Tuesday 27 September 2011

Pictures Vs Words Q&A w/ Birmingham Based Poet Jodi Ann Bickley

Jodi Ann Bickley is from Birmingham. Yes, her poems are as cute as she is.

What does your writing desk look like?

I don't have a desk, my room is the tiniest of places. I usually end up writing on the bus, on my bed or on the coach/train up and down to shows. I never know when I'm going to write because with my two jobs covering day and night there isn't usually a spare hour or two to dedicate to it. I just carry a notebook on me all the time, plus I'm moving into a room like.. 10x the size of my one right now on Saturday so maybe I'll make a little writing corner or something.

What is on your to do list?

Music, I'm involved in a couple of projects at the moment I'm pretty excited about. My biggest, most massive goal is to write for Adele. I'd like to headline a stage at somepoint. I want to learn how to sew, cook and face paint. The face paint ambition started at Bestival this year - having a face full of colour genuinally makes your day a little bit better. I'd like to do a one man show, get a little book published. I want to go back to Tokyo, see New York, Barcelona, Boston - I want to go and see the Northern Lights. I really want to go to Iceland too. I want to write better, just be better generally. I want to worry less, see my best friends more. Get to the point where I can work a little less. Drink more water, go down a dress size or two. Or get to the point where silly things like that are just irrelevant.

 What's more important, talking or listening?

Ah.. I'd say.. Listening. I think, it may change tomorrow.

What makes a better story - pictures or words?

Words. Some of the most lovely pictures I've seen have been strung together by sentences. Maybe that is because I can't draw though.. 

Respond to this photo.

I remember in primary school when one pupil in my class called another pupil a "bastard" and suddenly every kid in class became potty mouthed. Our whole class would have to do lines in the hall during playtime, even though me and my friends hadn't said anything but were way too scared to defend our cause to our year six teacher who threated to kill himself and us all way more than a year 6 teacher should. Anyway, the first thing that came into my head when I saw this picture was what the girls in school would say when someone would call them a "bitch" - "A bitch is a dog, a dog barks, bark is a tree, tree is nature and nature is beautiful - thanks for the compliment". 

Saturday 24 September 2011

Pictures vs. Words Q&A w/ Bristol Based Poet Byron Vincent

I have sent a set of questions and one of my photographs to six poets around the country and asked them to respond.

First up its a poet from Bristol. Cynical, satirical, witty and generally, a nice bloke Byron Vincent.  He's won nine poetry slams including Shambala, Secret Garden and the BBC Manchester Literary Festival.

QWhat does your writing desk look like?

Byron: It’s got a heart shaped ashtray on it which contains a mountain of festering roll up butts. I refuse to see any symbolism or irony in this.

QWhat is on your to do list?

Byron: I currently have faux Essex girl and literary homunculus*, Molly Naylor visiting me. This morning my to do list read:

Phone calls

When I returned from the bathroom it read:

Phone calls
Improve face
Develop ability to grow beard
Don’t go all mental
Feed Molly
Iron doilies
Write shit
Explain what wall paper is

Given the input of a second author, I don’t know if this still technically qualifies as MY to do list?

QWhat's more important, talking or listening?

Byron: Well that entirely depends on who’s doing the talking. If Slavoj Žižek was in full flow, I’d be all ears, but if Richard Littlejohn was flapping his gob, I’d probably feel the urge to interject.

Q. What makes a better story - pictures or words?

Byron: Again, that would depend on the perceived qualities of the picture or piece of writing and the imagination and sensibilities of the person experiencing them. If like me you’re undecided, read an Allen Moore comic, they render partisan decisions on this issue unnecessary. Also, reading comics makes you sexy. Yes it does. Shut up.

*Don’t feel sorry for her, she’s called me MUCH worse.

Q. Lastly, respond to this photo


Thursday 22 September 2011

Poem Upon Reflection Of Black History Minute

Black History Minute is upon us and I've agreed to (indirectly) acknowledge it via a poem about me'old man.

He arrived in England, 1950s;
tore knuckle on Teddy Boys that pelted him in streets
with bananas and rocks. Small town kids nudged him and ran off;
they called it luck to touch the black man.
Squared up in pubs with the Irish, drunk in arms afterwards.
A father five times to three women because man is meant to multiply
but my dad has expectations of me that look like sensible versions of him.
They wear suits, they’re sober, they have day jobs, 
they are novelists not poets.
I was born in England, 86, 
I live in this night and day London, 
the black and white boy who can blend into anything.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Chill Pill's Soho Theatre Oct 4th Line Up Confirmed

Anthony Anaxagorou @ The Gallery Cafe from Sweet Potato Pictures on Vimeo.

I've done a few shows with Anthony Anaxagorou this year including this rather brilliant sell out show featured in the video above.

Anthony will be featuring with his band at the next Chill Pill at Soho Theatre on Oct 3rd alongside myself, Sabrina Mahfouz (her one woman show Dry Ice got rave reviews at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival) . Also more from the Chill Pill Poets (Mista Gee, Simon Mole, Deanna Rodger) and poems from respected emerging London poets Sonority Turner and Anna Le (organiser of the brilliant poetry show 'Sage & Time).

