SWL Report 13/11

Thank you to everyone who came and read their words, and all who listened to them. And special thanks to the ever gracious Mr Timothy Lock who stood in as iPhone photographer in the absence of our regular snapper George! A legend through and through. Here’s what happened at our last event… Plus, listen to audio recordings of all the performers here!
ROUND 1
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The Itsa Bit Loud Boy began our eighth event of Spoken Word London with his piece ‘modelled by the gracious, overwhelmed and shy.’James F was next to the fore, speaking of his overheard snippets of modern life: ‘other callers railed that all this stuff going on was responsible for drink driving.’
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Much appreciated regular Mark was third on in this round with his wonderful observations upon the comic and the surreal of everyday characters: ‘don’t go with him, he’s got dog breath.’
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And I (Pat) finished off Round 1 with a poem about the awkwardness of small talk on dates: ‘then I can get to slip inside your mind / like it’s an exotic city / full of corridors, shadows and lights / or the clockwork cogs of a quartz watch.’
ROUND 2
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Luke D kicked off Round 2 with his short story about Tracy Bang entitled ‘Tracy Bang Remembers Everything’: ‘things got really bad when she started to get bored of her own thought.’ Richard then spoke of how ‘some thought to fill their miserable lives.’ And comedian Timothy Lock asked ‘why don’t we talk about this in Chariots?’ before launching into a very unique self-penned song…
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Newcomer to the SWL stage Luke Kiraya was fourth on this round, saying actually he didn’t like weed and being a big man, he preferred ‘a cup of hot chocolate and shortbread.’ Check out Luke’s page at facebook.com/IAMKAYROND to hear more of his poetry and videos. And finally on Round 2 we finished with Sam giving us an erotic selection: ‘sometimes it starts with him drawing felt tip on her bum.’
ROUND 3
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Debbie began the third round with her multiple choice questionnaire, urging that ‘if you feel the urge to shout, please do so… Please remember there are no wrong answers… Please remember to breathe, please remain human.’ She was followed by Nick Blackburn with ‘a story about motorways… If I could only could, I’d make a deal with god and get him to swap our places, and I’d be running up that hill, running up that, and increasingly certain this is my last life… Gonna make you make you make you notice, Grindr Grindr Grindr, John Lewis Christmas advert, shunting between buses and all the people I’ve misheard.’
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Harriet returned to the fore in Round 3 with her piece about how depressing and sad the people in French translation books are: ‘I don’t like coffee… I don’t have a bike, I never eat meat and I don’t take milk… My brother and sister live in Glasgow, I’ve got other plans.’ And Mr Will Cox of the Belleville Park Pages finished off Round 3 with his poem ‘Atheists and Aesthetics’; ‘these martyrs were so reasonable when they bartered for a destiny.’
ROUND 4
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Ernesto Sarezale, a well-known and much-admired face upon the London spoken word scene, kicked off our penultimate round with a prose piece where he said: ‘you are a pervert and you are insatiable.’ Ernesto has an event of his own named Velvet Tongue, an erotic literary salon which will be on at Kick Bar in Shoreditch on Monday 2nd December.
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Simon, a newcomer to SWL, followed Mr Sarezale, speaking of autobiographical memory in rural Ireland: ‘Ireland, the first house… Bruised blue brine lapped stone and shingle.’ Marie gave us her words third, saying of an awful breakup, ‘you have planted a tree where my bones were born to be.’ And Nash was a welcome returner to the SWL stage, finishing Round 4 with a short, poignant poem: ‘we can’t be friends with benefits.’
ROUND 5
Due to a few readers arriving later we had an extra round at this event where Sandeep said ‘I felt good about Jonny leaving’; Max stated ‘I call it sexual glamour, it’s all that he enamours’; Bruce told us ‘I lived in my skin, I grieved in my skin, I died in my skin’ and the very fabulous Miss Open Minds gave us more titillating titbits to finish off the night: ‘I questioned do they like to share? I watched the identical pleasures and my mind goes deep, deep, deep into that vault, that place of fantasies we are too ashamed to speak.’
Our next event of Spoken Word London will be on Wednesday 27th November at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 7XB. Doors at 8pm, sign up for a slot 8-9pm, and readings begin 9pm. Free entry, but please buy a drink to support our lovely basement venue! All welcome, as always. 
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SWL Report 23/10

As always many thanks to all those who came along to read, all those who came along to listen, and to two wonderful people: George Sydney Selwyn-Brace for taking photos and Timothy Lock for splicing apart the audio files. Here’s the report of what happened at our last event…

