A note on: being in a Feral Concord

By far the least experienced vocalist in the circle, I was so happy to be so. To be asked by Phil Minton, one of the world’s foremost improvised vocalists and a kindly golden ghidora of the avant garde music world, to be one of a dozen artists involved in a Feral Concord, that is an entirely improvised choral performance at Cafe Oto, meant a great deal to me. I have a toe in many pools, so naturally I’m ankle deep in none. I am therefore often at a remove, which is a grand thing most of the time, but also cautious, in this case, to not be the chimp whistling when others are singing or singing when others are whistling. In the group were friends like Dylan Nyoukis but also many others I had not met but whose work I knew and very much admired.

The actual experience was profound. It’s hard to describe. I was struck this time, during our 30 minute performance, just how remarkable it is to communicate with others so directly, following as the piece varies and alters and shifts like fish in the ocean, without any language or movement being the thing that makes the moves. A friend in attendance described it as a solemn seance that made everyone else not move.

A note on: Lightwave, performing with Lithuanian poets in London

If you try to please audiences, uncritically accepting their tastes, it can only mean that you have no respect for them.
 -Andrei Tarkovsky

A memorable night at Free Word centre, bathed in a dirty UV light I had associated with searching for bodily fluids in hotel rooms transformed a literary house meeting hall into a space for real performance literature. I was performing alongside Lithuanian poets Zygimantas Kudirka and Gabriele Labanauskaite and thanks to Zygi's suggestion we themed the evening around the Lightwave, all presenting new live works thanks to an invitation by the Lithuanian Cultural Centre tying into the London Book Fair.

I've known Gabriele for years now, she has always been a peer whose work I find motivating, one of dozens of folk beyond the UK doing the work I think we should be doing on the island, blending heavy skill in theatre, poetry and sound. She has an immense presence too, calm, clear thinking, warm. And Zygimantas was a revelation, having never seen him perform before, he was unique, capitivating, authentic, very funny. He made my improvised speaking performance, which involved rope lights nosed around my neck, flames held under my palm and rambling engagements with the theme of light, seem conventional.

The Free Word was kitted out differently too and there was a sensitive, engaged feeling in the audience. It all emerged from the intent, mindful curation of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute, Rūta Nanartavičiūtė and her colleagues were a joy to work with, with an unusual sense of play and a taste for the contemporary and strange. The intense feeling of post performance energy, of soft relief, was permeated this time with a sense of hoping hospitality had been shown to the visiting poets, and it felt as thought they had shared an evening with myself and others that would be long in the memory.

A note on: performing with Phil Minton

An amazing privilege to perform an improvised sound poetry piece with the legendary Phil Minton on October Friday 7th 2016 at Kings Place, London.

For over fifty years Phil Minton has been performing, singing, vocalising around the world. He absolutely has shaped, even defined, free vocalisation and improvised sound poetry since WWII. To get to work with him for the first time, with no prior preparation, no conversation about what we'd do before the performance even, was such an honour, and beautiful / terrifying in equal measure. So important for me to feel I'm crossing over with the greats of previous generations. This was a real landmark for me. There's more pictures like this beautiful pair below by Ed Prosser on www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings

A great night overall too, closing out the Hubbub residency in a sense, with some fine work from James Wilkes, Emma Bennett, Phaedra ensemble and others making it a varied and intense evening of performance.

 

4 poems from {Enthusiasm} published by Frankmatter

http://frankmattermag.com/ Really happy to more poems from a future work leaking out into the world in some fine journals and publishing enterprises. Frankmatter, based in the US, is a tri-annual online journal, and really has set some fine standards for itself. Im pretty chuffed to be in this issue alongside a new translation of Le Clezio for example. The poems are about Ealing, Healing, the FSB and IEDs. http://frankmattermag.com/2014/02/02/four-poems-by-sj-fowler/

Healing as a planet
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I saw to it, Ealing as a planet earth
going to its slow growth
a place begging vegetable
sombre, health seeking, much a taste acquired
in time, application & practise
for health in wisdom
big ball of blue veined envy & ambition
missing the high st. when on holidays
you have a home, sad puppet lurch of our heart suburb
red road bezerker
full of family