenter, Political Editor, Ex-Newspaper Editor, Historian and Poetry boffin, Andrew Marr thrilled the 500 plus people inside the Cathedral as he came to promote his new book “We British: The Poetry of the People”. The event was hosted by Topping & Company.
The enigmatic character of BBC’s political program, The Andrew Marr show where he gets to tear through politicians and seek the real truth about how the UK is governed showed the audience why he is the right man to guide people through the past history of Britain in the poetry written by the famous and not so famous people who have past before us.
He read lots of excerpts from the book, more often than not mimicking the character that wrote it.
This is the story of Britain told from inside. Hundreds of thousands of Britons over many centuries have left traces of what it was like to be them – letters, drawings, text messages, emails and social network exhibitionism. But unlike texts, emails or television, poetry allows people from distant times to talk directly to us, with nobody else getting in the way: a mediaeval ploughman, a Tudor drunk or a jilted Georgian woman can look us in the eyes.
What follows, then, is not a history of Britain in verse, but an epic story of what it was to be “British” – which means Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Northumbrian, Mercian as well as English.
Combining some of the greatest of our poetry, including poems far too little-known, with explanations and brief historical essays, WE BRITISH amounts to a surprising, uplifting journey towards a new way of thinking about who we have been and who we are.
Marr was more than happy to take questions from the audience including one about how we could change the world, to which he responded, “Well I’m glad you asked something simple to end the evening”.
A copy of the book can be bought and pre-signed by Andrew Marr at Topping & Company, Ely