Sudbury musician James Domestic combines punk, poetry and politics in unique new book Domesticated
Punk music, artwork, poetry, prose, photography – Sudbury-based creator James Domestic has tried his hand at all of it.
So broad is his spectrum of interests that, when he decided to compile his poems into one place, it was not long before his other creative endeavours found their way in.
The end result is his new book Domesticated Volume 1, an 80-page collection of poetry, song lyrics, illustrations and edited photos, which is set for release next month.
As with how many of his projects have started, James – best known as the front man for punk rock band The Domestics – said he was not really a ‘why?’ kind of person and preferred to take more of a ‘why not?’ approach.
“I guess the simple answer is that I’m an inveterate maker of things,” he told Suffolk News. “I’ve just always liked making stuff.
“I write songs, I make records, I paint, I design a lot of the artwork for the bands I’m in – the book was like a scrapbook collecting a lot of my creative activities in one place.
“Initially, it was just a bunch of individual poems scribbled on the back of receipts and envelopes, or written on my phone if I was out and about and inspiration struck.
“I hadn’t done anything with them, and I thought I’d put them together and see how they felt as a collection.
“A few were culled as not being up to par, and a few of them inspired the drawings that accompany them in the book.
“If I’m known for anything, it’s for the bands I’m in really, and it would have felt weird not having some connection to that part of my world, so lyrics from a couple of songs crept in, and a few tour photos from home and abroad.
“It really did end up being quite an unusual mix of things, I guess. But, why not?
“I think it hangs together really well as something a bit different, but hopefully interesting to the potential reader.”
Originally from Clacton-on-Sea and then Colchester, James moved to the Sudbury area around 15 years ago, after he met his partner, Lucy.
In contrast to his involvement in the punk scene, he is also well-versed in academia, having earned his PhD, and is now employed over the border at the University of Essex.
James explained that living in Suffolk, and East Anglia more widely, has undoubtedly influenced aspects of both his musical projects and his new book.
“I soak up what’s around me and repurpose it,” he said.
“As for the book, I think living in Suffolk has made me appreciate the countryside to a much greater degree than I ever had before.
“I don’t know whether I would’ve written the poems Three Birds, or I Am a Worm if I hadn’t moved here.”
James added: “I think some of it will make you smile and laugh, some of it will make you think and reflect.
“It’s a mixed bag. In terms of a single message, there is no overall theme, but, hopefully, it’ll inspire other people to be less rigid in what they think a book can be, or what they think anything can be really.
“Life is short – don’t cut yourself off by putting things into discrete compartments. It took me a long time to learn that.
“If you have something you want to put out there, and you think it’s good, then just do it.”
Click here to find out more about the book, go online to .
Click here for further information about James’ wider catalogue of work.
Published by Earth Island Books, Domesticated Volume 1 is currently available for pre-order, with an official launch date on Monday, April 24.