Archive Excavation – Page Match

As well as printed ephemera and audio-visual material, an archive often includes what’s known as realia, i.e: three-dimensional objects that don’t necessarily fit into any particular category. For the latest #ArchiveExcavation, we focus on a couple of items that well and truly put the G into re(g)alia: two things resembling leftovers from a wrestling-themed carnival-float. Dan Simpson, our former Digital Marketing Officer, tells their story…

100_52121Bang Said The Gun‘s second bout of the word-flinging, fighting-writing event Page Match brought together some of London’s top poetry collectives to battle it out for poetic bragging rights – and a gold spray-painted polystyrene belt. Staged at Camden’s Roundhouse – always a place that pushes the boundaries of spoken word events – a sold-out room witnessed a night of knock-out poetry, culminating in Apples and Snakes taking home the glory.

Apples and Snakes were asked along for a tag-team match-up, billed as ‘classical’ v ‘street’: Rachel Pantechnicon and I (in my Dandy Lion guise) v those bullying b-boys Angry Sam Berkson and Poet Curious. I wrote a white-boy-rap-style putdown piece about our opposition (reader, forgive me – I was an early career artist), but the killer blow came from Rachel: bringing out a rotary telephone and reading a poem sellotaped to it, mocking the newly-emerging trend of ‘I wrote this on the bus, so it’s on my mobile, sorry, hang on, here it is, oh wait, UNDO, sorry’ that was going round the circuit.


Dan’s banner from the previous Page Match (no, we didn’t get it either)

The other things I remember are Rob Auton‘s costume for his Ultimate Worrier character being a thing of cardboard genius, and a stage invasion that saw Mr Gee getting slammed into the floor and almost literally KO’d. Rachel and I took the belts back to the Apples and Snakes office and proudly displayed them for a few months. Then, like a speeded-up ‘time passing’ montage in a film: the sun sets and the once-luminous gold paint fades; it flecks and tarnishes as dust gets thicker with every passing month-moment; stuff is placed on the shelf in front of the belts until they’re obscured; and all you see is a corner of dulled fake metal.

It’s getting on for five years since Page Match II, and I’m glad Apples and Snakes have saved the belts. As I’ve said, they’re from a time when I was just starting out on the spoken-word scene, and – although memory has a habit of presenting the past through a gold-tinted filter – I remember the unbridled excitement and enthusiasm of doing something different and new with a super-talented bunch of poets that I looked up to.

100_5213Oh, and we didn’t get asked to defend the title at the next Page Match, so I reckon we’re still champions. Anyone fancy the challenge of word-wresting the belts from us?

Thanks, Dan. I’d love to make the obvious feeble joke about our office cleaners having taken the P, but you’ll see it’s the M and the G that’ve gone walkabout. Oh well. Anyway, you can read about what Dan’s up to these days at and you can find the Sabotage review of Page Match II here.

Don’t miss any of our exciting spoken word discoveries – follow #ArchiveExcavation to keep up to date with the latest Archive finds. The Spoken Word Archive is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Find out more about the Archive project, here.  

Interested in archiving?  Apples and Snakes is looking for archive volunteers to be part of our Spoken Word Archive project. You will be able to commit one day a week, tasks will include digitising audio-visual material, scanning and inputting data onto the archive website. Useful to have an interest in the history of spoken word, and a knowledge of digital technology. Contact Russell Thompson, Archive Coordinator for more information about the Spoken Word Archive and to register your interest.