Events and more...

See Coming Up tab at the top of the page for updates

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Challenge #1


Survive tomorrow without using, hearing or reading the phrase "Royal Wedding", and without using or hearing the names "Kate" or "William".

Total Success = 1000 points
Partial Success* = 500 points

*see definition under "deductions" section

Bonus points for:

If you/your partner's name is "Kate" (400/200points)
If you/your partner's name is "William" (300/150points)
If your name is "Kate Williams" and you're a royal historian (700+1000 = 1700points)

(In case any of the above applies, use other diminutives for that day. Phone, text and email friends now and instruct them to call you Kathy, Katherine, Bill etc as of today)

Switching on the television (200points)
Listening to the radio (100points. Add extra 100points if UK station. Add further 100points if BBC)
Buying a newspaper (400points)
Going abroad and telling people you're from the UK (200points. Add extra 500points if visiting the US)
Speaking to an American tourist (400points)
Using public transport in Central London (200points. Add extra 50points if the Northern Line, deduct 100points for using the District Line. These are my rules so go figure.)

Deductions for:

Wearing headphones (-100points. Detract further 300points if using headphones in the vicinity of a television or radio or other communication device that is switched on. This only applies if you're not using the headphones to listen to a television/radio broadcast)
Wearing a blindfold (-100points)
Not leaving your home tomorrow (-200points)
Not answering the phone or the door (-50points per instance)
Humming/singing loudly to yourself when in public (-200points)

Single words
Hearing, reading or using the word "royal", or any variant - eg "royalty" etc (-300points)
Hearing, reading or using the word "wedding", or any variant/synonym - eg "marriage", "nuptials" etc (-300points)

The above deductions refer to the first instance the word is employed. Thereafter, for each subsequent occasion, 50points are to be deducted, per word

Partial success
If the phrase "Royal Wedding" or "Kate" or "William" is used, heard or read at any point tomorrow by participants, you cannot claim full 1000 points.
In the first instance, 500 points will be deducted.
Upon each subsequent violation, 100 points are to be deducted.

Good luck and God Save the Queen!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

And Today's Random Word Is...


Getting Grown, Man About Town, Two Points of View

I've just been [up/down?]loading some pictures from my phone onto the computer and came across the above, and the below.

A mate of mine used this ageing device phone app thing on me. I think it was meant to add 40 years on, but really all they do is stretch the face and deepen lines. I still found the image slightly disturbing, but there may be a story in it somewhere.

These days, I can hardly leave the neighbourhood without finding dodgy references to Camden. Not only was there a shop in Tooting Market called Camden Town last weekend - and they were selling those very tasteful t-shirts which you can find in the original Camden Town markets, of course -  but when I was in Spain last week I also came across two "Camden Town" shops (one of which is above). Talk about successful branding!

December 2010

When I can't write, or I'm just procrastinating (like now), one of the things I might find myself doing is taking pictures of my surroundings. I must have about a dozen of these photos, and it's great to see some sun reflecting off my local for a change!

The Other Day, 2011

Tongue Tied

Performing as part of a charity fundraiser for Zimbabwe, on Sat 7th May. Come along!

Tooting Takeover!!

Dirty Hands Poetry Collective and special guests (including me) are going crazy this weekend, if last weekend's antics are anything to go by! It's all a part of the Brick Box Tooting Spring Festival. Full deets can be found on Facebook

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


is coming later...

Happy Easter!

Have a few gigs coming up here and there. Back from a great break. Loads of things to say/do etc. so I'll be posting up here later. Also could use some help with blogger formatting as the 'Upcoming' section and my attempts to add paragraphs is a little annoying.


Let's get lazy
Slouch back into each other
And slur our tongues
And let them lie
Between the grooves of our song
And dance slowly

Let our dischevelled minds
Let our heads flop
And our gazes sag
Let's drag our shoes
Along paths sloping down
We'll meander in our syncopated rhythm
Not following maps or plans
And our hips, they'll just be shelves
To rest tired hands

Let's get lazy
You and I
Let our eyes roll back
And our mouths yawn wide
Let's ride through time
With our arms hanging loose

Let's not care
About which of our elbows is on whose table
Or whose hands are whose
Let's not pay lip service to ettiquette
Let's stick two feet up to such things
And let the breeze sway our minds
While the time hangs low in the sky

Let's get lazy
You and I
Or you and me
Me and you
Let's not care about grammar too
Because you will punctuate
Each half-finished sentence
And I will be entranced
By your effortlessness
And we will be floating on our laurels
Somewhere off into the hazy distance
Where the living is easy
And the people are free
I just want to be
With you

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Mothers' Day part 1

"If this were my wish to grant you
I would plant another hurricane on these isles
To watch you dance
Away that mild-temperedness from your spirit..."
from 'Dear Mum'

So last week today was Mothers' Day.

