innua.jpg
hannah lowe.jpg
Jessica Care Moore.jpg
Amiri Baraka.jpg
Deanna Rodgers.jpg
Francesca Beard.jpg
susan-murray.jpg
chri.jpg
melanie abrahams photo by Lyndon Douglas.jpg
Susan Murray.jpg
robin ince.jpg
laura dockrill.jpg
robin deacon.jpg
francesca martinez.jpg
mellow 2.jpg
innua.jpg

Features


Over the years we have interviewed a range of artists, raconteurs and producers who work and play with words and ideas. Some of our favourites are in this section, enjoy!

SCROLL DOWN

Features


Over the years we have interviewed a range of artists, raconteurs and producers who work and play with words and ideas. Some of our favourites are in this section, enjoy!

Inua Ellams: Q & A

INUA ELLAMS is an award winning poet, playwright and performer. He has lived in Plateau State - Nigeria, Dublin - Ireland and London - England where he currently resides. He has five books published, including his new, second pamphlet of poems Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars (Flipped Eye, 2011)

Inua performs at our Feb Liming show, read more here

Q & A

What 3 words best describe you? poet, playwright, performer.

You're taking part in an upcoming 'Liming' event, what are you going to do at the show?

I am going to break dance with my tongue in a-speaking-slowly-so-the-audience-can-hear kind of way.

What do you most enjoy about performing at spoken word shows?

I most enjoy reading poems at spoken word shows.

Which artists have influenced you most and why?

John Keats; he taught me to be tragic and beautiful come what may. Mos Def; he taught me to sound fluid in staccato. Kwame Dawes; he taught me to breath. Saul Williams; he taught me breath didn't matter. All else came from the wind.

Where would you say your style of performing comes from?

I stand up and speak, and try to sound like I am just talking. It comes from conversation and transformation.

What's an important piece of 'insider' knowledge you have as a creator/performer?

The best writers are good at pretending to be other people. The best performers are good at being themselves.

What are you most passionate about?

Trying to show there isn't an 'other'. It is a horrid construct imposed by those who wish to divide and conquer. They have been successful, we must succeed them.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written and why?

Too many to know, but I will mention one: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. WOW.

Does current affairs or popular culture influence your writing and performing, and if so, in what ways?

Not pop culture, but current affairs and narrative... I write primarily when I am moved to, when I think I have something of worth to say, something that has not been said, something round; that is an Island.

Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you, and how we can find out more about it.

I am working on a new play called Black T-Shirt Collection. It will be at the National Theatre in April as part of its national tour. I have a website, inuaellams.com and I tweet @inuaellams.

What's your experience been of making inroads between the spoken word/music industry?

colourful.

 

 

 

 

hannah lowe.jpg

3 Minutes with Hannah Lowe


3 Minutes with Hannah Lowe


3 Minutes with Hannah Lowe

HANNAH LOWE was born in Ilford to an English mother and a Jamaican-Chinese father. She has lived in Brighton and Santa Cruz, California. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex and has a Masters degree in Refugee studies. She lives in London and teaches literature at a college in Islington. Her poems have appeared widely including Ambit, Acumen, Magma, Rising, Smiths Knoll and The North. She has won prizes, commendations and has been shortlisted in a number of competitions including Aesthetica Creative Works, Bridport, Sentinel Literary Journal and The Arvon International. Her debut collection is 'The Hitcher' (Rialto).

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Direct, honest…tall.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a creator and performer?

In creating, I see poems as much as hear them, and want a reader to see them too. In performing, less is more!

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written?

‘The Schooner Flight’ by Derek Walcott. It’s a deeply moving poem about spiritual and physical voyaging and history and memory in the Caribbean.

Jessica Care Moore.jpg

Jessica Care Moore: Q&A


Jessica Care Moore: Q&A


Jessica Care Moore: Q&A

Poet, Mum, Activist, Rock Star JESSICA CARE MOORE was brought up in and still lives in Detroit, USA. As a Showtime at the Apollo Winner, an author of three books and creator of the Black Women Rock! Coalition, she's an innovative contributor to Detroit’s arts scene.

What 3 words best describe you?

passionate   poet Scorpio

How would you describe your work, and what’s your experience of making inroads in the spoken word and music industry?

