Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 10:52 PMSpring is an odd word. SPR ING. Spr-ing. The whole movement of the season, the upwards, outwards, blossoming trajectory of it suggests that the word should be a verb. The verb 'To Spr'.
I spr, I am spring, I sprang, I have sprung...
I was meant to be in Bolton today and for the next two days, to work on a project for the Manchester International Festival.
It fell through because... why? I don't know. I wanted to do it, I thought the people who contracted me wanted me to do it and then they started asking me - or informing me that I should make myself available to do stuff that was unpaid and uncontracted.
It got to that point where I was so angry and confused I couldn't sleep, muttering angsty self-justifying arguments into my pillow. So I forwarded all the correspondence to Apples & Snakes.
And, contract cancelled and the organisation Who Shall Not Be Named having to pay 75% of it, I can't work out,whether it was a misunderstanding or an attempt at bullying.
It makes me realise the value of support from Apples & Snakes. An organisation who has been the anchor, safety net, training wheels, key, passport, parachute, batmobile, guardian angel for so many poets over the last two decades. All artists should have such a great force for good on their team.
I've just found out I'm going to Banff, in Canada, for a self-directed artist residency to work out the digital stuff for London Tales. I'm going in 3 weeks time. I'm going with Marc Boothe from B3 Media. B3 Media is producing London Tales. B3 Media is a great great organisation.
B3 Media is like the Tardis. Fast, flexible, compact, blends in, HUGE.
B3 Media is a discrete metal door in the middle of Brixton market that opens out into this very cool studio, this universe of creative possibility. B3 Media is an organisation powered by love. And money. I so much love B3 Media.
On Friday I'm going to Barcelona for Kosmopolis, the International Literature Festival. My texts are being translated into Spanish and Catalan. I was scared that my words would sound nerdy and ridiculous but not in the way I intended. I was scared that the audience would not be looking at me but fiddling with bits of paper when I'd be already scared because they would be all looking at me. I was scared by this:
We are in the process of translating your poems into Catalan and one of our translators has some doubts about one of them: “All of the Goodness” is written by a male or a female? Depending on the gender, the words can be different in our language. Could you please let us know?
Thanks a lot!
So I replied this: (note the slight hysterical edge)
Ideally, it should be non gender specific ie without the normal power hierarchies assigned to traditional male female roles.
I am a woman and I perform it but I don't want it to be a woman speaking to a man but a modern person speaking to a ex lover
Hope that makes sense?!
If it's not possible to do this, maybe I should choose a different one? Let me know?
And I got this:
Yes, it makes sense! I let the translator know.
Thanks a lot for the quick reply!
Oh, how I breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, I have no way of knowing what the translation says. I could be advocating marital rape. Of course not. Kosmopolis is reputable AND kool. This is a list of the events before me:
Wajdi Mouawad and Pablo Ley
The enchantment of transmission
Ian McEwan and Jorge Wagensberg
Anticipating and creating
Out Spoken: The UK’s thriving Spoken Word scene
Does literature matter: half a century after "The captive mind", by C. Milosz
Tomorrow I am conducting the second interview for London Tales. The first was so much fun. I know this one will be. I've chosen very cool, very articulate characters. The thing is, once recorded, I have to turn the raw silk of the voices into something as beautiful, processed by the blunt instrument of my, um me.
I know I have been so very lax at updating this blog - thank you to those who are reading. May the tender kindness of the dark clothe you in dream and possibility and the light illuminate all things beyond beauty to truth and back again.
And to the BAC and People Create, the Barbican, Morpeth Choir, Bangabandu and John Scurr Primary Schools, the fantastic fabulous Dialogue Project at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Jewish Book Week, BritLit and The British Council, the wonderfully creative 1st Year Creative Writing students at Westminister University, West Hatch Secondary School, the Discovery Centre Winchester, Lisa Mead, Malika Booker, Charlie Dark, Sarah Ellis, Aoife Mannix, Charles Beckett, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Ty, The Beat Inn and Skorpio, Skorpio, Skorpio - to you I owe so much for the amazement of this March.
Gong Hee Faht Choy
Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 06:54 PMGong Hee Faht Choy, Happy New Year, What's Up, Doc? & Good Vibrations to you all!
Thursday 3rd February switches from the Year of the Tiger climbing down the mountain to the Year of the Rabbit in a burrow. Well ok then.
