Word Wise and Poetry in Derby

Derby is buzzing. The city is flooded with rhythms and rhymes, lines and meters, voices and verses.

Derby has so much Spoken Word. Friday just gone was a big one, a banging beautiful night at the monthly Word Wise. I was honoured to read a poem that went down well when compared with the stunning words I was so privileged to be surrounded by. So many.

Toria Garbutt made me cry and I’m not ashamed. She’s amazing. And an absolutely lovely person.

Luke Wright was like some mad dynamo full of energy and perfect timing, hilarious and poignant and leaving our faces aching from smiling so hard.

Sophie Sparham is fire and thought and life, political and personal and always inspiring. Got to love a poet who makes you, not just want to be a better person, but feel like you are a better person, so becoming better is just a matter of opening those wings you forgot were trailing behind you. And I got to see Miggy Angel at last after hearing so much about him, wasn’t disappointed. Cullen was great and Trevor Wright’s psalm for Donald Trump was transcendent. Jonezy aka pr@xis slayed as usual and Johnny eulogized Leonard Cohen with such heart. There were poets new to me and poets whose names I don’t remember because names are not my forte, they’re my whatever the opposite of that is. There were quantum poems and theatrical poems and political poems. Happy sad and leaping-wildly-between-the-extremes poems. Cheeky poems and solemn poems, poems with punchlines and poems with lines that felt like punches.

I have so much gratitude to Jamie Thrasivoulou and Rhythmical Mike for running and hosting this night as well as performing. Such hard working dedicated guys who are doing so much to build the poetry scene.

Speaking of building the poetry scene, there should be a lot of credit to Jonezy and the City-Zen collective for the bi-monthly City Zen One Mic night. Anarchic and joyful, raising money for different causes and spreading the City-Zen message of freedom and community. The next one is this Friday, raising money for Derby International Women’s Day Celebrations. I’ll be performing! It’s always a good laugh, really welcoming joyful vibes.

And, as I stayed in tonight being grouchy and exhausted, I was missing yet another excellent night. Twisted Tongues has seen the debut of so many talented wordsters, and wins for the most historic location (I do love old buildings) and the most students. Now, some people get a bit snobby about students, but I love their young and hopeful enthusiasm. They bring new ideas, new faces, and I can feed on their fresh juicy energy like the shrivelled old vampire that I am. Twisted Tongues is also the longest running of the three nights, by quite a long shot, and boasts talented and professional performers like Dan Webber. (Who also runs it, and a whole lot of other awesome arts-related stuff in Derby.)

Indeed, there are so many amazing and dedicated and creative and energetic people on the scene, I’m exhausted just trying to write about them. So many unique characters putting their talents to use, taking the steps to put their words out there and facilitate the space for others to do so as well. I used to be kind of bitter about living here. Now I’m glad to be near Derby. Now my only gripe (and I always need to gripe about something) is that there’s so much going on here, it leaves me without the energy to explore other amazing nights in Nottingham and other places. The world is getting hectic! There’s a vibe, some intangible critical mass of energy developing. What will it lead to? A festival, a party, a riot, a legacy, or maybe all of these? I’m thrilled to be here, is all I’m going to say.

Oh, and come to our show.

 

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Word Wise and Poetry in Derby

Just an Update.

I did the abseil.

It wasn’t frightening.

Sponsor me here, if you so feel. It’s for Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity.

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I was kind of hungover for abseiling, because the night before was a truly uniquely beautiful night at City-Zen One Mic. So many talented people, and I got up and did a couple of new spoken word bits. People come together to create and talk bollocks and drink and dance and it’s magic. And raised £100 for Rojava Solidarity.

 

Spent the rest of the weekend with family, which was really nice. We all live kind of far apart, so it’s great when we do get together. Stayed up way too late putting the world to rights (and I managed not to get into any terrible political arguments even though my family are not yet woke to the true necessity of anarchism).

