Monday 30 August 2010

Q&A With Spoken Word superstar Scroobius Pip

It would be a challenge to forget Scroobius Pip. The appearance of a full thick and untrimmed bush of a beard grown out the face of a man who wears suits with baseball caps to perform poetry is quite striking.

I was first made aware of Scroob in 2007 when a mate of mine invited me to a music night called ‘The Spitz’.

The opening act was cockney poet ‘Tim Wells’. Put Tim Wells in any Irish or British pub and you’d think he owned the place.
He’s a stocky geezer who took the stage in an overcoat, then rolled up his sleeves to reveal two inked up lumberjack forearms.

Get on the wrong side of Tim and expect a baseball bat to the face or a poem dedicated to your mother, best to expect both.

The next act was ‘Chris Redmond’ a.k.a ‘The Ventriloquist’. A slim man in a straw hat who has the most astonishing talent to make a stroll through the park sound like a spiritual exploration inside three dimensions of a supernatural universe (without being hippy about it).

Some lads from Essex topped the night. The wordsmith ‘Scroobius Pip’ and the electric kicks from lap top producer ‘Dan Le Sac’. It’s cliché’ but this line up on this night changed my life.

Since then, The Spiz has been run out of the East End and Scroobius Pip has gone on to release two successful albums with Dan Le Sac, sign to ‘Strange Famous’ (a label run by American Spoken Word and indie Rapper superstar ‘Sage Francis’) tour around the world and god forbid – has he ditched the suits and trimmed his beard?

Q. Scroob! Haven’t seen the suits for a while, where are they?

I still have them! It’s a weird thing, the whole wearing suits thing was never really a stage image. When i worked in a record shop i wore jeans and t-shirt to work. Because of this, i enjoyed the aesthetic of coming home and changing in to a suit for my evenings and nights out. Sounds ridiculous i know. So, after a year or two of wearing suits onstage it kind of became a uniform again so I relaxed on it. I still always wear a shirt and tie though! Got to keep some kind of standard around here...

Q. You’ve had quite an amazing career so far. You’ve inspired poets all over the country and shown us maybe commercial success as a poet is attainable. Was popularising poetry ever on the agenda?

Not particularly. To be honest, there was never much of an agenda to start with. I wanted to write, and, when i had stuff I was pleased with, I wanted to perform it. Everything else after that has just been a bonus. Commercial success is often shied away from in the quest to be "underground" but ive never been sold on that. If you are writing something that means something to you then surely you would want as many people as possible to hear it? Obviously, if you start to change what you write about in the pursuit of commercial success then thats a different story. But, in general, its been great to get to speak to so many different people around the world, and to then have the opportunity to put on poetry nights and show more of the scene to some of the people that have enjoyed what i do.

Q. I’ve seen you do Spoken Word sets as well as music sets with 6ft Pianist, Dan Le Sac and even Kate Nash. Is combining your poetry with music always necessary to reach larger audiences and do you make compromises as a writer?

I dont really know to be honest. For me, i have always been a huge music fan. I am a music fan before a poetry fan really, so there was always a natural urge and desire to work with music too. I stumbled in to spoken word through the lack of anyone to make music with! So when those opportunities started to come up i was eager to see what could be achieved.

Q. How has your journey as an artist changed you as a person since your days participating in slam poetry events and open mic nights?

Its hard to say from my perspective really. I dont really feel it has changed me as a person much. One change is not having as much time to write new stuff as i used too! But thats a product of having a busy schedule so i cant complain about that. In the early days i was always quite confident at the open mics and slams. I always felt that, if i am willing to stand up in front of a room and tell these poems, then i must be pleased with them and proud of them.

Q. You got signed by the amazing Sage Francis, how did this come about and what does he expect from Scroobius Pip?

Signing with Sage was a huge honor! I have been a fan of his for many years and he has definately influenced my work in many ways. It basically came about when someone he knew pointed him in the direction of our myspace page. "Thou Shalt Always Kill" was just starting to build a buzz and he left a comment saying he liked it. Fast forward a year or so and we were finishing off our first album (Angles) and we didnt have a record deal in America. I decided to send Sage a myspace message asking if he would be interested in releasing our album and he said "Yes"! It was as simple as that! Im not really sure what Sage "expects" from me really but it has been great to build a relationship with the guy. Long may it continue.

