The Diary: Saga Louts grow old disgracefully

Saga Louts David Harmer, John Turner and Ray Globe. Picture by Cliff Edwards.
Saga Louts David Harmer, John Turner and Ray Globe. Picture by Cliff Edwards.
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They call themselves Sheffield’s Saga Louts and on stage they plan to moan about the modern world and all its faults – including fast food, modern music and, well, young people in general.

But South Yorkshire performance poets John Turner, David Harmer and Ray Globe insist they’re not really grumpy old men.

“Well, not exactly,” says David, 61. “It’s just an onstage persona. Although maybe I enjoy letting my cantankerous side out more than I should.”

So, let’s begin back in the good old days...

This trio were once part of a comedy poetry troupe called Circus Of Poets which also included Ian McMillan.

They toured Europe and appeared on TV reading out their words – angry, funny, politically angst-y verse – to anyone who’d listen. One reviewer called them “the Four Tops of poetry”.

Then they grew older, got respectable jobs – John is a lecturer at Hallam Uni, David is a freelance writer and Ray is a web editor – and decided living out of a van in the name of verse was a younger man’s game.

Now, some 30 years after they first appeared on stage together as idealistic pups, the trio have reformed as the wizened Saga Louts to put the 21st century to rights.

They’ll make their debut performance – called A Streetcar Named Retired – at The Hubs in Paternoster Row on October 24.

“We wanted to work together again but the Circus Of Poets were younger, thinner men,” says David, of Sprotbrough.

“Their bones didn’t ache. They didn’t pass wind when they did physical exercise. So, we decided The Saga Louts was a way to grow old disgracefully.”

John, 65, of Hunter’s Bar, and Ray, 59, of Kelham Island, reflect a moment.

“These characters are inspired by those people who have got to an age where they’re allowed to be grumpy,” says John. “But there’s definitely some of us in there. My children would tell you that I’m a bit of a codger these days.”

The show will include scripted interludes, stand-up comedy, a touch of audience participation and, of course, some poetry. Dieting, public transport and annoying neighbours all come in for ire.

“We got back together because we always had fun,” says John. “It certainly wasn’t for the financial rewards. But we hope people like The Saga Louts as much as we’ve liked becoming them.”

Tickets £3.50 on door.