Billy Childish stages London book burning in protest against Penguin

Singer/artist ignites copies of his poetry book

Billy Childish held a book burning session last night (January 21) in London in response to receiving a cease and desist order from publishers Penguin.

The musician/artist had received the order due to illegally using the publisher’s Classics cover design on his latest poetry book ‘The Un-Corrected Billy Childish’.

Reading a selection of his poetry, including poems ‘Only Poets Piss in Sinks’ and ‘Fat Nature’, Childish – of cult band The Buff Medways – also sang an a capella version of ‘The Bitter Cup’ at the event, which was staged at the L-13 gallery in Clerkenwell.

In between the poems Childish entertained the crowd with stories about wearing fake moustaches and a homburg during the days of punk, saying, “I was one of the only punk rockers who would wear shorts.”

He also took time to talk to the parents of a baby who was gurgling throughout the reading, discussing his own newborn child with them.

After the reading Childish led the crowd outside the venue to gated yard where a silver burning bin was set up. When the bin was lit he began to unwrap the unsold brown paper covered editions of his book and placed them in the fire.

After burning the books Childish invited the crowd to offer up their own books for burning, and was handed the Penguin Classic copy of the Communist Manifesto to place in the fire, whilst a man in the crowd played the song ‘Fire’ by Crazy World of Arthur Brown on his iPhone.