Q. This year you published a book of your poems which seems to be doing well by poetry publication standards. What’s the story behind this and are you reading any poetry at the moment?

The answer to your first question kind of lays in the answer to your second. Im not reading any poetry right now. And i have never really been a big reader of poetry. It was this fact that made me uncomfortable when i was approached to release a collection of poems. I had always loved watching poetry performed live but rarely read that much. It therefore felt somewhat arrogant to release a book of poetry. "I dont read much of the stuff but you should read mine..." After some thought i came up with the idea of presenting a collection of poems in a more unusual and engaging way. I then spent two years getting different artists and illustrators to submit visual interpretations of my poems via myspace. This was always a side project whilst touring so it all just seemed to build up and come together. All of a sudden i had a graphic novel of poetry. I got in touch with a few different publishers and when Titan showed an interest i jumped at the chance to work with them. Having put out "the watchmen", "Kickass" and numerous others they seemed like a great choice. Several moths later, i had a book in the shops! It really was overwhelming.

Q. I’ve noticed sometimes you’re referred to as a rapper and sometimes as a Spoken Word artist or a poet and I’ve never seen you correct anyone... Just what is Scroobius Pip?

Whatever! haha. I have never been too precious over titles. I normally choose "spoken word" artist as it is the most literal description of what i do. I speak words. All the time. Sometimes to crowded rooms, sometimes in a recording studio. I think people are often too eager to label things when we dont really need too. I took my name from an Edward Lear poem about that exact same issue. Trying to catagorize that which cannot be catagorized.

Q. Scroob, you’re an absolute inspiration to so many of us out here... but how much would I have to pay you to chop the ol’ beard?

Young man you don't have the bank balance to enter in to such negotiations...

Friday 20 August 2010

What poets everywhere should be learning about Berlin.

Two a.m. Berlin’s dim street lights make the city look like a homemade dinner over candle light. The night air is warm like dry breath. I’m sitting on a window ledge outside a bar called ‘Wild At Heart’ surrounded by new friends. Johnny Cash strums his deep bass voice through a boom box. I’m handed a spliff, I take a few tokes and pass it on... I look up with this smile that knows that this is a moment I’ll be seeing again as a reflective old man.

Berlin is the second city I’ve visited and I’ve said to myself “man, I could live here”. The people I meet are always friendly, interesting and usually artists of some sort, the bars are always so cool (I love them and I don’t even drink) and Spoken Word poetry is largely embraced!

I was on stage at the ‘Kreuzberg Slam’ within two hours of getting off the plane from London and I had an audience of at least 300 people. That’s considered a quiet Tuesday early evening crowd! All the other performances were in German but more or less everyone spoke English as a second language.

I was backstage talking to some poets, comedians and musicians about London’s poetry scene and finding out how in the hell is Berlin’s scene drawing such vast audiences.

“The Poetry Slam scene is more established than the comedy scene” one guy tells me “over the last three years poetry slams have become bigger and bigger”. Then I got to meet one of Berlin’s Spoken Word God Fathers ‘Wolf Hogekamp’ who tells me Spoken Word is so huge in Switzerland they teach it on the basic educational curriculum. He also tells me it’s on the rise in Austria and Poland... interesting.

The venue had one of the biggest stages I’ve ever performed on and the audience were so tuned in.

It’s always an amazing feeling to be worthy of so many ears and eyes.

The Kreuzberg Slam had the best format of slam poetry I’ve ever seen... When a performer goes over time, dark eerie music starts playing and the host walks slowly onto the stage towards the performer. Gradually the music gets louder and louder to drain out the performance and if the performance is still running when the host is standing next to the performer the music is turned RIGHT UP and totally drowns them out. Meanwhile the host on the stage stands painfully close to them and smiles like a psycho... GENIUS!

