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Recommended: Ross Sutherland @ Shunt

by Nick Holloway

Quick fact about Ross Sutherland: one of his poems was on BBC2 the other day, being read by none other than Damian Lewis. Damian Lewis! The guy who played Dick Winters in Band of Brothers! Whose boyish good looks and talent for quiet understatement are wasted guest-presenting Have I Got News For You. The thinking woman's Joe McGann!!!

He didn't read it very well, though. Clearly Damian thinks so too: while the other poem he tackled - Himself by Anthony Anaxagorou - is up on the official Damian Lewis website, no sign of Rossco Bossco.

Maybe he wanted to keep his homepage a suitable-for-all-the-family affair: after all, Ross's poem (the title poem from his debut collection, Things To Do Before you Leave Town) did call for him to say the line "Tell Steve to go fuck himself".

Or maybe he realised he'd committed the poetry equivalent of murder (homilycide, isn't it?), and thought the act, like Trevor Jordache under the patio, was best kept buried.

It's on iplayer, anyway, if you want to see the footage - part of Newsnight Review's poetry special. If it proves one thing it's that there's no substitute for the man himself, which is why this week we're bigging up Ross's new solo show, The Three Stigmata of Pac-Man, at Shunt Theatre in London. If you ever wondered what Stewart Lee would be like if he read poems (and lost a few pounds), then this is the show for you. (If you ever saw Pac-Man as a giant metaphor for your life, wincing in the sodium glare as you stagger endlessly around a broken council estate, munching pills and dodging foes, this is also the show for you). Who knows, perhaps Damian will turn up to tell us all how sorry he is. Check the Facebook page for details!

Wed to Fri, Shunt, 20 Stainer St, London Bridge (Google map), 7.30pm, Wed & Thu £5, Fri £10, photo ID essential. www.shunt.co.uk


  1. Thanks Kathy. Rest assured I've corrected my spelling. Having seen Ross perform his poem many times I have to say I prefer the original - wasn't quite sure where Damian was going with the accent, nor how fast he read it. But perhaps the latter was down to the producer making sure he could fit the video slot into 50 seconds of an already crammed 35 minute programme. Or perhaps Ross's poem doesn't survive the transition from stage to page too well (as they were debating that night), leaving Damian to do his best to wonder where the pauses and emphasis might go!

  2. Wrong on all accounts. The actor’s name is spelled "Damian" not "Damien". The Ross Sutherland poem has been posted on www.damian-lewis.com and Lewis did a fantastic job reading it (as he did hosting HIGNFY)!