Saturday 10 September 2011

Conversation With An Ex-Hackney Resident On Broadway Market

It’s a catwalk this place. You come here just to be seen here. I mean, look at that knob with the feathers and the top hat; he’s wearing bloody high heels. And them gals that walk around with them rollers in their hair and rags tied around their head, looking like my nan cleaning the house. Blimey, if I see another handlebar moustache I’m gonna throw some bricks! There was a bloke who owned a shop here called Spirit, he’s Rasta I think, sold west Indian foods. He got run out the area by these property developers. I mean, his name was fucking spirit, that’s a metaphor if there was ever one! That pub on the corner, I used to drink there with a bunch of cockneys and some Jamaican mates. Sometimes Irish blokes would walk in and wanna fight ya, we’d knuckle out and they’d wanna buy you a drink afterwards. Nowadays that pub is selling crab burgers and lobster soup to poofs with handlebar moustaches! Funny how this place felt more like home when there was a chance I’d get robbed in the street. Living in Tottenham now... someone might rob me there instead.

NOTE: The guy with the top hat and high heels turned out to be the bassist from The Killers.

Monday 5 September 2011

Poetry Workshop with US Poet/Author/ Publisher Derrick Brown 21st Sep (GET INVOLVED)

US poet/Author/ founder of Write Bloody Publishing is heading to London on the 23rd September to run a poetry workshop. It will take place at 5.30pm at the Free Word Centre. There are twenty places and its £20 to participate. To sign up please email me  and I'll put you on the register.

If you can't make it and would like the chance to catch Derrick Brown perform a set of his own poetry at The Keats House Poets Forum as part of his European tour then head down to Keats House Museum on Sunday 25th September at 2pm. There is even an open mic (arrive early for sign up) Also this event is FREE! so there's no excuses to miss one of the worlds most renowned performance poets while he's in town.

Also, in case you were wondering the next Chill Pill is at Soho Theatre on the 3rd October
Other Upcoming Shows

September 24th : A Poetry Roast at Keats House w/ Benjamin Zephaniah

October 6th : Worcester Literature Festival

October 11th : Royal Holloway Students Union w/ Simon Mole, Deanna Rodger, Tshaka Campbell, Anthony Anaxagorou, The Ruby Kid

October 14th : Rail Road Cafe' (Hackney) w/ Captain Of The Rant & Rachel Rose Reid

October 15th : Little Lamp (Brighton) w/ Richard Tyrone Jones

October 20th : Chill Pill @ The Albany w/ Dizraeli, Simon Mole, Deanna Rodger, Poetikat, Mark Mr.T Thompson

October 23rd : Keats House Poets Present... (Keats House) w/ Bohdan Piasecki

October 27th: The Horse and Groom (Shoreditch) w/ The Ruby Kid plus Guests

 October 29th : Keats House w/ Benjamin Zephaniah, Patience Agbabi and Jordan Westcarr

Friday 2 September 2011

Conversation With Grandma

She tells me Mark is coming over. He’s my gardener. He’s deaf and dumb. 

I look at her as if she might be talking about me. 

Well, he lip reads and responds to everything with his thumbs up. He can laugh though, he laughs all the time. I’m quite fond of him. Anyway, he’s coming to dig a grave for Hollie in the garden. She was put down this morning; she had a good life. Have you ever dug a grave? Hard work that. Makes you really respect gravediggers. 

I never feel like a poet around Grandma, I rarely know what to say. 

I can’t lie, I’ve been crying all night. I’m going to miss Hollie. Hope I don’t get too many lonely moments without her. I ate chicken earlier and couldn’t help but feel strange to be mourning Hollie while eating a dead animal. You get to be old as me and life still surprises you. I hope when I get to heaven I get my young body back. See that picture of me on the mantelpiece? That’s me at 22. I was in love with a man called Keith. He was so handsome, taller than you. Always wore grey jackets and trimmed his moustache. I’d say kissing a man without a moustache is like eating a boiled egg without salt. He took that photo, I’m smiling because he asked me a naughty question, I shan’t repeat it. You don’t appreciate beauty when you’ve got it. You shouldn’t put so much pride into things that fade. Life is full of sad things and happy things. The sad things are important; they give you compassion, which in the end gives you more to be happy about. Everyone I went to school with is dead. I’m at the age where every day is a bonus. You get those phone calls, oh’ Mavis died, oh’ Elizabeth died and you just sit there with your life behind you. I believe in a spirit world though, a place for the good and a place for the bad. I can’t see Hitler’s spirit in the same place as my friends. Then again, if Germany wasn’t on the brink of starvation after the First World War it wouldn’t have bred such evil. That’s just my opinion though. How’s your poetry going? 

I tell her it’s ok

Don’t you find the more you talk to people the more you realise how important words are? I used to be part of an organisation called Talking Books. We’d read books to blind people. Each book took a while to read out loud but it did so much for them. One man I read to told me, when you live in the dark your only light is a good story. Are you hungry? 

I tell her I am. 

Do you want to finish the chicken? 

I say I’m ok, thanks.