“Rasta folkie”, Benjamin Zephaniah is a master of dub poetry - a fusion of dub music and spoken word over reggae rhythms - a playwright and, according to The Times, one of Britain’s 50 greatest post-war writers.
We caught up with Benjamin ahead of his debut at Latitude Festival, where he’ll be appearing in our Poetry Arena.
What latitude are you on right now?
Don’t know what the latitude is but I’m in Spalding, which is probably the same latitude as Latitude.
Who’s your must-see performance at Latitude this year?
Sorry, can’t answer this in one. Let me have Janelle Monae, Paul Weller, and Tony Harrison.
If any artist could do a guest appearance with you at Latitude who would that be and why?
Has to be Paul Weller. We’ve been on the scene for around the same time, we’re exactly the same age. I don’t understand why we haven’t at least been arrested together.
Tell us a surprising fact about you.
I’m a loser. I’ve never been to Latitude.
What’s been your weirdest festival experience?
I was booked to do Glastonbury. A couple of days before I was due to appear I got a call from them telling me they didn’t want me anymore because they didn’t book rappers. I tried to tell them I wasn’t a rapper but they wouldn’t have it. That was a long time ago. How things have changed.
Summarise Latitude in 7 words
Wicked and wild ina dread fine style. (Or so I’m told)
Fill in the gap: “Baa baa Latitude sheep, have you any…
…friends, if not don’t worry. I’m vegan.”