A note on: the last soundings, performing with the great Phil Minton

An amazing privilege it was to perform an improvised vocal work with Phil Minton last October at Kings Place in London. The video of that work is now public, beautifully shot by Ed Prosser.

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

A note on: Airwaves Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland

A rare chance to perform at a major European music festival, I was invited to present a new work for the 2016 Airwaves festival in Reykjavik, for their Airwords programme. The lineup for the evening including friends Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir and Crispin Best, but also John Lydon of the sex pistols amongst others. The evening was eclectic, as the whole experience was, being bussed around with indie bands, the whole city swelling with drunk music goers and me hiding in my hotel writing and preparing my performance. I had time to meet friends old and new and was treated to great hospitality.

The work I eventually presented was really another collaboration with the amazing Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir, whom I take to be one of a dozen or so European poets who are genuinely breaking new ground and influence my thought process every time I see them / work with them. I began with some slightly twisting / deliberately complex rhetoric with a few set ups, all aiming to establish a certain expectation and engagement from the audience, and then with Asta’s help, began to create inexplicable and fundamentally awkward performative shifts. 

My second trip to Iceland in 2016 and a completely original one, with huge thanks to Andri Snær Magnason, Asta and all my Icelandic friends who keep making their country a place of inspiration for my work.

Published: Bambi with Prudence Chamberlain in Country Music

Really pleased that one of Prudence Chamberlain and I's disney-themed collaborative texts has been published by the online poetry journal Country Music, edited by Scott Abels. Issue 8 of the magazine, themed on collaboration, has some really interesting work alongside Prudence and I, and our work is one sequence of nine that will hopefully published as a book this year.


A note on: The Frontline Club, a World without Words IV - November 13th 2015

A really resonant and powerful evening at the Frontline Club. The highlight of what has been a wonderful journey so far, curating www.aworldwithoutwords.com with Lotje Sodderland and Thomas Duggan. During this night It became clear to me what this project was really about, there was a sense of clarity and the brilliant Professor Barry Smith and I both came across it in our discussions before the event. It is about will. A will to life, an affirmation of the continency of language, on life, and how Lotje represents to me, in the most deferent, humble, inciteful and beautiful manner, a pure engagement with being alive. And so through her presence, the lynchpin of the project, so my work, the films of Vincent Moon and insightful thoughts Barry himself shared, to a sold out room of over 100 people, became about that - a celebration or affirmation of life and language. An amazing chance for me to be associated with an institution I have been going for many many years too. Such a privilege, a very special and dear evening to me.


From Sufi rituals in Chechnya, to ancient folk songs in Columbian’s pacific rainforest, we experienced how the brain ascribes meaning to music and sound - even when words are obsolete through a selection of Vincent Moon’s short observational documentaries — shot around the world and capturing local folklore and diverse musical rituals. They were screened in alternation with an informal discussion by the director of London’s Institute of Philosophy Dr Barry Smith, who explored the neural correlates of meaning, music, and language in the context of each film, to offer the audience an explanation of the role of language in subjective mental life.

Kakania IV at the Austrian Cultural Forum – March Thursday 26th 2015

The Kakania project closes its program for now with a grand event at the Austrian Cultural Forum, just off Hyde Park, in London. Four new commissions, and four new iterations of previous commissions blend poetry, avant-garde music, performance art and video art, all from contemporary artists and poets each responding in their own unique way to a figure of Habsburg Vienna around one century ago.

George Szirtes reads poems on Arthur Schnitzler
Ben Morris offers experimental music on Ernst Krenek
Joshua Alexander screens his video art on Paul Wittgenstein
Emily Berry reads poems on Sigmund Freud
Colin Herd reads poems on Oskar Kokoschka
Fabian Faltlin performs in response to Otto Wagner
Stephen Emmerson shares things in response to Rainer Maria Rilke
eff Hilson reads poems on Ludwig Wittgenstein

The event is completely free, but please do use this link to book your place

Both Kakania publications, the Kakania anthology with over 40 contributors, and Oberwildling: On the Life of Oskar Kokoschka by Colin Herd & I, will be available to buy at the event.

Once this phase of Kakania is complete, the remaining copies of the books will be available online and the anthology will have a special reading launch in June at the Hardy Tree gallery in Kings Cross, London.

Also in situe at Kakania IV will be books from the imitable Pushkin Press, who have generously supported the Kakania project and who publish some of the finest authors of the era we are emploring. http://pushkinpress.com/kakania/

Thanks too to Theodora Danek, Elisabeth Kögler and the team at the Austrian Cultural Forum and all those who’ve helped make the project so special. www.kakania.co.uk

Huellkurven 2 - bring your guns we will exchange them

I am genuinely excited to be in the magazine Huellkurven. There are very few repositories of sonic art poetry soundwork online which have such a brilliant and considered format, and such a vibrant editorial stamp. I have listened to every work on issue 1, and now to be one of 21 people in issue 2, it is very pleasing. You can also download the whole issue as an album too, and it's edited by a collective out of Vienna. The very finest avant garde sound poetry on display. My piece is a live recording in situe at a modern museum, in their ethnographic gallery, which through found radio and installation noises, as well as responsive, guttural sound poetry aims to ambiguously compliment / satirise / criticise the anesthetised western usage of african sound culture http://www.huellkurven.net/magazine.php

Fight Music & Silk

A week of seeing my work thrown back at me in forms that utterly supersede my perception of its initial value. First I got to sit anonymously in St Lukes in Old st. and see the work of Philip Venables crescendo with our piece the Revenge of Miguel Cotto. It's been said before but Phili's ability to set music and text is truly groundbreaking and it was such a lovely moment to see our work appear so dynamic and valuable, it made me feel a poet, though Id normally eschew or ignore that feeling. Quite rightly the concert was a laudable success for Phil, whose application to his craft is intimidating. I hope we get to further Cotto. It was a nice audience to be in too, friendly and erudite and I took the time to chat to people afterwards, asking their opinion of Cotto without telling them I was involved in it. All good. Richard Baker conducted the balls off it too.

Then I had the joy of seeing my old friend Thomas Duggan before he jetted off again, and took possession of our work for the Hardy Tree Enemies exhibition. The glory of the work is not that is utterly unique, made of a material never seen in public before, that it is technologically trailblazing, the future of biodegradable material and has world significance in that, and that it probably cost a fucking packet, but that it is aesthetically so understated it appears before one as a jelly film on black, unassuming and gentle. People will walk past it in the gallery, such is its precision. Little will they know what they are walking past. So precious is it that a framer turned down setting the material, for fear of destroying it. For if water touches the silk, it disappears.

London Symphony Orchestra is playing my soundpoetry boxingopera on June 30th

http://lsosoundhub.co.uk/blog/2013/05/24/fight-music/ Just thinking about it, on June 30th the London Symphony Orchestra will play my soundpoetry boxing opera, that I wrote / warped for the true author of the piece the composer Phillip Venables, at St Lukes in Old St. I've walked past that building so much. Now this piece will have been played by the London Sinfonietta and the London Symphony Orchestra. Mind blowing for me. Everyone can go for free, just have to email. St Lukes is another amazing space of London I am wrapping my memory tendrils around.