Blooming June

First for some exciting news that I’ve been bursting to post about… I’m performing and giving a workshop at Larmer Tree Festival! I’m pleased to be just one of former MACE students (that’s the MA in Creative Entrepreneurship dontchaknow) as Andi Michael will also be there talking about her new book, Wine Dark, Sea Blue, which I am itching to read after/during my Proust mission.

I’m also happy to be involved with Kingston’s International Youth Arts Festival. This time, I’m giving a workshop ‘From Page to Stage’ on the theme of Loss, at Studio 22 on Saturday 6th July. The hour-long workshop is just £10 – with a half price option for students/JSA/OAP. Members of the group will also get the opportunity to perform their work with some food at Las Iguanas. I’m also managing the spoken word event this year, which will be an off-shoot from the She Grrrowls Feminist group, featuring a lineup of female talent, and an open mic’ section for everyone! Entry for the event is just £5 and it will take place at the Ram Jam Club at The Grey Horse pub on 22nd July from 6pm.

she grrrowls flyer juneShe Grrrowls Spoken Word will feature Tabby Farrar, Nikki Marrone, A.L.Michael, Bisha Ali and Robyn-Astrid. There will be poetry, prose, comedy and music a it’s going to be amazing! Book your tickets now either online or by phone: 020 8549 2120. The She Grrrowls team are currently looking for venues and artists for future events, so please come along to support female talent in the arts and make this first night increible for everyone! All ticket sales will be divided by IYAF, the producers and directly paying the artists performing for you.

For those that missed out, I did a set at the new arts night S.W.A.M&P – a night featuring spoken word, acoustic music and poetry (geddit?) I had the pleasure of getting to see some amazing performers intimately, had the chance to chat to them as well and some clever lady shared a bottle of wine with us. Taking us from darkness towards the light of the stars was poet Paloma Heindorff, and there was some beautiful music from Tonia Thorne and friends. Closing the night was Chalie Dupre who gave us a solo rap battle history lesson about Shakespeare and Marlowe, plus a retelling of Macbeth through the three witches.

I’m also taking part in Apples & Snakes’ Writing Room, where I’m workshopping a piece in a pair and performing it after being put through my paces by a series of mentors. The piece came out of my first session with Dead Poets: Mark Grist and Mixy. I’m thrilled I can make the dates it will run for and excited to be able to work on the piece I’ve developed with Ben all those weeks ago. I also got to sit in and help out at workshops with Kayo Chingonyi at the school where I work, which was a pretty cool perk! The last thing I need to mention is that my poem ‘Ladybird’ is in ‘Words for Wide Skies’ which is being launched on 21st June. All profits will go towards the conservation work at WWT Welney.

To wrap things up, here are some events I’m hoping to get down to over the next couple of months:

Friday 28th June – Come Rhyme with Me

Friday 5th July – The Tea Box, Poetry Jam

Monday 8th July – Kid, I wrote back

Tuesday 16th July – Poetry Unplugged

Oh, and one more thing. The second issue of Poetry&Paint is out now! You can buy your copy of the ‘weather’ issue as ahardcopy or in PDF format. It is recommended to buy the full-colour version, but for those wanting to save some pennies, you can now buy Poetry&Paint in black and white. All copies of Poetry&Paint are available through the Lulu website.

Savage Messiahs of London City

I have just updated my status on TweetDeck that I am “craving drink and fancy dress. instead i’m attending talks and blogging. oh, how grown up i have become since time/money have been eaten up”.  I am actually too tired to write this blog now so I’m going to start/finish it on Thursday, if I remember…

I’ve got a spare half an hour at the moment, so am updating in chunks.  On Halloween, I went to a discussion about Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Massiah; a book where her work from 2005, in the ‘zine of the same title, has been collected and formed into a linear format.  I travelled straight from work and so had to eat dinner out.  I went to a Thai restaurant called Mae Ping which was a welcome change from my frequent Nando’s trips (much as I love them, I had eaten there the three days prior to this).  I ordered pretty much straight away, from the ‘express’ menu, and it took a mere five minutes before a steaming plate of Prawn Pad Thai was in front of me.  It was quite spicy and had nice big prawns, and absolutely delicious, and cost just £7.15 (including a 65p service charge).  I was able to pay quickly, and had a lovely little after dinner mint. I was disappointed that Laura didn’t give a reading from the book, but it was an interesting, thought-provoking discussion.  I had wanted to see her since in my undergraduate Creative Writing modules, I had been compared to her in terms of writing.  The book is set out like a graphic novel; with Biro drawings alongside poetic musings.  It is definitely on my Christmas list.

