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Jascribble’s Autumnal Flourish November 2, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Poetry, Literature, and Performance.
1 comment so far

 

Well! A lot has been going on. I’m changing the format of this blog to a monthly catchup and then add anything interesting inbetween on a weekly basis. Think of this as the November Edition of the Jascribble Journey. So what’s going on?

WRITING

FLIGHT, the mentorship that I am on, run by Spread The Word (www.spreadtheword.com) is halfway through it’s course. My mentor, Saradha Soobrayen, and I, have met a few times and had an online session to review my progress in poetry and to approach the ironing out of a variety of creases. Later on in November, all of FLIGHT’s mentees will be spending a week at Arvon, a writers’ retreat in Devon. It will be a great opportunity to really concentrate on my (and our) writing without the extraneous distractions that are continually thrown at us by the tedium of every day life. How I managed to wangle that week off work without a major hissyfit from management I don’t know, except that arse kissing was required, and arse kissing I did. Spread the Word have also been running a series of events and workshops concerning writing and literature, some of which featured FLIGHT mentees reading their creative work. The ten young writers (bracket-18-24) involved are working towards separate goals but with the common eventuality of publication in an anthology in which we all get A WHOLE CHAPTER! My God! We shall see where the journey takes us….

SPOKELAB

SpokeLab is a small group of writers facilitated by Roger Robinson

http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth519CDC8B0eb2d18F4BYmL186BFCA

and Dawn Reid www.liftfest.org.uk/newparliament/seekers/dawn_reid/ , working on developing poetic writing into performance pieces that challenge that line between spoken word and theatrical performance. The first of these sessions, held at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, http://www.stratfordeast.com has already passed, but the next is at the beginning of November. Over the course of a three-four hour session, we play with pieces that we have written to develop the characters’ voices within the writing and extract the elements of engagable drama that can be used to maximum advantage by the performer for the audience. It’s made me think a lot about the kind of dramatic writing I used to do with Theatre Royal Haymarket, and the writing I did during my Drama degree. I tend to get into genres of writing one at a time and abandon one in favour of one which I decide is more suited to me, but SpokeLab looks like it’s going to blur the lines between poetry and drama. I’m looking forward to exploring where it goes.

 THE VINEYARD 

I was invited to join online writers’ forum The Vineyard by Jacob Sam-La Rose www.jsamlarose.com  a while back and have been contributing fairly regularly on the website. The Vineyard is a feedback forum alongside discussions surrounding literature, performance, writing and any other related conversations the members feel relevant to each other, or indeed in any way interesting. I’ve been finding The Vineyard a really exciting space to develop my poetry because you have access to the perception and objective analysis of a) other writers and b) people who, while they may also be your friends, are able to comment constructively. I also feel lucky that much more experienced writers are taking the time to look through my work and offer help- it’s a very supportive environment. There are some plans for a publication of Vineyard contributors’ work, which is very exciting. If that goes ahead, I’ll be looking at potentially having work published sooner than I thought. Hooray!

  

PERFORMANCE

I’ve had a really encouraging month in terms of Performances and Gigs. After winning the Farrago Autumn Slam in September, I did a slot at their next slam, and then gigs at various events, including Poetry and Poppadoms, Brighton Freshmeat Festival and Life is Music, the launch of the chapbook of fellow writer and blogger Naomi Woddis. I also did a forty minute radio interview on TalentMix at Colourful Radio, (http://www.colourfulradio.com/talentmix) which was a lot of fun. I feel like I am growing in confidence rapidly and accepting the different reactions to my work- some of which have been mildly confrontational and some deeply moved. It’s good to stay aware of the potential effect writing can have on audiences because it reminds you of one of the reasons why you do it in the first place- why you ever show your work to anyone else. I feel as if I am finding my place in the scheme of things, whether or not that is always changing.

  

DEVELOPMENT

ENVISION

Since September I have been working with an organisation called Envision, a voluntary organisation that recruit facilitators for socio-environmental based issues in schools and colleges across the UK. My role is to meet with a group of college students once a week to help them organise a project that will have a positive impact on their local environment and community. I am working with another volunteer and a co-ordinator to guide the students and allow them to work out what they wish to pursue rather than choosing something for them. You can look at the kind of projects that Envision have created at http://www.envision.org.uk.

