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Posts Tagged ‘london

Our friends at wordPLAY have done it again. As part of the Poetry Parnassus, a week of international rhyming goodness, wordPLAY will be hosting 7 of the most exciting and unique poets and spoken word artists from the Pacific islands (all 10,000 of them). The diverse line-up features artists from the Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga and I shall be giddly swinging my legs in the audience to hear them all.

The magnificent featured performers are:

Tusiata Avia

Audrey Brown-Pereira

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Selina Tusitala Marsh

Karlo Mila

Craig Santos Perez

Teresia Teaiwa

wordPLAY London presents Pacifica
White Room, Southbank Centre
London
Thurs 28th June, 7pm
Hosted by Ms wordPLAY
Free Entry

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The great auk, like the one I just knitted for Ghosts Of Gone Birds, in aid of BirdLife International’s preventing extinctions programme.
– Margaret Atwood, Guardian Q&A, 29th October 2011

Despite my unofficial retirement from the world of spoken word, I have been coaxed from my sleepy cove of lethargy to participate in a really exciting event. The glorious, unkillable wordPLAY has risen like a phoenix from the flames to present a literary evening in association with the ‘Ghosts of Gone Birds’ initiative to raise funds and awareness for bird conservation causes worldwide, in conjunction with RSPB and BirdLife.

The central event is an exhibition of artwork at The Rochelle School Arts Centre in Shoreditch supplied by visual artists writers ranging from Margaret Atwood (who is honorary president of BirdLife and has crocheted a Great Auk to exhibit), Ralph Steadman, Jessica Albarn (sister Damon), Jamie Hewlett (the artist behind ‘Gorillaz’) and many more…

Doves and British Sea Power are also involved and will be staging a music night as part of the project.

I am giddy to be involved and have been beavering away at a pair of dystopian nightmares to read aloud in my funny accent for your aural pleasure (the nightmare is that they’re not finished yet). Do come on down to Shoreditch, where the beautiful people live, and do your part to save our feathered friends…

***

wordPLAY London and Ghosts of Gone Birds Present:
A Flock Of Poets
Thursday 17th November, 7.30pm

featuring
Anna Mae Selby
Liz Adams
Sarah Day
Bronagh Fegan
Nia Davies
and more

Performing works from their existing collections PLUS new works inspired by pieces in the ongoing Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition

£3 on the door
(with profits going to conservation charities such as RSPB and Bird Life)


The best part is Beau Brummell at the side there

Good night looters, and commuters,
and watchful nerds on your computers,
soon the embers start to fade
on your rambunctious cavalcade.
The crow bar man with balaclava,
the officer faced with the palaver,
Count you softly each cracked head
as you drift sweetly to your bed.
Think us all what we have proved,
how this has solved each fraying feud.
The sun is forced down by the night
but still this town will stay alight.


image by Reena Makwana

This weekend sees the International Alternative Press Festival 2011 at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL, London Town, and Nest Gallery will be selling a number of zines and artworks tomorrow, Sunday 29th May, 10am-4pm.

I am very excited to be taking part with a sequel to my last zine (Wonderful Creatures And How To Kill Them) entitled More Amazing Creatures And Further Ways To Kill Them. The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that I forgot the name of my own zine when making the follow-up. Find out new ways to ensure the permanant annihilation of such critters as the Daddy Long Legs, the Hippopotamus and the Urban Fox. Get them before they get you.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

The Nest table will also feature the beauteous work of some incredibly talented artists such as Anna Lincoln, Emily and Anne, Siobhan O’Brien, Rebecca Strickson, Bella Szyszkowska, Alice Marwick, Emily Howells and Reena Makwana.

Nest is an all-female collective of exciting artists (and the odd munchkin such as myself) and always has something unique and beautiful to share, so be a mensch and get yourselves down to see Nest and all the other exciting artists.

