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.

 

Word Wise and Poetry in Derby

2017

Has seen some blessed times, but now I’m sad and sulking for missing my first gig of the year because I’m ill and skint and just not up for doing things. 2016 exhausted me. Had a beautiful time last weekend seeing friends though, drawing on happy memories to drg through. That and plans of better times ahead.

So, here are my plans/goals/wishes for this year:

  • learn to drive
  • cycle regularly
  • more poetry
  • perform at some more places
  • get some performance videos done
  • perform at festivals
  • get my show on the road
  • write a new book of conceptual stuff
  • actualise some visual/video/multimedia creation
  • get some decent boots and walk
  • walk long ways
  • have adventures
  • get strong – lift weights, run, yoga, eat food that isn’t cheese
  • blog and diary and record everything
  • get some proficiency in tarot reading
  • meditation focus
  • graduate from DBT having learned all the skills and able to use them in life
  • carry on helping out at Derbyshire Refugee Soidarity
  • do more Belper stuff
  • get new glasses
  • go foraging
  • get my stupid painful tooth sorted out/stop moaning about the tooth
  • go to more amazing camps and festivals
  • visit many friends, especially the ones I haven’t visited in years
  • learn/revise Basic First Aid
  • learn a few tunes by heart on the tin whistle
  • learn to crochet
  • sell a load of stuff to declutter and fund all this
  • apply for a Masters (finance permitting)
  • don’t drink all the damn time
  • get some independent self sufficiency
  • get some community
  • Edited to add: Run the Tenby Half Marathon again! What am I even doing?! My family talk me into these ridiculous things.

I think  that’s enough to be going on with. I’ve made a start today by putting a couple of things on ebay, and I’ve been keeping organised with a Bullet Journal and to do lists. I know Bullet Journal sounds like an enraging gimmick, but I was doing the basic form for half of last year and found it really helpful,so I’m carrying on. Got no memory in general, so writing it down helps.

Keep your peepers open though folks, maybe some interesting things will happen this year…

2017

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.

NaNoNoWriMo

I think I said something about doing National Novel Writing Month. Every year I say I’ll do it, but then… I don’t. You see, every other month of the year, I feel no burning desire to write a novel. Especially not under time pressure. I know, as a writer, novels are supposed to be The Thing. When people ask, “Have you written a book yet?” They generally mean a novel rather than say, a poetry collection or a natural history field guide.

Well, because I don’t currently want to write a novel, (or have the mental capacity to do so), I’m not going to. But I still want to get into the spirit of things, ride the wave of writerly energy that fills the ether at this time. Cheekily glom on to the hard work and motivation of others, like a vampire feeding on creativity.

So I’ve invented my own thing: NaNoNoWriMo: National Not-Novel Writing Month. Each day this month (including yesterday, because linear time is illusory), I will write Something. I will keep meticulous records. Whatever is written must 1. Exist 2. Either start or complete a thing 3. Not be a novel 4. Not be one Tweet. Because I do have some standards of conscientiousness. Those are the rules. They’re admittedly, and deliberately, vague. Because fuck the police, I do what I want, etc.

I’ll tell you at the end what happened. Did I become super-productive? Did I decide that Reddit shitposts are the new literary artform? Did I write a novel because I’m deeply contrary? Did I give up halfway through because I’m wildly inconsistent? Find out here on November 30th. I bet you can’t wait.

NaNoNoWriMo

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

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…