 

These things have been good beyond measure. In between times, things have been bad beyond measure. I don’t know if I’m actually losing it. Fuck abseiling, this is the real extreme sport. The mood graph prickles like a porcupine and shoots a facefull of quills into my idiot life. Trying to hold while everything spins. I’m too dizzy to run anywhere. My hands hurt.

My fucking heart hurts.

 

 

Just an Update.

Being an Optimist for Once, in the midst of all this Shit. After all, there’s work to be done.

I braved it and made a video clip. First verse of my new poem, Faith in Humanity (People are Strange). This the first time I’ve ever done a spoken selfie video, so I apologise for my face.

 

We’re snowed under with desperate political commentary and the End of The World is being predicted again. Evil is afoot. But helping out with the thousands of donations given to just one grassroots charity, has really driven home the fact that there are a lot of people who do want to do a little bit of good. The world is changing, maybe in the cracks wrought by the earthquakes we can plant new seeds, seeds of a world where no one has to flee their home, no one is coerced, and no one has to see Donald Trump’s face ever again.

If you’d like to see me do more poetry, along with 13 super talented acts wh will put me in the absolute shade, come to City-Zen: One Mic! Rojava Solidarity Network fundraiser. Last One Mic! night was absolutely beautiful, so come on down to the Maypole in Derby tomorrow evening.

To sponsor me abseiling down a 110 foot building for Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity, go to this link.  You saw us in the video, please give us a hand.

To watch me (along with many other insane brave and committed people) abseil down the building, come to Jurys Inn, Derby, this Saturday at 1pm. It’s be a laugh. Or I might cry, who knows? It’s the suspense that makes it interesting, right?

 

Being an Optimist for Once, in the midst of all this Shit. After all, there’s work to be done.

Intermission/Declaration of War

Did you ever feel like things were going amazingly, but it was all an illusion? No, it wasn’t an illusion, the good times are really real, the adrenaline-fuelled adventures and mad social can’t stop-talking, grabbing life by the balls intensity. But then you have to pay, and the comedowns are really real too, the soul-crushing immobilising depression, unexplained crying, meltdowns and hysteria (yes, I hate that word, but fulfil the stereotype pretty well sometimes). Not to mention, everyone eventually gets tired of full-on emotional intensity turned up to eleven. God knows, I get tired of it. I’m so tired right now that every movement is a battle of wills, just focusing on this blog is really difficult and I’m too hot right now and there are so many more important things happening.

So, that’s where I’ve been, where I am. Oh what a thrill, to be mentally ill. Except for everyone around me. That’s the Intermission, that’s where I’ve been.

Intermission Song 

Declaration of War

Maybe war is not the best metaphor. Maybe this should be a declaration of trying. A declaration of trying to fulfil my potential, to contribute. War on ones own shadow rarely ends in meaningful victory.

Today we drank a toast to my Grandad, the first person to ever help me write a book. He spent ages printing the front cover on glossy photo paper, putting it in a folder. It was for High School English class, and I got the highest grade possible. The school still had that book, years later. They’d get it out on open evenings as an example of the sterling work of their English students.

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I’ve lost a lot of time and money that way, but I still believe it.” – Ron Hunt.

So now I’ve got two books, but there is so much more to do. I’m determined not to let this illness mess with performing spoken mic at City-Zen for Rojava on Friday night. Leaving the house is difficult, and maybe I’ll cry, but better to go outside and suffer than build my own bedroom-sized prison.

And I know it will be so, so much harder now I’m intermittently paralysed by free-form anxiety, but ABSEILING is happening. Saturday, Jury’s Inn Derby, 12:00-2:30pm. Come watch. I will wear a cape. For some reason the sponsorship website is down though, so I can’t link to beg.

Often I feel like a failure, for missing out on so many things because of BPD and whatever other mental issues I’ve got. I don’t want to be known as the flaky one, but in some ways that’s inevitable. I’m working on it though. I try. Seriously.

