Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
The Cult Listening label prides itself on being just that, and its offerings, often tipped with a black-spot warning of offensive language, can be found ranged beside new music titles in garage shops. John Birmingham's He Died With A Felafel in his Hand (Cult Listening, 90mins, pounds 8.99) is a hilariously gruesome peek into Australian flat-mate hell, ultimately pointless but compulsive listening - and as different from Home and Away as King of the Hill is from Teletubbies.

Embellished with atmospheric Persian music, Poems of the Orient (Naxos, 2hrs 30mins, pounds 8.99) is an exceptionally interesting selection, half translations of Eastern poets and half English romantic verse about the East. It includes the whole of Omar Khayym's song to the grape, poems by Sufi mystics and "The Veiled Prophet of Khorossan", a racy episode from Thomas Moore's legendary bestseller Lalla Rookh.