Monday, 20 June 2011

The Reading Room Live: relived on Youtube

Sunday 15th May: Siren 107.3 FM's live broadcast of The Reading Room Live as part of Lincoln Book Festival.

To see Youtube videos of readings and interviews (mine included), click here.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Out on the Town

Here is an article/review I've written for issue 2 of Poetry Scene Leicester, a pamphlet produced by Poetry Stanza Leicester:

June 2011: Word! and The Bright Side

In Poetry Scene Leicester Issue No. 1, Caroline Cook wrote:
“There is a lot happening on the poetry scene in Leicester…and some of us have actively participated...”

Indeed, there is so much going on that I have to remind myself: poets write, and this necessitates staying in occasionally.  I hope to flip back through my diary on a regular basis to report and reflect on poetry and spoken word events I’ve attended.

Tues 7th June: Word! 

The longest-running poetry and spoken word event in the Midlands, based at
the Y Theatre, Leicester.  It takes place on the first Tuesday of the month. 
The format: two open mic sessions, followed by a booked act. 
Since 2010, the event has been preceded by a workshop, led by the feature artist.

4.00-6 PM: Kat Francois, former World Poetry Slam champion, playwright and comedienne, led a very active workshop focusing on performance skills.  Participants discussed what makes a successful performer, then engaged in role play, movement and voice projection.  We worked in pairs to improve the performance of our own poems, under Kat’s tutelage. 
My verdict: one of the most rewarding workshops so far, although not for the shrinking violet. (I did have to overcome my own discomfort at times).

7 PM: We queued to book our three-minute open mic slots. 
Please note: be there early or be sorry!

8 PM: Lydia Towsey, compere for the evening, performed her sacrificial poem about a fishtail skirt, resplendent in her own gold-sequinned creation.  The open mic contributions were diverse: from a humorous guide to French, utilising Beatles’ song lyrics, to the moving and thought provoking.
The vibe: supportive, inclusive, a certain something that draws us back each month as a community in praise of words. 

9.30 PM: Kat Francois’ feature slot ended the evening on a high note.  A polished performer, she certainly lifts words off the page.  Her poems set out to challenge viewpoints and may not always sit comfortably with her audiences.  Her collection, Rhyme & Reason, is now on my ‘to read’ pile.

Wednesday 8th June: The Bright Side

April saw the return of this long-running stand-up spoken word cabaret club, now based at The Crumblin’ Cookie café cum licensed bar on High Street, Leicester.
The format: three feature acts, contributions by the evening’s compere and (I quote) the infamous raffle.

The venue was packed, the event a sell-out. Mombowie Starchild compered the evening with her own brand of quips and poetry.
The first act up, Jason Finn: little man with a soft-spoken voice that belies the impact of his words.
Zeropence:  This relative newcomer to the scene describes his genre as ‘Rap, Spoken Word, Performance Poetry.’  His stage persona certainly packs a punch to match his material.
Steve Rooney: in suit and tie, every inch the businessman.  A wry look into the world of politics, popular culture, the workplace and personal relationships.  More spoken word than poetry, I’d say.

All of the acts had the ability to pull the audience between laughter and quiet (if not sober) reflection.
The vibe: dynamic, pacy, great mix of people.  I will be back! 
(Note to self: get there early to ensure your choice of seat).

Looking forward: 

Tues 21st June: Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze book launch: Adult Ed, Wellington St
 7 PM (free, by booking only).
Mon 27th June: Shindig! 7.30-10 PM at The Western pub, Western Road.  
 (Includes launch of Hearing Voices issue 3).
Tues 28th June: Pinnng…K! 7.30 PM at LGBT centre, Wellington St.
 Monthly open mic event.  Feature poet: Alison Dunne.
Tues 5th July:   WORDshop with Stacey Makishl: 4-6 PM, followed by
 Word! 8-10.30 PM, both at the Y theatre.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

This Little Piggy went Barbie Pink

The image below was one of several that Polly Tuckett sent to her workshop group in order to kickstart some writing:

The two poems below are my response:

Pantone 219 Pink

Now over fifty, that pink girlie-whirlie’s
still dangling her Ken by his short and curlies.
Her celluloid man thinks he’s onto a winner
‘cos Barbie’s trussed up like a turkey dinner.
Arm candy, hot totty, all boobs and booty,
fine and dandy if that makes them happy.

I don’t do sequins or ribbons or bows,
platforms, stilettos or slinky peep-toes.
Heaven is wearing jeans and khaki,
state of mind and inner beauty.
I don’t spell my name B A R B I E
so Pantone 219 Pink’s not for me.

This Little Piggy

A shoe for Barbie’s fiftieth birthday?  That celluloid totty
should be swapping her killer heels for zimmer frame wheels!  
His fervent wish: to see that cutie go boobs-over-booty
in Pantone 219 Pink shoes, exclusively booby-trapped me-to-you’s.

Lou-bou remembered the playthings he chose
when Maman indulged her petit cochon rose

Pig cheeks stuffed with gourmet chocolat,
belly pork draped in a pale silk peignoir,
Tootsies shod in high-heeled couture
selected from Maman’s armoire à chaussure.

Down Aubusson runner the boudoir
stunner cavorted in catwalk repertoire,
his ten little piggies tucked up tight,
to sow and piglet’s squeals of delight.

Backstage, L-B, intent on being the debutant, tried to fit
his girlie side inside the Barbified Twin Towers, force-feeding
his extremities that failed to see, or even reach the point of
narrow-minded oh-so-pink-and-pointy dolly follies.

Puce as his shoes, and fit to burst with indignation,
Monsieur Christian hacked off some toes. Despite his
amputation woes, Maman’s little toughie forced the rest
inside those far-from-wide-enoughies.

Trying not to wince, he made his catwalk entrance,
minced, quite unaware that blood from lopping off his digits
soaked through the soles of his high-rise misfits.
A flick from each one, like a devil’s tongue, made its mark,

his signature

in little red kisses,

shaping fashionistas’ wishes.

Note: Christian Louboutin designed ‘pumps’ in iconic Barbie Pantone 219 Pink, worn by 50 models on the Mattel catwalk during New York Fashion Week in February 2009, celebrating Barbie’s 50th birthday