We’ve opened Anthropoetry at Fringe World, Perth and have been running for three nights. Opening night was typically frenetic and fired on nervous energy but we had a great audience who left us buzzing. We also picked up a great review from Perth poet Jackson, who I hope to see in action before we leave town… I’ve posted the review below, but have a look at her blog too… Gotta go and do another show now, will post some more news soon… Deft, left and definitely def: Ben Mellor’s ‘Anthropoetry’ at FringeWorld Last night I took the number 22 bus up Beaufort Street to FringeWorld venue Noodle Palace for the opening night of Anthropoetry, written and performed by UK poet Ben Mellor and his musical sideman Dan Steele. Anthropoetry is billed as ‘a humorous, musical, spoken word journey around the human anatomy, attempting to get the measure of modern life.’ Let me be honest here: after reading that I was expecting to cringe. I was expecting lots of groan-worthy anatomical puns. I was expecting words spoken too fast to take in, competing unsuccessfully with too-loud music. I was expecting an overdramatised performance of forgettable poetry whose impact depended on the performer’s charisma more than the words. I was also expecting a boringly long show in an uncomfortable venue with terrible sound. It wasn’t like that at all. The sound was excellent. Local artist management company JumpClimb have done a great job of setting up an intimate theatre in a back [...]
The studio version of Anthropoetry is now available to buy from my Shop page. The recording comprises all the poems and music from the show, with shortened links to tie it all together and put the pieces in some sort of context. The CD just comes in a basic cardboard sleeve with track listing printed on the CD as well as the sleeve. It includes a free MP3 download of the album too. It’s a fiver. Download-wise you can download the whole thing for £4, or individual tracks for 50p (the links are free). Track 8, Beat ‘n’ Trachea is also free.
Here’s a little self-indulgent playlist I put together of the best poetry performances I could find of myself on YouTube. I didn’t make any of them, but people were kind enough to put me on tape and post me on their online petard. Or something. Here’s some videos basically. Enjoy.
Hello, welcome to my new look site! Nice, isn’t it? I think so anyway. It looks a little strange and empty at the moment, as I have yet to upload much content. Most of the posts you’ll see on the front page have been put there by the lovely Roshana Rubin-Mayhew, who gave the site its wonderful makeover, and include examples of the sort of thing you can expect to see in the coming weeks/months/years, together with instructions to Mister Stupid here on how to post stuff on it. So please bear with me, I’m going a bit mental at the moment getting everything ready for my impending Australian tour, and applying for funding for the UK one that will follow it. But I will put new, and old, things up on here in due course, especially now I have the incentive of a new and sexy-looking home for my various scribblings and wafflings. Thanks Ro, and thanks to you, whoever may be reading this.
How do we express our spleen? Whose business do we stick our noses into? When did we start wearing our hearts on our sleeves, and why are we up to our elbows in heels and bums? BBC R4 Slam Champion Ben Mellor takes you on a stand-up poetry and music fuelled tour around the body, attempting to get the measure of modern life through anatomical analogy. With sounds, beats, beeps and whistles by Dan Steele. Anthropoetry is inspired by anthropometry, the study of measuring the human body. Informed by archaic quack medicine and hokey beliefs, combined with searingly topical social and political commentary and some personal body and soul searching, Ben presents a set of brand new spoken word poems and stories that get to the heart, or the bottom, of modern life. Presented with Ben’s trademark mix of free-verse poetry, rap, beatbox and a healthy dose of satirical humour, the text is underscored live by Dan’s use of guitar, keys, drumpad and live-looping technology. The show was premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012 as part of PBH’s Free Fringe. It received four 4* reviews, including The Scotsman and Broadway Baby, excellent audience feedback, and was featured on Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe. ‘Elegantly crafted rhymes… always engaging’ **** (The Scotsman) A fine body of verse… vitally affirms poetry as a spoken medium… a joy to listen to. **** (Broadway Baby) ‘Slick poetry set to music, and a particularly impressive political and lyrical bent’ **** (Sabotage Reviews) ‘A [...]
Yep, so we have some Manchester dates for Anthropoetry, this is ostensibly going to be the same as the Edinburgh version but with some new bits that we didn’t get time to finish in the summer, plus a bit of a tidy and polish. It will also be being filmed and recorded for audio – if we get a decent enough take of either we will produce a bootleg-style cd/dvd. At the moment plans are afoot to take the show to Perth, Adelaide, and, most glamorous of all, Brighton fringe festivals, plus other dates next year, including a prestigious Manchester theatre, though I can’t say which yet… Watch this (poorly maintained) space!
This post is not as self-indulgent as it may first seem, although it is still quite self-indulgent. I’m posting a scan of the spoken word feature from The Scotsman in which Anthropoetry got a little tiny mention at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. This is not so much to revel in the glory of my solitary column inch in a national newspaper, but more because the image is very large so when I attach it to emails to try and promote the show it is invariably too large, and I’m tech-shit so don’t know how to resize it and still keep it readable. So I’m posting it here so that I can direct people who want to read it this way. And while I’m at it I may as well go the whole self-indulgent hog and post the other reviews I got too. Next time I post, I hope it’s something more interesting and not so much about me. But given the website is called benmellor.net, I doubt it. Sorry. Anthropoetry by Sabotage Reviews Ben Mellor’s new show is a “journey across human anatomy” with some slick poetry set to music and a particularly impressive political and lyrical bent on topics that (in other hands) could have been puerile. Give it a day or two and he’ll have it all off by heart, but despite occasional glances to the script when I saw it, it was a professional and enjoyable show. He kicks off with a fantastic introduction to how versatile [...]
Wow. Been so busy getting this show ready and performing it over the last few weeks, I didn’t even get round to posting it on my website! Well, there’s still time to catch it if you’re in town but you’ll have to hurry, only 6 shows left! It’s settled in now properly and I think it’s a really good show. We still have work to do on it, and a few more pieces to add in future, but for now it’s just right for our Edinburgh slot and we’re having a lot of fun performing it to some great audiences. A couple of good reviews too: Broadway Baby and Sabotage Reviews Hope to see you there.
Voices of Dissent was my first solo show, which I made in 2008 at Contact, Manchester. It was ‘an anarchic multi-character piece combining spoken word, dramatic monologue, movement, music and renewable energy’. Voices of Dissent began life during my At Home residency at Contact in 2006. I wanted to create a piece of work that explored the issue of sustainability, while being a sustainable product in its own right. The piece tells the story of Tali – an ancient trickster god from a forgotten pantheon who ‘in the beginning’ stole fire and gave it to humanity. For his crime, Tali was condemned by the other gods to live out his immortal days on earth, experiencing their pain and hunger forever. But now the gods are over-heating, and are forcing Tali to try and steal fire back from the humans. Realising the impossibility of his task, Tali sets out to try and prove to the gods that humans are worthy of the gift of fire, intervening in the lives of a host of characters to make them act more responsibly. Tali’s story and the stories of the characters he meets are told in a combination of dramatic monologue, dialogue and Ben Mellor’s trademark verse, full of imagery, wit and wordplay in this engaging new solo show. The production aimed itself to be sustainable, and as a result was necessarily participatory. A bicycle was used on stage, mounted on a pedal generator which powered the lights. The faster the pedals turned, the [...]
Sumit Sarkar, my go-to guy for everything of an art and design nature, has produced this beautiful artwork and graphic design for my new show, Everything We Need, which as you can see opens at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, on the 28th June. It’s only on for three short nights so it’d be lovely if you got along to see it, and bought a ticket soon to avoid disappointment. I also, shall attempt to avoid your disappointment by making a show at least half as good as the poster makes it look…