I’m a poet that works with music. I have a 90 minute solo show that features Detroit Techno. I have a jazz quarter and produce and write rock and roll with poetry. I’m writing a ballet. Music for me has been a way to bring more audiences into my world and my work.What do you enjoy most about spoken word?  I love the electricity and exchange when an artist touches an audience and vice versa. I love that moment in front of a mic.

Which artists have most influenced you?

Sonia Sanchez, Octavia Butler, Betty Davis the Executive Producer of Black Women Rock, Amiri Baraka

Where does your style of performing comes from?

I realized I had a specific “sound” when I moved to Brooklyn.   Detroit working class urgency is my work. I’ve been influenced by the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance writers.

You're taking part in 'London Liming' in October, what will you do?

I’ll be reading from my new work Sunlight Though Bullet Holes as well as pieces from my third book, God is Not a American.

Does current affairs or popular culture influence your writing and performing?

My background is journalism, so I’ve always been interested in on the ground politics.  I can’t imagine not being tuned into the world and being an artist worth paying any attention to.

What are you most passionate about?

Being a great mommy, nothing more important. The work I do in jails is my lifework. I have to finish my memoir.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written?

Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls” because it introduced me to so many amazing women of color. I realized my work had a foundation I was never formally introduced to.  Shange’s work is gangsta.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a creator and performer?

The truth is still “in.”  Being authentic is sexy. Independence isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. No one will invest in you unless you think you're good enough to do it.

Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you

My first jazz project is being mixed, Black Tea: The Legend of Jessi James. Jon Dixon (pianist, Underground Resistance) produced most of the album. I’ve been performing with music for years and this is the best my voice has sounded. The single “You Want Poems” is on iTunes and features Jose James and Roy Ayers.

Amiri Baraka.jpg

Amiri Baraka: Q&A


Amiri Baraka: Q&A


Amiri Baraka: Q&A

AMIRI BARAKA is a leading African American poet, author, theatre director, university lecturer, and cultural and political activist. His controversial career spans five decades: from his 1960s involvement with Jack Kerouac and the Beats, through Black cultural nationalism to collaborations with hip-hop group The Roots. Author of over 40 books of plays, essays, poems, and music history, he’s the winner of numerous awards including a Rockefeller Foundation Award.

What three words would you say best describe you?

A revolutionary, intellectual, Afro-American

Can you talk about one of your greatest professional experiences to date?

Reading poetry in different places and in different situations have been some of the greatest experiences.  (Travelling to) Columbia, Venuezuela, the Caribbean, Italy and so on.  Meeting audiences is one of the pleasures of being able to travel.  You can see what they understand of what you are saying and what is vague to them, and sometimes, meet people who understand exactly what you are saying.

What is it about the poetry form that you are most drawn to?

It's this: how can you write a poetry with the language that you use everyday? Can you write a poem with your speech rhythms? (I'm interested in) writing that actually expresses what the American experience is. Poetry is the form I like most as it's most direct.

Which creative masterpiece do you wish you'd written?

I don't wish I have written any but the ones I wrote!

Deanna Rodgers.jpg

3 Minutes with Deanna Rodger


3 Minutes with Deanna Rodger


3 Minutes with Deanna Rodger

DEANNA RODGER is a talented writer and performer and since winning the UK slam title in 2007 has performed everywhere including 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. She is a member of the Point Blank Poets collective, Keats House Poetry Forum and the Rubix Collective. She is a keen events producer and works with Dean Atta to produce ‘Come Rhyme with Me’ and The Chill Pill team to produce Chill Pill. She is a budding actress and enjoys doing her little bit for society through taking part in conscious events such as SUCK out! (Anti-BNP event), Help Haiti, Silence Is Not Golden, CONFLICT, LMHR and Occupy!

Deanna hosts at our Feb Liming show, read more here

Q & A

What 3 words best describe you?

passionate enthusiastic dynamic

Where would you say your style of performing comes from I think my style comes from an innate beat.

I often write while listening to music.

You're taking part in a 'Liming' event, what are you going to do at the show?

I will smile a lot and say random things that slip through my minds filter like an under aged clubber.

Which artists have influenced you most and why?

