Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Prevailing Wind

This was one of the poems I wrote for Illuminate Bath 2010. It's inspired by the festival's themes of kinetic energy and light, and by my completion of the John O' Groats to Land's End cycle ride last year. While cycling, I often met people who told me I was going the wrong way: In England we have a thing called 'the prevailing wind', which means that more often than not the wind blows from the South to the North. Of course, I didn't believe a word of it. I'd never heard of the prevailing wind, and had assumed that the wind blows any direction it fancies; however, after a week, I had to concede that I'd made a mistake.
In this poem I have likened that experience to the decisions we make, and which we stick to out of habit, trying not to question whether our difficulties are due to the fact we're heading in the wrong direction; that there could be something fundementally wrong in our thinking.

The Prevailing Wind

At first, I didn’t believe in the prevailing wind.
I always travelled from North to South, thinking my lack
of hearing was natural; the roar in my ears like the pulse
in my blood. I met strangers. They walked toward me and passed

with the slightest of nods. If I turned to watch them go
I’d see children pulling on their parents’ trouser-legs, pointing
back at me. I travelled onwards. My body grew stronger
while others were struggling. I saw a boy leaning forwards

like the prow of a ship, supported by the same wind
he was trying to fight. I saw an elderly woman
crawling. A group of people were pleading with her
‘Please turn around!’ But she spat at their feet.

When I reached the woman, I stopped. I asked her why
she struggled so. The prevailing wind would always blow
from South to North, against her. And where was she trying to go?
The woman couldn’t remember. And by that point, neither could I.

The poem has appeared as a digital animation in Green Park Station and the Pump Rooms in Bath. When I have the animations, I will post them alongside the page version of each poem.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Doorbell Thief at Birmingham Slam

Hi all,
I've just got hold of this video from the Bath Spa slam in Birmingham last Thursday:
If you skip to 10:15, that's me; for the slam, I had Jack Dean accompany me as the voice of the doorbell thief, which was dead cool. My own performance was a bit nervous and tame, and Jack's excitement really lifted it.

Check out these links to see the rest of the night, in chronological order:

Unfortunately, I don't think the second half was filmed, which had my two individual poems and the team poem, but if anything shows up I will post that also.
Cheers, watch your doorbells!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Poetry Projections

The eight poems I wrote for Illuminate Bath 2010 have now appeared twice, as animations designed by Graphics Communications students and projected on the walls of Green Park Station and the Pump Rooms.
I have been amazed at some of the work done by the Graphics students, and I can't thank them enough for their enthusiastic involvement with the project. I am currently waiting to get hold of the animations, and permission to share them, at which point I will upload them here.
Keep your eyes peeled, the poems may appear again between now and the closing party on Saturday 13th November. As soon as I know any times and dates, I will post again.
Many thanks to anybody who has gone along and seen the work; if you have any pictures or comments, please get in touch!

Slam: Bath Spa University VS Birmingham University

Just got home from a night away in Birmingham. Myself and three other poets from Bath Spa went up to take on the cream of the Birmingham performance poets in a very well-attended slam. The final score was 5-3 to Birmingham, a well deserved victory, and we're looking forward to getting them down to Bath next year for the rematch.
Birmingham student radio was in attendance, and the whole thing was captured on video; as soon as I have clips to share, I will post them here.