12 THE STAR www.thestar.co.uk Saturday, August 21, 2021 Music with Chris Hallam Poems by Scott shine a light on Steel City oet Adrian G R Scott said: “It must have been about three years ago that I decided that I wanted to write a collection of poems about Sheﬃeld, where it’s going and where it’s been.” Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with Scott, a Sheﬃeld-based poet, painter, photographer and an all around creative extraordinaire. He’s just released a collection of poems called, Made in Sheﬃeld, alongside the musician Andy Selman. There’s a depth and a sincerity in Adrian’s tones, something which eﬀortlessly intertwines itself into the spoken word that’s further punctuated by the instrumental riﬀs and backing audio additions courtesy of Selman. “The thing about poetry is often that you want it to be heard, you don’t want anything cluttering it up,” said Adrian in a recent interview. “I started reading them at diﬀerent gigs and events. Andy Selman, he’s in my wife’s band, approached me at a gig in Crosspool, and he asked ‘how would you feel if I put some music to your poems?’ I was delighted”. “It was a bit of a risk, but since we were in lockdown and we didn’t have anything better to do. "So I’d send a poem, well, record it and then it would go oﬀ and Andy would work on it. "Then he’d send it back to me with an accompaniment.” Made in Sheﬃeld is a delightfully intriguing poetic journey, a swaying unveiling of feelings, oftdeconstructed musings, elaborate expositions of perspective, discovery and an underlying love for all that encompasses the city that he grew up in, but didn’t really ‘see’ until much later on. Something he P openly discusses as we make our way downstream along the River Rivelin, with the dog leading the way. “I was a little apprehensive about how it would work out but as each poem came back, I was taken aback. "I was astonished at how much it had augmented the poem, and that it made it a more powerful experience to listen to.” Our conversation ﬂowed with iridescent tones, against the backdrop of Rivelin’s green hue, and Adrian – stick in hand – spoke of his travels, his adventures, his work for Rites of Passage that seeks to positively and spiritually guide people, embracing vulnerability, all of which parlays into his poetry. We discussed mental health, it’s lingering impacts, how we cope (or rather don’t) when it comes to losing control, direction, purpose. As well as faith and its eﬀect on Adrian, he had almost pursued a devoutly diﬀerent path to the one he is on now. We discussed some of the poems on the album, Sheﬃeld as I See It, a sub-10-minute number that pulls out the history of the city from beneath the city’s contemporary look that many of us a familiar with, “under the city’s skin, veins of remembering, some varicose and sclerotic”, for all the change that may occur on the surface the soul of the city, its past, is but a layer of tarmac away, where “there are cobbles on Sheﬃeld’s streets”. Seeking Asylum is one that stands out. Perhaps it’s the subject matter. It’s the ﬁrst clear display of vulnerability, perhaps a bit of guilt and frustration as well, “I’m sure some people will be thinking, who the f*** does he think he is, what Poet Adrian Scott, a man who cares, at home in the Rivelin Valley. Made in Sheﬃeld is a’ delightfully intriguing poetic journey’. does he know, why is he writing a poem about asylum seekers?” But simply put it’s because he cares. That much is clear in the passion displayed throughout his spoken word, our conversation as we walked along the steadily ﬂowing Rivelin. Sometimes you can merely empathise, care, question, try to understand without having to justify why, even if troubled migration hasn’t personally impacted him, it has had an eﬀect… so he’s chosen to speak on the topic but most importantly he listens much more than he speaks. That is key. Sheﬃeld is absurdly rich in culture without the conﬁdence to discuss the sum of its parts, good and bad. Scott’s poetry discusses the past, our city’s present, all while pondering the future. It gives a perspective on things, which although they may diﬀer to mine, or to yours, I can’t help but feel that we’re all collectively enlightened both spiritually and intellectually as a result.