ROUND 1
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Newcomer Will started off our seventh event with ‘I’ve heard of Morrissey poster by for a question’, followed by Tom B, ‘it gives itself…’
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Mark made a welcome return to the stage third on the first round; ‘I can literally say I saw a statue arrested’, and comic regular Will Moore spoke of ‘a living Lethiathan.’
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American Carly gave us her paean to her home state fifth, saying ‘Texas, I can’t bring you to parties anymore’, and it was lovely to have Sarbjeet back last on this round, with some words of another poet: ‘I was born the daughter of a steel worker… Son of a farmer in the land in the east.’
ROUND 2
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Sam Rossi-Harries began Round 2, saying ‘prick is all banter calculation, it is a systematic sin… Human beings do not generate like numbers.’ He was followed by Raj who said, ‘I stood over your body… I knew you over soul, Cathum (sic?), for what am I but a raindrop?’
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Ernesto came third on this round speaking of ‘angry female voices when Arsenal loses’, and ‘an invisible dyke on a bike bringing her pet to the vet.’ Comedian and SWL regular Mr Timothy Lock was next at the mic, describing himself as ‘the lovechild of Gabrielle and Nick Fury’ and how ‘living with HIV brought about infectious laughter’, before launching into a very special rendition of The Little Mermaid‘s ‘A Whole New World’…
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Matthias from Sweden told us next, ‘I see you, East, I see you very very much, I see you indeed’ and Round 2 was rounded off (haha) with Jacob giving us a short, humorous story of an unfortunate event: ‘you know, love is such a big label, and – oh shit, I left the bag on the table!’
ROUND 3
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We opened our third round with musical theatre singer Riche, ‘he plays the perfect part / straight from his heart’, before regular Mr Duncan Green spoke of ‘that lightest moment, that epiphany.’
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Open Minds was a very welcome return to the SWL stage third on Round 3, giving us more sensual lines: ‘kissing her lips, I licked mine as I watched.’ She was followed by Mr Jack Cole who gave us his extraordinary poem ‘I Am What I Am’: ‘I am a broken zip, a bag of frazzles and a complete set of Sylvanian families… I am every well-hung donkey, and I am every gay boy hung in Iran.’
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Harriet, who has always been a welcome regular audience member at SWL before but never read, finally came to the stage: ‘When you told me / We’re always alone in a way / And that shouting when you’re angry doesn’t help / In that tone, you didn’t hand me your eyes / You gave me glasses of my own / In a shade I didn’t know’
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Newcomer Mr Rob Reeves asked ‘when did we start drinking in the day?’ and Adam told us that ‘loving you is like trying to open a bag of pasta with wet hands.’ And this round was finished by Lavala who said ‘sometimes when I start speaking I have to stop and wonder what country I am in.’
ROUND 4
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Irishman Joel began our final round of the night, with his piece where ‘some enjoy the freedom, some find it odd.’ Andrea was another newcomer to the fore, who told us ‘I come from a generation of young eyes peeled, children of the people who believed in american dreams and best buys.’
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Chris Lawrence was another welcome returnee to SWL third, speaking of ‘Stag the salamander… Stag remembered staring at the spoon, blissfully content.’ James Bird of the Belleville Park Pages next was ‘sorry I thought about killing you during the shipping news forecast.’
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Will Cox was ‘raking transparent with a wine bottle long past drunk’, and Marie ‘savoured the glare of city… I stood atop that last star and sighed unscathed.’ Whilst Nathan was ‘drinking malibus and thinking of you in Ibiza.’
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Edward Unique made his first appearance at SWL for the penultimate piece of night, speaking of ‘three blanks… Only one rational’, and we were finished off by doyen of Spoken Word Paris (our sister night and inspiration), Mr Chris Newens who gave us a short, humorous sketch: ‘Who likes to be happy?’
Spoken Word London 8 will be on Wednesday November 13th at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 7XB. Doors open at 8pm, sign up for a slot 8-9pm, and readings begin 9pm. Free entry and all welcome. 
 

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SWL Report 09/10

We now have audio links! Great thanks as ever to the masterful George Sydney Selwyn-Brace for the photographs, and also to audio engineer extraordinaire Mr Timothy Lock for splicing apart the audio files. And thank you also to everyone who came and listened and everyone who came and spoke, you make the night what it is.

ROUND 1

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Jason Why and Raj

Newcomer Jason Why kicked off the sixth event of Spoken Word London, where he created energetic improvised poetry from three words the audience provided him with: tango, lamp and clitoris. When Raj was dragged up onto the stage he was asked to say ‘lamp’ in a sexual way. ‘Lamp?’ said Raj. Jason also runs his own poetry and performance nights up in Tottenham, the next one of which will be on November 1st, ‘Mad about TC‘.

Listen to Jason here.

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Karina N

Next up was Karina N who gave us her piece ‘On Accepting My Body; or How to Look Great Naked in Three Minutes or Less’. ‘Society is wrong, but remember that society told you that too,’ she said.

