John Osborne - Most people aren't that happy, anyway

Radio 4 poet and author John Osbourne presents his first poetry set at the Edinburgh Fringe. He reads ten poems from his latest collection Most People aren’t that Happy Anyway.

Osbourne is a bit of a dreamer, a sensitive soul who writes about the world around him.

He’s a laid-back, approachable guy; there is nothing the least pretentious or ‘poetic’ about Osbourne. I find it hard to find any point or profundity in his slightly bland poetry however. It’s not that the subjects that he picks aren’t varied and emotive: clandestine affairs, the value of money, the search for fulfilment and social observation are all present. It’s just that Osbourne tends to indiscriminately describe things without making any meaningful comment.

Sometimes his simple descriptions raise a wry smile (‘he will never forget the feeling of the patio chair snapping beneath him’) but more often than not he reaches for platitudes (‘any of us can achieve anything’). Osbourne does have a strength in his heartfelt sensitivity to the human condition, especially when he documents inspiring characters met through everyday encounters (‘If any of us choke on a bone we will feel her arm around us’). Even these poems are a bit boring though, rarely rising above being simple records of his experiences.

Osbourne is a bit of a dreamer, a sensitive soul who writes about the world around him. But does he have anything to say?

Reviews by Lettie Mckie

Udderbelly Festival

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel

The Vaults

Skin A Cat

The Vaults


Orange Tree Theatre

The Rolling Stone

Charing Cross Theatre


London Theatre Workshop

Through The Mill




The Blurb

Radio 4 regular John Osborne is up in Edinburgh with his first ever poetry show. Come and join the creator of John Peel's Shed for beautiful, sad and funny poems. 'Sits somewhere between Daniel Kitson and Tom Wrigglesworth' - The Independent.