Also, to celebrate, I am doing a puppet show. Tiny myopia-inducing deets below
Tongue Fu on Thursday 27th Jan
Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 03:04 PMTongue Fu
Thu 27 Jan / 8pm / Bar / £7, £5 concs
Book tickets online or call our Box Office on 020 7613 7498
Tongue Fu kicks off 2011 with a dizzying line up of spoken-word maestros, performing to a live improvised soundtrack from the ever awesome Tongue Fu Band (UNKLE, Nostalgia 77).
Francesca Beard - Globetrotting “Queen of British performance poetry." (Metro) who's poetry/theatre/live lit has been to The Royal Court, The Barbican and BBC Radio 4. "Spine-tingling... Witty and narcotic." The Independent
Joe Dunthorne – His debut novel Submarine (Penguin) is now a feature film (Warp Films). Aisle 16 member, published in The Guardian, The Independent and Vice. Performs wonky wry poems on Radio, TV and every UK festival worth mentioning.
Jacob Sam-La Rose. Published by Bloodaxe and Penguin, his poetry is bright, concise and full of fire. Ubiquitous on the scene; his passion for education and performance has taken him to the US, Malaysia, Finland and all over the UK.
With special guests from The Roundhouse Poetry Collective
And Poet In Residence Shane Solanki
fresh back from Indian collaborations with Bandish Projekt and Talvin Singh.
Chris Redmond - as heard on BBC Radio 4’s Pick Of The Week
Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 12:04 PMI'm on a Cultural Leadership Programme, run by People Create and BAC, specifically for artists. So there are writers, textile makers, visual artists, lots of theatre people, musicians, an acrobat, a clown and a poet. I'm the poet.
Wayfarers, the specific part of the programme I'm on, is an opportunity for self-reflection and making some adjustments to functionality, priorities, checking and re-negociating first principles.
The main activities are built around Action Learning and coaching, where you work out the right or incisive question to ask yourself. So, not 'Why am I such a lazy asshat?' but 'What can I do in order to set up a structure where I update my blog on a regular weekly basis?'
I applied because if I was a company, there would be some significant restructuring going on. If this was a hostile take-over, I would probably strip me of all assets and sell me for junk, but thankfully it's a family-run thing.
Some of us went to Arvon's The Hurst in Shropshire last weekend for a retreat. it was some time out for a more intense, deeper self-evaluation, thinking about why we do what we do, if we don't, why not, when it works, where we want to be and how do we get there. Basic tune-up stuff.
It was fun. Went on walks. Goofed around. Plus, did all this personal development stuff around personality types and the Hero's Journey models that probably ad execs and mobile tech companies do for their department bonding or away-days. It gets quite close to therapy and on the face of it sounds a bit hippy AND corporate. Yeah, I know it sounds like the 4th, 5th and 6th circles of Hell. Actually, it was completely epiphanically brilliant, blew my tiny mind and changed my little life.
So, am I going to blog every week? Maybe. But I am writing every day, just writing for no reason, because that's what I do, except I hadn't been and it was slowly killing me that I wasn't ever writing except to commission, except for money, when actually, it's just something that's part of my daily life, no big deal.
So. Cool. Good. Onwards.
"I heart Kuwait" (Poetry: win Photography: fail)
Thursday, October 28, 2010, 01:24 PMToday is the last day of my British Council visit to Kuwait. Sniff.
I'm feeling quite emotional. The audiences here have been so not what I expected, so funny and responsive and warm, up for playing and playfulness. So of course, the performances have felt wonderful.
The photographs on the other hand are not wonderful. They have delete written all over them. My 3 year old takes better pictures with the iphone. No offense, lovely Dr Eman and Shirin from the British Council, new Kuwaiti student friends, helpful faculty staff of various educational establishments, but it's true.
Maybe it's me being sentimental, but I can't help feeling, wonky as they are, they capture some of the spirit of the moment, so I'm going to post some of the more cogent ones here. I hope that Dr Eman, Shirin, or some other of my new friends from Kuwait will send me pictures they took with their cameras that might be a) in focus b) sans thumb c) with people looking in the general direction of the camera, but I'm not banking on it and for now, these will serve to capture the good memories.
Student teachers from PAAET
Language students from PAAET
Students from Kuwait University
Farhan Al-Khalid Public High School for Boys