The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Big Read
I won’t pretend that I was introduced to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at school. At the comprehensive educational facility I attended to they were already pushing their luck trying to get us to pay attention to Shakespeare or The Chrysalids. Had they told us this poem was written by a manic depressive opium addict we might have been intrigued, but instead my introduction came courtesy of Sgt Major Bruce Dickinson and his troop of sonic commandos – Iron Maiden – on their 1985 album Powerslave. Now, in 2020, we have this interesting collaborative art experiment where a variety of familiar names from ‘the arts’ read passages from the book, accompanied by a piece of visual art. Each day a new segment is released, and so far we’ve had the likes of Jeremy Irons, Marianne Faithful, Simon Armitage, Maggi Hambling, Willem Dafoe and Iggy Pop using their distinctive voices to illumnate a text that seems eerily prophetic of the times we now live in.