Mariah Carey because she's amazing at singing and song writing and I really connect with her when I listen to her songs. Polarbear and Dean Atta because they taught me and have supported me with their wise thoughtful words.

What's an important piece of 'insider' knowledge you have as a creator/performer?

Don’t get caught up in the hype that surrounds a performance.

What are you most passionate about?

doing/working/achieving

Does current affairs or popular culture influence your writing/creating and performing, and if so, in what ways?

Definitely! One of the most moving performances I've done is to perform "Nowadays" and "Where I'm From" at the Occupy London site.

Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you, and how we can find out more about it.

I successfully auditioned for a place in The National Youth Theatre of GB REP Company so I will be acting for the rest of the year!

Francesca Beard.jpg

3 Minutes with Francesca Beard


3 Minutes with Francesca Beard


3 Minutes with Francesca Beard

FRANCESCA BEARD is a charismatic and funny writer and performer on the UK circuit. We had the pleasure of working with her 10 years ago (via renaissance one on Modern Love). She's developed a number of shows and formats since. We'd certainly vouch for her allusions to the finest vinegar (see below). Here's what she says:

What are you most passionate about?

I'm passionate about being as light as possible about the important stuff.

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Luck, low cunning.

Are there any comedians you'd cite as exploring the taboo, or saying 'the unsayable'?

Louis CK's series ‘Lucky Louis’ was really great at the making me laugh at difficult awkward stuff.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

Turn up on time, sober and show courtesy to the people you're working with.

Have you or your work changed in the last 5 - 10 years and if so, in what way?

I have mellowed with age, like a fine vinegar.

What do you think about the comedy meets spoken word aspect of Tilt's 'Is It Something I Said?'

I like the combination of comedy and spoken word - it makes the comedy audience softer and more listeny and the spoken word audience sharper an more rigorous.

Are there any artists you'd cite as an inspiration?

I love John Hegley's work. Big fan of Ty, Stacy Makishi, Roger Robinson, Sophie Woolley...

What creative masterpieces do you wish you'd written or created?

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Nickolodeon's Avatar, The Last Airbender.

Any upcoming projects you're excited by?

London Tales, a poetic map of London for live and digital platforms, developed with B3 Media.

For more information on Francesca Beard click here

susan-murray.jpg

Susan Murray on Saying the Unsayable


Susan Murray on Saying the Unsayable


Susan Murray on Saying the Un-sayable

Is anything un-sayable these days?

In the land of Frankie Boyle and Tramadol Nights, it would seem not so. I have to say I actually really like Frankie, professionally and personally but I do think his humour is the equivalent to a wee boy chasing you with shit on the end of a stick. I can see where he’s coming from, us comics are a complicated breed. Neurotic, paranoid, warped insomniacs who drink too much in the main part.

I’ve always liked dark humour, despite being raised on the family friendly stuff of Dave Allen and Jasper Carrot. Me and my older brother would listen to the slightly risqué Billy Connelly vinyl albums from the ‘70s when my Glasweigan parents were oot . Then the cruel and childish world of The Young Ones blew me away, add some Bill Hicks and Richard Prior and we’re up up and away.

It’s hard to know what shapes your own humour.. A malicious older brother who did nothing but pretty evil prank phone calls where the folks were out? It’s probably ones teenage years. People spend thousands of pounds trying to find their inner child, I’m honestly struggling to find my outer adult. I have some jokes that ONLY work backstage with other comics. They are technically brilliant, but audiences only hear trigger words and don’t listen to the actual meaning of them. Madeline McCann, the Holocaust – you know, the happy go lucky stuff. It’s been said that humour releases tension- well, this sounds about right as comics aren’t right in the head. We’re pretty tense people and we’d rather put ourselves through the intense stress of standing in front of an audience for 20 mins a night than 35hrs of low level bullshit from bosses and tedious work colleagues. “You’re really brave being a comic” says the woman at the gig. No, you’re really brave being able to handle a fucking day job. I’d be dead by now if I had to work with people like you. I like being able to stand on stage and tell it how it is; Women are mental and men are useless. There someone had to say it. Why does the world get run by men when most men I know can’t run a bloody tap? Or run a hoover round the living room, or run a shopping trolly round Asda. How does THAT work? All mine can do is run up credit card bills.