Listen to Karina here.

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Will Moore

A very welcome return performer to the SWL stage was Mr Will Moore who gave us his account of being traumatically metamorphosed into a cat; ‘I used to be like you, regular homo sapiens,’ he intoned as he began.

Listen to Will Moore here.

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Vicky K

Another great return reader, Vicky K, read a touching piece entitled ‘The Midwife is Dead’; ‘no one had ever seen Louise upset before / not when her last baby was delivered stillborn / and they took his tiny, rigid body to the church / so that he could be baptised.’

Listen to Vicky K here.

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Beth

And to finish off Round 1, we heard Beth‘s spiralling lyrical piece about teaching at a secondary school in Shadwell, ‘My First Day at School’: ‘I was born as two, linked to a brother, who left me like the better half of a person that would never be, and so all my life I carried around half a heart, half a dream, half a solar system.’

Listen to Beth here.

ROUND 2

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Carly Rae

Carly Rae, a lovely newcomer to SWL, gave us her piece upon mussels boiling in the pot to begin Round 2 – so sorry Carly, we didn’t manage to get your audio, but I do promise for next time!

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Timothy Lock

SWL regular Timothy Lock, star of BBC2’s ‘Inside Claridges’, provided the laughs with another five minute standup set second. ‘Let’s try a new intro,’ he said. ‘Timothy Lock – sassy black woman; Timothy Lock – a man having a wet dream right at this moment; or perhaps Timothy Lock – a man so skinny that gerbils try and shove him up their ass.’

Listen to Timothy Lock here.

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Mark

Mr Lock was followed by more humour in the form of Mark who read out an introspection into the mind of Richard Burton on set, and short comic interludes: ‘we was at the Beehive until half four and there was this bloke there who wouldn’t stop yap-yap-yapping’; ‘you should have just told him to fuck off.’

Listen to Mark here.

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Raj

We welcomed Raj back to the stage fourth on Round 2, who told us ‘the burnished tongue of aspiring youth shall melt.’ Raj’s poem ‘New York’ is published in the Belleville Park Pages, and more of his poetry can be read at his blog, Freedom Art.

Listen to Raj here.

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Ernesto Sarezale

And finally on Round 2, the ‘Naked Poet’ himself Mr Ernesto Sarezale, came on stage with a rather loosely held towel, and told us the poetic story of ‘the flying dick enters the dark maze.’ You can find out more about Ernesto’s work and his gigs around London at his website, Sarezale. 

Listen to Ernesto here.

ROUND 3

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Sam Rossi-Harries

Wonderful SWL regular Sam Rossi-Harries began Round 3 with a personal piece: ”this is important,’ he says / ‘fuck off Dad,’ I says’.

Listen to Sam here.

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Duncan Green

Duncan was a welcome returner to the SWL fore next on Round 3. ‘This piece specialises in giving up before he starts,’ he says, before giving us his inspirational piece on finding confidence in the instrument he has been given, his voice.

Listen to Duncan here.

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Pat Cash

Third on Round 3 was myself (Pat), delivering a poetic piece upon the mythology of celebrity and the realness of a kiss; ‘I am not the collecting of Tesco clubcard points / I don’t want the X Factor to tell me when to cry.’

Listen to Pat here.

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Misty Miller

Newcomer Misty Miller came on fourth in Round 3 with her short, effective piece ‘I Left my Heart in Homerton’; ‘I left my heart in Homerton / I don’t want to see that organ again / if you find her on the street or see her riding in cars / with jacked-up boys and loaded toys / then let that damn car pass.’

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Alice Selwyn-Brace

And finally in Round 3 it was an emotional farewell to one of our best loved regular speakers, the very swell Miss Alice Selwyn-Brace, who was departing back to Paris where our sister night and inspiration Spoken Word Paris resides. Put on the spot, she gave us three pieces from memory: ‘to me it was just a hand / a hand attached to an arm attached to a he / outward bound we get around / but never lost, but he shook me off / and I dropped my mojito / and wandered off.’

Listen to Alice here.

ROUND 4

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Jacob

Jacob opened Round 4 with his wonderful story about the West African deity Oshun: ‘Oshun is a spiritual force, which is present in us and in our interactions with each other; so in us she is our ability to seduce, our ability to love, our ability to be beautiful and to see beauty in other people.’ You may notice that Jacob’s sound file is seven minutes long when the time limit is supposed to be a strict five minutes; I was so entranced in the tale that I forgot to check the time which is testament to the power of both spoken word and beer. Note the emphatic bell-ringing at its end.

Listen to Jacob here.

