After an amazing night at Contact in March with Jason Singh, Scott Tyrrell and Pamela DeMenthe, Pen:Chant will be making the first of two appearances at the brilliant Northern Quarter live music venue, Gullivers! This month Pen:Chant presents Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk, the acclaimed debut show from stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician Jonny Fluffypunk. Man Up is a funny, off-the-wall and poignant show about big dreams and little victories, about fatherhood and finding the hero within, however unpromising the exterior. It's small, it's intimate and it’s fun. Warning: contains sock puppets and references to anarcho-syndicalism. “Acute social observation, intricate humour, surreal fantasy, sharp irony and wit… and England’s most pretentious moustache”- The Independent **** – Fringe Guru “Sublime…well-crafted, tender and life-affirming. Highly Recommended” – FringeReview Joining Jonny at the top of the bill will be award-winning UK singer/songwriter Kirsty McGee. Twice nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and winner of an IMA for Best Live Album in 2011, McGee has shared the stage with artists such as Karine Polwart, Eddi Reader and Suzanne Vega, as well as performing live sessions on BBC Radios 2 and 4. Her track Sandman was a major feature of Danny Boyle’s film Trance. “A fascinating talent” – **** CLASH (on Kirsty McGee) “One of the most beautiful yet gutsy voices on the English folk scene.” – BEARDED “Bewitching, exquisite and skeletal.”- **** Q Here’s all the info you need, hope to see you there! Thurs 14th April 8pm Start (Doors 7.45pm) Gullivers, Oldham St £7/£5 www.gulliversnq Tickets: skiddle.com/e/12679142
This Thursday coming, the 3rd March, is the next installment of Pen:Chant at Contact theatre – featuring the triumphant triumvirate of legendary beatboxer and vocal sculptor Jason Singh, UK Anti-Slam and BBC National Slam Champion 2015 Scott Tyrell, and indefatigably prolific author of erotic fiction, including the ‘best-selling’ Sticky Digits, Pamela DeMenthe! It will of course, be an absolute corker, with a typically high-quality open mic section and the usual arsing about from me, but as it happens to be World Book Day on the 3rd as well, we thought we’d chuck in some celebrations of a book-related nature as well. So we are asking anyone coming along to bring a book they’d like to give away and in the interval we will host a book-swap stall. We’ll also be putting on a raffle to raise money for Book Aid International, featuring prizes from local bookshops and other assorted goodies. Most exciting of all we are giving away two tickets for the show to the person who writes the best fictional review of one of Pamela DeMenthe’s incredible portfolio of erotic novels – featuring titles such as Moist January, Scared Stiff and Panties Inferno! You can find a list of Pamela’s prolific output on her website or Facebook page. Reviews can be of any length, up to a maximum of 200 words, and sent to penchantevents[at]gmail[dot]com by 5pm on Wed 2nd March. If you’re not the lucky winner you can of course buy tickets for the night from Contact, though [...]
At long last, having performed at two Edinburgh Fringes and a two month schlep around Australia, we are bringing Anthropoetry to the fair cities of the UK (well, England). This will be the last ever outing of this show as it’s really time we got on and made a new one, so do catch it if you can as it’s your last chance, and you wouldn’t want to miss out now, would you?
I’m currently Cross Country Expressing through the South-West countryside on my way to Devon to spend a week at Arvon’s writing retreat centre in Totleigh Barton, on a ‘Writing for Theatre’ course led by David Eldridge and Tanika Gupta. The course is the first week in a script development process for my new project Goat’s Song. It’s actually a return to a very old project – nearly ten years ago I wrote a piece for a young poet’s scheme with the RSC called Big Voices. The idea was to bring together a group of writers from the UK and a group from the States, get them each to write a piece inspired by the theme of ‘Tragedy’ and throw them all up on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, under the direction of Dawn Walton. And that’s what they did. The poem I wrote, Goat’s Song – inspired by the Greek roots of ‘tragedy’ – tragos (goat) and oeida (song) – was about a character called Goat Boy, who unwittingly becomes a universal scapegoat. Sent by mysterious forces to shoulder responsibility for various global tragedies, he becomes a sort of reluctant superhero, whose special power is to take the blame for other people’s wrongdoing. Dawn instantly detected a certain MC-influence in my writing and so got a team of producers, led by her brother Chris, to write a drum and bass soundtrack for the entire 15 minute long poem. I don’t have an offiical recording of the performance but fortunately my dad [...]
Seeing as it’s taken me so long to get round to writing the next part of my Australian round-up, I’m going to keep it brief, and add our brief sojourn to Melbourne into the bargain too. Our venue at the Adelaide Fringe was a 60-seat tent at Gluttony, a hub venue comprising a variety of marquees around a central seating area, a couple of bar tents and food stands and some animatronic pig sculptures. Gluttony’s logo is a pig (they started off as a food and drink festival, hence the name and some very good value wine) so all the spaces have porcine names – ours being the Piglet. Performing in a tent definitely felt more of a fringe experience, even after our previous glorified garage – which did at least have some decent air-con. The tent just had a giant fan at the back which we sometimes had to turn off as it was so loud it drowned out the quiet bits. But mercifully the temperature dropped a bit in our second week there so the heat wasn’t quite so intense, though still pretty stifling as Adelaide is a lot more humid than Perth and they were undergoing a heatwave. ‘Oh you poor things,’ said the people at home, ‘how the suncream must sting when you sweat it into your eyes, how you must wish for the hail and drudgery of an English winter stubbornly refusing to give way to Spring’. That was the subtext at least. [...]