Recently, I've been writing quite a bit of poetry which has gone to places I never thought it would. When I write prose, I have the support of my workshop buddies, The Unwriteables, and we're so named because when the first members got together, they decided to write "bravely", touching topics outside of their comfort zone, and experimenting with style and form. The testing ground for most of my poetry, on the other hand, is when I first bring it to the stage. And it's difficult to experiment with new poetry when you know what kind of audience will be at a particular poetry venue, and you start to guess what they want to hear, either writing accordingly, or leaving out anything you're not sure about for a set, and sticking to "greatest hits" (examples of my own can be found on my other blog).

So, thinking about the Unwriteables ethos, I wrote a poem to/about my mum. It was her birthday the week before and I hadn't bought her a birthday present because I had no idea, after all these years, what to get. And, thinking about all the things you would never say to family, I came up with a poem that was quite uncomfortable but cathartic.

I couldn't resist reading it out at the Farrago Spring Slam! during my set, and halfway through, I regretted it. How personal! And how raw! It's certainly something I wouldn't show to my mum, even though it was addressed to her - so why did I go there?

It's difficult to write poetry that's honest and perhaps a little offensive when you want to be liked, and when you want to keep your personal stuff, well, personal. It's probably the last time that poem will ever be heard - at least in its current form - but, thinking back on it with the perspective of two weeks, I'm glad I did read it out. As much as hearing poets rant about their feelings can be a bit tedious and painful, it can also be liberating. And it's more honest than preaching about politics or war or whatever else we bring up to the mic. I might work on the poem and make it punchier, or abandon it altogether, but it's all part of the process, as they say...

A (very) belated Happy Mother's Day!


Peterborough Cathedral

Heheee! Out of nowhere, some of what I was writing has been saved under "Draft".

Taking up from where I left off:
So I haven't updated much on here this week, partly out of being busy, and partly out of needing to recharge my energy. A few important things have happened in between the gaps. One of them is Mothers' Day (at least here in the UK). Another was April Fools' Day (same). Both inspired some mad poetry which I will post snippets of later today.

Then there was Saturday in Peterborough. I managed to arrive early to see a bit of the city and I'm still not really sure what to make of it. I mean, they had a Wimpys there - I hadn't seen one of those place in years! And the cathedral sticks out as an amazing piece of architecture, right at the end of what is now a huge shopping strip. Poundland and 99p store enthusiasts like me will like it, although I'm not sure if it's everyone's cup of cha.

Anyway, being one of the judges for Poetry Rivals (link to follow) on Saturday was interesting, not least doing the "Youth" category, which ran from 8-18. After hearing something like the 32nd poet come up on stage in the afternoon, it was a strain (and don't you just love the way I weaved that word seamlessly in?) to weigh up the qualities of all the poems against each other, particularly whilst weighing up the age factor. The winner, you can imagine, was excellent and did a touching piece about getting drunk (yeah, I know!) with friends, and one of them dying.

So that day I spent part of it wondering how you can "judge" poetry, per se - not an original thought, as many critics of poetry slams (too lazy to insert example links at the mo) have really laid into this concept, hailing it as the "Death of Art", or as too "performance"-based, and less about the quality of language. I see their points but have my own counter-arguments to that (but would be treading old ground - others more eloquent than I have summed it up already).

What I'm more interested in is the concept of "fun" and the fluidity of language. For me, a performance poet should be bringing their raw energy to the stage, or at least shining a bit of "truth" into their poems. Anyone can stand up and read "I wondered lonely as a cloud" or other somesuch verse, but when you have written a poem yourself - or you've at least made a poem your own - it becomes personal; revealing, even. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "intimate". In any case, that's what I love about spoken word, over the written word. That, and having fun with language. The use of sound, including volume, tone, etc gives it a richer feeling that can resonate with the soul. It's a halfway point towards music and song. And, in fact, I've been near-hypnotised by poets I haven't even understood fully. One Polish, and the other French. On both of these occasions, I knew what the poems were about - although my Polish is non-existent, and my French slang, likewise - but the delivery transmitted an energy I simply wouldn't have got from the translated text. 

And that's just how my mind works, jumping from one thing to the other, while actually what had been on my mind was the actually judging, and what defines "good" poetry, and how to decide what is better: an "excellent" poem for an 8-year old or a "really good" poem for a 17-year old, and whether it's worth forgetting the whole thing and telling all of them to just enjoy writing and performing poetry. Answers on a postcard please!

Coming up, Mothers' Day... 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

And Today's Random Word Is...


(That will be a stretch!)


I just did a post and the computer crashed... In fact, nearly an hour's worth of rant, plus an extract from a poem.

Will repost later!