Sunday, 30 March 2014

But With Strangers

They say you should tell friends about these things:
encounters in hotel rooms. No real names.
Receptionists who note the lack of rings.

The small talk in the lift. The minor things.
The bigger stuff; hard, soft, establishing
your limits, laying down rules for the game.

What word to use (or silent sign to give,
should the chance of speech be interdicted,
mouth covered by a hand, airway constricted)

to signal 'stop'. Take care that it's mundane,
as then you get that rush of blood from begging,
saying 'no' and knowing that no letting-up's

forthcoming: screaming, sobbing, all the things
you see at night behind your blinking eyes,
played out in beds that may as well be rings

where, in a whip-and-chair-tamed wild surmise,
a sacramental violence is offered,
changed in essence and not accident, where 'lover'

is too small a word, while others
are as cliched as the codes on phone-box cards.
Where, like a cartoon victim, you see stars;

where, like a real one, you acquire scars.
There are risks involved in doing this, it's true.
That's why they say you should tell friends. I never do.


And then on Friday, as we all patted ourselves on the back about the first gay marriages taking place in England and Wales - no-one more self-congratulatory than Stonewall, which is kinda hypocritical given that they were originally opposed to it - I decided to drop this video of my poem 'Epifauxlamium'. An epithalamium is a poem celebrating a marriage - this poem is very loosely based on one such poem by Sappho, and points out that equal marriage is not the end of the struggle - indeed, in many ways, equal marriage is something we don't yet even truly have in England and Wales - and, amid all the self-congratulation and pictures of well-off white cis gay dudes exchanging expensive rings on the news, someone needs to point that out.

In which I attempt to start a rap battle with the Secretary of State for Education

On Thursday we heard the appalling news that George Michael has been the victim of an event even more humiliating than the time the LAPD honey-trapped him in that public toilet, specifically the fact that he, like the rest of us, had to witness Michael Gove doing WHAMrap! to prove he is 'down wiv da kidz'.

Fortunately I happened to be attending the spoken-word phenomenon that is JibbaJabba that night to see a line-up including the brilliant Asa J Madison and the amazing Rachel McCrum, so I took the opportunity to get up on the open mic and issue a response to the (dis)honourable gentleman. I believe you young people refer to this as 'battling'?

You're F**king Dead LOL J/K

It's been a busy week for me on YouTube! First, on Tuesday, I uploaded this, one of the poems of mine people often request at gigs. It's an angry dissection of 'banter' culture which I originally posted to this blog here a while ago. I suppose I ought to point out that this video contains EXPLICIT CONTENT or, to be more specific, I say the word 'cunt' and talk about shoving razor blades up some rape-joke-making lad's urethra. You've been warned. Although, to be fair, I do say the c-word in a particularly charming manner, or so I've been told anyway.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Fallon wins!

Massively happy to report that Fallon Fox won her fight last night against Heather Bassett, making a successful comeback after her only loss so far last year. I was genuinely nervous about the result of this fight, to a degree which even I found surprising, and I intend, at some point in the not too distant future, to write something about the reasons for my nerves. But this is a time for cheering, not reflection, so please enjoy this video, which marked the culmination of the relentless pro-Fallon cheerleading campaign I've been waging throughout the poetry scene, while also showing why I think Newcastle spoken-word audiences are the fucking best.
So, guess who has two thumbs and wrote the THIRD MOST-READ article on SoSoGay yesterday? THIS GIRL! :)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

And also I haz an album!

I finally managed to get my album, '...the gunshots which kill us are silenced', up on Bandcamp so you can buy it wherever you are in the world, rather than waiting for me to get around to doing a gig where you hang out. The album will set you back just three of your English Money Pounds, which is less than the price of a pint in a posh poncey pub (presumably, given the alliteration, one run by Stan Lee), and individual tracks can be yours for 50p but if you like to get stuff free - and who doesn't? - then be aware that as my personal way of showing support for Fallon Fox's next fight on March 21st, I've made my poem about her available free to download until March 22nd.

'Letter to a Minnesota Prison' on Vimeo

Meanwhile it also gives me great pleasure to let you guys know that the film Laura Degnan made of my poem 'Letter to a Minnesota Prison' for the Architects of Our Republic project last year is now available to view on Vimeo. 

'Letter to a Minnesota Prison' on Criminal Injustice

The video of myself reading 'Letter to a Minnesota Prison', the poem I wrote for Architects of Our Republic at the South Bank last year, has been featured as part of an article about CeCe McDonald on the 'Criminal Injustice' section of the Critical Mass Progress website

If you've been reading this blog for a while you've probably already seen that video; but please check out the other videos on that page, especially the trailer for Laverne Cox's film about CeCe's case, and please, if you can, contribute some money to fund the production of said film

A Common Assault

Most recently I posted this video to my YouTube channel, in response to the disgraceful comments Julie Burchill left on Paris Lees' column about catcalling. Burchill's contention that trans women never suffer harassment from guys during the years we're forced to present as male really got on my, well, tits, because I did experience harassment from guys as a 'boy' and I'm convinced a lot of it was due to their picking up my vulnerability as a trans person in denial. I also got harassed by cis girls at school too, but that's another story for another time. For now, check out this video, which I decided to perform in only my bra and pants (disclaimer: pants not shown but for full disclosure they were Marks & Spencer's black granny pants so knock yourself out imagining that, if it's your thing) the better to showcase the anatomical features discussed herein. Which means this video may be an intensely erotic experience for you if you have a fetish for seeing trans women read poetry in their underwear. Which is niche but hey, this is the internet.


So during the week the BBC screened a 'documentary' called 'EDL Girls: Don't Call Me Racist' which was, to say the least, not exactly unsympathetic to racists of the cis female persuasion. So I decided, as a gesture to show that most girls out there don't support the fash, to do a new version of 25/5/13, the poem I wrote in response to the EDL staging their march through Newcastle last year.

Fallon Live!

Here's a video of me performing 'Fallon', my poem about trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox, at the launch night for the December issue of Material magazine.I love how the applause from the cafe audience spreads out to the Bigg Market Lads passing by outside...wonder if they had any idea what they were clapping?

Fear of Flying

A new video I put on my YouTube channel recently, in response to the arrest of Avery Edison's imprisonment in a men's prison in relatively 'liberal' Canada. I had been watching all the reactions to the anti-gay laws in Russia and Uganda and getting a bit annoyed that we love to rag on other countries for their homophobia but we ignore it when it happens here in the civilised west, where we let straight white cis gays marry but deport LGBT asylum-seekers if they can't 'prove' their orientation. Fuck that!

And then the next day I noted that I had mixed up Vancouver (which provided a good half-rhyme with Avery) with Toronto, the actual airport where Avery was arrested, and had to film a corrected version.