Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sigh...

(This blog contains course language...)

So the election looms this Saturday.
And try as I might to step to the side and let it all pass me by, I've found myself being pretty damn frustrated.
After all, what have I got to worry about?
I'm a white looking, middle class male. I've got a regular income and I work hard...
Basically I could vote for any fucking one and it probs wouldn't affect me too much.

But that's the thing.
I find myself, against my own selfish will of course, thinking about other people.
Dammit.

I give a shit about refugees. The whole "cue jumper" rationale has never sat well with me. I mean, it's a no-brainer that if you have to hire some shady motherfucker to ship you to Australia, spending all your life savings or some ridiculous amount in the process and risking drowning in the open seas, you're escaping something pretty heavy.

I also give a shit about gay marriage. I just figure that it's fucking ludicrous to not allow people to be officially married by law. Let people get a mortgage together and be broke and let people see each other in hospital when they're dying. Fuck. Let people have kids and whatever. I was raised by a single mum. If only a man and a woman are meant to raise a kid then fuck me in the ear hole with a steak knife I'm fucked. My dad was a cunt. I wish I had two mums. So fuck you.

Economy blah blah blah. Did you watch Q&A on Monday night? Pretty much every question was "how can I afford a mercedes I'm sick of driving this honda accord"...
Okay okay I'm being a bit unfair but it was a session filled with some interesting questions that were of the basic opinion that we, as Aussies are doing it tough...

And I'm sure there ARE Aussies "doing it tough"... (our homeless people, our people struggling with mental health conditions that aren't supported... you know, the ones who don't make the news unless it's to scapegoat them as "the other").

But overall I have this strange feeling that our Australian mentality to support the underdog has a real inability to recognise when
we're not the underdog.
Apart from the above mentioned mentally ill and homeless people, Indigenous people and immigrants, the rest of Australia is pretty well off.

White Australia is doing fine. As always.

Isn't it funny how these issues aren't in the news unless they're put in as a fear campaign against "Australian values" (which I have come to realise are: fuck you, I'm from Straya cunt and I want another drink).

So why do we feed this system of fear? Why do we need to believe we're fucked? Do we continually reference our forefathers who fought and died for us to reference our lame problems? I reckon our forefathers are sitting there going "pack of whining cunts, get a real problem."

And for me the real problem is the inherent racism and prejudice within Australia. The fact that a myth around refugees has been used for as long as I've been alive in order to get votes. A perpetuated white "overlording" of Indigenous issues has continually kept the complex issues involved in the first people of this nation in the shadows. Or pulled out every now and then as a convenient news story about how shit "they" are. And some sort of inbuilt christian or catholic fear means we're so fucking scared of gay people procreating because, y'know, they may not get divorced as much as we do and that would be HUMILIATING.

And let's please not even mention the environment or carbon tax. For fucks sake. Mining and CSG and mining and CSG. "Fuck the reef unless you're paying to see it." That's our next ad campaign didn't you know?

I'm not voting for Abbott. No fucking way.
There, I've said it.
The dude scares the fuck outta me. Australia can't take that step backwards.
Please.
And that's what voting for him means to me. An Australia that values only the selfish and doesn't value people. People. You, me, your friends and family. Your potential friends and family.

If you invited Abbott around for a beer and a bbq he would leer at your daughter and wouldn't help with the washing up.
Ruddy would probably at least play pool. He probably wouldn't help with the washing up either but he might stack the dishes.

It's frustrating watching the blatant media campaign for Abbott. Please don't fall for it.
Put Liberal last on your ballot box.
You don't have to vote Labor either.
I'm not.
There. That's my political rant which I didn't want to get involved in because it'll start fights.
But I'm sick of trying to rationalise with an irrational argument. Which is pretty much all Liberal voters have given me. The irrational, impenetrable arguments of the ill informed.

My next blog will be about abortion and religion.

Scotty

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 5 - Canberra

Reflecting on Canberra is like reflecting on when you first met the love of your life.
This crew GOT IT. They understood.
After everything we'd been through. From misunderstandings about what exactly a night of spoken word would entail, to lack of contact from venues, and weeks where "there's just so much on, don't worry, people would have loved it if they had come..."
Canberra had our back from the beginning.
In most cases when organising a tour I would assume you would contact anyone you know and see what they can do and are willing to do to help. I mean, that makes sense to me.
And Canberra dived in headfirst. The arts community in Canberra is blood and bone deep with each other.
And I've heard people say, "Oh, they don't have much going on there anyway. So that's why they were so keen to help."
Well. First of all fuck you. Arrogant dicks.
And second of all fuck you, there is HEAPS going on in Canberra.

So when we had a full house at Smiths Alternative Bookshop. When they gave every being of themselves in listening. When Aus Poetry Slam Champ CJ Bowerbird not only performed the most stunning set, collaborated with me AND got us on radio twice...
I realised something.
There are excuses offered up daily, weekly, monthly by people in art. From Brisbane to Sydney and back we played some glorious gigs. But there were always excuses. Excuses for why and how and who and what. Excuses for not getting numbers because of such n such. Excuses for not getting back to me and such n such.

In Canberra, there were no excuses. The people who supported us gave no excuses or reasons, they just supported us from a deep love of art and people and the world. They communicated. They let us know what was good and what wouldn't work and gave it all to us from the sincere position of people wanting other people to succeed because when YOU succeed WE succeed and that is a beautiful thing. I've never experienced anything like it.

I will go back to Canberra at the drop of a hat. Because their reasons for supporting art are just... because...
I've never seen an Aus Poetry Slam champ bend over backwards to help me out like that. Or a community of artists put us up in a house to jam and eat and laugh like that. Or a crowd so willing to listen and laugh and heckle and cry like that. Canberra couldn't and didn't put a foot wrong. I don't think that crew know how to. There was something so pure and loving about that gig and that week that will stay with me for the rest of my life. We gave our all into those performances because there was no other option. Canberra gave their all in loving and supporting us.

Canberra, the love of my life.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 4 - Sydney

Coming in to Sydney was like a gift from the gods.
Candy Royalle met me at the train station fresh from the airport. I looked like a hobo, and she said as much as we hugged and I lumped all my stuff in her car.
She drove me to her place where I was going to stay until I took the bus to Canberra in a few days time.
Rounding the bend, I glimpsed the ocean, a deep emerald contrasting the vibrant blue of the sky.
What the...?
Ocean?
Oh I had missed her.
Sometimes you forget where your heart really lays until you see it.
The ocean...
http://tamabeach.com//wp-content/uploads/2010/12/attraction-tamarama.jpg

It gets better.
Candy took me to her place, a little shack overlooking Tamarama (right next to Bondi) that I swear was built specifically for poets. She showed me my room - yep, I had a real room and a bed and everything! (I was crashing on Randall's couch for my two week stint in Melbourne, which was great, but damnnnnnn a REAL bed!!!)
Putting all my stuff away (poet talk for exploding my clothes in my room), I looked over the balcony at the view which was to greet me every morning and was soon to give me views of joggers, lovers walking, tourists scoping the sites, surfers waiting for the next break and whales migrating.
I was in heaven.