…Another chunk.  I liked the ideas of Laura showing her work on different levels.  Something I had been thinking about starting, and will experiment with soon, is hand-made poetry booklets.  I was inspired at the talk to try out fly-posting, and one idea I have had is to go on walks around residential areas with photocopied poetry sheets, and post them to different houses, as it’s always nice (and rare) when you get something actually interesting through the post-box.  I agree it is important for art to be communicated with all kinds of people.  Laura also stated that her views tend to polarize people.  This is where I felt conflicted.

I have been irritated by one of my friends who always comments on me being ‘middle class’.  It is not so much me having a problem with the label, but just the assumptions that my friend makes of people with this label, that just make it appear that she has a chip on her shoulder… herself and her partner are educated to a high degree, and she has lived in a nice country house, and is in a financial position to live out of her family home.  Middle-class-me is very fortunate to be able to live in the suburbs with my parents, but I cannot afford to move out and am working in a lower-ranking job.  Here, the boundaries of class are mixed up.  This is why I think that Laura was talking about this subject without acknowledging these elements of confusion – the students that are all in debt (and the future who will face more debts) and the classes where “Daddy” doesn’t pay for everything .  I’m not complaining about my deal, as I said, I think myself very lucky.  I’m just saying that the reality is that if I or my friends (including the one I mentioned) wanted to live in London, we would not be able to.  She seems to consider herself ‘working class’ and I ‘middle class’.

Laura referred to ‘yuppies’ but, essentially, there is nothing wrong with working hard and doing so in finance, or what was called the ‘creative industries’.  She later rephrased this term by stating she meant ‘the rich’ which makes more sense to me.  She spoke very eloquently throughout, yet this term ‘yuppy’ took her backwards because it is, basically, a derogatory term, poking fun at those better off.  In fact, very few people are rich, and she would be faced with a lot more understanding if she used the simple term ‘rich’ because it includes the majority.  Otherwise, like my friend, she appears to have a chip on her shoulder.  What she was really talking about, it seemed to me, was opportunities for artists to work in the system we have.  That is why she is criticizing Capitalism.  I agree with her opinions on Capitalism, but, we need to work with what we have got as well.  She is aware of it, as shown by the fact that her work does operate in galleries as well as the street, and that the audience had to pay £10 to attend the discussion (£5 for me, being a student).  This point was brought up in the questions section and although I thought it was quite clever, Laura seemed defensive… then again, you would be a bit because it does kind of undermine your opinion in this case.

Well, I’m just going to wrap this up quickly because I have actual important stuff to write, like one of three 3000 word essays in for January that I’ve only written under 400 words for after over 3 hours of work.  With just two days free, and those mostly taken up by seeing my boyfriend, I don’t really have that much time on my hands.  Not that I’m complaining, I love my boyfriend.  It just means I need to work out how to stop writing so much in my blog entries whilst still saying everything I want to!  I went to a talk on the relationship between poetry and visual art on Wednesday.  I didn’t know of the artists (should probably look these things up) but it was interesting and I made some notes on it.  The picture above is by the artist in the discussion, Simon Lewty, and the poet was Peter Larkin.

I’ve bumped into a couple of people recently on my way to my MA. One was a guy from college, and the other was my friend Tom.  It was great to bump into Tom, and we ended up having dinner at Woodin’ Shades which was nice.  It’s my dad’s birthday today so, happy 44th birthday to him!  Now, off to do a bit more essay, call the boyfriend, and have a take away, hopefully watch some TOWIE!