Less than 24 hours later my host and local Spoken Word celebrity ‘Paula Varjack’ gets me on her radio show called ‘Now Hear this’ to do some poems, play some music from my Speed Camera Shy project and talk London, poetry and Dubstep! It was great fun!

Listen to me saying “interesting” over and over again –

We then went from the radio station to the Anti-Slam which was hosted by Paula Varjack and Wolf Hogekemp. In an Anti-Slam you take everything you hate about a regular slam and turn it up! e.g. cliché’ love, political or ‘where I’m from’ poems, defensive amateur poets, bad judges, overly dramatic pauses which involves moodily staring into the distance, shaky hands holding the paper, awkward stage presence, unconvincing acting and the whole self satisfying mentality all gets put in the mix... and I should mention the audience are encouraged to heckle.

Here’s an extract from an Icelandic poet who walked onto the stage awkwardly, fiddled with the mic and said “Testing, Testing, Testing... Animals need protection from animal testing” another line I remember in this poem was “Animals need a lawyer// from the people who drink milk that ain’t Soya”. His piece even had a poorly executed repetitive chorus .. ahh it was fantastically awful!

I did a political poem about “change” in the voice of a hippy on a street corner .. I half wrote it then started improvising... I got heckled so badly my poem was barely heard but I think the ending won it with “Is change taking place?// There is no Mass Debate!” followed by an awkward pause, then turning around and telling all the judges to fuck off to inspire a bad score (the lowest scoring poet wins)

I made it to the second round and was given 15 minutes to write a poem in a second language. I don’t have a second language so I had to write something in German and the audience asked for a poem about ‘Nelson Mandela,’’ Maradona’ and a dildo... I ran around trying to get as many German words and phrases in... then jumped back on stage, getting most the pronunciation wrong and it ended up being a nonsensical poem about Marradona trying to come on to Mandela with his “vist du de hand godes” which is his “hand of god” but Mandela not having it by saying he doesn’t need a hand of god when he has a dildo ... yeah... I won... and I’m now the fourth Berlin Anti Slam Champion. Ha!

I was rewarded with a big bottle of Jägermeister and a birthday cake... oh’ and “congratulations you suck” comments!

Happy times!
So I wanted to know what the Germans are doing that the British aren’t in terms of generating such mass appeal for the Spoken Word art form?

I caught up with Italian poet Sergio Garau who has spent a considerable amount of time gigging his poetry around Germany, England and Poland.

“I think the German slam scene is huge because of the scenes' engagement and coordination - it's a "circolo virtuoso": the audiences are big (around 300-400 paying guests in the main slams), the MCs can then afford to invite quality artists from the whole country or even form abroad. The poets then get to perform in front of big audiences and publicise their work. The fact that the best German slammers are travelling around a lot, not only performing but also doing workshops allows some of them to live out of their writing - the existence of professional poetry slammers makes it also more appealing and many join the scenes. Another element is probably the variety of personalities that are involved: from authors highly considerate in academical milieu to popular stand-up comedians, from post-stop-avantgardists to emo-kids, from greats craftsmen of the rhyme to novelists and so on. The Medias, Literature Festivals and the Goethe Institute get interested and involved in making the scene grow even more.”

So is it the fault of the artists, the audiences or is it just that we aren’t getting the marketing, funding and adequate support from the arts councils and other creative organizations?

Or am I being overambitious about the Spoken Word movement, maybe its fine as it is – unpackaged, raw and for the few, maybe that’s the beauty of it?

Being involved in the movement of an art form that has little commercial value and therefore has huge freedoms to be creative is exciting but frustrating. Everyone wants to be appreciated but at what point does our integrity and “street credibility” suffer for our success?

I think I’ve stumbled across a new theme for the second series of the Q&A...

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

p.s. myself and Paula Varjack will be hosting the first ever London Anti-Slam this October.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Have You Heard?, The Art Of Improvisation and Wake Me Up

Zayna Daze did this video for me a few months ago... total fluke really.. I'd written the poem and she just so happened to be around and she said "I got my camera.. lets go to Victoria Park and film it" and that we did.

Also, here's an amazing video by my lovely friend Kim-Leng Hills featuring Polarbear and David J.