And Candy was the mentor I never knew I needed. She could relate to my journey and my frustrations and my excitement. She helped me put this tour in perspective - that, as a first time actual "tour, I had done marvellously and should be proud of myself. Once people catch on, she said, there'll be no turning back. You'll get your big crowds, people just don't know yet.
There was no need to justify WHY I wanted a great big audience, a loving vibe and to be able to show my art to the world. She knew that it didn't matter.
Candy Royalle gave me the permission to be an artist, struggling or successful, delighted or upset... just an artist trying to push through and make something of myself.
She got it.
And without her I think my Sydney experience wouldn't have taught me half as much.

I got to perform at the Outspoken finale on Wednesday night and when Ray asked me to finsih the night off, I was anxious, because these events tend to go for a long time and I was worried people might filter out after Luka and Omar had their stage time. Didn't happen. What DID happen is one of the coolest things I'll ever have in my experience bank.
I slayed em.
A packed house.
Most of them unaware of who I was and why I would be the final artist for the night.
You should have heard the roars, the laughter, and the pin-drop silence...
It was nice to be given that kind of status and to not only own it, but smash it right out of the park.
Luka asked me to peform with him the next night at his show on Broadway which I obliged. A great show, one which introduced me personally to The Tongue - an artist whose career I've followed for a while and have always admired. For him to tell me he was really impressed and hint at a future collaboration was awesome.
If the collaboration never happens I won't mind. It was cool to just connect.

The Roar Poets gig was great, if somewhat smaller than anticipated due to the heavy week of words it had been. Outspoken + Luka's surprise gig meant people were worded out and probably pretty broke. So we had an intimate night of words at 107 Projects - the BEST and most supportive crew of people I think I've ever met. They made the night so amazing with their professionalism and understanding of what the night could be. The sound, the lights, the seating... everything was perfect.
What was amazing was Candy Royalle proving that this was a night to be celebrated. Her introductory performance was inspired and incredible. She lifted us to the point where I knew that we were going to have a fantastic evening.
And the attendees agreed.
Every single one of the people who came were blown away by the craft they had witnessed.
Some even suggesting it was the best gig of the week.
Hey, I'll claim it!

That Monday we took the bus to Woollongong where some of Angela's relatives live and got spoilt with food and beer for a few days before our Canberra trip.

I could tell you about all the crazy gigs we went to in between Outspoken and our bus away.
But I feel like I've rambled long enough.
Let's just say that there was an art gallery opening with a packed crowd and we were the only slammers who entered.
Let's just say that jazz + poetry in a book shop isn't a new idea, but was a lot of awkward fun.
Let's just say that the Art Party crew, with their incessant hugging and weed and food have possibly restored my faith in what it means to be a beautiful person.
Sydney!
What a blast.

Canberra next...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 3 - Melbourne

So we got to Melbourne with a blue sky waiting and bicycles dinging and the trams all a-bustle and I made my way to The Dan O'Connell for my first performance of the week.
It was great, fantastic, largely spectacular you know?
Well... It was The Dan, which means a casual open mic with a feature in a pub where the Guiness flows freely. Local poet John McKelvie shouted me a number of rounds so I had fun.
It was the first of a number of events I performed at in Melbourne where people were just... cool.
Those who know me know I was trepedatious about Melbourne.
I'd been burnt the year before by some toxic interactions and gig handling, only to be saved by the few people that attended my workshops.
So this year I was afraid to be honest.
See Melbourne is so big and so packed with events that there is no knowing what you should go to or not. It's too full. Too many chefs. Everyone screaming for attention.
And what is actually touted as a good event could just be people blowing their own horn.
And what is supposed to be just a chilled evening could be something amazing.
But that is true of art in general and not just limited to Melbourne of course. It's just very pronounced in Australia's art capital, especially when you're trying to organise and promote a gig yourself.

So I just tagged along to things that were happening and got invited to perform a lot and it was overall a great experience because the people were great. I met great people. I stayed with Randall Stephens and we talked geek, watched the new Superman (review below) and generally just hung out coz it was nice.
------------
One night we went to an event called "The O.D.D.ie awards" - a celebration and gathering of those people and poets in the community who have "Oppositional Defiant Disorder".
I'd heard there would be poetry and wrestling.
I was even invited to read my piece "Bennalong's Ghost" and present an award.
What a trip.
Randall was painted green like the hulk.
Benjamin Solah was dressed in tight tight tight wreslemania tights and the rest of the poets and crowd were like extras from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It was a mad house.
And there was wrestling. After all the poetry, nearly three hours of it, they wrestled. Yep. Benjamin Solah and James Jackson got their WWE on in a club in Victoria.
It was fucking excellent.
Well...
It was something anyway.

Later that night we caught the train home and decided Randall should chase us on to the train and we would scream "AHHH HE'S COMING FOR US!!"

We thought it was funny anyway
The train passengers? Not so much...
-----------------
The Roar Poets gig itself was great. We missed Angela's presence, but Jacky T more than made up for it with his beautiful words. And a kick ass zine that has since spread because I'm showing everyone how good it is... Bastard.
It was definitely the most confusing gig in organisational terms. The House Of Bricks crew were super supportive of The Roar Poets Tour, but it seemed a clash between whether it was a feature event or an open mic with guests. A natural hiccup on a first tour.
My favourite part of the night was Matt Hetherington, local poet and beautiful person grabbing me and giving me an inspirational speech courtesy of The Joker from Batman (the Jack Nicholson version)
(2:01 - And remember Bob, you... are my number one... guyyeeeee)


---------------
I'm really stoked that my Melbourne experience was a positive one.
People like Benjamin Solah from Melbourne Spoken Word, Matt Hetherington, John McKelvie, Steve Smart, Tim Train, Jacky T, Amy Bodossian, the HOB crew, Michael Reynolds and a great many more people showed me that the people you interact with effect your ideology around a space or place. By being involved with them and their adventures I was given a positive shot of beauty and art and love. So thanks.
But especially thanks to the man Randall Stephens. A great host and person I admire in poetry. He's a beast. He's a man who's always supported me and I cannot thank him enough for that. Every Melbourne experience has at least been blessed with his presence and DVD collection.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Superman - The BatMan of Steel


I saw Batm-I mean Superman yesterday.
Okay so, whatever, Christopher Nolan (of the new Batman movies) helped write it and stuff. It's NOT Batman. I'm just joking guys seriously.
It is very intense. And earnest though. Like a teenager wrote some fan fiction and sent it in and they were like "great! don't edit it!"
Obviously they're going for a darker, re-imagined Superman to keep up with these times of terrorism and excess and... bad writing.
The new Superman - Man Of Steel is not as awful as you imagine it though, it's fucking terrible, it's fucking awesome. Oh my god I'm so confused.
Because there are genuine bits of insight into Superman/Kal-el/Clark Kent that are pretty nice. From somewhere near the beginning of the film (about an hour in), you see young Clark struggling to NOT punch the bullies and having to deal with the oversensitivity of his errr... senses.
Superman is painted as a genuinely lost kid, a bit sad... :(
However the writing doesn't tell you that. It's all the acting of the new guy playing Superman, Henry Cavill. Who is fucking gorgeous. Jesus what a fucking specimen of a man. #peopleiwouldturngayfor.

