Hello! We want to find out more about Poetry Picnic. What inspired you to create the event?

Simon: We love snacks and we love words.

Gecko: There’s always been lots of interacting with our audience in the work me and Si have done together with children and families. This time we wanted to step that up even further and share our actual stage with the boundless creativity of the young people in our audience. We are also ridiculously excited to share our own songs (think Beastie Boys meets the Beatles bangers) that have been missing a live audience for so long.

Do you have any advice to give to anyone who’s interested in poetry?

Simon: It sounds obvious but read and watch and listen to as much poetry as you can! It can also be fun to keep an eye out for the poetry around us in everyday life – silly sounding or unusual place names, funny things that happen which we retell to friends as stories or anecdotes, when something we want to say comes out in the wrong order but actually sounds more interesting that way!

Why do you think poetry is important? Who inspired you to be poetic?

Simon: They’re obvious names but as a kid I was inspired by Michael Rosen and John Agard.

Simon again (he keeps on talking): I think poetry is important for so many different reasons, but I think it’s interesting to ask why poetry is especially important in the fast paced world that we live in today. The speed at which I scroll through day to day life is a very different use of brain to reading and really taking in a poem – it demands of me a slowing of attention. I often find that hard, but I’m pretty sure I benefit from trying!

Can you give us a quick poem about your favourite picnic snack?

Simon: Hit them with a freestyle Gecko!

Gecko: Life is a picnic and you are the thicker bits in a bombay mix
In fact the thinner sticks are just a quick fix

Simon: In the build up to the star of the salty show

Gecko: That bit didn’t rhyme

Simon: Anything goes

Gecko: In that case, what if someone unaware that you’re savouring that savoury goodness,
nicks the bigger sticks and then after all that build up
There are no thicker bits left in your bombay mix.

Simon: it makes me sick(s)

Gecko: I hate it when that happens

You can catch Simon Mole, Gecko and special guest Rachel Cleverly at The Big Albany Picnic on Sunday 20 June!
Find out more HERE.

More information on Simon Mole and Gecko:

Simon Mole is an acclaimed children’s poet (and sleep deprived dad) who has shared stages with Michael Rosen, Kae Tempest and John Hegley. His first picture book Kites was published in 2019, and his next book I Love My Bike will be published in June 2021.

Simon is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, with over ten years’ experience using rap and poetry in community and education settings, including projects with Great Ormond Street Hospital and Arsenal Football Club. The tutorial videos at his YouTube channel are used by hundreds of thousands of children and teachers across the world each year, and have been featured on BBC Bitesize.

Simon is also one half of kids comedy rap duo Mole & Gecko (you can probably guess which half).

is a Singer, Storyteller and Musician. A North London based artist, his playful lyrics cover the big things in life; think iPhones, libraries and Guanabana fruit juice to name but a few. Gecko has previously appeared at Glastonbury, Latitude, BBC Radio 1, Sky Arts, 6 Music, BBC Scotland, BBC London and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

His 2017 debut album Volcano was ‘Album of the year’ in the Morning Star. In October 2020 he released his second album Climbing Frame crowd funded by his audience in just 48 hours. Gecko has shared stages with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Robin Ince, Josie Long, John Hegley and Billy Bragg. In March 2021 his song Rapunzel went viral on Tik Tok gaining over 200k views in 2 days!

‘He’s a work of art’
Benjamin Zephaniah

‘Whimsical rhyming stories’
Radio Times