The Art of Improvisation from Kim-Leng Hills on Vimeo.

and finally here's a video of Ed Sheeran (from the PiP collective) at Chill Pill last month.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Year Of The Poet!

While I was in Berlin a lovely little shop printed my first collection of poems... They'll always be in my bag at gigs (until I sell out, sold 50 already) so come to a show and get one!

as well as the pamphlet I have a little Spoken Word EP I recorded in January 2010 and decided to give it away for FREE DOWNLOAD.

Also been working on the Speed Camera Shy project with Jim Whelan. We've had Musa Okwonga, Zayna Daze and David J in the studio with us recently. Our website is being made and will be up soon...

Back in April I did a Spoken Word set at 'Jazz Verse Jukebox' which happens monthly at Ronnie Scotts.

The night is hosted by the amazing Jumoke Fashola and the night has a jazz and poetry theme surging through it (believe that its quality without the poncey show boaty business that often arrives at Jazz and Poetry events). Two poets feature per month and so it happens that I was on the bill with the beat poet legend Michael Horovitz.

It was an incredible night with a powerful open and feel good vibe about it... easily one of the most enjoyable and memorable gigs I've ever done.

A week later I emailed Michael Horovitz asking if he had any advise for a young poet. He emailed me back something he posted on his website about me. I was honoured.

“My heart sank slightly when Jumoké Fashola told me that she wanted me to perform at one of her Jazz Verse Jukebox sessions at Ronnie Scott’s in April & that there would be at least a couple of other spoken word artists as well as an unpredictable number of open mic floor spots – since it takes a lot out of me these days to trek to any gig & when they are crowded with any number of fellow troubadours, by the time I go on stage there’s often not that much time left, not to go into the heartaches generally consequent on payment by door-splits . . .

“It was a fabulous quantum leap of sorts when performer after performer connected with a vocally sensitive and euphoric bunch of jazz poetry celebrants just about none of whom were even slightly obnoxious, overlong or deafening as has been my usual experience at Slams and the like. And one of the most enthralling exhilarations of this series of highspots was Ray Antrobus’s set – he strikes as a vastly promising exception to what seems to be the rule of youngsters assuming that being a gobshite in command of a few streetwise attitudes & expressions is all that’s needed to become a rap or poetry superstar overnight. Ray’s act suggested that if he perseveres with high energy & deeply felt examinations of himself and others as ventilated that evening he will join the constellations relished by wordsound travellers who will drop just about anything because there is a performance by the likes of Johns Hegley & Cooper Clarke, Francesca Beard & Zephaniah, Patience Agbabi & Sophie Woolley.”

Michael Horovitz.


Friday 13 August 2010

The End Of Series 1 Q&A's ... Thank you's, brand news and 'Chill Pill'

The first series of the Q&A comes to a close… Mighty thanks to Paula Varjack, Jon Sands, Paradox, Hollie Mcnish, Bohdan Piasecki, Deanna Rodger, Rob Auton and Simon Mole for your thoughtful and honest answers… I salute you!

Meanwhile... myself, Mista Gee, Deanna Rodger, Kim Leng Hills and Craig Tomas have been working hard developing our weekly Spoken Word Poetry and Music night ‘Chill Pill’ at the top of East London’s Brick Lane.

It’s been a smash hit. The first three weeks we had a room of an average 25-30 people a week…

we’re now cramming them in at an average of 50-65 heads a week after running for two and a half months…

Spoken Word Poetry is on the rise and it’s as cutting edge as ever!

Here's some shots of some of the poets we've had down the last couple months...

For more info, pictures and videos from Chill Pill join our FB page -

Monday 2 August 2010

Q&A with London and Brighton based Spoken Word artist - Simon Mole

Simon Mole calls himself a Spoken Word artist, an emcee and a Hip-Hop Theatre artist. I first met Simon in 2008 at an Apples and Snakes open mic gig. He gave me his CD and I gave it a listen. It was all UK Hip-Hop and was in the same vein as many of the UK Rappers I’d known about such as Task Force, Brain Tax, Jhest etc. Although his overall individual talent was evident; I was most interested in his lyrics. I bumped into him again in 2009 at a writing workshop with Jean Binta Breeze and we clicked. He’s one of the hungriest, raw talented Spoken Word artists I know and he’s going to blow! Trust me!