And the movie is a loving mess of spectacular special effects and things falling and SO MANY PEOPLE DYING.
What happened to Superman saving shit?
It's 9/11 to the nth degree and nobody seems to give a fuck. Let alone the Man Of Steel, dealing with all his "issues", he's too busy to save anyone except maybe Lois Lane (and a couple of dudes on an oil rig at one point).
Yet it is so beautiful to watch. If this was a video game it would fucking amazing.
But it's not. It's a movie. And they explain and explain and explain all this stuff and I kind of just wanted them to stop explaining stuff.

What's troubling is that, I still kinda dug it. The new Lois Lane is really a nothing character, but to me easily the most stunning Lois Lane. So I guess for eye candy, this Superman is the equivalent of Friends With Benefits - there's nothing really there, just a chance to check out some really hot people. In Man Of Steel's case they're both secy and there's massive explosions.
At one point all of us in the cinema cracked up laughing because the characters punched each other into a satellite and then threw it at each other.
For real. Shit's crazy.

See Superman for the art design, the epic and ridiculous battles and the absolute excess. One review I watched last night said "Superman used to stand for the American dream, the American conscious".
I would argue that this movie, with it's violence, bad writing, underwhelming plot and Russel Crowe leaping on Avatar birds, might just be the American conscious, in this day and age, after all.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Self-Conscious Man

Oh no!

Gentle readers, Self-Conscious Man has hidden himself beneath The Bridge of Doubt!
His back and forth pacing is making the very ego shake!
What shall we do?

Ah ha!

Let us call upon Self-Deprecation Dude to save the day!

His ironic jokes and self-aware abilities will surely defeat Self-Conscious Man in his lair!

It is working!
Self-Conscious Man is laughing!
But is it enough?
Or is it too much!

No!

He has laughed in on himself until he has disappeared up his own arse, creating a black-hole of self!
A black-hole of ego and neurosis!
This nexus of thought is working inside out to create a monster of terrible proportions!

Fruit cake! We must have fruit cake!

We must have sweets!

Temper the madman before he becomes a demonic offspring of depression and guilt!

Has it worked?
Did our cakes and chocolates, thrust with all our might into the black pool of woe... did they work?

Yes. Self-Conscious Man has emerged from beneath the bridge. With crumbs on his lap.

Quick. Give him some cookies.
And tell him he's doing just fine.

Gentle readers we have diverted disaster for another day.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 2 - Nimbin

Nimbin.
Depending on your experience with this small town in the hills of northern NSW, the very name has made your decision for you based on what I'm going to say next. You will either be disbeilieving and write it off entirely, or you will nod your head and go "yep". I doubt anyone will be somewhere in between.
Nimbin is the spiritual home of performance poets.
There I said it.
Now, like I said before, many of you will go "huh?" and shake your head, smiling at the thought of a bunch of stoners having a base of strong performance poetry.


Well.
This is the place that began the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup 11 years ago. Nimbin is the original stomping ground for David Hallet and Robin Archbold. 2 poets who still stand strong as premiere performers in Australian poetics. In fact, Archie founded the cup, David won it in its first year. So there ya go.
But you will still probably shake your head and go "no, bloody stoners trippin out to words I bet..."
And you're right. Kinda.
We arrived in Nimbin on a chilly Thursday's eve to find Gail M. Clarke, co-founder and current bad-arse boss lady of NPPWC scurrying about collecting raffle money, organising sound, and generally chatting to people lounging at The Oasis Cafe, Nimbin's home of poetry nights. What this lady does is phenomenal. And yes, the joints were rolling thick and fast and the murmuring locals and silent backpackers all drank their coffees and teas with red-eyed abundance.
But, unlike Armidale, which had no idea what it was in for, they were ALL there for poetry. It's what Nimbin loves. Cultivated over the past 11 or more years this small town thrives on words. Big, small, political, humorous, love, hate and everything in between and outside the box, Nimbin is an underrated poetry Mecca.
Martin, Angela and I knew that, respected it, and gave the best performances we've possibly ever done. It was hot, frothing, loving, aching, potent poetics.
And the crowd loved it.
If you wanna get into the stoner thing, fine. But you're ignoring what Nimbin Poetry's really all about. The superficiality of Nimbin is that it's a place to get high. But anyone who's been to the NPPWC knows that Nimbin is a place to perform to a beautiful crowd. Roaring, cheering, laughing, crying. We took them there on Thursday night. But only because they were so willing to go with us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

God

Dear Kanye - sorry I mean GOD - how are you?
Your new album is g.o.o.d. so I assume you must be?
I liked your performance on SNL
Are you actually that cranky?
I sometimes wonder how rich people can be so cranky when they're like... really rich...
But you don't have friends do you God?
Being all "ahead of the curve" means people are still stuck around the bend huh?
Well I like your album, so far.
I mean I haven't given it a totally great listen but Black Skinhead is mean.
You do 'mean' well.
And I think you mean well.
Nice one God. New Slaves is great.
People critique everything huh?
I mean, you ARE a bit of a douche-ball-in-a-sack-of-shit-fairy-floss-maker when you're doing anything except make music. But I like that you know that. I assume you know that right? That you'll always be one of the greatest artists of our time? But not a great person?

How's Kim? She looks good. I saw her last night, and today, and on the radio, in the magazines. She had the baby the other day and she's already dropped 20 kg! I can't wait to read about how she did it tomorrow.
But...
Don't you guys have any secrets?
Like that you enjoy when you first stick your toes into some Ugg boots? Before the sweat starts to clam em up? Do you think about what it would be like to head-butt an orangutang? I do. Or do you have a particular star that always seems to grab your attention? I saw a grasshopper today, do you notice grasshoppers God? Grasshoppers will never buy your album God. Never.
NEVER.
Do they still count?

I'm going to listen to it again and do some writing.
I can be God too.
I can be a better God than you.
And then our fans can have wars.
Yay!
Kanye!
I mean GOD!
You are not God.
I don't even know if there is God, but I guess if there was a God and it was you that would probably be more believable. At least you're DEFINITELY fucked up. Not like this "perfect God" that keeps being spouted at us. I'd rather believe in a fucked up God that wears all his neurosis on his sleeve (even if he doesn't see it) than some... urgg douche that is always fucking right even when he's wrong... (satan? meant to do that. sunday? meant to do that. see how everything's fucked? meant to do that to test your faith... yep... meant to do everything...)

I like your album not-God-Kanye.
Keep up the good work.
Have a break now. Write a poem. Go for a swim. Eat a biscuit. It'll be good for you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Roar Poets Tour - Diary 1 - Armidale

Armidale is cold. I forgot all about that. After living there for a few years I'd forgotten that the beautiful rolling hills and rocks sit beneath a layer of frost so sharp when you speak the air slices your tongue.
But we got there... with our multi-layered pants and jumpers and socks...

