What’s Wrong with the Youth of Today?

Nothing. There’s no more “wrong” about the youth of today than anyone else. Although people can draw evidence from the likes of last summer’s riots, it depends what you pay attention to… and hey, guess what, there were older adults involved in the riots too. Just under half of rioters were aged 18-24 according to The Guardian, and although that age group (which I am within) is considered “youth” this is a key stage in everyone’s life where you after effectively a young adult. It’s just way too generalised to tarnish everyone with the same brush – which was shown by the aftermath of the riots. Now, moving on to more positive things… I’m going to be writing about the great talent and activity of the youth of today and why we, as society, should nurture and develop those under 25, in order for them/us to progress into successful adults.

Yesterday I was part of the International Youth Art’s Festival (IYAF) in Kingston. It was the opening night at the Rose Theatre. As I got there, it was like walking into a madhouse/maze and I didn’t know where I was meant to go and wasn’t given a wristband so was dashing about a bit before the start, but I trusted the staff would come to get me when I was needed and just relaxed to enjoy the first half.

I am part of this massive festival!!!

I was truly blown away at how talented everyone who performed was and felt so privileged to be a part of the opening night, and the festival as a whole. The stage opened to multi-coloured neon footsteps and hands dancing in pitch black. This was ‘The Celtic Colleens’ and instantly I knew I was in for an amazing night. Snow White gave a funny twist to the traditional tale, aimed at children from 5+ but fun for all. The Tiffinians were suited up and gave a range of songs, including a rendition of ‘Postman Pat’ – though my favourite was the first be-bop style song.

Forest Gate performed an extract from the play ‘No Exit’ and I’d say this was for an older audience as I had to engage my brain a bit for this one! ‘The Dreaming’ delivered Shakespeare with a really amusing and musical take on it. Definitely one to see the whole of, ‘The Big Wheel’ had a selection of people from the mass of 300 people doing drag runs and cartwheels in a circle – sure to be quite a sight, especially from an aerial view!

‘The Gods Are Not To Blame’ saw a group coming from all the way in Nigeria! I loved the drumming in this, as well as the amazing dancing and traditional costumes. ‘Robyn Mae & The Impressionists’ made a smashing closing of the first half. I was wowed by the front-woman’s (or front-girl?) confidence and her voice had a great quality. It was really powerful, but I especially liked the softer tones as the vocals were so silky-smooth at those points. She covered Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ and exceeded the original. The only critique I would have of it was that her voice sounded best when you could hear her good ol’ English accent and if she hadn’t done what Jessie does and use a faux-American accent for words such as ‘dance’ she would have stepped it an another notch. And secondly, it niggled me that she stated her cover of ‘Valerie’ was by Amy Winehouse, when it’s by The Zutons. However, her rapping along to JJ’s track and her incredible stage presence more than made up for that.

I was first up in the second half and I was so nervous I was shaking… and I’m not usually like that. However, I think I came across confidently and I was very pleased with my performance – hopefully Tuesday at The Cricketers will go just as well x6. The Kingston Youth Big Band were next and I caught a bit of it and it made me very jealous that I can’t play an instrument but sounded fantastic that these young people have had the opportunity to learn how to play and then dedicate such time and effort to it.

‘Little Cauliflower’ gave a great show which took me back to my days of the Little Angel Puppet Theatre I went to a lot when I was younger. IYAF has also put an album together by lots of talented young people, and one of them was featured at this night. I can’t remember the name of the guy, but he was just 19 and beat-boxed so well he rivaled Intensi-T. He was so confident and his performance was so skilled, entertaining and witty.

‘Eddance’, I believe, did a really intriguing dance routine that seemed to merge genres. I loved the expression and the narrative style to the dances. Jaz Delorean then took to the piano and amazed me. He brought so much emotional intensity that I laughed, I cried and quite frankly, went a bit crazy. Lastly, there was ‘Circus Suburbia’ which was an incredible mix of puppetry, dance and acrobatics, and just magical.

To see any of these acts, just go to the IYAF website and check out the programme. Afterwards I got a couple of compliments but wanted to get home so gave a few flyers out before leaving the rest with the Rose Theatre. I even got a husband and wife who weren’t into poetry saying they enjoyed my set, commenting on the performance piece ‘Cinderella’ which I noticed I got a few laughs from in the audience, yay!

This post is getting rather long and I’m tired and have work tomorrow, so… moving on! Shake the Dust Final!!! Another incredible day with so much talent.

So, Jacab Sam-La Rose did a fantastic job as host and the Peer Mentors (including Catherine Woodward who’s featuring at my event on August 22nd) gave a great opening to the show. I’m just going to summarise because my head was filled to the brim with poetry. The only photo I took was of the opening slammers, representing Yorkshire. I guess you could say, I knew they were the winners! Everyone was amazing but I totally agreed with the judges decisions for the awards. London got the best performances and Sheringham got best line (brap brap for the East).

Speech DeBelle gave a great performance, and I really enjoyed the combination of music with her rapping. She actually went to Harris Academy, a school where my Dad used to teach. I’ve been reading a lot of poetry as inspiration but it made me want to listen more too.

xxx

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