This is stuff I want to say on stage but generally can’t - what would be the point in a room dominated by stag dos who’ve been on the beer since 5pm. They already think you’re shit purely because you’re a woman and you have to work twice as hard and not be a “man hater” to win them over. I think these types of men think that women aren’t funny because the women they hang out with (and of) must be the kind of vacuous dolly birds that gives us clever ones a bad name. My stature means I can’t say anything about large people, but fat comics can do jokes about breaking thin people. Hey Susan you’ve got a couple of threads hanging from your skirt- oh sorry those are your legs aren’t they? My nickname at school was Cambodian on a diet. And you wonder why I became a comic. Type II diabetes is the self inflicted one so why shouldn’t we take the piss. It’s not random like lung cancer, it’s the Too Many Cakes Disease. My neighbour commented “There’s five people in this street been diagnosed with diabetes type II in the last 6 months. I reckon it’s the pylons”. I reckon it’s the pilling on the pounds. Fat women hate me- honestly the look I got off one of these so called jolly people at a gig watching a band because I accidentally knocked into her, would have turned milk sour. Listen love if you don’t want to be bumped into, don’t take up so much bloody room. It’s tricky doing this stuff in the current climate of increasing obesity. Lardy bloaters are well touchy.

Read the inteview with Susan Murray here.

 
chri.jpg

3 Minutes with Chris Redmond


3 Minutes with Chris Redmond


3 Minutes with Chris Redmond

What are you most passionate about?

Life, Family, Words, Music, Tongue Fu, Stories, Space, Drums, Kettle Chips, Tree climbing, Performance, People, Celebrations, Conversation, Learning, Teaching

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Inquisitive human being

How did you get into your area of work?

I saw a door, ajar, wandered in and introduced myself. There was a stage and some artists, some poets and musicians. It felt like home, so I stayed.

Personal highlights so far?

Building Tongue Fu into one of the best and busiest poetry nights in London, hosting so many brilliant poets, performers and musicians and performing to ever increasing, ever enthusiastic audiences; Performing poetry to 2000 people at Shepherds Bush Empire.. the biggest crowd so far; Having a poem chosen for Radio 4's Pick of The Week; Getting paid!

What 3 words best describe the spoken word and music style that TF encourages?

Spontaneous Joyful Genius

What creative masterpiece do you wish you'd written or created?

I work with young bands as a teacher/mentor. One of them had a song called Carnage of the Dark Gods which for me was perfection - total abandon, loud, ramshackle rock and roll with pure raw joy at its heart. I wish I could have made that when I was 12 years old!

Any upcoming projects you're excited by?

My show The Lost Menagerie, an exploration of breath, death, serpent myths and sunlight with a beautiful soundtrack by Tongue Fu bass player Riaan Vosloo. I’m taking it to Edinburgh this year. We're making an album too.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

Dame Judy Dench once said in an interview that when she starts a new job, she always leaves her coat and bag by the door in case she feels she's not up to the task and has to bolt. I like that. There's a mixture of confidence and vulnerability that needs to be there for the work to be alive and dangerous.

melanie abrahams photo by Lyndon Douglas.jpg

Melanie Abrahams: Interview


Melanie Abrahams: Interview


An interview with Tilt founder Melanie Abrahams

NL: How was Tilt set up and why?

MA: renaissance one was going along nicely with good rapport with the publishing world, through book events and the idea of literature related to the book. Gradually, I became confident about being able to create literature myself - what I wanted to explore in the world - and doing it through spoken word. I began to view myself artistically as well as someone who would represent writers, facilitate for them and position them. And so, Tilt was set up in 2005 to have a dedicated focus on spoken word.

NL: Why a focus on spoken word?

MA: To view it as a vital artform in its own right. To develop it in interesting ways. I feel that spoken word enables you to give a good account of yourself. Take for instance the importance of speech in everyday life - to get by, and to get on. Or, the ways that people have been moved to action by strong presentation – Obama being a totemic example. I’ve a passion for well-phrased, wise, funny and stirring words and their articulation and delivery.

NL: And this year you’re initiating a spoken word festival?

MA: Yes, ‘Something I Said?’ spoken word festival. Five years in the making. I pitched it to many venues in London before it was taken on. It’s in October, in association with the Southbank Centre Literature team and presented at their venues. I’m excited as it will explore spoken word in a myriad of ways and lots of exciting writers, raconteurs, and personalities are involved.