 

Currently, the group that we have at St Charles RC Sixth Form College is enthusiastic but nervous. We have been drawing the group into focusing on one issue and working out what to do about it. The most passion, anger and opinions has arisen from the issue of parents who are also smokers, but the group also expresses interest in environmental issues and creating awareness about them. The main challenge at the moment is getting the group to pinpoint a project that they really care about rather than one that they think they should care about. Stay tuned for developments!

FLOETICS

Floetics is the night that I co-run with my friend Luska Mengham (insert myspace).

It is a monthly poetry, spoken word, drama, storytelling and performance night at the Redroaster Coffee House in Brighton, where I used to live. Floetics aims to combine more experienced writers and performers with a relaxed open mic to promote confidence in creativity and a feeling of achievement regardless of experience. Currently, Floetics is surfing a steady wave of consistently packed out nights, and as the student term gets under way, we’ll be able to create a stable event that writers and performers can rely on to enter and be themselves. I host the night every month and am thinking of inviting a London-based performer to come down with me every other month just to stir it up a bit. Myspace for Floetics coming very soon!

The Next FLOETICS is next week: Wednesday 7th November, Doors 8pm, 8.30 start, The Redroaster Coffee House, St James’ St, Brighton.

  Reading/ Already Devoured: 

Female Chauvinist Pigs: The Rise of Raunch Culture; Ariel Levy

On Beauty: Zadie Smith

The Caged Virgin: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 Watching/ Already Slurped: 

Vincent River by Philip Ridley


 
Coming Up: 

Freedom and Culture at The Southbank

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/festivals-series/freedom-and-culture-weekend

Stark at Tall Lighthouse

http://www.tall-lighthouse.co.uk/events.html

Tate Take Over at the Tate Modern

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/rawcanvas/9984.htm

Flight Final Meetup

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Jascribble’s Bestival Adventure September 11, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Poetry, Literature, and Performance.
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We got to go to Bestival for free. Oh yes. I know that this is well jammy considering that performance status was mostly awarded for three poems each in a mini poetry slam in a yurt, but I’m not complaining.

So Yem and I drag ourselves into Waterloo at the ungodly hour of 7.30 and keep dragging ourselves from vehicle to vehicle until we reach the campsite on the small the beautiful Isle of Wight. Everyone is clad in costume, scrappy haired, beer doused, bubble blowing, and deliriously happy. It isn’t long before we join them- at least, in turning slowly porous to the atmosphere which is so thickly airborn it is infectious even to us, exhausted, lost, and slightly apprehensive. Both camping virgins, we set up our tent without too much confusion (oh yes! as a city dweller I do see this as a major acheivement) and go wandering.

It was an entirely different world. From the moment we arrived in Portsmouth Harbour and wandered around buying sweets and taking pictures of the poster for Blackface circus, I kid you not, it was clear that you definitely don’t need to leave the country to feel totally outside a situation. I don’t mean that in an alienative sense, more that London is cushioning in it’s nature when you are brought up here, and many things you take for granted, such as ethnic diversity. Around the campsite (which was absolutely HUGE, massive areas sprawling around the valley, loads of different stuff going on) we saw a few more people blacked up and blinged up, which was bizarre. They stopped for a picture for us. I wonder what they were thinking. It’s worth clarifying that Bestival holds a tradition of dress-up, so most people were pirates or wizards or fairies or squid (yes, squid) so it wasn’t that these guys were dressed up as brown people out of the context, but that that was their chosen facade..

 We meet Charlie and Sarah and find our way to the Restival area where the slam is taking place. As mentioned above, it turns out to be a smallish chilled affair, with sleepy hippies and plates of fruit being passed around, and I think, this is bizarre, but lovely. The slam moseyed through with little tension, and was generally chilled and lovely. Adriel was spectacular- Sanfrancisco Slam Champion, performing later this week at the Farrago Autumn Slam, where I will see him again because I will be featuring. Hooray Cooray! Anyway, after some eating and chat we all diverge slightly and Yem and I go and grab some (very dodgy) food (I won’t go into what it did to my digestive system, you can probably hazard a guess, but let’s not) and see Nathan FluteBox, who Yem knows from The Aftershock Project with Nitin Sawhney, and who has a 20 minute set on stage with another beatboxer and a double bassists. He is fantastic, but depressingly short lived in his set. That happened a lot, actually- the next day, Beardyman was only on in his glory for 2o minutes before Kate of the Nash came and staccatoed her way through the air waves. I was not pleased! Why do these fantastic people not get more airtime?! Yem plants the thought-seed of a collaboration and I wonder what it would be like to hear Beardyman and Nathan together. for an hour. mmmm.

