I’ve been commissioned to write a new monologue as part of Z-Arts’ Family Matters project. If you don’t know, Z-Arts, formerly the Zion Arts Centre is Manchester’s only venue dedicated to inspiring and providing creative opportunities for children and families across Manchester and the Northwest. Here’s the blurb about the project from Z-Arts website: A series of 5 monologues from spoken word artists on the theme of family. Each piece is a real life portrayal of one person’s family, what it means to them, what family life is like growing up, the challenges, the love and ultimately how it has shaped them as an individual. Including a gay Muslim who grew up in a loving Bengali family in a small Essex town, now living as a practising Muslim with a non-Muslim partner who want to start their own family, or a Somali woman who is cohabiting with her partner and now has her own young family, but has estranged from her parental family for seven years, as a consequence. Or a simple story of a teenager and the dependent /independent struggle of family ties and releases that represents. This project doesn’t just focus on families, it puts families into focus. Each monologue would be a piece of beautifully crafted writing, drawing on emotions and creating a window on the multiplicities of human existence in the modern world. Followed by Q&A on the state of the ‘family’ in 21st century Britain, and what it means to be part of a family in this day and [...]
I’ve been back at home a few weeks now and although various trips around the country since I returned have meant I haven’t properly finished unpacking yet, let alone begun to deal with the fallout and debris (financial, professional, emotional) of being away, I’ve realised that a proper blog post about our travels is long overdue. This is partly in case anyone’s interested in what we got up to while we were away, but primarily to signpost people to the brilliant artists that we met while we were out there, so that hopefully you will look out for them if and when they visit these shores, or you visit theirs. So this is the Perth bit: The Perth Fringe Festival, or Fringeworld as they would much rather you called it, is only a baby – this is their third year – but it’s roughly doubled in size and popularity every year and looks set to become a mainstay of the Perth cultural calendar. As, I hope, will the venue that we performed at – The Noodle Palace/Bok Choy Ballroom. Aaron & Fletch from JumpClimb were first-timers to running a venue this year, but with the management of a number of bands and acts plus the annual Beaufort St festival, which this year drew over 100,000 punters to its massive one-day party, they were bound to make a decent stab at it. A last minute fall-out with the owner of the noodle factory that inspired the venue’s names meant the boys [...]
In the housing co-op I live in, there is an internal email system for members to communicate with each other about domestic goings on, and sometimes people post things they think might interest others. Today someone posted a call-out from Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition, and directly beneath it they had posted the summary from the bird-watching course they are doing. I wondered what the two posts might look like if they were spliced together. This is my ‘found’ poem: On the Cusp of Spring The sun shone and to herald spring Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Blue tit and Goldfinch sang to our gathering With the bloody and failing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya. Sheep grazed on improved grassland which usually means that there is little to be noted on such bland landscapes but we managed to note Woodpigeon, Stock Dove and Mistle Thrush before we moved along the road in our search for more bird friendly habitat The decision to attack Libya and impose regime change – for that is what the UN resolution means – may have been authorised by the Security Council. But it was instigated by the despots of the Arab League, desperate to secure deeper western involvement in the region to save them from their own peoples. And it will be implemented by the same powers which have wreaked such mayhem throughout the Arab and Muslim [...]
I’m just coming to the end of my brief residency at Dartington Arts, and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to spend some creative time in such a beautiful setting supported by such a friendly and progressive arts organisation. I’ll post a bit more about what I’ve done while I’ve been here etc. in due course, but I just wanted to post this before tonight’s show so that anyone who wants to leave any feedback or continue any conversations we have in the bar afterwards can do so through the comments at the bottom of the page. Looking like it’s going to be a sell-out so thanks in advance to everyone who comes tonight, I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing what you’ve got to see (albeit slightly apprehensively!) Cheers.
I’m kicking off this site by doing something for which it was set up to avoid: letting people know about gigs on the day they’re going to happen. Fortunately this time it’s the start of a 10-day run, so you still have time to get along, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Edinburgh. The show is called 3 Slam Champs and is a ‘high octane, satirical, spoken-word comedy showcase’ featuring me, Pete The Temp and Steve Larkin, for free! Bargain. I’ll also be doing a guest slot at the Hammer & Tongue Open Slam too, and appearing at Tim Clare’s Poetry Takeaway at some point this week, serving up ballad kebabs… or something. Being up in Edinburgh I should probably have some merchandise to sell, but unfortunately my book and CD won’t be out until September 13th, so maybe I’ll have to ask people to sign direct debit forms. The book is a collection of my poetic scribblings from the last few years, and the CD is some of those poems read out and set to some of that modern music that all the kids like these days. Both the book and the CD are called Light Made Solid and when they’re ready you’ll be able to buy them from Flapjack Press, and other outlets, such as my gigs. There will be a launch in mid September too, date and venue to follow. And special guest announcements of course. I’ll be posting free MP3s of some of [...]