She Grrrowls & Politics

She Grrrowls Logo

With She Grrrowls just finding its feet and me just about recovering from a post-launch cold, I think it’s about time I wrote about its first instalment. I arrived at The Gallery Café over 3 hours before the event’s start time. As I can’t afford to fork out £50 on a sound technician, I decided to bring a pad of paper and pen to note down the basics. It seemed easier enough and despite some initial problems, it was working. That was when things started to take a turn for the worst. There was a party of 30 people due an hour before the event for a buffet, which did no good for my pre-show anxiety. Then, my comedy act got in contact to say she was too ill to do the show. I was further sent into a panic when part of the She Grrrowls team was taken down by a kidney infection. I was on the edge of a meltdown. Still, guest host Joelle Taylor turned up and got her hands dirty moving tables with me, providing a welcome relief.

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Twenty minutes before the start, I tested the music again. No sound came out. No sound. We had no sound. What was I going to do? The events manager was off sick, and I hadn’t a clue how to work out what the problem was, let alone fix it. The café never closed its doors, so people were coming in and I was running round like a headless chicken. Joelle kindly jumped on stage to tell people to pay and I ran back and forth to collect money and check on the sound. Time was a blur, and somehow, with the help of the café staff and the band, the sound began to work through one speaker – not the ones above, but one sat on the stage. Booking a six-piece band for the first event was probably a bit ambitious, but through working together, it all turned out okay and we were able to start the show before 8pm.

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My head was a whirlwind, but I was thankful I didn’t have to worry about the audience and the artists. The open mic’ (themed ‘politics’) was a great success… from a rather unusual but expected ‘alternative view’ to established poets like Pete the Temp and Mark ‘Mr T’ Thompson, as well as emerging artists I was glad to see take to the stage, including a lovely lady called Imogen who rhymes under ‘Average White Female’. The audience looked packed – we ran out of seats (mostly because I didn’t have time to remove all the tables) and I counted around 40-50 people. The best part of this means that each act took away around £30 payment (although the ever-supportive Joelle tried to give the money back to She Grrrowls) and I would love to increase that amount by getting bigger audiences. What’s more is that the event had positive feedback – one couple who had come in for food (the guy had just arrived back from Canada) were convinced to stay for the show and left telling Joelle that this was just the kind of event they had been looking for: good quality poetry without the pretence.

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I managed to relax enough to talk to a couple of friends who came to watch, and to be able to enjoy the rest of the show. Momina Mela offered us beautiful poetry with words that melt your soul, each word spoken slowly, carefully, as if each word was a jewel offered as a gift to the audience. Momina has an uncanny way with words and amazes with each line of poetry. Aisling Fahey then wowed the audience with her raw honesty; lines like ‘how to hold their frame without wishing there were less of it’, although about eating disorders, was both horribly relatable and undenyably tragic. A poem that goes beyond the experience of eating disorders and makes you wonder why you would ever want to be less of yourself, like you’d be destroying a part of yourself.

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Sunshine in Mae finished the night and left everyone with a smile on their face. Fronted by Sula Mae, this six piece band also had some guys in it (see – showcasing female talent, not completely banning men). I knew Sula Mae from university as a solo artists so it was incredible to see her songs grow to such a level, hearing new tracks and old favourites like ‘Wake up Mr. Billy’. People hung around after and chatted, before Joelle helped me pack all the equipment away (what a star!) I was left exhausted, but elated, and so so thankful to everyone who was involved in making She Grrrowls a success.

Watch some of the poetry from the launch on the She Grrrowls Youtube Channel.

Since then, I encountered yet another hurdle! The booking system at The Gallery Cafe hadn’t registered future She Grrrrowls events. After waves of panic via email and feeling sick all day, I was able to sort it out and have spent the last week re-arranging bookings. The next event will be on Saturday 5th October – I had to change a couple of acts but you can see the confirmed line-up below… the change of theme to ‘sex’ seemed appropriate (well, we couldn’t do ‘space’ without Helen Keen)! I’m excited as I won’t be tired from work and my boyfriend will be there to enjoy the show (and help me out) – poetry on a Saturday night, what a treat! The rest will be every THIRD MONDAY of each month.

She Grrrowls Oct 2013 NEW


Carmina of the Rant

I am bursting to say what I did not earlier.  I’m writing this at one in the morning but will post it the next day with the appropriate video.