The rest of the weekend passed in a sort of chilled haze, lots of waiting for showers and people watching and walking about and, sadly, tent collapsing. As we condensed our belongings into nylon in nylon in plastic, I felt a tug, not wanting to leave, or at least wishing to come back next year, and to see other festivals, and be part of more summer havens in years to come.

 

Jascribble and the Abandoned Poems August 22, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Poetry, Literature, and Performance.
1 comment so far

So tonight: Room of Abandon. Myself and CKB fight our way through the spit-in-ya-face rain to the pub, recharge with guiness, observe. It felt like a comfortably ramshackle evening- full of character as usual, devoid of pretension, peppered with eccentrics. I recognised a girl from Sussex university but she was gone before I had the chance to fabricate a shred of conversation. Kayo was sensational- my attention when I’m tired is about as hard to pin down as those floundering crazy moths that turn up in student flats, but I was held, warm, still, for the whole set. For some reason, even if you’ve heard work before, it doesn’t matter- you become immersed, alive. I always feel with good poetry like I’m reaching the surface, flooded with oxygen, reawoken and switched with a deft fat finger ON. It’s the same feeling that makes you picky, or discerning, maybe- choosy about what you will go and see or whose work. It also kicks me up the bum with my own writing.

On the tube, my thoughts churned to a curdle, sifting mentally through recent poems and ideas, working out which I felt the best about for upcoming gigs and Bestival, and realised with a jolt that with each new poem on which I work hard, a new standard against which I measure all my work arises, like a blue peter fundraising target. I can’t do old poems with the same sense of achievement now, when I now can say the same thing in a better way. I feel like some of the most recent stuff is just a re-write of old ideas or poems but tackled with a different sensibility. But tonight: I’m pulsing with a desire to be braver with my writing, while staying true to how I want to say it. Surrounded by such spectacular writers, it’s easy to become a sponge. I’m pretty impressionable as it is, and greedy, gluttonous for the glow exuded by other people, as if i’m licking their faces as they read, slurping down their good bits but bringing them up again to find a crude mishmash, a cheap imitation. I decided this evening that if I attempt to mirror the styles of others, I will never really be myself.

Jascribble and the Station Saxophonist August 20, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Poetry, Literature, and Performance.
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Watched a saxophonist next to Charing Cross Station: look into

www.myspace.com/raggyfarmer.

Next to the station, the people flowed into position like cogs in a pre-set clock, or- no- more like rivulets of water down a hillside: occassionally straying from the pre-determined route but always returning with a splash to the water below.

Watching Raggyfarmer was like stopping to breathe, zoom vision taking me up close and inside the barrel of his saxaphone, so I felt like I was part of the swell of his cheeks, the rise of his chest.

I don’t think he looked up at me, but amongst the suits and briefcases running, cutting through the stillness between musician and listener, I felt that, as two people standing still, we were rooted, we were safe- for want of a less cheesy comparison, I couldn’t help but think of the end of Titanic, the full brass band playing into the rising water, playing, still playing, until the barrels of the tuba and french horn filled like metal lungs, and everything was silent. There was that same determination to carry on, like noone else noticed that we are all drowning. Perhaps we are…?

Though he probably has socks that are older than me, and neither of us, still in the moment of the longest note, could rearrange the world’s pyramic scheme, it was like we were both rocks on a clifface, surrounded by catapulting lemmings with bluetooth over it’s edge- us beyond the point of plea or persuasion, letting them run into the sea. We know that eventually we will drown.

He looked like the saxaphone was a filter, sucking the clammy shreds of goodness from our coal-dust air, our chemical respiratory romance. I have no such tool, but instead imagine that every smoggy inhalation seeps, osmosic, into my pens’ ink, slowly cleaning me out.