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Beth

Beth returned second in Round 2 to give us Part II of her wonderful poem about being a teacher in a school and an inverted paean to the city itself: ‘you see the thing is Tower Hamlets is full of oh so many towers / and people are too scared to come down and face the hours… So many blocks of people living on top of each other / In the concrete shanty town… They are too scared to ever look down for fear of what they may see / A poor white reflection staring upwards in indulgent dream.’

Listen to Beth: Part II here.

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Bruce

Third on Round 4 was Bruce who told us ‘the truth is all I have to give… Look past my colour, and see my features.’

Listen to Bruce here.

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Vicky K

Vicky K returned to the stage in Round 4 to give us piece with ‘more sadness than mayonaise.’

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Raj

Raj was, as I awkwardly and grammatically incorrectly introduce him, ‘our third last speaker of the night’ and gave us a short, touching poem named ‘Remembering’. ‘To love, and all the excellence of your excess,’ he said.

Listen to Raj: Part II here.

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Mark

Our penultimate reader of the night was Mark returning in Round 4 to sing us a short song about fracking and tell us his tale of Neil Young: ‘I wish Neil Young would stop pestering me with his incessant phone calls, I will not be helping him out with his new album.’

Listen to Mark: Part II here.

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Open Minds

And our final speaker of the night was a lady new both to Spoken Word London and to public reading at all, an act named Open Minds, who spoke her short, sensual piece of ‘anticipation beyond control… heavenly, intoxicating juices… temptation, quiver, realease, satisfaction totally.’ A fitting end to a great night.

Listen to Open Minds here.

Our next event, Spoken Word London 7, will be on Wednesday 23rd October at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB. Doors 8pm, arrive 8-9pm to sign up for a slot, readings begin 9pm. Free entry. 

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SWL Report 25/09

Many thanks to all who read at our last event and to the great George Sydney Selwyn-Brace for the wonderful set of photographs. As always, please notify me asap if I’ve got your quote wrong – my writing is verging on illegible at the best of times and, after the third beer, nigh on indecipherable. But anyway, I hope you enjoy this recount of the last Spoken Word London night and that we’ll see you at the next one!

ROUND 1

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Hacene

Hacene, visiting from France, began our night with some refreshing paeans to peace and happiness: ‘Everything you are powerfully affirming with lovely feelings is creating a peaceful reality.’

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Lisa Luxx

Next up Lisa Luxx strutted onto the stage, telling us she ‘came in the name of all that is holy and sex’, launching into her rousing polemic in defence of females celebrating their sexuality: ‘what man do you know who ever didn’t know how to cum?’ she asked us. For those interested in getting their work printed, Lisa also runs the Prowl House magazine which wants new writers for its pages!

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Raj

Raj returned for the second time to SWL, giving us his poem ‘The Godspeed Sunflower Blues‘, where he spoke of ‘the shit covered tarp of come-down-hangover-mind-dead manacles of methadrone bleary sun and sand soiled lips alas / Leaves burning in puddles like hell and my face within them.’ To read more of Ras’s poetry and see his artwork, check out his Freedom Art blog.

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James

James was fourth on in Round 1, sharing his short non-fiction scenes overheard from buses and his travels around London; ‘I’m trying very hard to get married,’ he heard one girl say into her phone, ‘I plan to be engaged within fifteen months.’

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Chuquai Billy

And finishing off our first round with aplomb, American-Indian performer Chuquai Billy came to the fore, lending his poetic insights into his heritage and culture: he told us the story of ”Crazy Horse’, whose grandfather and grandfather fucked the blue coats,’ and finished with a musing on nature; ‘that is the natural way, the Indian way.’

ROUND 2

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Sarah Faith Salad Turton

Sarah Faith Salad Turton returned for the third time to SWL, bringing with her her harp, and giving us first her half-spoken, half-sang sexualised reimagining of the Alice down the rabbithole scenario: ‘Alice, did your heart ever give a beat in the heat of the moment… Alice, now I’m your bitch.’

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Emma McGordon

Emma McGordon shared next her poem ‘In a Hotel Room in New York’ where she told us ‘in a hotel room in New York I hear the sound of my palm against your skin’, and how ‘lying in bed after sex naked is different to any other naked’, and ‘three smears of jam on the knife become four.’ To find out more about Emma, check out her Poet in the City profile.

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Nathan

Nathan was third to our stage in Round 2, telling us his poignant short story piece: ‘I find my body an awkward fit… But with her, it fit… Her name sings, not like Nathan… Then she left.’

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Ernesto Sarezale

‘The Naked Poet’, Ernesto Sarezale, returned to us a second time but this time kept his clothes on, delivering us a poem about a one-night stand who left his belly button around his house: ‘is that a belly button?’ he cried.’ Ernesto is a regular performer on the spoken word scene and runs his own Velvet Tongue erotic literary soiree in Shoreditch, check out his website here.

