Friday 30 March 2012

Grade 6 (New Audio Poem)

This is a new Spoken Word piece that is part of my South Africa travel journal entires (most of which are blogged from Nov 2011 - Jan 2012) Thanks to Alex Patten for the mix.

Thursday 29 March 2012

R.I.P Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich is without a doubt one of the best poets of our time. I picked up one of her collections in the poetry library called 'The Will To Change' and was drawn in instantly. Her writing is energetic, captivating and as imaginative as it is educational. My taste in poetry sways from heavy intellectualism... I want a poet with a good eye and a sharp heart. Adrienne is one of my favourites. R.I.P

Wednesday 28 March 2012

An Evening In Edinburgh (Inky Fingers)

On the way to the venue I saw a woman drop her pants and take a piss in the middle of the street shouting “FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF!” as her piss trickled down the road.

After I got off stage at Inky Fingers a guy in the audience came up to me and said “I really liked that piece you did about domestic violence – it was bold. I have a poem about three squirrels raping a pigeon."

Left venue and went to traditional Scottish pub with Harry Giles (host of Inky Fingers). We were followed by a man who read on the open mic. We sat at the back next to five whiskey drinking fiddle players while he told me what it was like to be in a mental asylum in the 70's.

Back at Harry’s house he showed me The Salt Book Of Younger Poets. I saw a poet in there who is born in 1991. This depressed both of us.

On train back to London I overheard a guy say he's quiet during sex because he always watched porn on mute. Good band name - Porn On Mute.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

CHILL PILL GOES IN... With UK Hip-Hop legend Mystro & UK's Young Storyteller Of The Year, Rachel Rose Reid!

If you haven't seen this video you MUST! Mystro's 2011 wrap up.

In short, Mystro is a UK Hip-Hop Legend. He blew up in 1999 alongside Skinnyman,Rodney P & Blak Twang, and during the 'Golden Era' of UK Hip-Hop that followed he had a quality album released on Low Life Records. He has been on the grind, working and touring around the world since. I remember my early teens was all about DJ Skully on Kiss 100, it was my UK Hip-Hop fix and Mystro was a regular on his playlist. On March 29th he's one of our featured acts at Chill Pill at The Albany Theatre... Alongside the amazing...

Rachel Rose Reid is an award winning storyteller and as you can see in the video, she is widely acknowledge as a tour de force on the Spoken Word/Theatre & Storytelling World. She will be performing with the amazing REC Choir.

Hopefully you'll agree we're breaking new ground with the mix of styles on the bill - we're excited to see how it all comes together!

There are also six Open Mic slots available, arrive early to bag yours...


Friday 9 March 2012

This Week In Pictures (Plus Pop Up Poetry In London Screen Shot Previews)

Hope > Beauty 
£1 To Build Europe... I mean... Africa.
More white men to the rescue.
Electricity Box.
Oh'... Random protest!

 Screen Shot Previews Of Pop Up Poets in London (Short Film by Jon Baker coming soon...)

Ruby Kid & Me 
Adam Kammerling & Ken Arkind
Poems On The Underground With Jon Sands
Masol Behind The Lens

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Kony 2012

‘Kony Campaign 2012’ gets over three million views in two weeks, ‘Crises In The Congo’ a youtube documentary about rape and civil war in the Congo is on 75,000 hits and was first posted two years ago. In 2010 'Unwatchable', a film about rape and violence in the Congo was put online, I watched it and shared it on facebook and no one “liked” the link.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda got made into a Hollywood film in 2004 where the main characters were African-American and Black-British. A British film called 'Constant Gardener' was set in Kenya and released in 2005. Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCapio was released as a major Blockbuster in 2006. 'What Is The What' about the Lost Boys of Sudan was written by Dave Eggers in 2006. Dave set out to write an Autobiography about one of the surviving Lost Boys in the Sudanese Civil War but then he turned it into his novel. Half Of A Yellow Sun by Nigerian/British writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is published in the same year and wins the Orange Boardband prize for Fiction. In 2006 A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Solider by Sierra Leone born, Ishmael Beah is nominated for a Quill Award and the Washington post says “everyone in the world needs to read this book”, the book is then read on BBC Radio 4 by British/Nigerian actor Chuk Iwuji and becomes a top seller. 

What does all this mean? Does it amount to real change? Does raising awareness raise the amount of active and effective campaigners? Why is Hollywood so interested in Africa all of a sudden? Can a white American man legitimately preach to the world about the issues of Africa? Is the answer really to despatch more European/American troops into Africa? - isn't that exactly what hypocrisy looks like? - A white man surrounded by black African babies? 


Yes, I am in full favour of this campaign and yes a few flags were raised among the gloss of it all but it is very cleverly designed for a mainstream audience and as we can see by the amount of support this is generating the video is pulling some weight. There has been a lot of  negative comments on twitter and facebook about this being a campaign for "people who know nothing about politics". I've also seen people say "oh' no one knew anything about Uganda until they saw this video" but that argument is like saying "if you didn't like Cold Play before they sold over a hundred million copies then you aren't a real fan", it's weird how possessive people get over political causes.

Something I took away from being in South Africa is exactly how non-constructive the "white man stole our land in exchange for a donkey" is. It's just never that simple. I thought about anger as an emotion, it's blind and irrational, it goes swinging in the dark, anger cannot resolve anything and the kind of baggage that is pulled around with colonial guilt/oppression ties people to the past rather than propels them to the future. Yes, people should know these things about their history but also there is a process that needs to happen towards the acceptance and peace (which I know isn't easy) to think clearly and constructively about how to move yourself, then your culture forward.


below I mentioned Musa Okwonga and The King's Will, ironically Musa is Ugandan and wrote this brilliantly level headed piece on the the Stop Kony campaign - 

It is also very important to read this BBC article from Feb 2011 about the Congolese Military being accused of exaggerating war crimes to fuel US Aid for profit reasons.

Here is a link to a credible campaign against Child Sex Slaves and exploitation. They could really use some help. (Thanks to poets Christian Watson & Niall O'Sullivan for the links)

Here is an article on Oil that was found in Uganda in 2009. Last year China and France engaged in a 1.95 BILLION DOLLAR share out.

Criticism For The Invisible Children Claims Only 32% Of All Funds Go Directly To Supporting Ugandan's. 

I think the I.C website does put the history and the campaign into context rather well on the website though and doesn't include all the cringe parts you get in the short film. (very well organised and includes the tracker they talk about in the video you can keep updated on Uganda's battlefields)

Monday 5 March 2012

The King's Will LIVE (Plus Advance Tickets For Chill Pill on 29th ON SALE)

A moving piece by Musa Okwonga from The King's Will at PoeJazzi last year.

Below is The King's Will at Chill Pill this January.... Don't forget the next Chill Pill is on March 29th at The Albany with Mystro & Rachel Rose Reid with The REC Choir! - Here's the link for tickets -

Thursday 1 March 2012

RE:Versed Interview with Ben Masters, Stephanie Dogfoot & Myself/Article On Hip-Hop Influenced Spoken Word by The Ruby Kid

Also, you should really give this article on Hip-Hop Influenced Spoken Word a read. It's by The Ruby Kid.

The Ruby Kid at Chill Pill last August.

Kindness By Naomi Shihab Nye

Friend and poet 'Naomi Woodis' showed me this poem about two years ago. It's one of those rare poems that calls back to me every now and then, one of my favourites.  

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans 
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth. 

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 
     purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.