Thursday, November 06, 2008

captured on film

video courtesy of Daniel Ereditario & meshworks

Alternative Cabaret @ The Other Place
SoundEye Festival, Cork
4th July 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


brought to you by La Langoustine Est Morte
Nov 8th 2008 7:30
Poetry Cafe
22 Betterton Street
Covent Garden tube

£5/ 4 concessions

HOSTS: Anthony Joseph and Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Representation from all distant and not-so-distant planets

Jamika Ajalon (U.S.A by way of London by way of France)
Olumide Poopola (Nigeria/Germany)
Valeria Melchioretto (Switzerland)
Shanta Acharya (India)
Frances Kruk (Canada)
Ziba Kirbassi (Persia)
Sophie Robinson (the most exotic of them all Old Blighty!)
Frances Kruk lives in London in the presence of cats, moss, glue, scissors, oil pastels, and dark chocolate, all of which make for an unspeakable atrocity. She does not write real poetry.
The Nigerian German writer and performer Olumide Popoola has performed her poetry internationally, collaborating with many different artists and musicians. Currently studying for a MA in (creative) writing she is exploring all sorts of genres and styles, deepening her practice of writing for performance in particular.She won the May Ayim Award for Poetry in Germany 2004 and has seen her work published in anthologies, journals and newspapers as well as featured on radio and documentaries.
Valeria Melchioretto is a London based artist and award-winning writer.
Her poems have appeared in many prestigious magazines and anthologies. The End of Limbo, is her first full collection for which she received a bursary from the Arts Council
and it was published by Salt in 2007. In 2008 became a Hawthonden Fellow.
Ziba Kirbassi is a rara avis. Seen only sometimes for short periods of time if you are lucky.
Her work is visceral, hallucinatory at times and from the passions and conflicts of being
born into a country where violence has caused her untellable strife. Her work will be read in Persian and translated by Stepehen Watts.
Shanta Acharya was born and educated in Orissa, India. In 1979 she won a scholarship
to Oxford, and completed her doctoral thesis in 1983. Between 1983-85 she was a Visiting Scholar, as well as a Teaching-cum-Research Assistant at Harvard University. In 1985,
she moved to London where she has lived and worked since. She is currently Executive Director, Initiative on Foundation and Endowment Asset Management at London Business School. Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson, was published by The Edwin Mellen Press, USA, in 2001. Her four books of poetry are Shringara (Shoestring Press, UK; 2006), Looking In, Looking Out (Headland Publications, UK; 2005), Numbering Our Days' Illusions (Rockingham Press, UK; 1995) and Not This, Not That (Rupa & Co, India; 1994). For more information, visit her website:
Olumide Popoola
The Nigerian German writer and performer Olumide Popoola has performed her poetry internationally, collaborating with many different artists and musicians. Currently studying for a MA in (creative) writing she is exploring all sorts of genres and styles, deepening her practice of writing for performance in particular.
She won the May Ayim Award for Poetry in Germany 2004 and has seen her work published in anthologies, journals and newspapers as well as featured on radio and documentaries.
Sophie Robinson was born in 1985, and lives and works in London. She has an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal Holloway, and is currently working on a practice-based PhD at Royal Holloway. Her first chapbook, Killin'Kittenish!, was published by yt communications in 2006.
Since 2005 she has performed at numerous events in the UK and the US. Her critical and creative work has been featured in Dusie, How2 and Pilot, and her chapbook a is forthcoming from Les Figues press in Los Angeles in April 2009.

Jamika Ajalon, charismatic American poetess, film director and long time Zenzile collaborator based in London, released her debut solo album the 5th march 2007. «Helium Balloon Illusions» showcases a range of influences, mixing hip hop and electro, dub and spoken word all built on a foundation of amazing grooves and incisive lyrics.Anyone who has followed her work with Zenzile since the late nineties, will already be familiar with her phenomenal energy and sensual delivery, which has seen her dubbed "the female Tricky" and the "underground Grace Jones" by some reviewers. Born in St Louis Missouri, Jamika has lived in London for ten years, after studying in Chicago and spending time in New York.She claims: «I have always considered myself a poet at root and by route, using different media to express the poetic: including spoken word, music, visual arts and the fusion and blending of these different media. I like to blur boundaries of genre and form and draw from all my influences in creating something that is truly an expression of my unique vision." ». She now lives in France.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Things Lost & Found in Edinburgh 1

