Sam Berkson - AKA 'Angry Sam' - Performs 'Ode To The Bicycle' Ahead Of 'Life In Transit' Book Launch Party (IVIDEO)

14/11/2012 12:13 | Updated 14 January 2013

Sam Berkson - or 'Angry Sam' as he's known on the circuit - is one of London's best-known and admired performance poets, the host of lauded poetry night Hammer and Tongue and a teacher.

And as of tomorrow, he'll also be an author.

Life In Transit, his debut collection, explores the experience of using public transport 'in neoliberal Britain'.


Fully of bite, beauty and wit, the poems ponder protesting the third runway at Heathrow, questioning Tannoy announcements in railway stations and why we should celebrate cycling in a piece called Ode To The Bicycle, which you can watch being performed exclusively for HuffPost UK above.

To launch of Life In Transit, an event is taking place on Thursday 15 November in London that will include performances from performance poetry legends Dizraeli, Zena Edwards and of course Sam himself.

For more information on the event and how you can attend, check out the official website.

Ode to the bicycle by Sam Berkson

(around London; Hackney mainly)

To you who dispute its backwardness
know that we ride bikes for a reason;
they take us places we want to go.
Bicycle, we show little respect
for traffic lights. Do not expect us
to wait for the programmed apparatus
to pace through its lollipop functions;
while handbraked engines growl at empty junctions,
we wobble wander onwards towards our goal.

Besides, bicycle,
our internal combustion takes energy too.
Our thighs and calf muscles must consume their carbon,
and energy costs money, remember?
Grant us a few yards before the cars barge past us.

What's more, bicycle,
despite the slanders,
each little gliding cyclist
is one less terrible tonne of metal
in which to thump hard fist on blaring horn
and stamp the brake pedal.
We are not afraid of thudding motorists
we take our own risks and plot our courses

There are obstacles of course.
A cavalry of Clarkson readers mounted on their high horse;
we must weave between them carefully;
and the uniformed infantry
slow of thought and quick to parry pencils threateningly.
They tick the boxes, maintain their force.

And there are traitors on our side too.
Lycra-d arses spoil the view
above my rams horn handlebars, trembling,
ever watchful, they try to steal a march on you
and in a feverish fit of fixie frenzy,
fight to be first in queue
at traffic lights.
Go-getter fitness freaks resembling;
cyclists, you know I'll always defend you, right?
But some pedalists are just posh knobs with a trendy bike.

Think not of them, bicycle, you have your beauty too.
See two fair creatures cuddling at a lamppost
- let me be your hype man, it's my duty to

be your boom, your bap, your bars and toast.
Headphoneless, I rap you tuneless numbers:
down slopes, I freestyle inspiration to take us forward;
uphill, I unpick thoughts that still encumber us -
whereas two cars tangled together
just look a little awkward.

At night, when my mind's in other time,
you take me home in a waking dream,
sweet chariot of mine:
up towpaths, through parks and in an out of little streams
of late cars which fade in glowing taillights.
And should, sibling cyclist, our paths cross in the dark
and you recognise my style,
ring your bell, pass a word, or salute me with a smile.

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