Early Audio Interviews

During early meetings with John Pat he appeared reluctant to delve into any details of his artistic life. He told me of many episodes from his own fascinating life and how over the years, and from an early age, he was worn down by hard graft and manual labours. When I had fully gained his trust he allowed me to record some details of that early life. Some of these short interviews offer insight to his worldview prior to his taking solace in the almost lifelong pursuit of the elusive 'electric poem'. John Pat has given permission for some of these early recordings to be aired here on this website for the first time. Below we can hear John Pat express his own early affinity with his native Achill and we can also discern his disappointment at the seeming recent neglect of the land.

At seven years old in 1949, John Pat had his first memorable encounter with music and technology. He later offered me more details regarding the impact technology was to have on a growing and developing poetic outlook and how technology began to shape his attitudes to his work both in the manual and artistic realms.

At twelve years old John Pat got a job cutting up sharks. A job he never liked nor forgot, and has many times since expressed regret at his involvement in the then economically necessary activity. However it provided an initial beginning point in our later discussions of his attitude and regard for all living creatures, and his growing engagements with nature and technology. Both those themes appear to permeate John Pat's work, a reverence for nature and a desire to use technology in harmony with it.

John Pat worked at many difficult jobs and often in very trying conditions. In a different era a young poetic soul of fourteen years old struggled to find his place in the world while working with large machines and 'raw men'. He worked in open cast coal mines and when the motorway building program began he moved along with his beloved 'muckshifters' to work on the construction of various large projects. Here John Pat describes those times in his own words as: "it was rough, very very rough." John Pat rose above those conditions and constraints of manual labouring and later began first maintaining and then controlling various types of heavy machinery. He here offers a short anecdote of the reality of Irish immigrant workers employed to build those motorways in 1960's England.

After three years greasing and maintaining machines John Pat eventually graduated to driving them. As a reward he received a princely sum of money. Money that he would later (surreptitiously) spend on books of poetry and early technological equipment, purchases that set him upon a path of experiment and discovery that has ultimately resulted in his acknowledgement as a pioneer of electric and electronic poetry.

John Pat generously gave his permission for the inclusion of these audio files on this website. He also conceeded to the publication of the transcripts of a series of question and answer sessions I conducted with him over the last four years, while I began conceiving this website. Those "Poetry Discussion Transcripts" can be found by accessing the right hand menu of the main Interviews page, or access them indiviually from the links in the bottom right menu below.