NL: Do you see spoken word as taking off more now?

MA: Yes. As it’s evolved over decades there has been a broader representation. More voices emerging, which resonates with more people. Before this, we were grateful to get a few voices.

NL: You’re right. We were not too picky, glad if there were more people in the audience than the poets waiting to go on themselves! What did you do to be self-sustaining?

MA: I had to think of it as a business as well as a practice. We’ve always been entrepreneurial, never had core funding. It meant ensuring that it all comes good for the writer I’m working with – that I bring in the fees and all the things I said I would. As a company, we also needed to develop sustainable structures and relationships with venues that leads to future work.

NL: That’s interesting; it’s almost like for there to be a job for you to do in this sector you’ve had to create it from scratch?

MA: In a way. I did it because I knew I had to, for it to be self-sustaining.

NL: To have this environment to work in, you’ve had to create the environment?

MA: Yes, which is why I view myself as an entrepreneur, as someone who thrives on change and gravitates towards creating new things. Having said this, I didn’t do it because I felt like creating something new. I did it to reflect what I saw and recognised around me.

NL: So, you feel if you had set out with a big mission statement of the way it has developed up to now, it would have been too daunting?

MA: It wouldn’t have been bespoke.

NL: That’s interesting. I know some people who would give their arm to have that opportunity. Then again, you had to build the environment, put the work in?

MA: It is fortunate. Then again for years the creativity I have now was on hold as I lacked self-confidence about my sensibilities. I was trying to fit in. Also, I hadn’t got the structure right for looking after artists. It took a while to develop symbiotic relationships, shaping connections and collaborations. Things have happened in the right way. But, it did for a while seem a long time coming….

NL: I think if anything it takes entrepreneurial endeavours more than ever. Some argue that if the sector is going to survive and thrive in the next 5 or 10 years it’s going to take more people being entrepreneurial, environments that other people can be brought into?

MA Yes. (I) Hope as well as the rhetoric that recognises entrepreneurialism that there’ll be development to foster it, and harness it

NL: It’s all very well entrepreneurialism being there but it needs support to function?

MA Yes. Given the recession, if there are possibilities to make a positive and creative difference to the sector, then we should do it.

Susan Murray.jpg

Susan Murray: Q&A


Susan Murray: Q&A


Susan Murray: Q&A

SUSAN MURRAY is a woman of many talents – comedian, regular writer for The Now Show and the impresario of a regular comedy and cabaret night. A rising star of the UK comedy circuit, we chatted to her about her projects, inspirations and influences.

What 3 words best describe you?

Cheeky, loyal, insomniac

How did you get into your area of work/become a comedian?

Started as a 3D animation camera assistant. A director told me about a Jacksons Lane stand up course. Gathered 5 mins of material. Went from there.

Are there any artists you'd cite as an inspiration?

Rick Mayall, Wanda Sykes, Al Murray, Lee Mack, David Sedaris, Stewart Lee, Jo Caulfield, Sarah Millican

Are there comedians, past or current, who explore the taboo, or say 'the unsayable'?

Stewart Lee, Bill Hicks, Steve Hughes, Frankie Boyle

Any upcoming projects or events you're excited by?

My next Edinburgh show is based on my passport photo collection of friends, family, lovers, killers, randoms. It will be anecdotal so a different but exciting step for me. Also excited about another stint of writing for radio 4's The Now Show. A different stretch for me that hurts my brain so much I like it.

What do you like most about being a comedian?

Late nights and lazy mornings. I like to play whilst others work and vice versa. Plus the people I work with are the normal people on this earth. Everyone else is mental. I've found my spiritual home.

What's the best aspect of the career you've created?

At the mo (March 2011) it's the tour of Asia - Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Jakarta. A paid holiday.  Also I run, book and MC my own gig in Walthamstow, it's very popular and going really well.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

Don't worry about what other people do. Follow your own path.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you'd written or created?