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Timothy Lock

And finishing off Round 2 was SWL regular Mr Timothy Lock who delivered another stirring standup set; ‘I think I give off a gay vibe when walking down the street… [people say] you look just like Harry Hill, riddled with AIDS… I say please, I don’t look like Harry Hill.’

ROUND 3

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Jack Cole

A very warm welcome back to Jack Cole who kicked off proceedings in Round 3 with a series of humorous confessions: ‘my first introduction to pornography was with my Mum, Dad and my Mum’s sister… I have bought a black dildo recently to experiment with my versatility…’ and a segment on eating Rich Tea biscuits. He then performed a second piece, on the subject of unrequited love, which brought a thoughtful hush upon the audience.

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Liam Parker

Liam Parker returned next to perform a slightly modified version of his piece ‘Love and Lust‘, which he also performed at Spoken Word London 4 ; ‘forever hoping one day I’m going to break free.’

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Nick Blackburn

Third on Round 4 was Mr Nick Blackburn, coming back to SWL for the second time, who gave us his poem-monologue set to a backing track of London, telling of how good aspirations can go wrong: ‘I remember saying I was going to host the meeting for the children.’

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Me (Pat)

I (Pat) went next on Round 4 giving a modified version of a long poem I’ve been working on entitled ‘Being a Cunt’, which I accidentally emailed to someone in Paris by mistake – sorry person in Paris if you’re reading. ‘I wanted to say / ‘that’s not me, that’s not me at all.’

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Alain

Alain closed our third round, delivering a highly politically charged polemic to the room: ‘Here’s to the lonely… the homeless… Let the survivors have a chance to tell the real story.’ Alain runs his own spoken word night named Paper Tiger Poetry down at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall every second Friday of the month.

ROUND 4

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James Bird

James Bird, who runs the excellent Belleville Park Pages contemporary writing project (which is always looking for contributors to be printed!), opened our final round of the night with a straight-talking piece, ‘mingling our spirt with their shit.’

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Theo Gordon

A last minute entry into the night, Theo Gordon entertained all with his impressive impresario duties on Robert Lowell’s ‘Life Studies’ and Sylvia Plath’s ‘Ariel’ , as read on BBC radio 1963.

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Sam Rossi-Harries

Wonderful SWL regular Sam Rossi-Harries went third in Round 4; ‘my fingers grasped the throat of every petty ghost in my world.’

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Alice Selwyn-Brace

The very swell Miss Alice Selwyn-Brace was the penultimate act of the night, giving her poetic observations of life as she knows it and the men she meets; ‘it wasn’t the way his Topman scarf was tucked into his ironic M&S cardigan.’

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Molly

Finally, finishing off the night was newcomer the lovely Molly who said, ‘don’t ignore them, words are always waiting.’ Quite.

Spoken Word London 6 is on Wednesday 9th October at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB. Doors 8pm, arrive 8-9pm to sign up for a slot, readings begin 9pm. Free entry. 

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SWL Report 11/09

As always, I am afraid that I may have misquoted people so please let me know – not only this time did I have to contend with my drunken scribbling but also the notes got rather soaked in last Friday’s biblical downpour, so please message and let me know if I’ve given you a complete paraphrase error. I’ll be happy to edit and correct! Otherwise: here’s what happened on the night, and photos by the rather talented Jim Nilsson can be viewed on our Facebook page here.

ROUND 1

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Rick Hollingsworth

Rick Hollingsworth began our fourth event with his musings on masculinity and modernity; ‘the weakest men already know,’ he said, ‘I’ve been judged as crap at jokes’ and ‘I can heart her soul squelch with every step.’

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Raj

Raj took to the stage second giving us two poems, one of which dwelt upon his time in that city of cities New York: ‘holy the mist that pulls past my lips.’

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Sarbjit

And most welcome back again after her premiere at Spoken Word London 3, Sarbjit took our third slot, speaking of women’s rights in India: ‘they say suicide / we say murder / they say prostitute / we say bold woman.’

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Matt Williams

Matt Williams brought his guitar for some atmospheric self-written melodies; ‘say a prayer for me honey,’ he crooned, and then with a more sinister bent, ‘Lucifer, Lucifer, drag me down.’

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Will Moore

And Round 1 was rounded off by newcomer Will Moore who delivered his rhyming piece on an unconventional love story; ‘towards the end of a uni party raging, now Mason vommed in a basin,’ whereas later the object of his desires says: ‘you don’t get Brownie points for not raping me.’

ROUND 2

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Vikki K

Vikki K kicked off Round 2 with her piece on betrayal, featuring the refrain almost comedic but always heartfelt ‘you kissed her!’: ‘you kissed her, she said it caging to see if he would face the pain instead of her.’

