Wednesday 31 October 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! New Animated poem (Autistic Pieces)

Special thanks to the amazing Armand Cordero for the animation.

Autistic Pieces is a collaboration project between musician, singer-song writer Alex Patten & poet Raymond Antrobus. Their first EP can be purchased for only £4 below.

Monday 29 October 2012

Quick update on Poetry Tour of Germany & Switzerland

I’m halfway through the tour of Germany and Switzerland and it’s been amazing to meet and share a stage with poets out here. The audiences are big, between 150 – 350 people per night. The tour started in Frankfurt last week at The English Theatre. A sell out show hosted by my good German friend Lars Ruppel - a lot to say about this man.

Speaking English has been a barrier some nights, the audiences speak German, Swiss-German and French. I made an effort to introduce myself in the local dialect and slow down the delivery of my poems while performing.

It’s the Slam people come out to see, the German National Slam Championships are coming up in November and if you make it into the final your performances are televised throughout the country.

I’ve been participating in the slams some nights and featuring as “the special guest from London” in others. The Marburg, Gießen and Freiburg shows were mainly students from the local universities but Kressbronn was interesting because it was a Slam in ‘The Literature Hotel’. Every room was dedicated to a German poet with quotes written on the walls and various collections of their work left on the beds.

The show in Langenthal, Switzerland had the smallest crowd but has been one of my favorite shows so far because the venue was perfect, amazing acoustics and atmosphere so big up Valerio
 Moser for the space.

Switzerland was special in general, they made it snow just for me, so me and a bunch of Swiss-German poets went outside, had a snowball fight, got drunk, then went to a Dubstep warehouse rave, got drunk, had another snowball fight, then found a cozy bar and played on the pinball machine. In the morning there was a local election so I followed the poets to the polling station, then we built snowmen and spray painted them gold. After eating my Swiss breakfast of bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, croissants, tea and jam I had a lot of people to thank for the magic.

Headed back to Germany and performed in Leverkusen last night, which was an interesting show, the hosts 'Lasse Samström' and 'Catherine De La Roche' made me feel super welcome.

Now I’m in an area called Cologne for tonight’s show, Catherine took me up on a rooftop to marvel at the beautiful city.

It’s also great that books and CDs have been selling after the shows; not sure how many copies I’ll have left when back in London.

Right, that’s it for now… Heading to the theatre to prepare for the show.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Q&A With George The Poet

Throughout 2010 I interviewed poets based between the US, Germany and the UK on thoughts of themselves as poets, public figures and social commentators. I've decided to launch a new series beginning with 21 year old George The Poet.

If you haven't heard of George, you will very soon. When he had a poem broadcasted on BBC One just before Eastenders people started talking. He’s performed at Chill Pill and was recently praised by Grime Emcee ‘Wretch 32’ and Hip-Hop legend ‘Nas’. He is now collaborating with the likes of Tinie Tempah and Professor Green. The Poet is crossing over in ways no poet in our generation has before.
George The Poet at Chill Pill in June
Q1. In today's society, what is the difference in role of the poet and the rapper? - If there is one?

I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s “role” is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary. I’m not saying these roles are either good or bad and I’m not saying everyone conforms, but these are people’s expectations. Rappers are considered “cooler” than poets – people like the carefree attitude and the slickness of it all. Poets are considered more niche – not for the mainstream and not as concerned with entertainment as with enlightenment. This makes poets seem boring, but at the same token, makes rappers seem dumb. I don’t like to compartmentalise these things but by and large I feel rappers and poets create these stereotypes for themselves. There doesn’t have to be a difference between the two. A poet can be edgy and a rapper can be insightful.

Q2. What can you tell us about Hotel Cabana other than it features Emeli Sande, Tine Tempah, Professor Green and Gabrielle? 

            First rule of Hotel Cabana is: you do not talk about Hotel Cabana.

Q3. You warmed up for Nas! that must have been amazing?

     Opening for Nas was a complete honour, I tried to tell him how much it meant to me but I think I just scared him a bit. His work is one of the aforementioned grey areas of rap; it’s introspective, thoughtful and outside most rappers’ comfort zones. He is someone who sowed the seeds of my current ideas about community and social responsibility, sick guy.

Q4. The idea of being a poet is unusual to most people but with the increased exposure to Hip-Hop and Stand Up influenced Spoken Word it seems to be becoming "the cool thing to do". Do you feel you are destigmatizing poetry by having the word "poet" in your stage name?

        Come to think of it, yes. Wretch 32 told me that most people won’t even click on my video because of the word “poet”, and he only did it because the poem was called #YOLO lol (lesson in marketing). But I’m cool with that cos my work speaks for itself; once people listen to it, they tend to share it. So I don’t get exposure as this different-kinda-rapper guy – I’m unequivocally novel. That’s a Unique Selling Point, a social statement and a way of bridging communities/cultures/audiences – all good for poetry.

Q5. What can a poet do that music can't and visa versa?

           Poetry can make things clear. No one gave a monkey’s when I used to rap but the minute I turned the music off and delivered the exact same words acapella (literally) people paid attention. Music, however, has so much power because it transcends everything – age, time, language, context, everything. I’ve been listening to the opera “Vide Cor Meum” and I have absolutely no idea what it’s about but I just leave it on repeat for hours because it hits the spot. Once you put words to beautiful music, you’ve got people’s hearts, which is the best and worst thing about it.

Drop Out TV will be launching a new Spoken Word series soon.. watch out for it!

Follow George The Poet on Twitter @GeorgeThePoet

Monday 8 October 2012

Chill Pill back at SOHO THEATRE! October 15th
We're featuring the brilliant Francesca Beard at the next Soho Theatre, Chill Pill show on October 15th.
Francesca Beard was born in Malaysia and spent the 70's growing up in Penang, an idyllic island paradise. Since then, quite frankly, life has been down-hill all the way, but with occasional slow climbs... a bit like mowing a sloping lawn. After a spell in real jobs, she gave it all up to become a fictional character and now exists as a London-based poet, performing spoken word to lucky audiences all over Britain and the World.

After Adam toured Ireland with us this summer we couldn't live without him, we now welcome Adam Kammerling to the Chill Pill family.