spoken word

JR OutLoud: Arthur Smith talks to Judi Herman about his show, a love of Leonard Cohen and his mother

In the October issue of Jewish Renaissance, Arthur Smith gives Judi Herman the not so sweet lowdown on his show, Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen, with which the gravel-voiced wit makes his debut at JW3 in December. Here you can hear an extended version of his conversation with Judi. The two share a love of Leonard Cohen and they compare notes on their mothers, both of whom are living with dementia – indeed Arthur’s mother Hazel has become a vital part of his show.

Keep reading to see Smith's poem about his mother and to listen to him reciting it.

Oh Hazel is Arthur Smith's moving poem about his mother's dementia, which you can read and listen to below. You can read more about Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen – The Extended Remix, the show in which he recites the poem live, in the October 2015 edition of Jewish Renaissance.

Oh Hazel

Pulling up late after the party, they see her, their neighbour, standing in the street.

She is looking, she says, for a lift to London. She needs to get home. ‘Hazel,’ they tell her, ‘This is your home – ‘you live here, in this house. London is 30 miles away.’

The door is open. They take her in and see she has packed a bag (if a jumper and a packet of biscuits count as packing).

Oh Hazel, It is 35 years since you left London to live, as you liked to say, ‘in the shires’.

But there she still is that grammar school girl from Camberwell Green kissing sailors and dancing In Trafalgar Square. It is VE day and the rest of the century Is yours.

Oh Hazel also appears on the Alzheimer’s Research UK blog.

Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen – The Extended Remix is on Thursday 3 December. 7.30pm. £16-£20. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8988. www.jw3.org.uk