Posted on Apr 17, 2015 in Blog, homepage, performing | 0 comments


It was a Sunday afternoon at the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street, probably in 2006. Spencer, my partner at the time, is a singer songwriter, and he had been bringing performers together for these epic Sunday afternoon jams, encouraging spontaneous creative collaboration, and that day, there were some big players in the house. Tom Baxter was jamming with his brother Charlie Winston, and Chris Redmond joined them on the stage and performed ‘Get Up Cold and Walk’. I was totally transfixed, and blown away by the whole experience. I’d never heard anything like it before. It’s still one of my favourite spoken word pieces of all time.

I just found a version of it here that Chris performed at Tongue Fu, one of the best poetry nights in London:

So that was my first inspiration.

Or perhaps my original inspiration, as yet unbeknownst to me, was the years and years of diary writing I had done over the years.

How I LOVED writing a diary! Cheap, eloquent therapy. Along with committed, solitary cannabis use (don’t try this at home, kids). I figure those two ingredients have a lot of do with my poetry style today.

Ironically, the cannabis means I can barely remember large chunks of my life. By lucky hap, I wrote most of it down in a diary. Result!

The cannabis use may be in part why I am unable to devote serious time and concentration to long projects such as novel writing – but performance poetry? My perfect medium! Long enough to get my teeth into as a process, but short enough to get my attention-challenged brain around, AND I get to share them out loud – which is about the most fun I can imagine having with my clothes on (hey, its an old line but I just couldn’t think of a better one. It’s late).

Though it could also be described as ‘like reading my diary out loud to a room full of strangers, with my clothes off’.
Naked. Exposed. And somehow very entertaining.

I was 35 when I first performed, and I had never done anything like it before. I don’t have an acting or writing background. 3 or 4 years passed between that first experience of hearing a spoken word piece, and actually getting on a stage and performing for the first time.

Recently I watched a young woman perform her very first piece for the first time – she was so amazing, the whole room leapt to their feet to give her a standing ovation at the end. She said I was her original inspiration. And so the circle turns.

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