I hope that I can be even one fraction of the man that my Grandad was, a unique and wonderful man. He was a writer, of a different kind, but I can only aspire to his conscientiousness one day. His love of stationery lives on in me. (P.S. please send left-handed fountain pens.) He was a wonderful wit, a genuinely humane person who saw the good in everyone and did a lot for charity. He was a role model and inspiration to so many. Tonight I lit a candle and me and my mum drank to his memory (a quality Port, I assume he would approve), but I hope to show true love and honour by my actions in the world. For Ron Hunt, legend.

This was not a declaration of war. This was a declaration of love.

Intermission/Declaration of War

A Week of Poetry

This is going to be a hectic week. I’ll be going to three poetry nights, at least. Hopefully I’ll be able to read at least twice, and hear some amazing words. That’s the only way to learn, watching others and seeing their energy and skill. I’m not a natural performer, so I know there are always ways I could improve my readings. Like actually learning my poems by heart so I’m not actually on stage reading. Yes, I don’t remember my own words.

I went to a spoken word open mic last night which ended up rather interesting, with the entire gig being shut down and thrown out for the terrible crime of swearing. (Oh, and maybe the stuff about killing the royal family to trade them in with heaven for our beloved dead celebrities.) Censorship is sad. But so many excellent poets and musicians came to Belper. This needs to happen more. Hopefully this ridiculous incident won’t have scared them away forever. There was a decent sized audience, so maybe this town is ready for another spoken word event, hosted somewhere a little less censorious.

I decided to make a list in case anyone reading is from around Derby or Nottingham and fancies hearing some words.

Twisted Tongues, tomorrow night, The Old Bell, Derby. I’ve got a coveted pre-booked spot, so will try my best to make it count.

Possibly Ten Minute Tongues on Wednesday at the lovely Alley Cafe Bar in Nottingham.

Or Poetical, next day, same venue. There are some seriously good poets performing.

Friday will be Word Wise, at The Maypole in Derby. Last time I was there was a truly amazing open mic night, really good vibes. This time the excellent Jamie Thrasivoulou is running the night and has got some top class poets. Like this guy.

Then on Saturday I’ll rest. Nah just kidding, it’s my friend’s birthday party thing. Maybe Sunday will be a day of rest for me, just as the good lord intended? Although, there is an amazing charity gig on in Derby that night. And as all this travelling and stuff is going to have left me skint, it’s lucky that entry for this is in return for donations of food, clothing or blankets. And I have some nice things to give.

I just have one question. Why, oh why, is everything on in the same week?

And one wish. I wish I had hard copies of my pamphlet already, to try and sell at these events, but they’re in the post. Hopefully they will turn up soon, I can’t wait to see my first ever book.

 

 

A Week of Poetry

Gratitude

It’s been a rough week. But I have so much to be grateful for.

One Mic was amazing. Maybe the best performance of my life,and definitely the best audience and the best vibes. It was a room full of love (and a little chaos, and sometimes bread). The other performers were varied, interesting, talented – that’s what I really love about a good open mic, when it’s really open and you get an absolutely surprising selection, from classic covers to the never-before-conceived-of, from nervous poets clutching notebooks to the singer with the sure voice  of a lark, all there for the cause of creativity, entertainment, sending a message. All there together, to communicate and celebrate with a roomful of human beings.

I am grateful that people put in the effort to arrange events, that people care to come play, speak, sing, watch. I’m grateful that I got the chance to perform and that people were touched by my words.

I have a skill I can use to make  vibrations in the ether. It’s time to start using my words. There’s nothing so ungrateful as wasting a gift.

Gratitude

I’m performing…

This Friday at City-Zen’s open mic event, One Mic. I get one mic and ten minutes to make my words count.

It’ll be fun. It will be fun. It will not be terrifying at all. I’ll do some old stuff, and some new stuff.

It’s in a nice pub, and there are some awesome other people performing as well. Come see, if you can. The evening is raising money for Trinity Farm, biodynamic and organic growers, to help them recover from an arson attack. Seriously, who the hell would arson attack an organic veg producer?

Check out the Facebook event page, see you there, maybe…

I’m performing…