Anything said by Wanda Sykes. Damn that woman is damn funny.

robin ince.jpg

Robin Ince: Q&A


Robin Ince: Q&A


Robin Ince: Q&A

Hailed by many as 'Intellectually audacious' Robin Ince is an award-winning comedian, writer and an initiator-galvaniser of several projects that champion books and ideas including Robin Ince's Bad Book Club.  We asked him who, what, why and wherefore monkeys and other things:

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about reason, despite being frequently unreasonable

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Happy angry idiot

Are there any comedians, past or current, you'd cite as exploring the taboo, or saying 'the unsayable', and if so why?

The usual suspects – Lenny Bruce’s 'Are there any niggers?' in routine must have been very potent the first time he aired that on stage

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

Don’t try and please other people, try and please yourself and hope others are pleased too

What 3 words best describe the comedy circuit?

Narcissistic tantrum ring

How did you get into your area of work?

I started watching stand up live when I was a teenager and it made me diseased enough to have to do it

What creative masterpiece do you wish you'd written or created?

Annie Hall

Any upcoming projects you're excited by?

Putting on science shows in 3000 seaters with the Uncaged Monkey tour is pretty darn exciting

laura dockrill.jpg

Laura Dockrill: Q&A


Laura Dockrill: Q&A


Laura Dockrill: Q&A

LAURA DOCKRILL is a woman of many talents – poet, performer, novelist, and has been a headliner forTilt's 'London Liming'.  A rising star of UK poetry, we chatted to her about her inspirations, experiences, and career plans.

What 3 words/attributes would you say best describe you?

Brave, chaotic, optimistic

How would you describe the relationship between art/music and spoken word/literature?

I'm interested in how we can inject or find the art and music in the word/literature and visa versa. Really they are all about pissing about, showing off and having a good old play.

The subjects of your poetry range from south London house parties to heartbreaking cowboys. Where do pieces like this come from?

Mainly people I meet, spy and eavesdrop on.

You seem to have many passions – poetry, novels, fashion, illustration, music, theatre. Where does it stem from?

My family and my home. I had a very inspirational up bringing. I am very lucky that I was encouraged to listen to punk and stay up late at parties.

In 2010 you headlined at Latitude festival and performed at Camp Bestival, Edinburgh Fringe and the Reading and Leeds festivals to name a few. What’s it like performing to a festival audience, compared to other ones?

Unpredictable. Sometimes close to euphoric, othertimes I'd rather chew glass. Hahaha - oh god.

What has been your greatest professional experience to date?

After my first meeting/ lunch with my publishers, I excused myself to go to the toilet and I sat on the lid and cried my eyes out in disbelief.

Are there any artists who you’d cite as an inspiration, and if so, why?

Yes for sure: writing-wise Flight of the Conchords, Elizabeth Smart, Patrick Hamilton. Performance: All the greats - Charlie Chaplin, Stephen Berkoff, French and Saunders, Harry Enfield... the list goes on.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you'd written?

The Witches

What's the best aspect of the career you've created?

I am always really happy when I introduce somebody to poetry. It's the best feeling. I don't think poetry gets the respect and credit it deserves as a literary craft. I'm just hugely proud to be a part of such a strong poetry network - everybody seems really up for it!

robin deacon.jpg

3 Minutes with Robin Deacon


3 Minutes with Robin Deacon


3 Minutes with Robin Deacon

Robin Deacon is an artist, writer and filmmaker and live performer, whose work ranges from biographical documentaries to self-satirical artistic lectures. We discuss with him his multi-dimensional creativity and his upcoming Tilt @ Kings Place project.

What 3 words (would you say) best describe you?

I don't know.

You seem to have a lot of interests, where does this stem from?

A (partial) lifetime collecting things – ideas and objects. Although lately, I've been trying to get rid of the extraneous stuff.

How would you describe the relationship between live art and spoken word?

Well, a lot of live artists come from a visual arts background, so maybe it’s not surprising that a lot of live artists can't write.

Tell us about the piece you're doing for Tilt as part of the Kings Place Festival. Are you enjoying the process?

The performance is entitled ‘The Argument Against the Body’, and speculates as to what it would be like not to have a body. It’s a more fictional mode of writing than I'm used to – I'm enjoying dealing with facts and truth in a different way.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

Finishing my documentary film on the late US performance artist Stuart Sherman. It’s been three years in the making, and I'm nearly done.

Are there any artists you'd cite as an inspiration, if so, why?

