Makes a living solely by shouting
No books, CD's, merchandise of any kind
No teaching no broadcasting
Punk rock ideology: no sell out
No obeisance to any convention
ever more physical/ theatrical
60 shows a year in Canada on the summer fringe tour
Posh university, Bristol
Did nothing in 20s except think & be v poor [a lot]
Started performing 93
Began big word, weekly poetry cabaret
Rather very good, now forgotten
Then did Edinburgh, 96-04
First successful edfringe poetry cabaret in decades
Made money saying Pay As You Like At The End
Moved Edin ‘01
Began cabarets & slams
Decent shows, v successful, much impact, great fun
Tried Toronto Fringe in 01
First toured Canadian fringes in 03
Most fun & success ever
First ever performance poet on tour
Toured there ever since
30+ 5 star reviews
150+ 4 star
Went nomadic in 06
No home for 43 months & and counting
Write shows over winter, perform over summer
Bags of laughs
How did it all work out so well?
Whoa!! I’ve just realised You know that Russian woman who’s always on Skype every time you’re in an internet cafe anywhere? Talking extra loud and making all thought rather too hard? Well you don’t, cos you ain’t here But you can imagine there is one Well you know what i realised? Its the same one Always the same one There’s only been one big-voiced Russian woman all along And she’s there everywhere i go Because someone is paying her to be my internet harpie To be always barrelling away in my ear
ski Filling the four walled spaces with her loud voice Mucking up my peace-seeking head ...
i remember fifteen years ago Gerry Adams was surprised his car was bugged Displaying, as someone said, An almost clinically remarkable lack of paranoia Seeing how he was number two in a very serious terrorist organisation ... So he might have suspected, don’t you think? his car might just be, errr, a bit bugged? Just a bit?
... So me, yeah? once again in my life I have not been paranoid enough When will i learn... More paranoia Jem, more paranoia! More! More!!
That human megaphone of a Russian woman in Goa, in Mysore, in Ooty, in Fort Cochi, in Trichy, Tanjore, Kumbakonam and Chidambaram, in Pondy and now here in Hampi...
Its the same woman
some dark force,
is paying her to be a bellowing familiar on my cybershoulders
A volume eleven monkey on my back
A cacophonating harpie at At AT my lugholes...Is paying her......
There`s that line of Woody Allen`s Just cos you`re paranoid doesn`t mean they`re not out to get you Well my reply is I`m not paranoid, i`m not, ok?... lots of people are trying to make me paranoid, but i`m not OK? Well its not a reply, its my attempt at a gag half as good as Woody`s
Oh look There she is again Maybe she doesn`t know how it works Maybe she thinks you have to shout Cos Russia’s a long way off rrrrArrrrArrrrArrrrArrrrArrrrA YAYAYAYAYAYAYA DADADADADADADA NANANANANANANANA BArrrrAYADANA –BArrrrAYADANA-BArrrrAYADANA-BArrrrAYADANA ski ...
And as for paranoia well, personally, being a classic liberal type With anarchist pretensions ... just cos you’re hopelessly disorganised doesn’t make you an anarchist? [are you sure it doesn’t? I’d’ve thought it automatically qualified me] Excuse me, where was i?... personally, being a classic liberal type i, of course, vacillate eternally between paranoia and pronoia ...
You know what pronoia is? Its the misguided belief everyone likes you And me i veer steer and blunder from P to P They like me, they like me not They like me, they like me not And when life gets hectic, like during the fringes, i vacillate five times a day Vacillation? C’est moi Ad infinitonauseam
So, yes, frequently i ask myself Am i an anarchist? Well i’ve never had a job Except poetry, Which i thought would be a safe bet for not providing me with a job, But turned into a job It was never the plan And i instinctively mistrust all forms of power And i have a very disorganised head Quick but slapdash Which makes me great at boggle But no good at punctuation Or holding a train of thought And I used to have an idea, maybe more of an ideal, of a permanent revolution of the head And i had a good go at that ideal For decades But i’m not sure its possible A permanent permanent revolution of the head Cos you’re always dismantling your own processes of thinking Endlessly introspecting Always starting again from not much more than scratch Which rather inhibits both thought and action At least it did with me
And i never confused anarchism with tribalism, which is what lots of anarchists become A gang, a tribe of anarchists And some anarchists seem to be career anarchists
I think i’ll shut up, no-one takes me seriously when i say i’m an anarchist ...
