Peterborough poet has YouTube battle rapped up

Poet and ET columnist Mark Grist. Photo: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET
Poet and ET columnist Mark Grist. Photo: Ben Davis/Peterborough ET
Have your say

Peterborough poet Mark Grist has clocked up almost one million hits in a video posted to YouTube.

The film is a rhyming battle between the Bard of the Fens and a young Mancunian rapper called MC Blizzard.

A still from the video, showing Mark Grist, right.

A still from the video, showing Mark Grist, right.

ET columnist Mark is one half of Dead Poets, a spoken word performance duo, who have gigged up and down the country including on BBC Radio 6 and at the Edinburgh Festival.

A former English teacher at Hampton College, Mark may now have to get an agent because of the interest surrounding the online video.

He has turned into an online sensation having 200 followers on Twitter before the video went on the web less than two months ago to now having 2,500 followers.

Mark said: “It has been very strange. I’ve had so many calls and messages that to reply to them all I would be up all night.

“I think I am going to have to get an agent to help deal with all the requests.

“A number of TV stations have been in touch wanting to do something, but sadly I can’t say what.

“I’m really pleased with how things are going. It was a big gamble to leave a full time job and take up writing and performing, but it’s going well.

“I will be in meetings all next week to see what our options are.

“To have options at the moment as an artist is very fortunate.”

The video was filmed at a bar in Brixton and features MC Blizzard, from Manchester, who recently signed on Peterborough-based label Launchpad Records.

The battle is a competition as they insult each other through rhyme, taking 90 seconds at a time.

The crowd decides who wins and Mark was the voted top performer, but he was gracious in his victory.

He said: “I’m surprised I won. MC Blizzard is very talented – one of the most talented 17-year-olds I’ve worked with.

“We decided to go with the theme teacher and pupil, and I think that’s why it is proving so popular.

“Having one of us in a shirt and tie is a bit different. And a lot of people think I taught him but I didn’t. I don’t think he needs any teaching from me!”

If the video hits one million views before the weekend, MC Blizzard hopes to hold a party in London to celebrate.

For more information on Mark Grist and Dead Poets visit

The video may be offensive to some people, so the ET will not be publishing the weblink to the footage.

FACTFILE... on diss contest

RAP battling sees two people go head to head in an improvised rhyming contest.

It sees the two competitors take it in turns to insult, or “diss”, their opponent before the tables are turned.

They are judged on their performance through clever uses of words as well as reacting to what their opponent has said.