Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hip-hop Daddy

Has hip-hop grown up a bit?

From the angst ridden social conscience and party vibe of the early 80s through to the gangster wishes and decrepit stories of the 90s, the flash and bang and synth of the 00s to the hip-hop of today: considered, mature, political… boring?

Of course, these are all broad sweeping statements, there’s shades of grey everywhere and within everyone, but let me say why I’m wondering this.
It’s Nas.
And his new album “Life Is Good”.
The same rapper that declared Hip-hop is Dead, (and regardless of whether you believed it or not, if you’re a hip-hop head, you probably bought into the argument) has released an album exploring his role as father, husband, their eventual divorce and of course the obligatory street conscience that named him one of the greatest ever rappers since his debut with Illmatic.

So here we have a world where hip-hop means Odd Future, Nas, Plan B, Kanye West, Jay-Z… well to me anyway. If I’m missing heaps it’s because I’m leaving heaps out, derr.
But some of the cleverest music of recent has been at the hands of crazy kids (Odd Future), or old heads (Nas, Jay-Z).
And even Odd Future has some pretty interesting things to say about the state of the world. Whether you buy into the hype or not is up to you. But the music’s got some strength, lyrically and beat-wise. It’s framing the world of the future hip-hop heads just like Gravediggaz did for me when I was younger.
And I like to think that I make some pretty articulate and creative statements in my art even with that dark background of music. So don’t write off the youngies. Time is only relevant to your position in it.

If you’re listening to hip-hop, let me know. I’d be interested to hear if you think it’s grown up, or maybe you think it’s dumber? What position does Australian based hip-hop music have in it all? I haven’t discussed it because I don’t really listen to Australian grown hip-hop music. Not since I was at a gig that felt like a klan rally. Although with the likes of Mantra, Rainman, and Hermitude, my attitude has swung back into giving Oz Hiphop a bit more of a chance.
Just don’t talk to me about 360.

So Hip-hop, you old bastard.

Is it smart? Is it relevant? Or has it got boring since NWA split?
Does music even have to be “smart” or “mature”? How does it become reborn? Is Kanye even relevant as an example?
I dunno.
I just like Nas’ new album. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A different brain space...

Photo credit: www.vintageprints.ca

Performing is integral to my art.
So I'm finding it really really realllllly hard to get it suitable for print.
I'm trying to put together a zine of some of my best work and some of the stuff that's never made it to the stage, and I gotta say, it's not easy.
Editing and fixing and fixing and editing and making sure the layout's good and running down to officeworks to print only to realise it's not right so editing and fixing and geez it'd look good in colour but i'm not rich so it's gonna have to be black and white oh mannnnnnnnn it looks terrible!!!.... blah blah blahhhh...

But it's rewarding to revisit some of my stuff from over the years that has sat there in hibernation, waiting for something other than a stage performance to let itself out of the shadows.

Pieces like The Seamstress, about a sinister old magic lady who weaves her spells throughout a small town.
Tales from Stradbroke Island last year when I met a beautiful lady who introduced herself as "Mars-like -the-planet-chocolate". 
She drove me to the ferry.

And other bits and bobs that have floated about in my subconscious.
Sometimes there is art that needs a different medium to spring forth. Whole and clear.

They certainly weren't coming out for the stage.

But now that I've thought about them with a different brain space...
who knows?

Let's play. In different ways.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

UNrequired Reading - Turnstyle

Image not mine, courtesy of http://writing.wikinut.com/Honouring-Sylvia-Plath/9hln3v-_/

If you haven't heard, Turnstyle is a little pocket of community-run initiatives based in South Brisbane.

Tonight, as part of the Brisbane Fringe Festival, it's all about the words.

Oh God The Words!!!

Here I was hoping to have at least a week away from poetry and yet I am thrust back into it, unable to resist the lure of Eleanor Jackson, Doubting Thomas, Liv In(the)finite and Maia Sinclair-Ferguson.

Damn you!!!!

It's all for Unrequired Reading, a beautiful little bulb that will shed some more light on the lives of Ted Hughes and Silvia Plath that Thomas and Eleanor brought forth for QPF earlier in the month.

I missed it then.
I sure as hell ain't gonna miss it now.

Don't you either.
7pm - $10 on the door.
There's soup, drinks and more as well.

Thurs 13th & Fri 14th September
@ Turnstyle Commmunity Hub: 10-12 Laura St, Highgate Hill
Ticket Price: $10 on the door (soup included!)
BYO & Bar Available

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sorry Tree

It's World Suicide Prevention Day, and after being introduced to the crew from Soften The Fuck Up, I thought I would write a piece concerning the taboo of suicide, especially in young men. However, I always felt it was rather forced for me to talk about something that wasn't directly related to me. Then I realised if I don't talk about it, and leave it only to those with first-hand experience, I just contribute to the very taboo I'm talking about.

I met a guy a year ago who talked about when I was in my rap crew M.A.S. and how, when I left, a few fellahs followed my art still.
Then he told me when they "fell off".
At first I didn't know what he meant.
Then it clicked, and I understood.

This piece is dedicated to those boys, whose names I don't know, whose faces I never saw, but knew me as someone, or something, that made their life a bit brighter.
And also to those boys who I never met and will never know and who never knew me at all.

Peace. Love to you.


I remember a few years back when I won the Qld Poetry Slam, and I thought I was awesome. It was something that I wanted. So. Bad.

And this year I got to host the QLD Poetry Slam heats and final with the lovely Tessa Leon and I gotta say it was a blast.

See there's this thing that happens in slam.

You want to win. Most of the time.

And as a host. You have to take the piss. Most of the time.

And somewhere in the middle you meet that careful see-saw of acknowledging the effort and the nerves of the poets involved, while also acknowledging that, realistically, this is the smallest stepping stone in a performance/poetry/artistic future.

And that it's just a frikkin slam.

So thanks to the following poets who just performed on Friday night. Just did their thing for the poetry, the stage, and not for the points.
Thank you Betsy Turcot for giving me a poem. And a beautiful one.
Thank you Eleanor Jackson for giving me a reason to enjoy slam.
Thank you Angela Willock for stepping up and just being you.

And thank you to all the young kids who were there from regional QLD areas and beyond. Sharing their stories for the sake of sharing their stories. You were all really great.

It was a blast. And there's always next year. And the year after. And the year after.


Once again the QLD Poetry Festival and the QLD State Poetry Slam are over for another year. Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup is done and dusted and all that is left is the party and the sunshine of B.F.F. and Brisbane Festival, West End Street Party (22nd September) etc etc... all in all though, the peak of the words are done for another year!

And at Jam Jar Poetry Slam on Sunday I was lucky enough to experience some of the spill-over from that. We had 12 poets sign up, most of whom I'd never seen before but had come to the slams and the poetry events throughout Brisbane.

Also, I got to witness one of my workshop participants win the slam on sunday, after having a huge growth in performance after entering Nimbin and the state slam. It's so great to see people go from strength to strength and realise there is no final product in poetry, or even art in general. You just keep going. Keep creating. Keep challenging yourself in new and exciting ways.

So good on you newbies, semi-newbies and not-so-newbies. Let's keep going.

I know this next year will be challenging for me in my pursuit of constant challenge and creation.

It might be time to write a show.

It might be time to tour overseas.

Either way the poetry community is in safe hands.