Secret Garden Party

100_4112A run down of my time at Secret Garden Party…

The Good

1. So, I guess number one has to be my performance… even if I do say so myself, haha! But seriously, after Latitude my nerves had calmed and I actually managed not to spend the three days leading up to my performance stressing. I really enjoyed my time there and could definitely have gone on longer!

2. The lake – the first thing we did was go boating in the lake, and on Saturday we picked the perfect time to brave the water and take a dip. There was a funny moment when a dog jumped in, but it got annoying pretty fast – luckily the owner got it back eventually. It felt so good to swim around as the morning sun shone down on us.

3. More than music – my favourite parts of the festival were the randoms little things that went on. As well as the lake, we hula-hooped, joined the community choir, held snakes and chameleons, painted with watercolours, did some shiatsu and meditation, and watched an impromptu acrobatic show. There was also the “Dave Off”, which was silly and hilarious. We also had a bit of a dance to some African beats as our campsite neighbours got chatting to us and got us to come down to the Feast of Fools where they were playing.


4. Favourite performances – fellow poets Emma Jones, Amy Acre and Amy Blakemore performed in Poetry Period on the same stage as me. I didn’t know they were going to be there until the day (let alone any other poets other than ‘Dead Poets’ Mark Grist and Mixy who we saw a couple of times). The last night we shared a  second Roaming Rotisserie meal, plus some churros, and settled at The Amphitheatre where we saw a great range of acts including an open mic final with an incredible beatboxer and freestyle rapper (he managed to deal with the horrible audience-given topic of ‘Hitler’ perfectly), a hilarious comedy show from Le Pain (I think that was the name), and an energetic musical performance from Classy-Cool.

5. Music – I have to say a couple of my favourite music acts were ones I stumbled on – Swell on the first night, and Denai Moore who I hope to catch again at Camp Bestival. I also saw Kwabs, Kyla La Grange, Foxes and Public Enemy.


The Bad

1. The laid-back, chilled vibe of the festival meant that there was a slight issue with the organisation of everything. My set was cut in half, and it’s not that I would have minded having a half an hour set initially, but having prepared an hour of material, it resulted in me missing out all the more light-hearted poems and only realising the tone of my set afterwards. Still, two people who weren’t my boyfriend said they liked it. I had told someone earlier that there was a clash of the dance workshop and me on the board, which I’d also mentioned at the start of the festival as I wasn’t in the programme, and although the times on the board were changed, the fact of the matter wasn’t realised until just before I was due to go on, resulting in the cut of time. Although I thought they could have cut 5 minutes off everything and made up an hour of time, I didn’t want to appear The Diva – I was merely a competition winner after all.

2. Stage communication – in line with the organisation side of things, I felt like it would have been better to have poetry in one place. I didn’t realise there were a load of poets on the Forum Stage (I think) and that space would have probably been more better to host poetry, as it was very difficult to compete with the loud music from surrounding areas, children and drunk/drugged-up people running around and not knowing whether people further away would be able to hear. Those in the Poetry Period had a lot more to contend with in that respect.

3. I didn’t sell any books, therefore I don’t really know how much people liked me. I want to be liked. LIKE ME!!!


& The Ugly

1. The toilets. Having just come from Latitude, the SGP toilets were lacking in comparison. Mostly, there was a lack of toilet roll, but I also preferred Latitude’s type of port-a-loos with a lever-pull, but maybe they just needed to clean them up because they piled up way too high, and there were a couple of occasions where vomit and excrement were in places they shouldn’t be.

2. The drugs. I know that alcohol can be worse in many ways and I do drink a bit, but drugs still scare me a little; behind straw-bales and in the hidden sunflower field there were people lying on their own, near-dead to the world around them. This could also be to do with that the music went on until 6am and was really close to the campsite. I used to be pretty hardcore when it came to yearly trips to Reading Festival, but I just can’t hack that anymore.



Looks like the good is the winner here! As someone who usually goes to festivals for the music, the many adventures that were to be had at Secret Garden Party meant that I was more relaxed and happy to go-with-the-flow. The chilled out vibe must have had an effect on me as I was more calm about my performance and despite the distractions, I managed to get into my set and would have happily carried on and on and on…


Words & Music

Had a busy week! Tuesday I went out with my friend Laura and my ex-housemate Kirstie (who is travelling around India as of today!) Me and Laura had Nando’s (standard) before meeting Kirstie to go to the Camden Barfly for a gig.  For only a fiver we got to see Supercute and the inspiring Miss Kate Nash in her side project The Receeders.  It was definitely worth seeing and an interesting path for Kate Nash.  Also spotted her boyf Ryan Jarman at the bar.

