So, both summer school jobs are over and I’m going on holiday, to have some “medicine” as my friend is calling it. I’ve finished my podcast and I’m looking forward to training to be an Art Therapist for the next three years! I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts on Art Therapy, and I’m keen to start a book I have, but will likely save it and use my holiday to indulge in lots of lovely fiction. I’m just about to finish ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’, which my mum pass on to me… I hope I can catch the film too. I would critique the way that black characters are depicted in terms of why a distinction is made to show their accents in the phonetic writing of speech, but not other white characters. I wouldn’t have picked it myself, but the story is interesting and it surprised me.
I organised my first class trip to the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and found out that certain (stolen) artefacts will be returning to their country of origin, namely Nigeria, from what I could see, which is great! One of my students already knew about it before we went, which was an impressive coincidence. I celebrated finishing my nine weeks of EFL work by going for tapas at El Molino, which was amazing. A taster of what’s to come!
The final poet interview is out in the world, and it ends on a bang with Brigitte Aphrodite! As a lover of a good chinwag, this is also the longest episode in the series. Still to come in a special episode where we hear from my maternal nan and grandad, as well as one of me discussing the research I’m doing over the next month or so!
I’m picking up the uke when I can, and have been having a go at Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. I quite like it, though I’m still struggling with getting my fingers to and from the G-chord! I’m going to have a busy summer, and hope for more days where I can spend any rest time between the busyness in parks researching with my little pile of books.
So, having reached a bit of a breather with work, I’m still tutoring in the afternoons, but have more time to read. As I’m still doing my music project, I’m reading various books about music and emotions. I hope to complete my research phase by the end of July to then record and put out a bonus episode reflecting on this. I’ve finished with my Macbeth students, and after one complained other teachers would be boring, I felt very flattered!
I have tried every year to perform poetry at Glastonbury, and I am kicking myself at having missed the opportunity this year. That said, on Friday I’m seeing Green Day with Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and Amyl & The Sniffers, and then Red Hot Chili Peppers on the Sunday, so I will certainly get my music fix this weekend.
Now I’ll have this extra time next week, I may even have time to start back on a creative project… I’m not sure whether to turn my attention to my show until August, so I might see if I can work on my collection some more, which was “finished” in 2019, but I’ve written more poems for it, and want to really organise my poems better and see whether I can create multiple potential collections by organising them more thematically, in a way that will help manage submissions better too.
The past week, I’ve felt like my energy is properly back to pre-Covid standard. I’ve had the energy to go to all my gym classes and have taken on some extra work. I still need to get to bed earlier, but I’m setting my alarms less. I’m trying to remember that I’m in control!
I’ve got some extra work over the summer, which will not only help me live day-to-day, but it should help me save for funding my MA in Art Therapy! I’ve been getting back on the ukulele and had another in-person lesson and have realised what a difference it makes learning songs you know and like and can sing along to! I’ve released another couple of episodes of Carmina’s Cantata as well – Malaika Kegode and Dizraeli, from when I was in Bristol.
This week, my gran sent a translated poem by Anna Akhmatova. I happened to have just picked up a load of my old books from my parents’, and had the book she’d got me at hand. I found the poem, but it was a different translation, and I preferred this one my gran sent.
In other news, I’ve also been starting a few things I’ve been putting off or not got round to for a while. I’m going through notes on my notes app from 2018! It’s very long, but there’s lots of poems. I’d love to be able to get organised and make a nice spreadsheet of poems. Many are unfinished! I’ve also started doing a series of videos on mental health stuff connected with neurodiversity, BPD and being a HSP.
I went out to the park with my laptop and its tent, but it was a bit premature as it clouded over and got a bit chilly, when I had visions of being out there until sunset! Next week, I’ll have 8 hours of online tuition as well a my regular lessons, so I’ll try to make the most of any sun when I can, looking forward to my birthday next weekend!
I’ve recorded my penultimate podcast episode! Soon all that will need doing is the editing, and then working out Spotify and putting it out there! This has been my favourite part of this project as I’ve got to have some really interesting conversations and also caught up with poet friends that I haven’t seen in a while!
I’ve been dedicating more focussed time to playing the uke, and doing some tricky stuff in terms of both chord transitions and trying to play along to a metronome. On days where I have been able to have balance and do this, I have been feeling much more fulfilled and happier in what has felt like and up-and-down time. And apparently, only now mercury’s in retrograde.