There's no-one in Armidale you know? Unless you count the uni. But I'm not even sure if the uni counts itself as part of Armidale. I know when I was a student there we could exist pretty well without any form of town contact... that's either good or bad depending on how hungry you are/n't or how stoned you are/n't.

But I programmed the tour to included Armidale for one reason: it's the beginning of things.

It was in Armidale I really learnt to rap, to write, to produce... and to make friends.

So here I was again, after all these years, showing my art to the people who had supported me from the beginning.
Sure, it wasn't ME they were supporting. It was their sons and friends who I happened to be in a band with. But I took what I could and still ran with it. It still mattered.

SO...
We arrived in Armidale to find that only a few of the flyers had been handed out, the radio station wouldn't get back to us, and the community group we'd been in contact with for months, desperately trying to get any form of workshops or community connections, were STILL not taking us seriously, or just not... I dunno...
what do you call it when people don't get back to you and then give you backhanded support at the last minute?...
On top of that we'd been told the place would've emptied out for school holidays...
It was fucking frustrating and a bit like being punched in the guts.

So when people showed up to the gig. When a room full of people watched and listened intently. When a table actually said they were here for poetry... Well suffice to say I was pretty happy. When the people who had been there to support their family and friends said "wow, it's great to see what you've been up to all these years, fantastic", I felt like I still mattered. Which is a nice feeling. And to be perfectly down and depressingly honest probably the first time I've felt that this year.

And BrokenWord were fantastic. It was them that most people were there to see, and they did not disappoint. What was amazing was that Martin Ingle and Angela Willock kept people in the room after the BrokenWord boys had done their thing. The strength and raw honesty of their performances kept people gripped. The 90% of the room who weren't there for poetry were all of a sudden deeply invested in the poetry. The bar... the fucking bar where everyone milled and talked and yelled drunkedly fell silent on more than one occasion in all of our sets.

And being the organiser and facilitator of the event I was worried we wouldn't be able to make any money to pay the venue hire or even ourselves... but we did. Yes we lost money still. Fuel and food dents finances dramatically but hey... whatever... we got at least one free meal out of it...  and the venue hire. And we were all pretty clear from the beginning that this would not be a money making venture... it would be gypsy survival. It would be rolling with the punches and making the most of it. It would be: Happiness = people + fires + conversations.
Which we had plenty of on Saturday night after the "slab" gig...


So now on to Nimbin. The Oasis Cafe. 7pm Thursday night 20 June.
The Roar Poets Tour is alive. It's a thing now. Not just a few words online or a FB event.
And we're excited and enjoying the taste so far.
Sure Armidale was cold. But if the rest of the shows end up being half as warm-hearted as Armidale then I think we'll be pretty happy.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shows n shows n shows

I've been very lucky to be so busy lately. With two shows at Anywhere Theatre Festival and a whirlwind romance with Canberra's Badslamnobiscuit, it has been a hectic few weeks. Mental and physical health has taken a dive to make room for rehearsals and technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals and flying away and flying home.

I am usually the first one to have a big cry about doing this stuff alone, how poetry can be a solo exhibition of the soul, and how it is very hard to collaborate, find helpers, get people enthusiastic about projects etc.

But these past few weeks have taught me how people can rise to an occasion.

Personally my show MaXimal was an incredible success. It showed me that I can do an hour show, something which will (hopefully) lead to festival shows, touring and international spotlights (?). I got my first ever review (as being in performance poetry world does not lend itself to reviews very much, other than your friends posting something positive on fb).
Not only that, but my friends from BrokenWord supplied me with lights, mics and sound. Angela Willock and Eleanor Jackson helped me with the door as well as gave me a lot of love and support, and Doubting Thomas funded the project, as well as leant mental support for my withering nerves and frayed brain. Bonus points go to Olivia Pushong who somehow conjured chairs when the venue couldn't supply me with theirs as they would be closed when the show went on.
So I had a moment in time where people gathered, supported and said "dude, what do ya want? Coz we can help".
I was humbled and amazed to have the energy of those people to draw from when I thought I would be lost.

I guess now the questions of comedy circuits and different avenues of marketing remain in that there is only so many people in the poetry community, and only so many ways a show that was actually comedy, but billed as poetry, can pull an audience. So if you see me starting to put "comedy" as my main thing, it's because I'm figuring out how to get audiences, build crowds, and generally build my rep as an entertainer, more than a poet. Which I think is fair considering I'm always at the least trying to be entertaining.

Then I got to work collaboratively with the wonderful poet, and also my gf, Angela for Mixtape. It may be relationship suicide to do such a thing, and not something that always works - no matter how much you care for someone collaborating on a project does not always translate the same as collaborating in hearts. However this project has been a great amount of fun and also taught me a lot about how poets work, the courage to scrap ideas and go for the bits that really shine, and also the ability to communicate and give support. Not stuff I'm good at at the best of times.
We performed for the first time together last night, and I gotta say, it was fucking excellent. Another review. And once again, it was shiny and great. Proving that working hard on a show and knowing what REALLY WORKS is vital to editing and devising a performance. It's a different show than MaXimal, quieter and less of a showcase of word-skills, more of a personal inspection and introspective view of what happens in love, music and relationships. It's a project, a concept album, a connecting point for us both to explore and work.


We have one more show tonight, and then Jam Jar Poetry Slam kicks into fundraiser mode for the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup on Sunday at 3pm.

I would say I have some time off after this, but I don't, I'm doing workshops for Ipswich Poetry Feast all next week with primary school students. 

My cousin is a workaholic, something I never thought I would be, and he always used to say "I'll sleep when I'm dead..."
Probably not the most healthy way of doing things, but fuckit.
I'll sleep when I'm dead.

If you came to my shows, thanks, if you saw me in Canberra, thanks, if you're coming to Mixtape tonight, thanks, if you're coming to Jam Jar on Sunday, thanks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ANZAC Day!

On days like this I always remember how much I hated army cadets.
I used to don my little uniform every Wednesday after school in grade 10 and catch the train to Woodridge High.
I was the weird one because I didn't much like the bivouacs and the knives and stuff. I liked the steps to the marches and the way you hold the rifle at certain points.
Even then there was the joy of choreography.

ANZAC day has always been a weird one.
The fake-tanned-lip-gloss-flag-toting tourists who descend on ANZAC Cove every year in Turkey - broad sweeping judgement sure, but have you been overseas with Aussies? We're almost as embarrassing as Yanks, and that's saying something...
The news stories about brave diggers who are just so brave and who always seem to look at the interviewer like "You stupid dick, don't go to war, it's fucked, why are you interviewing me? I wasn't brave, I was just there and it was shit".
Sometimes it borders on propaganda - okay it almost always borders on propaganda for the armed services and for the glory glory glory hallelujah of saving our country from those 'others', whoever it may be... depends on whoever ACA says is invading now...

But when I went to New Zealand and heard the story of the 28th Maori Battalion I thought, fuck ANZAC's are legends.