Last night, after a really stressful day trying to work out PDFs, trying to deal with too many DM boot bids on Ebay and a shift at Sainsbury’s (oh, and after walking in the wrong direction to the venue – typical) I found myself a haven at The Gallery Cafe for The Word House poetry event.  I saw a friendly face in Captain of the Rant, (check out his event, there’s one this Friday I plan to go along to!) and after a quick chat and a rather unimportant embarrassing incident I found myself in, Christian Watson took to the stage.  He was incredible!  I don’t really know what else to say.  It started on a high and that high just did not stop.

The open mic included the likes of Emma Jones who performed her winning set from this year’s Glam Slam (and myself, performing my winning poem from the ‘Loss’ category).  John Berkavitch continued the features and was also amazing, and played with the audiences emotions with a poem that began with a cliché, went forward with comedy and ended with words to send shivers across your skin.  He then told us to read The Empty Space, which is so cheap on Amazon I may have to add it to my huge pile of books to read.  I’m currently reading Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.  It’s massive.

Last up before a dash for the tube (both him and me) was Inua Ellams.  I have said before how lovely he comes across and he is so genuine.  Not only that, but he has an amazing way with words, and also an amazing Graphic Artist. Jealous much.  All in all, a wonderful evening, raising money for Oxfam, yay!  And I even made it home for a late-night viewing of X-factor.

I’ve been working as usual, doing lots of useful and interesting MA stuff (including a gruelling day about accounting) and spent a couple of days with my boyfriend in Norwich, forcing him to come with me to a Feminist Society discussion group, and coming back to his only to watch a rom-com.  Sorry love.  Oh yeah!  And we did Yoga.  About 2 hours of it!  It was really hardcore, seriously, my legs hurt a couple of days later and everything.  Oh yeah, he’s starting up this Sketch Club – if you’re creative in any way, get involved!  I also saw my Gran for dinner with my parents which was a welcome return from the coach journey from Norwich.

Matt made me these cool timetables that you can draw and wipe off.  It’s really good because it gets your mind focused and you feel good ticking things off.  I’ve missed a few things off but I think I’m doing pretty well!  I wonder if I can count my Sainsbury’s work as exercise since it’s manual? Hmmm!




Glamour, Nudity and Melted Chocolate

So, last night was the third Glam Slam in a row I’ve been too. It’s only on once a year but it is always so fun and I’m always partial to a theme, plus the host, Ernesto Sarezale is super-organised like myself.  So, a good excuse to post pictures like the one below.  My theme was ‘loss’ and I had to wear blue.  I had a ‘San Francisco Loves You’ t-shirt that I got on holiday but I got make-up on it so had to change – gutted.

Scarf: East

Fan: gift

T-shirt: Jaguar Love

Skirt: H&M

Tights: Topshop

Shoes (seen in end picture): Vintage ‘Charles’ from Beyond Retro

Lipstick + Foundation: Estée Lauder

Mascara: Maybelline

Eyeliner: Collection 2000

Eye stars (can’t really see here): unknown

Nail Varnish: ‘Carrie’ SATC

Anyway, I met my friend Hannah after she finished work and went to Nando’s.  The loyalty card was confusing me (mainly, because the staff seem to be confused) so I ended up with two chicken breasts.  So much for loosing this weight I’ve put on).  It was delicious as ever though and I enjoyed my extra big portion, though felt a bit of a pig).  We went to The Book Club and I got a drink, before getting a seat downstairs early.  Cat Brogan was on first and fabulous as ever.  Marcus Reeves, on the timer, who was ‘challenging Annie Lennox’, remembered me from last time which was nice.  He has a collection out called ‘Sighs Ten’ haha. When he said he remembered me I said ‘thank you’, afterwards realising that’s probably a strange thing to say.

Chris Young, last year’s winner also performed, who I couldn’t remember before he started taking off his clothes and doing last year’s poem, but he was good, check him out here.  It just goes to show, it doesn’t matter about who you’re having sex with… anyone can understand the bliss of when someone likes your company and not just your cock/pussy.  Emanuel Xavier was down from New York and he was amazing.  At the time I was stressing about missing my train back and he was so good I forgot about it – and believe me, that says something!  I would have liked to talk to him, especially as between acts he congratulated me.  PLUS, I’m going to New York at the end of July so it would have been cool to know where to go.