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Duncan

Duncan followed second, in an animated discussion with a voice on his phone, ‘in the first throe of madness’ and ‘how many seats have you kept, watching over me as I slept?’

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Sam Rossi-Harries

SWL regular, the wonderful Mr Sam Rossi-Harries was third to the fore with his talk of tears: ‘you can fix your eyes on this under’s demon, pixelated, and still find time to sob.’

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Liam Parker

Liam Parker read out his piece ‘Love & Lust’ next, written to the music of Lana del Rey’s ‘Ride’, where he spoke of ‘delight and painted serenity.’ He’s recently made a Youtube video dedicated to the track which you check out here.

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Ernesto Sarezale

And to finish off Round 2, Ernesto ‘the Naked Poet’ didn’t disappoint in living up to his nickname, stripping off as he spoke his lines: ‘let’s undress, let’s sweat… We won’t need a fluffer, that’s for sure’ and ‘my penis waved at him in a friendly manner.’

ROUND 3

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Timothy Lock

Comedian and star of BBC2’s ‘Inside Claridges’ Timothy Lock began Round 3 with some middle-aged musings inspired by his 44th birthday the day before: ‘I don’t consider myself old, I prefer to call myself a collector’s item.’

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Sarah Faith Salad Turton

He was followed by poet/singer and harpist Sarah Faith Salad Turton who delivered a haunting half-spoken, half-sung piece on past love and loss: ‘I loved you, I loved our protections… Don’t tell me it’s over now.’

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Pat Cash

Pat Cash performed a poem focussed largely on the reasons for widespread drug use on the London gay scene next: ‘the dragon is not Vauxhall / the dragon is not the clubs / the dragon is not the drugs / the dragon is an appetite / the dragon is a mirror to the mind / the dragon lives and feeds inside.’ (Quick shameless sneaky plug: I’ll be performing at Confessions in the Basement next Monday 23rd September at The Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden if any of you are free and fancy hearing some poets’ deepest, darkest secrets. Plus there’s an open-mic sign up too.)

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Chris Lawrence

Fourth we saw Chris Lawrence take the stage with his piece on ‘The Wall’: ‘wall of comfort, wall of security… Where would we be if in the middle of the night all the walls went on strike?’

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Daniel Piper

And finishing off Round 3 was comedy-writer Daniel Piper with more material on Fiship Scalesfield and advice on ‘how to cheat on your partner when your partner’s away in Germany.’

ROUND 4

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Marie

Marie commenced the final round of the night, where the speakers are a little drunk and the audience a little drunker, with her intricate lines: ‘he built a galaxy in my brain to reflect the zone for moving keeping’.

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Luke Davies

Mr Luke Davies got everyone interactively moving, shaking and laughing asking them first to touch ‘the bottom of a shoe’ and then ‘the bottom of a human being’.

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James Hope Wilson

Returning poet James Hope Wilson spoke third of ‘the boy, the man, the vacant man, the fire at the fire station’ and ‘it was a catastrophe, there can be no doubt.’

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Nick Blackburn

Mr Nick Blackburn graced the SWL stage for the first time in the fourth lines, telling his lines of how he ‘came in tiny droplets of blood and shit, like paint.’

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Nash

And our fifth speaker of Round 5 was Nash, impassioned and speaking out against ignorance: ‘their thoughts are there but they lack that clout.’

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Tom

Penultimate poet Tom told us how ‘it gets boring quickly, weed’.

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Max Aluna Raven Handley-Barua

Finishing off the night in suitable style was Max Aluna Raven Handley-Barua who said her words with with sass: ‘you don’t miss me when you’re on your own collision.’

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Sarah

And for an encore, due to popular demand, we had the beautiful Sarah and her harp before the audience one more time. Another wonderful night, thank you to all who came and read, or who came and listened! We’ll hope to see you all at Spoken Word London 5 on Wednesday 25th September at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 7XB.

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SWL Report 28/08

Many thanks again to the wonderful George Sydney Selwyn-Brace for the night’s photos which are available to view here. Also, to all poets and performers who I have quoted here please get in touch if I have misquoted you appallingly as my scribbles are hard to read at the best of times, the light was poor and I was drinking heavily. Building upon this, you may notice that the quotes are more accurate at the beginning of the evening than toward the end.

ROUND 1

Mr Stuart Malcolm Honey started the night with readings from a Tourism Guide to Syria, given to him when he worked in the country, which reflected poignantly upon recent politics. Next up was a newcomer not only to Spoken Word London but to the spoken word scene in general, yet Sarbjit Yohal had the audience attentive to her discursions upon human rights, ‘freedom of speech but attack the BNP we must not’ she said, and told us the story of the Indian woman who said no to sex; ‘she said no / he attacked her with an axe / shot her with a pistol.’

