In 2019, I recorded my first full verse with talented vocalists, self-produced drum machine spoken word covers of two of my favourite poems (Evidently Chickentown by John Cooper Clarke; 9. by ee cummings), as well as two poetry audiobooks (90s SINGLES NIGHT; BLOCK), and co-launched a collaborative visual art project (face it together). Then, building on the SPRING SERIES I took around London, I put together a SUMMER SEQUENCE. Looking for some autmnony in October, I decided to take time away from the scene and social media and know now – in this lockdown of 2020 – that when I create again it'll be with someone else. What are you working on?
Portraits of the Underbanks
On the hottest weekend in June, six Writing Squad writers converged on the Underbanks of Stockport. This once bustling part of town was a major through road in the Northwest and dates back, some say, to the Roman era. We spoke to shopowners to get their take on the street's checkered history and its bristling potential. And it feels like Stockport is in transition, from a Greater Manchester satellite with a chip on its shoulder into something entirely its own.
a continuous collaborative art project
touchpaperlit is a continuous art project for anyone interested in cross-medium, collaborative creativity. face it together is the biggest collaborative art project I’ve been involved with since Dead Beats. We started it in Autumn 2018 and cut and stuck it into this version for March 2019. We took pictures of friends, relatives or partners pulling 3 different, recognisable expressions. Then, with paper and scissors, we mixed partners’ faces to literally see ourselves in each other. In the second stage of the project, we toyed around with the idea of mixed emotions. Read more on our fourth project on touchpaperlit.
Before the face it together flipbook launched, I re-visited our third piece - 90s SINGLES NIGHT - with my drum machine and microphone. You can watch the results in the video or listen to our mixtape on Soundcloud. What do you think of our projects? Let us know on Instagram:@touchpaperlit
The experience of reading:
5-minute talk for Manchester Literature Festival
On the 10th October 2018 - a particularly sunny Wednesday - at Manchester Central Library, in association with Take Ten, a campaign to get people reading for at least 10 minutes a day, The Writing Squad commissioned me to give a five-minute talk on my experience of reading. The passage produced, aimed at year 9 and year 10 schoolchildren participating in the Manchester Literature Festival, utilised a mixture of prose and poetry to relay how my love of reading originated in the moments my dad read to me when I was a kid.
my next poetry collection will be audiovisual-first
London-based graphic designer and best mate of mine, Oliver Deans, crafted these gorgeous EP covers for my SUMMER SEQUENCE and SPRING SERIES spoken word sets. And we want to make more together to tap into languages that transcend just the written word.
spoken word x drum machine cover:
There are so many...covers of other musicians online, but I can't sing, so I made this instead: a drum machine take on John Cooper Clarke's superlative rapidfire assault on the bloody everyday, 'Evidently Chickentown'. And it annoys me that I have to breathe three times to get through it live...
A spoken word demo single:
e.e. cummings' 9. featuring a drum machine
As an homage to my favourite season, Spring, and the equinox and the clocks going forward, I've recorded a demo of e.e. cummings' poem 9. The track features my vocals, his words, a Korg Volca Beats drum pattern and a little bit of German to boot. Let me know what you think of it and if you'd like to re-work it or even work with me further on it.
a spoken word audiobook
I've had lots of positive and helpful feedback about my first poetry collection, BLOCK. To me, it's all about dialogue with the audience whether through writing or performing. Your support let me take time away from the 9-5 to learn the basics of recording and publishing from those who know best. The BLOCK audiobook builds on help from all of you. Keep letting me know what you think and feel - it's great working with you!
a coterie of writers from all over the world
Dead Beats Literary Blog started out as a group of three bored English Literature students looking for more than their course was then giving them. Dead Beats ended - in its initial guise - as a 13,000 person strong writing collective that shared, among its own works, inspiring literary quotes and images typically centred around the aesthetic of the 60s Beat Generation. One day we went so far out, it was hard to know if we could ever come back...
The Beats are dead; long live Dead Beats.