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Monday, 16 December 2013

5 (non-poetry) Things I've Been Watching Lately...

The non-poetry disclaimer had to be inserted, as I'm always watching YouTube clips of poets, but I can do another post on that, if anyone's interested? Meanwhile...

Al Jazeera with Jose Mujica

This interview with Uruguay's president, who's been getting a lot of international attention after making moves to legalise marijuana. I was struck by a lot of what he said. Plenty to discuss at another time!

Two Horace Ove films

One of the many pleasures of being a student is wandering through Goldsmiths library's many floors and picking up books and films you didn't know existed. Hence Pressure and Baldwin's Nigger - the latter a recording from 1969 with James Baldwin speaking to a group of students at the West Indian Centre in London. It's been great research for my novel (don't ask about that now... eek!) and a valuable lesson in how talk around race and politics has (or hasn't) developed.

Breaking Bad

Unfortunately, not available in the library as someone's had it out several weeks in a row... But I've finally been convinced to watch this - and I'm 2 episodes in already... A lesson in chemistry, if nothing else.

The Butler

Surprisingly nuanced in places. Not so in others, but it does manage to take us right through the last half-century or so in the States, and it left a big impression. Really glad I watched this (cheers, sis, for insisting I went to the cinema to see it!)

Altar Call Self Defence...?

Ok, I wasn't going to share this... The context of the video is very particular to a certain brand of churchgoer over here, so a lot of people won't get this.

If you've never been to a church service where being prayed for by the altar is a perilous activity, then you have no idea, skip this one... but if you do, this clip has been giving me jokes for months.


 Praise away! :)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

UPCOMING... Chill Pill Xmas Special - This THURSDAY!

Mid-December, for me, involves trying to find creative excuses not to go for celebratory drinks, lunches or parties to mark the season. I don't "do" festive cheer... but this is a definite exception.

No excuses not to come to this - Chill Pill is going to be fun on Thursday... and I might even don a little Santa hat  ...or perhaps not. (Let's curb our excitement just a little.)

Deptford, here we come! More info here, or check out this cool trailer below: 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Pulling Out All the Stops...

One of the projects I'm doing at the moment involves writing poetry inspired by the massive (approx.) 8,000 pipe organ at the Royal Festival Hall. I'm enjoying the opportunity to "geek out"; various organ-knowledge gathering sessions over the weekend/evenings, watching YouTube videos of mad organists, trying to makes sense of diagrams which show different chambers, stops and pedals. I never knew my life would come to this. 

Pull Out All the Stops is a festival taking place at the Southbank Centre in Spring to celebrate their organ and I'm looking forward to it. It's a monstrous beast with an interesting - and even controversial - history, and it's great to be able to explore this. Completely out of my usual writing zone and yet, I'm already starting to find odd connections with other things I care about.  

Note Gathering

So far, I have pages and pages of notes I'm working through - and already have about 6 first-draft poems and sketches. It's great to approach my writing this way, large volumes of writing and paring it down chunk by chunk...

It's difficult not to create double-entendres. The only way around it is to go mysterious and dark. Apologies to Robert Frost for jumping on one of his poems, in one of my notes:

"The world will not end in fire/ ice or trumpets sounding twice/ but in the organ / God of metal, wood, breath, bones / blood"

Will keep you posted on this...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A quick one...

Last night's Tongue Fu vs Anti-Slam was amazing!

Tongue Fu, as expected, was a great night with very talented, responsive musicians. I laughed very hard and very loudly during the Anti-Slam (where the worst poet wins).

I channelled my alter ego, The Consciousness, and he didn't even get to do his poem after a long pre-amble; the audience "just wasn't ready" for him, and needed to "elevate themselves" and "get educated". And of course, he added, we need another Mandela or woMandela to lead us out of the gloomy hole the world is currently in.

I was still coming out of character when I read Musa Okwanga's strong piece on Mandela and I disagreed strongly with him. "You will fail"? I read. Even before his passing, we'd already succeeded into making him a peace-loving, hippie figure, that everyone can rally round; having elaborate concerts for his birthday, erecting statues... and revising history.

The year I was born, not even that far back in the 80s, he was a controversial figure for Western establishments. He was in jail and there was a reason for it. Whilst he was non-violent, he influenced not just public debate but also protest and riots. A lot of people wanted to keep the status quo and he was rocking the boat. It sounds silly, of course, because now we like to say how equal everyone should be (because our systems of oppression are usually much more subtle than having visible "no blacks" signs up) and he's an easy figure to celebrate. And while the BBC now cuts to speeches from David Cameron and a million other people on how wonderful he was, they need to remember that people from our ruling party believed he was a terrorist. And, of course, people can change their minds, but to then claim Mandela for their own political purposes... as if they and his contemporaries always been best of buddies, that is dangerous. Revisionism at its worst. Just like the way our current government used the Civil Rights movement recently to justify their hideous new reforms.

Anyway, other people have written about this already. And it's great to see that not everyone has forgotten. Because when we forget history, we repeat it.