From a fresher to a well-known face on the London poetry scene, Tom Bland spoke to us of how ‘he likes a bit of misery in his own words’ and ‘if you want to live, go out and get some prostitutes’ before beginning his piece ‘where ravens swooped down and pecked a boy’s face’. Sam Francis appropriately followed this dive down to the depths with lyrics from his zombie-thrash band; ‘the old man wanted a response from the boy.’

Finally, ending off Round 1, we had Vicki K and her laptop, reading her energetic, rhythmical paean to Ginsberg’s Howl and dissection of modern-day America; ‘Alan is anyone still in Rockland?’ she asked, before starting ‘I can only look at America through the wrong end of a telescope.’

ROUND 2

Sam Rossi-Harries began the second round with his musings on job applications, ‘I must have written over fifty cover letters in the past week’, he said, and then spoke of the lies he tells in the interviews themselves: ‘I told her I that I had a passion for human resources / I told her that I was proficient in Excel / and then I told her I was personable / personable: I’m a person.’

Returning for the second time to the Spoken Word London fore, Joshua Parfitt told us that ‘I write because sometimes writing drags me back to silence… I write into the reluctant covers and sometimes escape like a silhouette finding its candle.’ His poetry collection is entitled Let me dream, give me leave… and will hopefully be available online in the near future. Teacher Mark Webster followed Mr Parfitt, with his song of arms to burgeoning youth and the upcoming generation:

‘Open your eyes to what’s around
The power of my words
The message behind
Don’t be fooled
Don’t lay yourself open
Pawns in the pocket of political persuasion
Captives to the caprices of capitalisation
Is your culture a source of rich inspiration?
Or a straightjacket tightening
A lifelong burden
Ditch it
Shed it
Break free of its strictures
And live your own life
So that’s what you teach us
Teachers
Preachers
You ply us with your ideology
Your qualification
With qualifications
We can be free
For freedom is conditional
On the education of the masses’

Lovely Irina Jauhiainen of Islington poetry/music night ‘Until the Light Goes Out’ read next, telling of ‘my pain is the death of creativeness’ and ‘the fag of yesterday’s forgetfulness is in my lungs’ until ‘finally, a desert flower awakens.’ And finally on Round 2 Rich Watkins chose some Pablo Neruda to share with the audience; ‘I didn’t write this so if you don’t like it, it’s not my fault’ he joked, but he needn’t have worried because all were attentive to his strong delivery of Neruda’s thoughtful, poignant lines: ‘love is so short, forgetting is so long.’

ROUND 3

Miss Tanya Cubric commenced Round 3, giving us a poem inspired by her grandmother who lives in ‘a block of flats in New Belgrade’, speaking of the people she sees there: ‘they stand still, reaching a past era.’ Followed by a comedy writer named Daniel Piper who gave us his take on Kafka’s Metamorphosis starring well-known TV personality Philip Schofield who found himself suddenly ending up as ‘Fiship Scalesfield’.

Another comedian came after Mr Piper, but of a somewhat different ilk, the star of BBC2’s Inside Claridges (which he asked to be introduced as), Timothy Lock who was dressed to the nines in a powder blue suit; ‘I had a more casual outfit chosen but unfortunately Miley Cyrus wore it at the VMAs.’

Ishmail Einashe had the hard job of following the two confident comedic acts but pulled it off with aplomb, speaking from his friend Warsan Shire’s poetic collection Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth; ‘my body’s burning with the shape of not belonging.’ Breaking the reflective pall, this round climaxed with Jack Cole’s inspired reimagining of Dr Seuss, named ‘Up the Bum’; ‘do you like it up the bum? I do not like it, I will not cum… Would you suck it like a trout? Would you suck it inside out? … Not with a sheep.’

ROUND 4

Swell Alice Swelly kicked off the final round of the night, telling us of Edinburgh Festival, ‘that’s not this point’, and her year in Paris ‘forgive me for sounding so pretentious’, and then speaking of ‘two (minor) nervous breakdowns, and a whole lot of getting pissed.’ American Scott Linder followed second, reading from his collection ‘My Giant Mango’, where it was all ‘in the packing, but behind the jack-in-the-box’ and ‘I haven’t yet loved millions a month.’

James Wilson gave us the third offering, reading a piece to do with the Spanish Civil War, of ‘the graphic botch of death’, and where ‘the wound is explained in detail, never seen in life’, and another poem telling how ‘all the American flags are made in China.’ Jack Whittles is a man who’s been to the night before but didn’t read last time, yet tonight gave us his lines upon a bar-stool woman named Tam, ‘who paid for my number with a drink.’