Along with Tom Pinhorn, I directed the lovely & late Aerin Davidson's Darning Jilly at the Edinburgh fringe this year. The whole experience was amazing and insane and sort of great but awful at the same time. I have never had less sleep, seen such a quantity of amazing and truly terrible things or experienced such a degree of general daily debauchery in my entire 23 years of life. A lot of what went on in Edinburgh will stay in Edinburgh, but these are some gems I brought home with me:

1. TR Warszawa's production of 4.48 Psychosis

Shown for 2 nights only as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, this Polish translation of Kane was totally absorbing and horrendously moving. As far as I could tell, the script had been shuffled around and edited to form more of a narrative arc, held together by Madalena Cielecka as the protagonist desceding into a personal hell. There was a large supporting cast, including a small child and a skeletal old woman, who shared out the rest of the script, or the bits that appear to be dialogue. The fact that this was such a high budget and technically slick production, as well as the quality of the acting and the innovative direction, made the piece all the more immersive. Basically the whole audience are dragged into hell with this woman, and the effects were so real that were this play staged in a more interactivity-friendly environment (as many lower-budget fringe productions were) then I feel like someone would have intervened. As it was, we all (over 200 of us on the night I went) just sat there, paralysed, as Cielecka, wrists slashed, threw herself against a wall over and over again, covering the stage in blood.

"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind

please open the curtains"

These last lines were followed by silence, then the last number of the play, which seemed to count down in a series from 100 to mark changes in scene, echoes repeatedly through the theatre, a kind of call to action. "2" over and over again, & the lights went down on the stage and up on the audience, as all you could hear are uncomfortable coughs and the occasional sob. After a few minutes of absorbing the shock, the paralysis was broken by a solitary clap. Somehow everything on the stage had vanished without us seeing. There was a halfhearted applause and we all filed out into the night, a bit broken.

I felt - unfashionably - involved, invested and fucking heartbroken by the whole thing. At the same time it struck me that something was maybe being said about the futility of art, like there was this beautiful thing happening which was actually just horrible torture and death, and the fact that we were all sitting there with no idea what to do or how to react, that all we could do was absorb and walk away, that you probably come to the play with all this knowledge of Kane's life and suicide shortly after she wrote the play, that you still go and see it & that seems voyeuristic, & then you struggle to divide the two because that's also seemed to all say a lot about Kane's work, both playing with the idea of theatre & then being an intensely subjective and involving story, & also the relationship between work & writer. Complicated, beautifully wrought, irreconcilable.

Part 2 shortly.

The Reality Street Book of Sonnets

[wonderful] Reality Street Book of Sonnets has been born. My frequently delving eyes and mind have sofar enjoyed Bernadette Mayer, Harryette Mullen, Alice Notley, Geraldine Monk, Carol Watts & Tom Raworth in particular, but there's still much to be explored.

Extracts from my favourites:

"Back to sleep 2 nightmares
Solid ones down not to be told
Woke not wanting to be in life
Wasn't, outside warmed
To my blood clean cold quickened
On the way to town for food and
Back for you, Though I was still
A little sulky & grim
So you fucked me back in"
(Alice Notley, 165 Meeting House Lane)

"And yet, by halogen-light, I think my loneliness as reckless as ny souveneir bought with free coupons"
(Harryette Mullen, 'Variations on a Theme Park')

Also, one from me, from a cycle called 'Geometries':


The upright nature of a girl, belied by
formless whirrs, signs of visible lust like the
density of skies, & the disappearing hour;
I think of you urgent & weak walking beside
billboards, missing out, flaking off in the
silence between 2 traxx, no tender riot
in yr geekheart [spliced open & pulsating
in four different places whilst the summer
is blaring musty and lithe, awful shiny
skin & sick tune of birds germinating light
as a new kind of loudness] & the crude urban
cosmos misses you & is just passing the
time w/dirt & money & pouting in the
corner w/out your nocturno-suspicious lure.

I might try to write a proper review later, but for now you can get the book at Reality Street or (shock!) on Amazon

Blog Revival

After a year-long blog-lapse, I've revived & simplified the blog.

Watch this space for more frequent updates.