When I heard the story of the Aussie sniper, Billy Sing, who was practically a one man army, I thought fuck yeah ANZAC's are legends (Billy was played by a white guy in a telemovie... yep, total white out of him, crazy eh?). Then when I heard there was no requirement to list cultural background up until Vietnam, so no-one knows how many Aborigianl men and women served at Gallipoli (thought to be around 500), I thought that's pretty shit, and the fact Aboriginal men and women couldn't march with white diggers that was still pretty shit... so anyway I wanted to put something else in about ANZAC's being legends because it would have rounded off the paragraph nicely through the rule of 3 but anyway...

I still kinda like ANZAC Day, because war's shit and the men and women who survived are fuckin lucky. There's a lot wrong with our war mongering society, but still, it's good to be reminded that this dumb shit has gone on for ages and will continue because people are stupid and brave people will step up and fight even though the reasons are stupid. Yeah, it's good. Or something.

I'm confused now. Maybe that's what ANZAC Day is really about. Knowing war is fucking dumb but being hypnotised by the pride of a nation until you feel it too, even thought you're not sure why. Because people fought for our country? Sure. Why not. I'll run with that until I can come up with a better reason.

Aboriginal Coloured Digger March Website
28th Maori Battalion

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nostalgia Vs Genuine Good S*^t

Over the Easter break I went to Poona up sunny coast way. Fires, drinks, food, fishing... all the good shit about life you know?
My friend played his ipod around the fire, and he said he wasn't really liking any of the current music. And when he would play a song everyone would go "Oh yeah, I remember this!" and smile, do a little boogie or hum along or something you know?
I noticed that, personally, all this nostalgia was driving me crazy.
Didn't he have any Frank Ocean? James Blake? Even some ASAP Rocky or Kendrick Lamar?


I mean, they're better than Shaggy that's for sure...

But he'd switched off his desire for new music. His excitement. Stuck in nostalgia land he had downloaded a best of the 90s cd or something, and that had been his playlist for the past few months... woah... dedication.

But I remember a few years back being the same. Nothing was speaking to me from the radios or the itunes lists of friends or the filmclips or the viral hits. Well, that "Friday" song was pretty tight though... 

Sorry, I think I just threw up in my mouth a bit. Gimme a sec.
..
..
..
..
Okay.

And in a few years, the hits of today will be the next gen's nostalgia. It already happens now o' course. For me, old ninja turtles, samurai pizza cats and biker mice from mars are my nostalgic tip. Remember Technoman? That shit fucked me up it was so intense, and the last episode...? Well that was a day of school I kind of zombied myself through thanks to the trauma of it all on my lil teen brain.




Now people that run businesses, have kids, get married, organise events are like "remember how great pokemon was?"
I missed the pokemon boat by about 2 years.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is it actually good? Let's not get into the argument of if it was re-released would it be as good... Just, was it good? Is it good?
For me my nostalgic music moment lasted until I got sick of the music and didn't want to live in the 90s anymore, plus I heard Kanye's album, Danger Doom, CocoRosie and more...
And I actively sought new, great music. Like I did when I was a teenager. And I think that's why we're so nostalgic of that stuff, not because it was actually good. But because we found it, we sought it, we WANTED that new 2pac cd, we craved something kick arse to watch before school, we got EXCITED.
And I'm excited about music again, I have been for the past few years. But there was definitely a time in my mid 20s when all I listened to was the Makaveli album and Rage Against The Machine.



But I'm stoked about music and tv again. Entertainment is pretty great now. And it probably was a few years ago too, I just couldn't be bothered at the time. Adventure Time, Game Of Thrones, Walking Dead, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, James Blake, that new Rudimentals track Hell Could Freeze feat Angel Haze? Damn. That's the best verse I've heard in years. Air tight. Water tight. Tight as fuck.

But there's still shit out there. And I think there was a lot of shit you let slide when you're young. Because it's YOUR voice putting that shit out there. One Direction are terrible.

So's Justin Beiber. But the ones who are excited about music are these kids who see themselves in those artists. They see people around their age doing fancy as fuck dance moves and rockin around and they're like "that's me!" And in ten years time they'll cringe like we all do when we see that Backstreet Boys are touring again, or someone mentions 5ive. See? Even spelt it right. They were (to some of us) our Beiber and our One Direction. They're all terrible of course. But for some kids they're THEIR terrible music. "So shut up dad and go listen to your stupid Erykah Badu CD"...

If my kids ever diss Badu I might have to kill...

I think I had a point here somewhere. Or maybe not. This argument about nostalgia and it's power has been done before, and better. Shit, the Transformers movies sold on nostalgia alone, launched Megan Gale's career (or what she might call a career, is she doing an ad with a dolphin now? classy), and were terrible glitzy messes of movies. Splosions + Robots + Megan Gale's arse = $$$$$$$.
Nostalgia makes money, makes campfires kinda fun, and who here dares NOT know all the words to Gangster's Paradise?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bak?

I don't know why I spelled the title differently. Maybe some unconscious need to question whether I really am back or whether I'm still stuck in my head. Maybe I'm trying to be really really really clever. Maybe I wish I was Baraka from Mortal Kombat and I'm pretty sure his nickname would be Bak. If I was Baraka I would want people to call me Bak like, "Hey, my friends call me Bak..."

That is if Bara- sorry... Bak has friends anyway...

I've been fucking depressed lately. The previous posts have eluded to it without me wanting to admit it to myself I think.

"Fuck this shit" was the main theme.

I guess it's important to remember that all this juggling has been for something, and I finally remembered that, at the Bellingen Poetry Slam last Saturday night in the Northern(ish) NSW hinterland.

Sometimes you need a win. In fact, being so unsure as to my purpose in all this mess of performing to (on average) 20 people and getting paid maybe a hundred bucks a month for poetry had left me a bit in-my-own-head.
So I finally realised why I do this shit.
Not for the win.
For the audience you fools.
The simple joy of performing to a great audience.

Do you know how beautiful it is to rock a crowd of 200+ people in a small town?
It's bliss.
To not have to deal with intense questions as to your purpose in this community? Why your ideals are wrong? How you could dare enter a slam, don't you have any ethics?
Gee it was nice to just perform for the joy of it.

Something I shouldn't forget.

And to be honest, something YOU shouldn't forget either.
Love your community of artists for what they bring.
The way we all play with creativity.
There is a lot to gain from everyone.

And hey, some people drive me nuts, of course they do I'm only human, but when I think about it, it's always been because of their conduct outside of the poems. Basically people being arse-holes are just... y'know, arse-holes...
Yet the poetry matters most.
I can't say I'm gonna support Ultimate Douchebag McDoodleDick.
But good on 'im for persevering.

There are a few great events coming up for Brisbane's Anywhere Theatre Festival in the Poetry section.

Like MaXimal!


Check em out. Support performers giving it their all in spaces not usually associated with performing.
Give em a great audience.

I've been lucky enough to be invited to Fringe India at the end of the year, so I will be getting my jets on and going back to the land of the sacred hindu cow to perform.

And mid-year I will be taking a small crew of Brisbane poets with me to Sydney, Canberra, Armidale, and possibly even Melbourne to showcase what Brisbane poets can do. Hopefully we'll get a great audience.