Things are really full on at the moment, so I’ve been struggling to put the time into my ukulele practice. I’d rather do it in the day time, as I can feel really tired by the evening, so it doesn’t feel as productive. However, something that has changed is that I’ve now been focussed on one song, and whilst previously I kept on moving on quickly after a few times, I’m now having the opposite problem: I want to perfect it and as I keep making mistakes, I’ve not been able to move on. How long should I spend on one lesson or song?
I’ve been learning a lot and playing around on my Logic Pro course at City Lit. It’s my third lesson so far, and it’s great as it’s specialised to the students on it and the different things we want to do. Today we’ll be doing more about editing, and how I can make the volume more consistent, and put different files together on one episode. In some ways, it would have been good to do the course prior recording interviews, but on the other hand, the whole point of this year is to learn as I go along. It would be good to know how to attach the Scarlett amplifier whilst recording. Things are intense right now, but hopefully he hard work I’m putting into various thing right now will pay off next year.
I last recorded in Brighton, and it was nice to take a trip down memory lane, as my gran used to live there. It was so nice that I have managed to convince my mum for us to go there for our annual Christmas shopping trip (which is really just an excuse to spend time together and eat nice food). I’m glad I managed to go away as I feel like I would be a lot more stressed and overwhelmed if I hadn’t. Like language learning, learning music is actually really good for managing stress as you are forced to be present… of course, it’s possible to get distracted, but when you get into the zone, you brain has to concentrate so much that there isn’t room for other things.
I can’t believe it’s now November! So, I’m about half way through recording the whole of the podcast series interviews! I’ve been to Leeds, Sheffield, and Bristol so far, with the last couple being in London (Dalston, and today in Greenwich). Pirate Studios is great as it has a lot of locations and it’s really affordable due to the way it’s staffed, but today I had to switch rooms in attempt to get away from a really noisy band, with sound bleeding through to the whole building!
We ended up in a rehearsal room, so at the end of the interview, I ended up playing on the drums. Sometimes I wish I went to the BRIT school or something as I would have loved to have been able to play more music. The arts are definitely my thing as I just love every art form and wish I could do more. When I retire – if artists every really retire – I hope I’d be able to just learn a bunch or random instruments I never got to!
Alas, I am sticking to the one instrument, which I picked up as it goes well with spoken word and I was told it was easy! As I enjoy learning the ukulele, it can be something I do in the evening when I don’t have time in the day. But then I have found, I’ve been so busy lately that I get tired, so carving out time in the day is the way forward. As is the repetition of the same things, which is a lot more fun when it’s songs that just doing different kinds of notes. I have trouble with focussing at times, so I can definitely dedicate more time if I don’t get distracted whilst doing it!
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written update as I’ve been busy with the other aspects of the projects. I’m currently writing this in break between podcast recordings in Bristol. I’ve got one more to go, and despite some nerves at meeting certain poets, it’s a pretty cool way to spend the day. I’m looking forward to meeting a couple of other Bristol-based poets for dinner later too. Another poet friend has also recommended a gig, but I may be ready for bed by then!
The other week, I recorded the first two podcast episodes in Leeds and Sheffield, which means I’m almost half way through getting the interviews recorded, which is wild. The final interview is scheduled for February, so the rest are more spread out, but I’m hoping I can do one or two extra episodes as so many more poets spring to mind now, and so I think I will redistribute the funding that was meant to be for another music production course. Meanwhile, I have been doing a little ukulele practising, but would like to dedicate more time to it, valuing repetition more, rather than quickly going through the Fender programme, being on Level 2 already.
My next podcast interview recording is next week, and the first one in London, though this and another are with Berlin-based artists. It’s interesting that a lot aren’t taking place in London, though I wish I had more time to stay and explore… and part of me wished I did have an excuse to go back to Berlin for a weekend of recording! Though I am taking a much-needed holiday soon in sunny Spain.
I’ll write a proper update soon. Things are busy. I got ill for four weeks… that didn’t help. I feel like I have to sit down and write a big long post, like, settle down, let me tell you a story with a cup of tea.
Anyway, speaking of stories, while you wait for another long post (because our attention spans are so great, and you love me so much), have a listen to this podcast on Tell a Story. It features myself alongside two other members of the old (old!) Roundhouse Collective, Joel Auterson and Sophie Fenella – and we’re now called ‘Kid Glove’! I hope you like it, because it was a long process.
It also features Kate Tempest,Tim Clare and Scroobius Pip. I wasn’t very good at it; I’m an INFJ (which I just got a book on) and maybe that has something to do with it. I need to be briefed and have time to prepare… hence I’m not on it much! Oh my god, that was literally the only vaguely good thing I came out with.
Not quitting the day job just yet folks. At least I’m educating a few young people on the way.