Shaggy Doggerel is the new show from ‘award-winning’ duo, Mellor & Steele (aka me and Dan). We will be premiering the show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013, as part of PBH’s Free Fringe, at Fingers Piano Bar, 61A Frederick St. More details will be available shortly from my gigs page, but basically it’s on every day (except Mondays) at 5.30pm – 6.30pm, from 3rd – 24th August. This is the blurb: Superman and Lois do battle with a uterine super-villain; Peter discovers there’s more to the wolf than the stories tell; a philandering footballer suffers the grisly consequences of seducing a team of WAGs… Combining spoken word, comedy, music, storytelling and hip-hop, award-winning duo Mellor & Steele spin deliciously dark yarns both familiar and strange. You’ll bark with laughter and take paws for thought. Acclaim for previous show, Anthropoetry: **** The Scotsman **** Broadway Baby **** Sabotage **** Flaneur Fringe Weekly Award Winner, Adelaide; Performance Award runner-up, Fringeworld, Perth More details, extracts of the show, tour dates etc. to follow (once we’ve actually written it).
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 [...]
Who Bang Said The Gun When Friday, November 9, 2012 8:00pm – Where The Roebuck (map) 50 Great Dover Street City of London SE1 4YG Other InfoEVERY Thursday – Stand up poetry for people who don’t necessarily like poetry. A full on verbal romp including Top Acts + the World Famous RAW MEAT STEW Open Mic Spot – read a poem, tell a joke, juggle a pigeon, dance a jig and win your own slot at the next Bang Said The Gun night. “Comprehensively the best poetry gig I have ever been to… the finest portrayal of how performance poetry should be…” PopShot Magazine “Bang Said the Gun is one of the best poetry nights in the country; the combination of excitement, enthusiasm and deep, deep concentration on the poems is a wonder to behold! Long may it continue!” Ian McMillan “Let England Shake! Bang Said The Gun grabs poetry by its shoulders and shakes it until dirty, funny words fall out. Bang Said The Gun crosses poetry reading with stand up comedy to create a hilarious and rabid poetry mongrel. It’s a night as political as it is trivial, as serious as it is funny.” Londonist “It really is the best spoken word night in London, if not the Northern Hemisphere.” Matt Harvey “One of the best performance poetry clubs I’ve performed at in the last 20 years…” Attila The Stockbroker “The best club gig I’ve been to in 12 years. Other promoters should be at Bang Said The [...]
Who Anthropoetry When Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:30pm – 18+ Where Gulliver’s (map) 109 Oldham St Manchester, UK Other InfoBBC R4 Slam Champion Ben Mellor will be performing his Edinburgh Fringe 2012 show, Anthropoetry in Manchester on the 23rd & 24th of October. Created in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and sound designer Dan Steele, Anthropoetry is Ben’s first full-length spoken word/musical show. It is a humorous, musical, poetic journey around the human anatomy, attempting to get to the heart, or maybe the bottom, of modern life. After receiving a clutch of four-star reviews, an appearance at Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe, and some great audience responses, Ben and Dan have decided to give the show a Manchester airing, to try out some new pieces and get the show filmed and recorded before touring nationally and internationally next year. It will be returning to a Manchester theatre in 2013, but this is your chance to see it while it’s cheap, and if the recordings are any good, maybe featuring on the CD/DVD! Anthropoetry was inspired by anthropometry, the study of measuring the human body, and is informed by archaic quack medicine and hokey beliefs, combined with searingly topical social and political commentary and some personal body and soul searching. The show fuses Ben’s blend of free-verse poetry, rap, beatbox and satirical humour, with Dan’s subtle but emphatic use of guitar, keys, drumpads and live-looping technology. The result is a fresh, funny, moving and thought-provoking experience that will appeal to fans of [...]
Who Anthropoetry When Tuesday, October 23, 2012 7:30pm – 18+ Where Gulliver’s (map) 109 Oldham St Manchester, UK Other InfoBBC R4 Slam Champion Ben Mellor will be performing his Edinburgh Fringe 2012 show, Anthropoetry in Manchester on the 23rd & 24th of October. Created in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and sound designer Dan Steele, Anthropoetry is Ben’s first full-length spoken word/musical show. It is a humorous, musical, poetic journey around the human anatomy, attempting to get to the heart, or maybe the bottom, of modern life. After receiving a clutch of four-star reviews, an appearance at Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe, and some great audience responses, Ben and Dan have decided to give the show a Manchester airing, to try out some new pieces and get the show filmed and recorded before touring nationally and internationally next year. It will be returning to a Manchester theatre in 2013, but this is your chance to see it while it’s cheap, and if the recordings are any good, maybe featuring on the CD/DVD! Anthropoetry was inspired by anthropometry, the study of measuring the human body, and is informed by archaic quack medicine and hokey beliefs, combined with searingly topical social and political commentary and some personal body and soul searching. The show fuses Ben’s blend of free-verse poetry, rap, beatbox and satirical humour, with Dan’s subtle but emphatic use of guitar, keys, drumpads and live-looping technology. The result is a fresh, funny, moving and thought-provoking experience that will appeal to fans of [...]