It's all just for the love of performing.
Honestly you cynical fucks.
Yeah we push shit up hill most of the time because poets are FUCKING CRAZY people with a lot of issues to sort out. Mental health central!!!! So you may not get a run some places, because in some places the poetry is less important than the egos and self-conscious personalities within.

But hey, we'll keep trying, and maybe we can remind others what it's all about:

The joy of being on stage with a great audience. That's all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

reverse culture shock

Starting to feel normal again after my trip and totally looking forward to JamJar Poetry Slam this Sunday.
I've managed to lock in someone who I haven't seen in a while Kaitlyn Plyley, who I met at the Aus National Poetry Slam finals a few years back and have seen at a QLD final as well but otherwise has been very quiet. So quiet that when she told me she was at last month's Jam Jar Poetry Slam hosted by Adam Hadley, I was stoked to know she was not only performing but living in Brisbane.

I've had a talk to some friends who made me realised there is such a thing as a "reverse culture shock" so to speak. Strange huh? But yesterday and today I have been feeling good. Still missing the monkeys. But otherwise loving the sound of kookaburras and magpies in the morning.
I am slowly but surely sifting through the poems from my trip and editing them.
I'm looking forward to heading down to Bellingen next weekend the 22 March for a few performances on the Friday as well as having another go at the slam title.
Although I'm quite cynical about slam, from running them for the nearly 2 years, as well as numerous comps, I still miss competing. So it's nice to head down to Bello every year and just have a bit of fun away from the city hype that comes from the ego fest here.

Here's another poem from my trip.

---------------------
Rooftop yoga, eagles
gotta eat,
swoop down,
swoop into the pose and
breathe out.
Your soul is from the
sun, body’s
gotta eat,
swoop up,
chin to knees and
swoop through god.
Baby meditation, eyes
gotta eat,
blind and off balance,
swoop through,
bend,
bend,
bend.
Swoop stars into your heart.
Now watch, can you do
lotus?
Practice,
practice,
practice.
Teacher’s
gotta eat.
Swoop through
the wallet,
swoop up and
breathe out.

------------------

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Back to normal (?)

ultimate cool picture
I've been in India for the past month with a little stop over in Kuala Lumpur either side. There's been a bit of a reframing of the mind in light of massive adventures. I've been looking forward to coming back though, mainly because I'm excited about the next couple of months' worth of performances.
One of the most interesting developments in India, as far as my writing goes, was my incessant diary keeping in poetry form. I managed to write every day about everything possible. It's not something I usually do but was a great incentive to just keep writing. There's something that happens to your writing when you're not doing it for any reason other than yourself. The difference between writing for performance and just writing is huge. To not have that stress or pressure of needing it to be something to showcase is liberating and I think paved the way for some really nice, different work.

Ironically I am now planning on showcasing this collection within the next few weeks, I'll keep you posted on where this might be.

It's exciting to know that, while I've been away, the Queensland Poetry Festival committee has been deliberating over the applications for this year's festival. I can safely say it's looking to be a hugely diverse line-up for the weekend. QPF has really shown itself to be one of the most engaging and diverse festivals in Australia, showcasing poets from a variety of styles and really shining a light on the amazing poets in QLD, nationally and internationally.

I've also had the pleasure of getting two shows into the Anywhere Theatre Festival happening in mid May. MaXimal will be a solo venture and Mixtape is a collaboration between myself and my partner Angela. Both shows will be different and exciting. Crazy. Better get working huh?

For now, expect a funtimes JamJar Poetry Slam on March 17.

Here's a poem from my trip. Keep writing.

-------------------------

We bob up and down amidst
the crowd as if
buoys at sea.
Moving with the current of
silhouettes and limbs.
We find the stall with
the most people.
Bob up and down again,
waiting for food like
hungry seals.
I think I've got food poisoning.
The chicken was suspiciously
cool.
We analyse every movement
of our stomach.
Feel it
bob up and down.
A little message in a bottle.

---------------------------

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shooting At Shadows... for real this time...

Today, my last performance before jetting to India, is set to be something insane...
I'm looking forward to it so much.

Last time (also the first time) I performed Shooting At Shadows was at the Laura St Festival last year.

Since then I've completed a year of Zen Zen Zo training, and if you've read my previous blogs, know that I've also just completed Stomping Ground 2013.

Butoh training has given me a whole different way to interpret this piece physically.
Entering the "shadow space" is a new ball game today.

5pm at Lost Movements - Coniston Lane, The Valley.

---------
You should see 
the depths of black.
How darkness
has its own
spark its
own ebbing glow of black.

I’ve seen you play in the light.
I’m not blind.
You avoid the dark like it was cursed,
too distracted by the stars,
yet we exist in the spaces in between,
the enormous spaces between suns.

Even planets cast a shadow.

Before jesus was split open even he was dark inside
or does your jesus glow in the dark?

The folds of the world
are where I’m going.

Stuck within the creases of nothingness.


You should see 
the depths of black.
How darkness
has its own 
spark its
own ebbing glow of black.

-----------------

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Sall Good Baby Bayybeh!

I’m in the maternity ward of Logan hospital. My best friend has just had a baby.

Apparently I’ll make a great godfather.

I have no idea how to fix a lawn mower.
I’m not sure the criteria for being the best godfather ever, but I’m pretty sure some sort of maintenance qualification is part of it.

Godfather’s are supposed to be the ones where, if everything goes to shit - like EVERYTHING, EVER - I’m taking care of that bebeh.

But it’s the godparents that made James board a giant peach in Roald Dahl’s book. Or was it Aunties? I dunno. Either way I don’t want this bebeh to board a giant peach to escape from me.


So I need to learn how to fix lawn mowers. 
And dolls.

An old friend of mine told me once how awesome he thought his dad was because he fixed his transformer. He screwed a new, metal arm, on to one that had been torn off and lost. He said that, at that moment, he new his dad was the coolest ever. He had the best transformer with a slick REAL metal arm. Not the plastic ish that other transformers had.

Now I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be that cool. I’m pretty sure I’ll leave that kind of dad cool up to the dad to be, y’know, cool. But it would help, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, babies are pretty precious. So I’ll just sit here and contemplate all the things I could teach this baby. Like cards? Or how to rhyme? Or beatbox? Fishing?... I dunno… I usually find kids teach you more than you’ll ever teach them…

Welcome to the world Cleo Kowitz. You’ve got a lot to look forward to. Your family and I like to cook so I hope you enjoy coriander, chilli, sinigang, pork… your Grandma and Auntie’s spring rolls are the bomb.

______________

I don’t know if you could see me,
little fish,
swimming in air for the first time.
Little squashed face
breathing heavy gulps of
world.
Mountains and rivers and clouds,
giants and ants.
Breathe.
Fire and earth and colour and sound,
words and words and words,
Tagalog, English.
Breathe.
Wiggles and Play School and Yo Gabba Gabba,
Disney and Ghibli and X-men,
rom-coms and thrillers and
Tarantino.
Breathe.
You’re going to paint
with fingers,
with butterflies,
colour code your
shoes,
colour code your
summers,
colour code your
dreams.
Breathe.
Sit on your mums heart,
sit on your first bike,
sit on the horizon.
Breathe.
Sometimes, little fish,
you might ask me a question,
and I won’t know the answer.
It’s okay,
we’ll find out somehow:
read a book,
make an experiment to test.
We’ll save google until last.
It’s more fun that way.
Breathe.
Little fish need to learn how to dance,
laugh, cry, crack, slide, slip, ask,
and little fish need to learn how to
choose.
Breathe, little fish,
that's your first lesson.
Little fish, for now, just
breathe.