[Edit: Please remember I was pretty drunk when writing this]

Firstly, I have been accepted onto the Creative Entrepreneurship MA at UEA London!  I didn’t know what to expect, felt it could go either way… my housemate Jordi told me via Facebook that the letter was at our house but I was in London.  In case I didn’t get on, I waited until I got back to Norwich, and with my stupid shoes cutting through my flesh I rushed from bus stop to door and tore open the letter.  I was happy.  I am happy.  It’s a peak, but there are still troughs and that happiness is still temporary.  (That’s actually a reference to that day’s Loose Women… oh dear!)  However, I would be devastated if I didn’t get on.

I’m currently listening to Jessie J’s album and I am increasingly irritated.  She has switched from earlier work into an Americanized accent and it pisses me off.  She sounds so much better natural.  Clearly forgetting her roots… and as soon as Price Tag, the first track, plays, it is clearly bullshit.  She has stated in Style magazine that one of her mottos is to ‘don’t cater for the handful, cater for the masses’ which just is the total opposite of what the lyrics in that song seem to say.  She has a good voice, her songs are good, so why put on some fake accent?  America = the masses = money money money. Bring back the mandem, that’s what I say.

Anyway, tonight.  Despite being tired I went to Word of Mouth.  I feel like I need to do anything I can to expose my poetry.  I knew all the acts and the one I was most impressed with (and during the Christmas holidays I gigged at the same place as him and headline act Pete The Temp) was… Captain of the Rant.  To be honest, I couldn’t remember Pete’s act that much and while this time, I do appreciate he was entertaining, I wasn’t sure he was actually a ‘poet’ but he did do at least one good poem… I would call him more of a comedy act though.

The open mic afterwards was good to do, but the main thing for me was that Captain of the Rant and his friends ruined it for me.  A guy I know from UEA’s CWS ranted about the Captain himself, calling him ‘Captain of the Fuckface’ or something… anyway, I was glad, he deserved it and I’d hoped he felt bad, but him and his mates kept on chatting.  As I was impressed with his act both times I’d seen him, I was disappointed in him and I was just gutted to be honest, absolutely gutted.  Amy Wragg commented it was an open mic and that ‘some people pay attention, and some people don’t’ but personally, I think that’s a load of bollocks!  It’s just rude to talk over spoken word, open mic or not. [Edit: Okay, yes, that’s my opinion but if you argue that one has the right to ignore what’s going on, then I argue it’s my right to be pissed off.  However, I just gave a lot of drunken evil eyes.  Listening back to the YouTube video, I think I attempted to make a point by almost screaming some of Claymore.]

[Edit: I have removed a small section because although I found it funny, it could be misinterpreted as rude]

In the words of Scroobius Pip “thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave as soon as you’ve done your shitty little poem or song, you self-righteous prick.”  I know part of the meaning is that these are things we do… but the main thing is to take it on board.  I’m sure talking through other people’s poems (no matter how shitty they are) is included in this sentiment.  I’m understanding more than ever that when you want to do what you enjoy as a career it can become like a chore… I came to this night because I felt I should, rather than because I really wanted to go.  So, I can understand just going and doing you’re bit, but I don’t want to be like that.  I tend to like to make a night of these things by drinking but I know I’ll have to do less of that the more often I do it… financially and health-wise.  I don’t want that to mean I leave early, I want to stay as long as I can and not forget the places that I came from.

I also got annoyed talking to a friend.  Not because of what they said per say, as they are interesting to talk and debate with… but in terms of my own questioning who I am and what I do. I was told at a Farrago event at the start of the year about an event that’s more for “page poets” and I was offended at the implication that I wasn’t good enough to be considered a performance poet.  Then again, this friend thinks I’m more of a performance poet and that not many of my poems are fit for the page… hence the magazine rejections, I guess.  I do like fitting into both categories, and maybe that’s part of the danger, but it saddens me to be told I don’t fit in either… that I’m not good enough for either.

So, I am happy about my MA… I feel I have direction now and I like that, I like setting goals and ticking things off.  I just need to get some money for it!  Please somebody fund me!  I’m trying to look it as an investment!  Anyway, yes, I’m happy but as always, nothing is good enough… I have to push forward still, and things are still pissing me off, things are still getting me down, my heart is still broken, my body is still alone at night and my poetry was about mental illness tonight, so what do you expect?

Okay, so I’m going to stop listening to this album now.  Stopping it on Who’s Laughing Now which is a good track because it’s personal, which I like, and it’s clear despite the stupid fake accent, she can sing.  Also, a lot of the stuff in the Style article was pretty cool, and her speech at the Brits was amazing.  She seems like a nice girl, and to me… talent and personality… that’s what’s important right? 


The Captain has since apologised and can have his hat back.