Angry Sam was first to compete in the ‘Loss’ category and after he finished I thought there was no way I was going to get through. I think I performed with him at Limehouse Church and thought he was good, and tonight I was sure he was going to win it.  He did a poem about an ex from the point of view of her, and got the audience to join in with ‘you’re just a bastard’.  I did ‘Space Station’ off by heart and did an intro that lead on from Sam’s.  I felt it was the best I’d ever done (gutted my cam ran out of batt) it so it was really hurtful when the scores came… two 8s, one 7, and a 5.  It wasn’t so much the scores, but the group of girls that picked the ‘5’ seemed to be laughing about it, and I wanted to cry.  But I didn’t.  I ended up winning the category with 28 points.  Marcus said Sam’s name though (he got 27) and had to correct it, so when Sam came over with flyers it was a bit awkward.  I was texting at the time, and stressing out about my train, so was in a bit of a fluster and stupidly said ‘oh, well done, by the way’ when I realised it was him.  All he said was ‘so, you won it then?’ so I felt like I’d said the wrong thing.  I looked at the flyer and said I was meaning to go anyway; it was for seeing Chester P, who I saw support Jamie T when I had this weird illness that was like Glandular Fever but they never found out what it was exactly.  I thought it was a great gig so am hoping to go along with a friend I want to catch up with.

People came up to me in the break and both congratulated me and said how the girls that voted ‘5’ were dickheads and stuff.  I couldn’t really stay down after that… though I guess I went from happy to stressed because my dad said I needed to get the train before 11 and I knew I wouldn’t make it out that early.  I wish I’d checked the times myself now!  So, at the end of the first couple of rounds, me and Emma Jones went to collect our trophies.  I knew after seeing her that she would win the whole thing – she did an amazing costume change ‘Work’ poem which was literally 3mins on the dot: perfection.  Her second poem was done in the accent of a lot of the girls I went to school with, as she is a drama teacher in South London (brap brap… do the kids still say that?) where she came up with many witty things in place of GCSE including much of the typical activities for these kinds of girls, such as going to the chicken shops after school (yes, there is a previous photo of me posing with a chicken box… you can take the girl out of…etc).  She did a final poem on winning comically stating that if you see anyone from Clapham, the best thing to do it to ‘slap ’em’ haha!  I did ‘Drama’ for my second poem and thought I did okay, but wished I’d put more thought into which poem I did).

Nothing better than a man between the legs: me and my trophy for Best Loss Poem

Alison Brumfitt won the ‘Lust’ category with her amazing poem about how, despite popular opinion, sex is better than chocolate.  And she did it whilst throwing chocolate bars at the audience, and then dripping melted chocolate down her body.  Oh yes, for this category, you had to wear lingerie/underwear or less!  I was surprised to see Alain English bare all (both literally and metaphorically) in a poem about masturbation, and Keith Jarrett in nothing but a hat and Superman pants.  By the by, he has an Action Man body to match those gorgeous brown eyes.  And I mean that in a totally objective way.  There was also a guy that did a poem in some old Mickey Mouse PJs, and he mentioned something about mental illness, and I think he was referring to anti-psychiatry, which I’ve been interested in since my dissertation (which I will post after I’ve graduated).  However, his poem was about having sex with patients, which reminded me of David Cooper’s idea of ‘bed therapy’ which I believe to be possibly unethical due to the idea of consensus… though he claimed the person who the poem was based on would gain consent, this may not always be reliable in mental health patients.  That said, if I was locked up in an institution and could never have sex, it is likely I’d be driven further into insanity.

Ray Antrobus won the ‘Wig’ category (and taking third place in the final round, beat me by a couple of points) and he told a poem about being the sober guy at a party, as he doesn’t drink.  It made me of Matt and how I encourage him to drink, tsk tsk, bad Carmina.  In the second round he did one about how your voice changes depending on who you’re talking to, which, loyal readers will know, is a subject I have a love/hate relationship with… in the vein of ‘yeah, I am from South London, and yeah, this is a South London accent, I’m just middle class, bitch.’  Carmina: South London, but a bit posh too innit.

It ended a bit before midnight.  After congratulating Emma for winning I legged it to Liverpool Street, got the tube to Oxford Circus (shat myself cos I forgot I couldn’t change at bank as Waterloo & City line wouldn’t be running that late) and then got the tube to Vauxhall, where THANKFULLY I saw the train was coming.  Some guys ahead of me started running, so I joined in and followed them up the wrong platform.  Not only that, but I FELL FLAT ON MY FACE!  I was around the corner so the guys didn’t see, and I managed to stand up by the time they turned around (I overheard it was platform 3) but I had grazed near my elbow and wrist, bruised/cut my finger and chipped a bit of my trophy.  The train was delayed for 2 minutes, so I sat down for a bit and got my breath back.  I had needed some water (and the toilet) for ages and so my throat was as if I’d just done a proper 30min run!  I got the train safe and sound and was back home by 1am.

Things I hate:

  • Living in Worcester Park and not East London.
  • Saying I’ve been doing this poetry bizz for 5 years… can I lie and say a year?

Things I love (just to balance it up):

  • Finally winning a category.
  • My bedroom.