You never know when you’re going to bump into an opportunity. Musicians are popping up everywhere and it’s a blessing living in London and being able to connect with all the artists floating over to the city, instruments in hand and ready to sing. I absolutely loved seeing Goan Dogs last month so sharing the review I wrote for their gig at The Lexington here:
Literary innovation in the aftermath of the Arab Spring is becoming increasingly fascinaring but terms like ‘post-Arab Spring sci-fi’ serve as glamorous marketing props, rather than meaningful statements about the diverse literatures upon which they have been imposed.
For more on this follow the link to my Savage Journal article.
This week I interviewed Leo Wyndham, the frontman for the London alt blues band Palace, talking poetry, touring life and music that hits you in the gut.
It made me realise how inspiring it is to connect with people who are realising their dreams. Light propels light. One persons creativity unfurling loosens the tongue and mind of another. Take in the talent you see around you. Allow it to turn your sights to the things that you wish for and never forget to tap into the resources you have for constant inspiration, in my case here: music.
To read my interview follow this link to the London Student site:
My URBAN VOICE
Draws loose slang
Over my tongue
It tells the elite
Am not them
I can keep my words tight
Fight the breeze ease
of Tottenham roads
And deep colourful markets – I can make it just so:
Nobody knows who I am
where I am from.
I can tweak my laugh to fit
The states and minds of select boroughs
They call me an international lady
Exotic. Dark hair. Smart voice.
They tell me I am better than expected.
Better than the girls who
tread trains with twangs in their tongues-
revealing in their one word
That they belong at their first postcode
Stay there. Stay.
But we all smile the same way
I’ll move through people
Using my words and my mind how I want.
Skimpy tongued in hallowed halls.
Selected words in selected boroughs.
I regularly encounter people who think that someone from a state school cannot achieve at the same level as a privately educated person. I believe in social mobility. I believe that although I can adopt the voice of a scholar, I am still a voice for the urban environment that I grew up in. You can hear the North London in my voice. You can hear my Turkish Cypriot heritage when I introduce myself with my foreign name. But I am in no rush to cover up my history in my voice. My urban voice is just as valid.
Making art speak out on issues affecting modern culture can be a forced exercise structured around perceived and expected responses. While deriving more than pleasure from a text adds a new dimension to it, recognition of the racial didacticism of The Sellout should never override the wealth of ideas explored in this year’s Man Booker prize winner.
Gentrification when the ones that paint streets are told they’re not tagging they’re creating. As though our names mean more when they don’t spell out war. They show you rainbows and renovate coffee factories into plush offices but in all that quirky beauty are any problems solved? Art can be futile sometimes but maybe shapes and measures can be blasted into making something good. Something that tells people that they will have their homes, educations and hope. Big cities and small towns have room for us all. Room enough to make clear that we haven’t got ghettos to segregate the rich from the poor anymore. These places are changing and we’re all going to enjoy the change even if we have to paint our presence all over concrete that’s new.
Spring comes and with it comes more beauty in the night that I’ve been used to on my midnight strolls through alleys on the way home. I never really thought about the way I feel deep fear every night. Every night I cross the road if I see someone strange approaching me. I regret the flash of skin that I have let happen when I dressed myself in the morning. But we take risks for beauty. I saw a tree on the way home, a lonely blossom in the night and it found me. It found me and I couldn’t help but stop my usually brisk walk. Some things capture us even when we are at our most hardened. We can be soft in our fear. We can soak in our world. We can slow down and take it all in.