_________________

Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 Had Herpes

I hated 2012.
It was my biggest year.

I worked so hard. I was exhausted. Burnt out. Poked and prodded.

So I kept a list of things that helped me through the year.
That had nothing to do with anything except the reason why I do what I do.
I list it here so I can never forget, that in some way, I did something meaningful.

- Pinocchio pantomime at Bris Arts Theatre - Strogonoff is my favourite character ever
- Jam Jar Poetry Slam (learning what it takes to run a slam and how it's always in the audience's hands as much as the hosts)
- BadSlam!NoBiscuit! - Canberra (my first standing ovation) (staying with Andrew Galan and talking Firefly, being taken up to a mountain by Ellie and eating with eagles)
- OutSpoken - Sydney (twice)
- Byron & Lismore performances (Awkward host David Hallet and the weird vibe of Lismore poetry crowd)
- Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup 2012 (nearly taking it out and performing 3 new 8 minute sets each round)
- Mad Scientists Tea Party (the kids that ran amok)
- Collaborating with Fern Thompsett in our Gorillaz words of honour
- Collaborating with Rhyll in our as yet unpublished zine and another words of honour (Fat Freddy's Drop)
- Zen Zen Zo (All year keeping my heart beating and giving me another facet of performance to look at, consider, and move towards)
- Shooting at Shadows (mixing a live soundtrack courtesy of Fern with narration by Lucy Fox into a poetic diary of a Shadow that has lost its way. One of my favourite growth spurts and challenges of the year)
- Angela (falling in love with a beautiful woman who has my back and will bash you)
- Raw Poet Roar - facilitating an event that featured my favourite Brisbane underground voices, hosted by Fern and just a beautiful way to finish the year
- QPF - being asked to join the QPF board for 2013
- Woodford - cementing myself as a performer that pulls in crowds rather than lets them slip away. My favourite thing I've ever done. And the most validating way to know that I'm on the right path.

So what have you got for me 2013?

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Final Thoughts...

And so it all comes to an end. Stomping Ground 2013 has been a surreal and phenomenal experience. In terms of pushing the limits of my capabilities both physically and mentally, in terms of my emotional capabilities, and in terms of the bottle that is my body and what I fill it with when performing.

I don't know what to say.
Some people can brush it off. Some people can say it was just training. Some people can put it down to something else. But I dove in, headfirst. My girlfriend was pissed because I barely thought about anything else. I hardly saw anyone. I got consumed in the training. I wrote everyday. I journalised my experience. I philosophised about it all. My addictive personality grabbed hold of Zen Zen Zo and didn't let go.
I'm not saying this is at all healthy.
Or detrimental.
I'm just saying this was my experience.
I loved it.

Combined with the trip I'm about to take to India in less than two weeks, I think 2013 is going to be a year I don't forget. And you, my audience, I hope you don't forget it either.

I've had a chance to solidify my goals. I've had a chance to see what I can do in this world. A tester, you might say. I've had a chance to test-write for the stage in Zen Zen Zo's future production of Medea. I've written a piece that will be used by Zen Zen Zo's events team (Here There Be Dragons). I got to be a ghost. I got to do a mating dance. Not some ballerina ish. More like the carnage of a praying mantis.

So in saying goodbye to training, and hello to the world of performance for another year, it's probably a good idea to let it be however it, um, be.
Although I feel like I just met a beautiful woman, we had a 3 week love affair, and now she's telling me she's leaving me for a guy called Brandon, who has a 6 pack. But Brandon's an ass-hole. You'll miss me! You'll missss meeeeeeee!
:)

Thanks to Lynne Bradley and the whole teaching team at Zen Zen Zo for being great and inspiring. And a big thanks to my fellow participants who broke skin with me and let tears fall. It's okay to treasure the enigma of light that this was. It didn't last. But that's what made it so special.

Scotty

------------------

I wonder if Mr. Suzuki ever got
drunk
and stomped in the rain
like we did
that last night?
Whether he knew the satisfaction
of greasing joints
with tears and
blood.
Our thundercloud training room,
leaking,
so we moved with
the rain.
I may never know what Mr. Suzuki
does or doesn't do.
But I do know
my skin
will never be as transparent
as it was
that last night.

-------------------

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 3 - Part 2

"Our way is not soft grass, it's a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forwards,
towards the sun".
Ruth Westheimer



I'm not sure if we're on the brink of ourselves today. We've got one day left on this beautiful chaos of a planet we spin with our feet. Zen Zen Zo has gifted me with a learning I can never forget.
I don't know whether I broke this week. If you can call it breaking. Or whether I finally accepted what I'm here for. Or maybe something else I can never entirely fathom.


Some of you may read this and have no idea what I'm talking about. And not in the way that only people who've been to Stomping Ground would know. I just mean that, sometimes you go through some crazy shit. It could be anything. A 3 week theatre course, a trek through the himalayas, a bad taco... anything.
But you learn. And you come away with more questions than answers. And you maybe, just maybe, if you're really lucky, understand yourself that little bit more.

We got to be Geishas today.
Fuckin badass Geishas.

I also used a prop today.
And it was a shit idea.

So there you go.

---------------------

I don't know if Medea
needs another red cordial.
That bitch is crazy.
I'm just putting it out there.
Her great-grandfather is the
sun,
she's got magic to spare.
Killing kids
is no feminist ideology
I ever heard of.
Unless someone knows something
I don't?
Jason left the toilet seat up.
Cunt.
Stab him
in the dick-hole or something.
Cast a spell on his new wife:
the clap.
But leave the kids alone.

------------------------


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 3 - Part 1




"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."
- Walter Elliot


"When you've gone so far that you can't manage one more step, then you've gone just half the distance that you're capable of."
- Greenland proverb

We flew through viewpoints this morning. Listening to each other and responding so quickly it was like we were one beast.
It was a great day. When everything seems to just come together and you train train train. And it's not like you can DO everything. This type of physical actor training necessitates staying at your edge so you have to go to the point where you are off-balance faster, quicker, through a more round-about way. Fumble more gloriously than before, tumble so you're uglier this time. Make a better mess because you've gotten so clean.

It would be a waste of my time here at Zen Zen Zo if I didn't re-evaluate myself and why I'm here. Hey, I like charging through space and making beautiful shapes, but there's gotta be a reason for it. Right? Otherwise you're like that guy who's real good a push-ups. Yay... um... push-ups.

So today I took stock, thought about how I want this training to improve the way I move throughout the spaces on stage, in my performances, how to breathe in the grotesque and the beautiful within it.

