Aka Billy Spakemon

Born in Oldbury in 1952 to a working class family who all, men and women, worked in one of the steel mills, which had engulfed the landscape from the early 20th century. From an early age he developed a fascination for language and storytelling. While brothers and cousins went out and played Dakin would listen to the ‘ode uns’ talk about their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents. Leaving home at 16 to play professional football with Swindon reinforced his love of his homeland. This passion found expression in writing that gradually gathered steam, and, under the tutelage of Dot Caxton resulted in a BA in Fine Arts as a Social Practice in which his work has become focused on language and identity.

Dakin has written hundreds of dialect poems, and numerous short stories. As Billy Spakemon, his lively and popular stage show sets his dialect verse to a musical background, where anything from a Gregorian chant to an Eminem rap track is used to accentuate the rhythm of the Black Country dialect. The effect is stunning. His work has been published in Raw Edge and The Black Country Bugle and he has made numerous appearances on Carl Chinn’s radio show.  He has appeared on BBC 1 in Inside Out and was filmed for the pilot of a quiz show in 2005.  Never Mind The Full Stops made it to BBC Four in May 2006 with Billy and Greg stokes appearing in show 2. Billy took part in the BBC’s voices project, representing the Black Country with Greg Stokes, Brendan Hawthorne, and Gary O’Dea.

In 2005 he set up the Creative Co-operative with Gary O’Dea and Greg Stokes and put on the successful Alternative Black Country Night Out.  A second co-operative RoosterKateSpake (with Laurence Hipkiss) was formed to promote spoken word performance in Dudley.  After Greg Stokes’ departure, Brian set up the Ommer and Chain club at the Holly Bush in Cradley with Hipkiss later in 2007 as a platform for a fusion of folk and spoken word.

A collection of his dialect verse, Chant of the Mutha Tung was published by the Kates Hill Press in 2002, Cor Yow Shurrup a Minit Billy! followed in 2006:  Billy produced a CD The Graiyte Eskairpe in 2005 followed by Sailskin Jones and a Boowt Load Moowa in 2006.  A third collection of Billy’s dialect poetry Tummy Jones – Odebury Mon was published in 2007.  Echoes of Foiano Di Valfortore, co written with Angelo Guidotti, was published in 2008.

 

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