I'm very susceptible/suggestible, so often find that I'm under the influence of whatever the last film was I saw, or the last book I read.

What's the most important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

That it’s never a good idea to have your peers as your only audience.

francesca martinez.jpg

3 Minutes with Francesca Martinez


3 Minutes with Francesca Martinez


3 Minutes with Francesca Martinez

Francesca Martinez is a comedian, actress and writer praised world-wide for her insightful and hilarious explorations of modern life. She talks to us this month about creativity, comedy, and being your own boss.

What are you passionate about?

Being alive. Every time I think about the billions of years it took for me to be here now I'm overwhelmed by the magic of it all. I'm well aware that I could have been a pot of humous so I wake up most days being thankful that I exist. It's a great antidote to cynicism and depression!

What are you looking forward to doing in the next few years?

Not dying- on stage and in life.

What has been your greatest professional experience to date?

Ricky Gervais ringing me up to offer me a part in Extras wasn't a bad day. I also love traveling and have been able to perform in some amazing places like New York, Hollywood, Sydney and Cape Town. Mind you, I've also had to perform in Hull, so it's swings and roundabouts!

Tell me a little about your Edinburgh run, either one coming up or a previous experience. Was it eventful and if so why?

I sold out the entire run of my first solo show in 2002 - and lost £12000. Still trying to work that one out! Sure it's got something to do with the Edinburgh Council and my millionaire agent. Ex-agent.

What's the best thing for you about the career you've created?

No early mornings and no boss. Bliss.

What's the most important piece of insider knowledge you have as a writer and performer?

You can never be too much of a perfectionist.

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Positive, happy, thoughtful, passionate, lazy, - and obviously bad at maths.

mellow 2.jpg

3 Minutes with Mellow Baku


3 Minutes with Mellow Baku


3 Minutes with Mellow Baku

Mellow Baku is a sensational singer- songwriter whose compositions blend elements of Reggae, Jazz, Blues, Funk and Soul to uplift and inspire audiences from London’s Barbican to New York’s Knitting Factory. She talks to us about her roots, grooves, and the freedom of music.

What 3 words (would you say) best describe you?

Mellow Harmony Baku

My mum gave me Mellow and Harmony as my first two names, and they pretty much fit my sound. A couple of years ago when getting my original project together I took Baku, which is my father's Rastafarian name (Shango Baku). Baku is the name of a learned and scholarly African tribe, also an island in the Middle East and a Japanese dream-guarding dragon.

How would you describe the relationship between your music and spoken word?

It gives me more freedom. I've always wanted to do more than just sing songs. I started live spoken word through accompanying artists like SureShot and Jean Binta Breeze. As with all artforms, music and spoken word are about making space and shape. Music and word have an obviously natural kinship and it frees me from the normal song writing patterns.

Tell us about one of the pieces you're doing at the ‘London Liming’ at Kings Place Festival

I'll sing, because it's how I express my words. It will be stripped down vocal and guitar. I have a couple of new spoken pieces, one is a chanted vocal piece called 'Bigger Than That' about how God is perceived, and 'I said Maybe' is a bit of a comic rant about the music industry today.

Have you enjoyed doing ‘Liming’ spoken word in the past?

I loved its intensity and having a listening crowd who are ready to hear! It felt like there was a quiet buzz in an intimate room with short artist sets crammed into the time. Great to hear and meet the other performers too.

What would you say are the special aspects of the performance and arts scene in Leicester compared to other cities?

There a 5 new medium to large size venues opening this year in Leicester, and over the last few weeks we've had the Mela, Caribbean Carnival, and the Summer Sundae Festival has just finished. Lots of new bands and jam sessions springing up. Spoken word has had a strong footing in Leicester with monthly events like Word and yearly festivals like The Lyric Lounge and Leicester Comedy Festival. There are a lot of Asian and Indian influenced events.

What's the best aspect of the career you've created?

Connection is probably the most enjoyable part of practicing art and performance. Collaborating and improvising with other artists. And when solo, one is collaborating with the audience.

What's the most important piece of insider knowledge you have as a performer?

At the same time as you live and breathe your art, and put everything into performance, it's good to have a balancing voice inside that says: It's only music/poetry/a gig - life is the thing. Then you can have some fun.