Yo Simon! You legend! Introduce yourself!

Errr… yeah… I’m Simon. I’ve got a skinhead at the moment, but I only got it done because I had to. Me and my mate Josh have been making a video for a piece I wrote called ‘the say yes think no syndrome’ and if you ever get to see it you’ll understand why I had to get the clippers out. Suffice to say, a short back and sides with a bowl cut over the ears probably isn’t a good look once the need to retain it for continuity purposes has passed…

Q. You came to Spoken Word as a UK Hip-Hop emcee; do you find you’ve become more of a Spoken Word artist these days?

Yeah I do man, definitely. It’s taken me a fair while to feel comfortable defining myself in that way, and I still sometimes feel a bit self-conscious about calling myself a poet. But basically I think it’s pretty crucial to be actively and consistently doing something if you’re going to put yourself out there as that thing – simply looking at what I’ve written and what gigs I’ve done in the last year or so it’s pretty clear to me that I’m more of a spoken word artist than an emcee right now…

That said, rap is poetry, and all genre distinctions are meaningless. Ha ha! I’m not normally one for sweeping statements like that but fuck it, labels can be helpful if you put together event listings or own a record shop but beyond that fuck em. I was at this college the other day about to start a gig/workshop thing for about 200 14 year olds and I kicked off by asking them what they thought of poetry - out of the ‘like’, ‘think it’s ok’, and ‘think it’s rubbish’ options I gave them, the vast majority went for ‘think it’s rubbish’ which was funny but kind of mad really. And then I asked them if they liked rap music and most of them did – when I told them I thought rap was poetry they all looked at me like I was a complete lunatic… I mean I’m not saying 50 cent is on some Ted Hughes shit, and to be fair that kind of mainstream rap is probably what them kids are listening to, but still I mean by broadening their idea of what might be poetry surely there’s the chance of opening the idea for them that poetry of any kind might speak to them on some level, and once you’ve done that who’s to say they won’t actually get into something they might not have otherwise…

Anyway, I digress, so yeah, I AM A POET, and now ousted as such to anyone smart enough to read your wonderful blog Ray.

Q. Your work is sharp in observation and touches the rawest nerves of our human habits – is this technique something you developed or something you naturally discovered was within your ability?

Thanks man. It’s a good time for me to hear you to say that, because lately I’ve been getting the fear a little bit that my work isn’t poetic enough whatever that means, because even though I know there’s poetry inherent in the everyday shit around us which I tend to focus on, I do wish I found myself coming up more often with those wildly poetic images that just seem to pour out of some people. But yeah, I’ve worked on my technique man, of course, so maybe I just need to hone up my ‘wildly poetic image’ abilities now! That said, I should probably also stay strong in my belief that by selecting certain details of that everyday stuff and presenting them with enough space for people to grow their own thought processes around the work, poetry that observes those tiny, important and often unnoticed details can impact in a big way too, just via a different route.

Pushing myself to develop my writing was something I was finding hard to do through music for a while, and through spoken word I started thinking a lot about sensory observational stuff and did hone that skill up intentionally I guess, off the back of a few workshops like that one you mentioned, and just thinking about what I thought was good in the writing that I liked by other people.

I think I work quite visually, like quite often when I’m writing a piece I’ll have a particular place, or atmosphere or ‘feel’ associated to that place, in my mind as a kind of guide – if a line or idea doesn’t fit with the feel of that place then it doesn’t go in. Maybe kind of linked to that, I really enjoy writing using photos or film clips as kind of prompts or source material, a bit like I imagine a painter might if they want to create a realistic impression of a place, thing, person, whatever, even if they then move away from that realistic representation it’s good to have it as a foundation to start with.