Did i ever tell you about the time i hired a stall at the Anarchists Bookfair at Conway Hall in London and sold pieces of writing at 20p for 3 And by the ounce ... In retrospect this was very funny Kind of conceptual art Especially seeing how it had, for me, a very intellectual basis Except all the anarchists, being not terribly anarchistic, thought i was a nutcase Well it was a strange thing to do ... But you’d think anarchists would be more receptive than most to an unusual idea... Well they weren’t It was rather a disillusion ... Only the very stoned hippie types got the joke ... It was a great day though, selling them at 20p for 3, despite all the funny looks, and i did make money... but it involved an awful lot of talking An awful lot of talking ...
And you know what, every now and again i actually finish the same sentence i started, yes the same sentence, remarkable I know, and when it does happen I think I should be lead home in garland upon garland on top of an African elephant with an entire fully-fledged Bollywood song’n’dance troupe, plus sedate strolling orchestra, flinging themselves gracefully before me about scattering curlicues of rose lily and tulip petals … cos yes I do, it has genuinely been known that the sentence I finish is the same one I started, remarkable yes, but I do have to say that far rarer do I finish the same conversation I started...[i finish plenty of conversations that other people have started]... in fact I generally go the entire summer without finishing a single conversation i started, like not one, never, at all, simply not, how do other people? I don’t know, not me, like how do they… rhododendrons? … Why?... well I like the soft earth beneath them… I’m cool with rhododendrons… and cotoniasters, I like cotoniasters, great, and most of my sentences have become a different sentence by the time I get to what should be but almost certainly isn’t the middle, in fact its probably not even the end of Churchill’s beginning, whatever, by the time I’m there I’m already somewhere else cos that idea was ok but then I had a better one because that maybe wasn’t such a good idea... rhododendrons? Who cares? Why care?… but maybe this one is, or that one, cos you know the sentence has no end, the definition is death the encapsulation is crap the term is terminal the noun is no-un and life is one long death sentence, in fact that’s just about the only thing you for certain about life, its a fatal disease and many die screaming, whatever, but in the meantime I enjoy going around the houses, lighting out for the territory, going for a good gallivanting canter around the estate, love it… it … o yes, a good gallop around and about and up and down... and up down and around … love it, a nice charabanc along the head, nice to meet you, what awful people … its usually better to travel than it is to arrive, don’t you find?... like now… What next, well I was on my way from life to death but right now I’m at, one piece jigsaw, dry mouth sour thirst, soap on a rope, votive offerings of dyed cabbage, canned me, how come Stalin trusted Hitler?... it makes no sense, its bonkers, sign on the door of today says don’t bother... where is the out door?... who are you in rigged quiz show?... And next, well, So, I looked at her, And she looked at me, And said, “Well I had this train of thought, But it clean went out my head, It was something to do with, Something I read, An untrodden path , Where the treading now led, I remember now, It was something you said… “How did it go?” … ”I know”, I said, “Well I was on my way from A to B, But right now I’m at Zed”… So I looked at her, And she looked at me, And said, “Well I had this train of thought , But it clean went out my head, It was something to do with, Something I read, An untrodden path, Where the treading now led, I remember now, It was something you said, How did it go?...”I know”, I said “Well I was on my way from A to B, But right now I’m at Zed … So I looked at her, and she looked at me, and said… Ad nauseoinfinitum
O look, that Russian woman on skype, she’s learnt German and had her hair dyed.