Our penultimate offering of the night came from Luke Davies and his rollicking, rolling short story featuring Belinda Surname ‘whose Dad was a painter-decorator… and Mum died without telling anyone.’ And to finish it all off I gave my offering upon the subjects of family and autism, before we drank ourselves dry and fell up out into the Dalston end-of-summer night.

Spoken Word London 4 is on Wednesday 11th September at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XB. Doors 8pm, arrive 8-9pm to sign up for a slot, readings begin 9pm. Free entry. 

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SWL Report 14/08

Many thanks to Sees Cer for being the timekeeper on the night and for George Sydney Selwyn-Brace for taking some brilliant photos. Photos available to view here.

ROUND 1

Irina from wonderful Islington poetry ‘Until the Light Goes Out’ kicked things off in suitably Gallic fashion with a bit of Baudelaire. She told us that she identified with the great French poet’s necrophilia in his poetry – as metaphor for being in relationships that are dead, not literally. Irina had a French-speaking girl from the audience read out a Baudelaire poem in its native tongue before offering her own translation. Look out ‘Spoken Word Paris’ (our inspiration and sister night), she’s coming your way!

Continuing the Francophile theme, our next speaker was Fran, a former regular at Spoken Word Paris who had found her way back to London’s smoke-filled streets. She read a piece from the ‘Belleville Park Pages’ who are doing some great stuff with short pieces of literature in bookshops across Europe, and London, right now.

The charismatic reader and feature of our latest event cover photo, Mr Jack Cole, took to the stage next to read us his prose-poem which rose and fell in breaths, peppered by a myriad of words ending in ‘mancy’ and a boy who kisses another boy and death.

Falling down the narrow stairs of Vogue Fabrics just in time for his slot, Michael Clift, who co-runs ‘Until the Light Goes Out’ with Irina, barely had time to catch his breath before he was dragged up onto the stage to deliver his lilting lines inspired by London and the bustling Holloway Road where he lives.

And to finish off the first round in a suitable five-reader style, a poet named Pat in a top hat read out his musings upon the subject of hate.

ROUND 2

A young Irishman from the fair city of Dublin, Liam Parsons, began the second round, saying ‘‘I am an actor’ tattooed on his skin so many times’; not to be confused with Liam Parker who used background music from a laptop plugged into the venue speakers to amplify his big-theme poem on the seasons, the world and the human race, ‘Skies’.

Another ‘Spoken Word Paris’ regular who is fast becoming one of our regulars was Sam Rossi-Harries, speaking his piece to ‘those of you who left undressed’.

And fourth on the stage was Fran Isherwood who made us all giggle with her ‘lecture entitled less is more / it hadn’t begun before I was out the door’.

Whilst to finish off the second round another doyen of the London poetry scene, and he enjoyed being described as a doyen, John-Paul O’Neill of Farrago Poetry gave us the ‘DNA threads within my heart strings’.

ROUND 3

Swell Alice Swelly started off the third round with short but sweet and sometimes sharp lines delivered from the heart, whilst second in the chain Lucy Binnersley did a disappearing act because she was nowhere to be seen when her name was called!

Stepping bravely into the girl from the valley’s shoes, Jack Cole returned to give us the second half of his Joycean prose-poem, travelling through all aspects of the consciousness, until he heard the bell ring signalling his time was up and just got those last lines in…

A poet named Joshua Parfitt came next up, bringing the microphone into use and speaking eloquently of love and loss; ‘I write into your empty space, as if tattooing a memory we once shared.’

Sam Rossi-Harries came back again to talk about his brain fourth in this round, followed by Charlie Tuesday Gates who read out a ‘disrespecting’ rap she wrote during the night’s breaks; ‘your dick stinks like your sister’s shit,’ she spat, smiling.

ROUND 4

The last round as ever was occupied by those who wanted to either be drunk or wanted their audience to be drunk and we sparked things off with a thoughtful Mem Zepper, asking ‘what happens to your name after it is written down?’ and ‘spelling philosophy without the I’.

Greer Dale-Foulkes, a new speaker at the night, gave us intonations upon sexuality, speaking of ‘leftovers waiting to be ravaged’ and ‘I am fertile fields to be ploughed or be sown’. She was followed by Fran Isherwood who graced the lights a second time, with the great Tommy Cooper now her subject.

Our final act of the night was Liam Parsons once more, who I accidentally introduced as Liam Parker (one too many beers perchance), but closed the evening grandly ‘asking questions I don’t know the answers to’ and stating ‘it is possible to be open-minded and not be intuitively irresponsible.’ Quite.

Spoken Word London 3 is on Wednesday 28th August at Vogue Fabrics, 66 Stoke Newington Road, N17 7XB. Doors 8pm, arrive 8-9pm to sign up for a slot, readings begin 9pm. Free. 

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