I also do a lot of writing exercise man, from books and shit, sometimes to start something new off, or sometimes using little exercises I have myself for helping other people get through writing blocks in workshops, and just using them to help me get through my own blocks – it’s mad how long it took to think about doing that really, I remember Jonzi D saying to me I should think about how I approach teaching/supporting other people’s creative processes when creating my own stuff, I even plan myself little writing workshops sometimes man, with warms up and everything, I’m a proper geek for this shit, ha ha! Some people are a bit funny about exercises and that, like it should all just come to you natural in a spark of inspiration or something but I figure if you can do something you enjoy, and it will almost certainly improve your writing then surely you gonna jump on that right?! In fact, there’s one book you recommended me Ray, called ‘the practice of poetry’ which is quite a good one.

Q. I came to see your one man Spoken Word show at The Albany and you blew me away, it was genuinely amazing. Do you think one-man shows are the way forward for the Spoken Word genre?

They’re certainly the way forward for me at the moment man. I don’t know about for the genre as a whole man, I guess if everyone started doing one man shows instead of shorter pieces then maybe the market would get saturated or some shit, who knows? People should do it if they want to man, not to push the genre – if that’s your sole start point for making something I’m guessing it might not be so much fun… For me, making theatre, you know, devising new theatre that draws influences and methods from different art-forms has been something I’ve been into for years, and doing it like this is the most satisfying way of doing that for me right now. But as well as that, yeah, if some people within the spoken word ‘scene’ make some longer work, thinking more consciously about the theatrical side of it, and that then has an impact on other artists to think about their own work in a different way, or if in any way shows like say Inua Ellam’s thing being on at the national, mean that people become interested in spoken word who might not have otherwise then yeah that’s wicked. So in a way maybe it is pushing the genre so much as the genre exists at all in any concrete static way, just in terms of expanding what people think spoken word can be… But yeah, just read back your question and you didn’t even say pushing the genre at all, ah well…

Q. Where do you see yourself as a Spoken Word artist in five years?

Wow, tough question. It’s funny man because whenever I ask young people to do something like that, you know thinking about their life in five, ten years I always try to do it for myself as well at the same time to remind myself what a hard thing it is to do! I think I have an idea where I’d like to be, but the path to making a relatively stable and sustainable career as a writer is definitely an ongoing journey rather than one with a definite end point for most people.

For me, I guess to be in a position where the majority of my income comes from my own writing and performing would be amazing, mainly just because that would mean that the majority of conventional ‘work hours’ could be spent doing that type of thing, and also just because it would make me feel good. Then again I wouldn’t want to lose the education and community arts project stuff totally because I love it man. As of now, I feel genuinely lucky that I’m in a position where I’m able to make my living from a combination of writing, gigging and workshops you know what I mean? And regardless of the fact that most of my money comes from workshops really, I still manage to work it so a decent chunk of my Monday to Friday time is spent doing stuff I would actively want to do in my spare time around a ‘proper’ job if I still had one… I guess it’s good to appreciate where I am now, as well as aiming for stuff in the future you know, otherwise you can get somewhere and already be thinking about the next thing to the point that you don’t really appreciate the moment you just worked your arse off to get to. Haven’t answered that at all have I?!

Q. Can you tell us about the education/community projects you are currently involved in and how you got involved in running workshops initially?

My main focus on that front in the last few months has been a project for Guys and St Thomas’s charity which has involved me working with the porters at the hospital, getting them to write poetry. It’s been an amazing project man, they’re a safe bunch as well – they do such an important job, and in some ways it’s easy for that to go unnoticed within the hospital. The main aim of the project was to celebrate that good job they already do, by giving them a voice through the poetry they write – a lot of them had never done anything like it before but we ended up with contributions from seventeen members of their team in the end, some of them were proper good too! There’s going to be an exhibition of the poems in the atrium in the hospital which we’re launching on national poetry day in October, and this dope illustrator Jess Wilson is working with the poems so they’re going to look amazing too! You can check more on their website here:

As for how I got involved in workshops, working with young people in some way has always been something I’ve done, kind of like my real job career path alongside my music and theatre stuff until they started to merge. And even way way back when I was in Brighton youth theatre as, well, a youth, we used to run workshops for other kids back then too, so it’s always been part of my creative process really if I think about it. Around the time I was at uni I did a lot of work with a drama therapist too for quite a while, which was pretty full on at points but definitely really rewarding, and taught me a lot about a lot of things. I guess I was in a position where by the time I started to think about wanting to get paid for running workshops, I’d already been doing it for ages in some way, you know, volunteering and work experience and just doing it for fun really man. The more poetry-based workshops have come along more recently, but particularly with them I really feel that breaking down how I create in order to try and give other people a route into writing for the first time has helped me grow my own writing too, in a way I might not have done otherwise… In some ways, maybe I’ve got more natural talent for teaching than writing so it can be a case of ‘teaching’ myself at points, which might sound like a kind of weird approach but it works for me!

Q. So then, would you say the educational route is the best way to find financial stability as a Spoken Word artist?

For me it certainly has been (up to the point that I am financially stable anyway!) and I think that it’s definitely a really amazing way to support yourself as an artist because you still get to do the thing that you love, well, help other people do it anyway- actually, that tiny distinction is why its so important to get the balance right man. If you just do ‘intro to hip hop’ workshops five days a week, pretty soon you’re going to be coming home not feeling like writing yourself you know? It’s a privilege to be able to run workshops for kids and get paid for it man, so it’s important to make sure your creatively satisfied yourself outside of that environment too.

Also, I guess it’s just not for some people, if you don’t like work with kids, or you get impatient if someone ‘doesn’t get it’ or you don’t like listening to slightly out of time 8 bar raps by 15 year olds then maybe not eh?!

I think for me, the way forward is targeting the type of work I try to get, like for instance this thing at guys involved a writing commission for me, and the whole thing stretched out over a few months so it afforded me a little stability as well being something that fulfilled me creatively as an artist as well an arts practitioner. I know it’s a small difference but being an artist or writer who runs education or community projects as well, is very different to being a teacher who tries to do their own shit on the side, you know what I mean? Happy to say I’m definitely in the first camp now, but I’ve had to work hard to make that transition and I’m aware that it’s a fluid thing that could change depending what work there is about.

Q. What gigs you got lined up?

I’m hosting a little homegrown festival that some good mates of mine put on in a very picturesque valley near Bath every year. It’s called Hamswell and is the friendliest a friendly little festival can be – if you’re free the weekend of 13th – 15th August and fancy some great music, workshops, local farm barbecues and some good old fashioned unhinged revelry then take a look at the website:

Think I’m back at Chill Pill at the end of august too – props to you guys for that night man, definitely establishing itself nicely as a great place to try out and see new work, as well as a spot to see established artists for free, so yeah good work to y’all on that!

Also, September and October are looking exciting for me, really exciting actually – been waking up early some mornings and not being able to get back to sleep due to an excessively active ideas and plot-hatching portion of my brain! Basically, I’ve been redeveloping that spoken word show you saw at the albany in March – this time around it’s called ‘Indiana Jones and the extra chair’, I’m billing it as ‘the least dreaded family gathering of the year’ and a buffet supper will be provided inclusive of the ticket price, but I’m going to ask that in return people bring along their own memories of food-based family get-togethers…

Anyway, I’ve got the preview for it at The Freeword Centre on Friday September 17th, which is going to be free and a good chance for me to get some feedback on the material in a theatre space before doing a three night run of it in ‘the dinner room’ at a really cool traditional little pub called ‘the calthorpe arms’ on the Grays Inn Road. The dates for that are Wednesday 30th September, Thursday 31st September, and Friday1st October. Anyone interested should either hit me up on my myspace or email for more info…

Q. How can we access more of your work? – I just googled you and got a dead website about nothing!

Yeah, I know the website you mean and it is nothing to do with me man! I always fear people will check it out and think the cartoon of the dude in the west brom shirt, which he then takes off for some reason, is me. It’s not. I should have a website up in the not too distant future though, but a mate is putting together for me for free so it’s inevitably taking a little longer. Matthew Baker if you’re reading this, get your arse in gear man! So yeah, for now, my myspace page is the best place really –