Today is Tuesday, when our beloved wordPLAY returns to the whiskey-soaked wonderment of the Good Ship for more wordsmithery, creation, larks and literary spectacle. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm, it’s £3 in and all proceeds go to Cancer Research UK. And the line-up is mind-bogglingly amazing. We worked very hard on it, and it has been really wonderful getting the opportunity to help organise another event. It would be really, really lovely to see you all there if possible. And afterwards I’ll lead you, Pied Piper-style, to the best chip shop in London.

Two bits of excellent news:
Firstly, the wonderful team at Storm In A Teacup have released issue 2 of their titular zine, once again featuring alternative female artists and writers dealing with female-positive topics and creating delightful things. I am extremely pleased to say that I have a story featured amongst the illustrious company, and even moreso that Bex Massey has created an illustration to accompany my piece. One of the most wonderful things is to have done something that inspires another person to make art, so I’m very excited and humbled. The zine also has a cocktail recipe, so you know you want to get some of that. It’s available from all good zine fairs and by e-mailing storminateacupzine@gmail.com. Big thanks to Elizabeth Martin.

Secondly, wordPLAY is making its triumphant return to the Good Ship in Kilburn on 15th March in aid of Cancer Research UK. We have pulled together a splendiferous array of writers and performers to say words at you until your head explodes with joy and also hydrogen. It’s a line-up so deliriously awesometacular that we aren’t even having music this time around. And it’s hosted by me, and you know how you love to hear me say things in that silly accent of mine, as well as the much more capable and coherent Nancy Clarik with moral support and gentle guidence of the beauteous Becca. So do come and support our charity, and you will be rewarded with an evening of unequable literary lyricism from a group of massively talented peoples:

Booker-longlisted, pioneer of the New Puritans, and thoroughly excellent fellow MATT THORNE

Wickedly wonderful poetry from Carol Ohemaa

and our spectactular guest stars
Liz Adams

Sam Buchan-Watts

Sophie Buchan

Jack Kelly

Leslie Tetteh

then don’t forget to poke me in the face and tell me you love me for letting you know all about the art that’s running wild in the world.

I’m supposed to be flying home for Christmas tomorrow, but it’s looking about as likely as my being mangled by a hopped-up tapir before night’s end. The snow is, from my vantage point, six stories above North London, astonishingly beautiful. Rooftops whitewashed and unblemished, brick moorings beneath, like Christmas cards sent by your unimaginative relatives. On the ground level, as I ventured out earlier, it’s pretty rank. I live on the mainest of main roads, and the ground is slick with grey-brown mush that filters through your soles and makes your toesies drop off. It’s hard to have one without the other.

So the country in which I lay my wee head to sleep tomorrow is still up for grabs. I mean, it’s either going to be England or Ireland, unless something goes significantly wrong mid-journey. I should really be packing now, but there are things that appeal more, like watching a documentary on folk music on iplayer or pondering over ordering pizza (the latter, probably not, it’s a bit of a kerfuffle, the former, ONGOING).

My Pantoum challenge from the last entry is going surprisingly well, but I want more. Pantoum me up like wow. I’m not a critic, I’m not going to yell at you. Alternatively, give me a story to write, and I’ll do it. I’ll do it good. Write a fine ass story. With quite poor grammar.

Will someone buy me Cold Comfort Farm? I owned it years ago but never got round to reading it. Ahh, go on. I’ll make you food in January in return. You don’t even have to eat it.

I’m cold.*

* Physically and emotionally**.

** No, just kidding, I’m lovely.

On the tube this morning a man used my head as a bookrest.

As the days tick sullenly down to 23rd November (for real, I mean, this weather, ack), I get more and more excited and nervous and terrified and excited. Not about wordPLAY, not really, but when you’ve put a metric shit tonne of work into an event, I suppose it’s natural to imagine the things that could go wrong:

1. No one turns up except the acts.
2. The acts don’t turn up.
3. Chlamydia epidemic.

Luckily, with the mighty force of logic and pragmatism, I am aware that most of those won’t happen. Because:

1. Our line-up are so amazing that people will want to come.
2. They are all also very lovely people so I know that they won’t let wordPLAY down.
3. However, as they are all very sexy, I can’t guarantee anyone’s safety in this regard.