---------------

Up there,
was what I could never have again.
Plunging my fist into the frosty sky.
Angels at my back and death at my front.
I pulled down mist and water, rain and snow,
but never him.
He was never in my hands.

It didn't feel like a choice,
between heaven or hell,
it's not like I wanted to go down there.
But when I saw her waiting for me,
I knew that I would sink
into her back and
hold her in my hands.

--------------------

Friday, January 18, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 2 - Part 2 - Final

One more week to go!
Now it gets to the point where you know that you're gonna miss it.
And what else is my body going to do? My body that loves to stomp, the face that's slowly adjusting to the grotesquely beautiful Butoh masks, the muscles that stop and start in kinaesthetic response to anything and everything.
(examples of some of the methods we've been using at Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground)

And where do we go, personally, from here?
Is it another drift of bodies and minds departing?
Or will we keep in contact and support each other's art for a long time yet to come?

The experience of any intensive training with a group of people can be both beautiful and horrible all in one. There's the ones that always want to take control, the ones that never want to, the ones who you immediately connect with and the ones that seem a world away even when you're breathing each other in.

More questions than answers and more pondering than ever. The end of week 2's Stomping Ground left me exhausted and hungry. Angry and elated. I just couldn't do some stuff. And I just couldn't reign in my frustration. And I finally understood some other stuff. I really enjoyed Butoh. And yeah, Butoh's been a struggle. The dots finally connected. Yet viewpoints, which are one of my favourites, widened to the point where it was messy and I felt like I was constantly trying to clean. OCD hand washing for theatre exercises...

(Open Viewpoints demonstration)

We did (literally, not figuratively or metaphorically) clean the floors to Benny Hill music (cleaning the floors is a tradition in which you 'bow down to the work' in order to stay humble, via hands and cloths). That was Thursday. We needed that. Thursday was a hard day.

----------

If Benny Hill could have
seen us,
he would've been disappointed at the
lack of sexual innuendo.
We pretended
to fall over enough
it produced it's own sound effect.
We had floors to clean and
Benny Hill music.
Bowing down to the work,
kissing the earth with
our fingernails.
Splinters were never
Benny Hill fodder.
You can't put splinters in breasts.
That's just weird.
And dust never
got a pie in the face.
No-one would get the joke.
We just kept cleaning.
Zooming along the floors
to the old comedy tune.
Whatever,
if Benny Hill could have seen us,
at least he would have seen us
laughing.

-----------------------


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 2 - Part 1

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy – Dale Carnegie.

It's been a week of small implosions, some nestled in our chests, some in our minds, others in our hands, feet, toes, legs, elbows... necks...

We're now wrestling with more than just training. We're wrestling with change, failure, success, misunderstanding and grief.

I'm writing this after the 3rd day of week 2. Exactly half way through stomping ground.
The passing of Zen Zen Zo Patron Billie Brown lifted us off our feet for the week's beginning.
You don't just hear stories about this guy and not get something jamming at your chest. 
So we grabbed shit from the pointy end.

Viewpoints and Butoh. 

And after today... well slow motion is too fast for what's been happening. Bisoku.
--------------------------

She looks like a prostitute,
who's just been in a car accident,
and come back to work
too soon.
His legs are barbed wire.
Kangaroo skin
fermenting.
Stop lights are
lasers.
My feet are
coal,
steaming.
She looks pretty nice
in slow motion.
--------------------------

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 1 Final

Last thoughts for the week include "Oh dear god we stomped the shit outta that!" and "It's very hot"...

But no seriously Week 1 is done, and so comes to an end the Suzuki and Le Coq training. It bought up lots of stuff, triggered a fair bit for me. Mainly how unbelievably self-conscious I am of what other people think of me.

In terms of artistry I solidified my love and belief in a profound connection between the performer and the audience. Like a rope cast out for the audience to grab. I think that's where the best spoken word artists exist: in that world where everyone in the audience has hold of the rope they've cast out.
And not necessarily in a "this is deep for me" way, as the performer, but in totally giving over everything to the audience WHILE keeping something hidden in order to maintain tension, integrity and basically not being an emotional mess on stage.

"Lifting it above being just another performance, filling it with the relatable and the beautiful." - is what I found written in my ZZZ diary.

But Friday was hard. I was down. I felt self-conscious. Stupid. Out-of-my-league. Like everyone new that I was a fraud, a fake. In Le Coq I felt bare, revealed, raw. There was very little done in terms of acting like acting acting. The extremes were the extremes within ourselves. And it was beautiful, painful, large, small, grotesque and extremely, vividly alive.

In hindsight I loved it even though it was at times too much for me.
Next week comes Butoh and Viewpoints.

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Waking up on the moon
took longer than I thought it would.
Eyelids stapled together, it seemed.
I roll over and realise I've got dust in my mouth.
Spitting it out takes longer than I thought it would.
Clumps of grey matter drifting to the floor.
There's dust everywhere,
scattered from my hair in slow motion as I shake it.
Staggering forward takes longer than I thought it would
and falling takes it's time also.
The lip of this crater is too big for me to take in
and the light at the bottom blinks alien.
I tumble over, stumble down,
moving quicker than I thought I would.
Caught in liquid hands,
moved by alien air.
I fall asleep in a house of hearts
beating stronger than I thought they would.
Waking up on the moon.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zen Zen Zo Stomping Ground - Week 1 - part 2

Now it's today, not the other day. And it's still week 1. Each day holds it's own revelation and mystery. We're drawing to a close our time with the Le Coq and Suzuki training methods or pedagogies. I feel like I'm swimming and there's sunken treasure beneath me yet the deeper I swim the deeper it gets. However I'm enjoying the swim more than the allure of the treasure. Just knowing it's there is nice. And there's fish. Big metaphorical fish with awesome spots and masks and crazy techniques for swimming like a donkey. Because these fish like donkeys. So they decide to swim like them just because it puts them in touch with how much of a fish they actually are.
Woah.
Got too deep on the metaphor.
Oh cool I made a pun. (deep? and swimming? and... yeah you got it...)
So my legs are toughening up, so is my core. It's good to be reminded of what your body can do.
Yet through all the strength training and focus and breath and voice and core and mask and feet and grounding... I was reminded today that you still have to be like water my friend. Like water. (Also there is today's poem beneath Bruce Lee being awesome).


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Maybe we found our 6th sense in the internet.
You know... to look at cats. 
Or porn. 
Or old episodes of Thundercats. 
And then the porn remake.
...But I doubt it.
When our auras pulse,
feeding one another,
our 6th sense is in there.
Not reading minds,
but reading poems.
Not  the symmetry of the mountains,
but the jagged edges.
Not the joke itself,
but the laughter that follows it.
Our 6th sense is not a wizard's magic,
or telekinesis,
or seeing ghosts that look like Bruce Willis.
Or seeing Jesus in a piece of toast.
(Mmmmm... toasty Jesus).
Our 6th sense is 
laughing with our eyes,
jumping inside stillness,
grinning with masks on and
masking the silence with 
the sound of the planet spinning.
Our 6th sense is the space in between
our feet and the floor
our lungs and the breath
the stars and the sky.
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