Live Boxing

April 6, 2008

Yesterday was a really odd day. Mostly nowadays, my days are good. Up beat happyish affairs. Not to sound too idyllic – but there are sometimes runs, often cups of tea. There are pieces of cake. There are episodes – of the Sopranos. So, yesterday came as not entirely welcome. Odd mood. Tearful. Like the whole world was going to end. Obviously, it got better.

It got to the end of the day and I’d been planning on doing the Live Box (poetry jamming session) down at The Y Theatre – but in my then present mood, I was starting to have doubts. Getting up on stage, moving and shaking and performing over live jazz – in a mood like a mud scraped shoe – didn’t seem like the best plan I’d ever had. Like alcohol you know – if you’re down, you should probably leave it alone. However, the alternative was staying in. And stewing. And we’d completely run out of Sopranos episodes.

So I went. And it was wonderful.

This month’s band was a group called Z-U (pronounced Zu). When I got down there the audience wasn’t the fullest it’d ever been – none of the Leicester artist crew (as I’ll call them here) had made it along. But Sureshot had, and so had I.

The music was dense like a concertina. Multi-layered like a mille feu. The group was a proper jazz trio. Base guitar, sax and drums and as the first song played it was liked stepping into a snowstorm – notes buzzing everywhere, tingling down your spine in tiny explosions. As the set continued, things started to settle down a bit. Melodies started to edge forward, but all the time there was that same energetic tension of sound on the edge of freestyle.

In the second half there were only 4 Live Boxers. Me, Sureshot, a drummer and guitarist. Sureshot did his blues for black. I put a couple of new pieces together (Strawberry and Oboe) and just went with it. Had such fun and we seemed to go down well.

Afterwards, people came up and asked if we often performed together. Nearly said no, but then realised that we actually do. Obviously, The Freedom Showcase – but nowadays also every live box – and we often travel to gigs together. I love performing with him:)

The band were so cool. Afterwards we sat talking for ages and they invited us down to the Birmingham Drum, to live box with them next Sunday. Definitely, definitely, definitely. Also gonna see if I can get more of a crew together though…

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Here is Jo Swift’s take on that freestyling exercise…

Remember Cardiff? I remember Cardiff
with its open fields of cows, cows
that were spread across their
open fields of grassy pasture
like the ordered buttons on a
tweed suit. I remember Cardiff.
Remember how you caught your death
that day in Cardiff? That day when
all of the order in world
spiraled out like so much
mottled cow disease,
yes, like so much
mad death cow disease.
You caught your death
standing in that open field of
endless rain in Cardiff.
There in front of all the cows.
I remember Cardiff. Cardiff
was very near
the death of you.

Following on from the big fun freestyling at Mondays Fifth Quarter, I decided to use the writing around random words idea to start some exercises at my SparkPlugs Group (workshops I facilitate in Leicester). I’m going to put some of the group members work up on the Brightsparks Blog, but here’s one of mine – using the following…CARDIFF, REMEMBER, OPEN, ORDERED, COW, DEATH….

The Vegetarian’s Nightmare

I ordered up a side of cow. A cow
that had caught its death like flu
inside an abatoir, one day in June.
It never saw it coming.

I remember feeling
the open handed slap of guilt
when I took my first bite
and thought about its last-

dieing sigh,
that was probably more of a scream.
The restaurant
was in Cardiff.

I remember wondering
if the cow had traveled far
to reach it. Yes,
probably.

Jesus’ Girlfriend

May 15, 2007

One more thing about last night. As I said in the post below, I freestyled for the first time! Was very buzzy. It’s a high risk thing to do – if it goes well that’s great-but if not…there is the dying in front of your peers to consider! Saying that, at a night like yesterdays every knows that – so no one would take the piss anyway. Below is my attempt to remember what my freestyled poem was. It’s quite a bit different as I can’t remember the exact words, but it was kind of like this…

Words: Enchiladas, Donkey, Traveling, Energy, Food.

Jesus’ Girlfriend.

I like food
but I don’t like enchiladas.
They’re too spicy for me.
They drain all my energy
and I don’t travel well
when I eat them.

Donkeys hate me
and horses too
they always have
I have to take the bus,
’cause when it comes to donkeys
I just can’t trust-

I think it’s their Sombreros.
You should never trust a creature
that looks like it could eat a
spicy enchilada.
No – I don’t like donkeys
and donkey’s don’t like me-

if I was with Jesus…
I don’t think it would work.