So come to the Good Ship on 23rd November to see the following amazing literary superstars, handpicked for freshness and awesomeosity:

Indigo Williams – in a word, powerful. Indigo’s uber-hot stuff so catch her before she explodes into onomatopaeic flames!

Nick Makoha – Tate gallery collaborator treats us to his accomplished words.

Allan Buroughs – excellent short story writer shares his wonderful words.

Tony White – Prolific writer who is always turning his hand to amazing new projects, doing his bit to ‘spread the word’.

Susan Gray – Acclaimed member of The Roundhouse Collective lets rip for your benefit.

Music from the magnificent Hannah Tuson.

Doors 7pm for 8pm start, £3 entry.

All door proceeds to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Event page on Facebook

[Update, post-event: We had another act on the bill, but she dropped out at the last minute, by updating her Twitter but not actually letting us, the organisers, know directly. Shabby off of Big Brother, you unprofessional gimp. Anyone looking to add her to your event line-up, be warned that she will probably not turn up. I filled in at the last minute, because I am Captain Reliable. Anyway. Fuck you, Shabby. Div.]


c. Kit Ryall 2010

One of the hardest things about being an aspiring writer is other writers. Specifically, the highly motivated, self-promoting kind, who know how they should be marketed and the sort of people who should know their name. Literary events are a breeding ground for it. They watch the crowd at literary events, scoping out the right people to crawl over on their way to the top. Facebook friends applaud as the promoters introduce their mates, or someone they went to uni with, or someone they high-fived after comparing identical opinions on late period David Foster Wallace (but they call him Dave). The audience then endures an evening of self-satisfied and mediocre performances because they have come to expect no better. I get it. It’s not how you write, it’s who you know. That’s how it works. That’s how everything works.

But as a reader who loves literature, I had given up on finding a literary evening of merit. I wanted emotion, I wanted art, I wanted to hear people who were passionate and fresh and TALENTED. I didn’t want the organiser’s mates, shared backgrounds and trite metaphors, yet this is the attitude permeating the spoken word scene. Familiarity over quality. “You can read your shitty poem at my event because you let me read at yours”. The snake eats its own tail.

Then, in happier times, I moved to Kilburn and discovered wordPLAY. wordPLAY wasn’t a forum for smug connections and insularity. wordPLAY wanted beautiful things. It attracted a wide range of writers, poets, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, who were talent spotted and had a diverse range of mediums, perspectives and attitudes. The atmosphere wasn’t one of wet-lipped schmoozing and behind-backed criticism but of enthusiasm and excitement for the written word carved and coiffed and spoken out loud. The organisers weren’t looking to promote themselves, the performers weren’t looking for an agent, and the audience weren’t looking to spot the next big thing. Everyone was there for the love of good writing, and that’s what they got.

When wordPLAY ended in May, everything looked a bit duller. Going out on a high, the team had attracted a varied and impressive range of headliners from Laura Dockrill, Kate Tempest, Bernadine Evaristo, Edinburgh award-winning comedian Tim Key, TS Eliot-winning Poet George Szirtes, author of ‘Return to The Hundred-Acre Wood’ David Benedictus, and an eclectic array of less established, unpublished and wonderful writers, from traditional poets to MCs, beatboxers and freestylers and prose writers and storytellers.

The good news is that wordPLAY returns on Tuesday 23rd November for a one off charity event in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I am very happy to say that I’ve been asked to help organise this glorious return to the literary scene. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that organising an event is shitting hard work. I have great found respect for anyone who manages to run any kind of evening, even the dire ones, and I now see the appeal of getting your friends in to fill out the bill. But the trick is not to give up. Amazing writing is out there, waiting to be discovered by an audience who wants to listen. Working on the new wordPLAY event has taught me not to give up and resort to favours or settle for someone reliable but dull. Once a month for over a year, wordPLAY met the challenge, and sought out the exciting, unusual and interesting voices to perform. They crafted one of the most accessible, entertaining and unpretentious spoken word events in London.

Keep 23rd November free. It’s going to be amazing.

follow wordPLAY on faceBOOK