Friday, 26 December 2008
How do you explain to someone a magic moment.
Well you can't, you just tell them they missed out. The second best I can do for you is recreate it in writing.
I had been putting on Lazy Gramophone Present shows for the last year. The night consisted of music, spoken word, performance with art displays in a second room. The performance poets were exceptional at what they were doing on the LG nights, and no one (many still don't) knew about them enough.
After speaking to Joshua Idehen during a show, we discussed putting on a one off night called Pip Vs PIP. From that point I set into motion the greatest poetry gig of the modern day. Firstly I had to find the poets. This wasn't at all hard. They consisted of Scroobius Pip who formed a band called Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (and had a classic hit 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'). Anyway Scroobius had saved money and given up his day job in 2006 and was now driving around doing poetry gigs...
...poetry gigs...OK when I say the word poetry or reading poetry, what do you think? Maybe a person reading from a collection of poems they have dustily written, and are reciting them to a room of about 9 people, half of which are yawning. You might not be wrong. But this is not the case at the moment. Somehow out of this has come a force of spoken word artists who perform their poetry in lively and uplifting ways. Capturing the imagination of those in a room...
...Scroobius Pip was one of those poets. He has classics like 'Angles', 'Letter from God to Man' and 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'. These pieces not only drew you in but made you feel at one with the poem, as if you had a part in helping the way it was written and an uncanny familiarity to the actual story. This is the same with pieces such as Polar Bear's 'Jessica', Musa Okwonga's 'Cooper Chimbonda', Ventriloquist's 'James Brown', Excentral Tempest's 'Balance', Joshua Idehen's 'Stop Me', Inua Ellam's 'Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars', Mat Lloyd's 'Two Inches to the Left', Gypsy Girl's 'Stage Fright' and so on.
Scroobius Pip was now having immense success with his band, putting his poetry over electronic music and I was fortunate enough to book him before it all kicked off for him later that year. If you hadn't guessed he was the 'Pip' in the title. Next we had Poem Inbetween People an accumulation of Musa Okwonga, Joshua Idehen, Inua Ellams, Poeticat and Shabaka on Sax. They were the 'PIP' in the other half of the title. Josh and Musa were later to move on and form Benin City out of this group, a superb live music act.
I then went about booking Polar Bear who later couldn't make the night and was replaced by AF Harold. As well we had Gypsy Girl, Mat Lloyd, Ventriloquist, Excentral Tempest, performance group NeveroddoreveN (later to form into SKIPtheatre) and display artists Matt Black, Tom Harris (Tom The Pen) and Andrew Walter. We also decided to give all the money from the night to charity in aid of Cancer Research UK.
So the date was set for Lazy Gramophone Presents Pip Vs PIP on Saturday September 22nd 2007 for a whole night of spoken word at The Macbeth, Hoxton, London. To have a night like this on a Saturday in a pub was unheard of and could have been a complete failure.
Anyway people started filtering into the venue at 8pm and before we knew it there were over 200 people in the room.
I started off by warming up the audience, this didn't by any means need me to gyrate my hips or even spinning around in the light with my glitter ball head piece. But to ask them 'can you feel it?', to which they replied 'yes we can!'. After doing this a few times 'Can You Feel It' came on by The Jacksons. Next we had NeveroddoreveN kick off with a colourful set with umbrellas and audience interaction. From that each poet leading up to Pip Vs PIP had a 10 minute set.
This started with Poeticat, A F Harold and Mat Lloyd speaking on the bar.
Try to imagine this though, 200 people in a pub not saying a single word but watching, listening and telling people to be quiet when a poet was performing. On top of this each time a poem was performed the crowd went wild, and I ain't talking about no out in the bush wild with zebras and lions, but screaming, hollering and whooping wild! This shouldn't have even been possible with the nights I had been watching on the scene, but everyone was a part of the experience and gelled together.
We had a break after this and next came on Gypsy Girl and Ventriloquist with his classic 'James Brown'. By this point the atmosphere was becoming electric. I had been getting a little tetchy cause Excentral Tempest hadn't turn up yet, but to aplomb she turned up on cue and went on stage.
The crowd went mental, reacting to every syllable she spoke. It was truly awe inspiring and I think that was felt by her as well. From that point the bar was set.
I started getting the crowd to shout 'Pippy' in the way the audience from the Rocky film chant.
As they were chanting this name (which obviously referred to both acts) the theme tune 'Gonna Fly Now' from Rocky came in with me introducing '...in my right corner, weighing 170 pounds with black beard and cap, we have Scrooooooooobius Pip...' and '....in my left corner having an accumulative weight of 650 pounds and being bad ass we have A Poem Inbetweeeeeeeeeeeen People'. Both came on stage, white towels over necks squaring up to each other.
The crowd went wild, how could they not?!
So the way the night was set out was an accapella piece by both people, then a piece to live music, and finally two pieces over electronic music.
First came Inua Ellams followed by Scroobius. The crowd went crazy on both, hanging to every word.
Next came Joshua with Shabaka on Sax with 'Stop Me', one of the best performances on the night, followed by Scroobius with his 6"2" Piano player.
We then went into the electronic realm with Musa and Scroobius each performing. By this point in the battle neither act could be separated on who was the better.
So we came to the finale, neither act willing to acknowledge defeat.
PIP did their all time classic 'This Is London' the crowd couldn't contain themselves, it was electric. Scroobius then came up and performed 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'. On his final line everyone seemed to join in from the whole room '....and thou shalt always, and thou shalt always...Kill!'.
It was immense the roof was shaking and some say even smouldering. We who were poets, artists and organisers stood in disbelief to the crowd reaction. I came on stage and asked everyone to hush. From that I asked firstly who thinks Scroobius Pip should win, the crowd went insane, the place did truly shake. Next I asked who thinks PIP should win, again a sound that if had come from the lord of thunder himself would have truly been proud of. We just could not believe what we had all done, it was a draw but that didn't matter in the end.
A scene to this day still slowly making waves showed in one night what it can really do and was a bench mark for many of them, most now moving into music.
We made £1045 for charity and left on the biggest high imaginable.
The Greatest Spoken Word night of the modern day...
Monday, 22 December 2008
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Friday, 12 December 2008
This is Vernon Francois who I was introduced via my friend Anna Lou of London. In short he is a highly talented and on the ball individual. He dresses exceptionally well and even though his focus at the moment is directed towards styling hair he can do much much more, and plans to do much much more. Before anyone gets in there, back up his phrase is 'casually fabulous' just in case you don't hear him say it.
Monday, 24 November 2008
A friend went on a business trip to Japan. She was in a shop and picked up a Japanese magazine called Street (issue 12 p8). Flicking through it her eye caught no other than oneself in my trademark crystal head piece on the same spread as Agyness Deyn! Oh yes. I thought it might have taken a little longer to make a cover spread with a super model but beggers can't be choosers.
I went to the V&A where Nadja Swarovski was talking about her families company and history. She is the one behind making it into a global fashion brand when joining 10 years ago and turned round its credibility into a fashion supporter. She was bedazzled by the 1000 crystal head piece and no doubt has me in her mindset for future campaigns.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Find myself and Gigi Morley having a little tipple after our talk at House of Fraser. Gigi spoke about the art or accessorising from head to toe through her brand 'Rocks, frocks and Cocktails'. There will be more of those in the future.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
If you take a sneak peek here you might know that I bumped into the IT girl of the moment VV Brown at London Fashion Week. I met her at the Vivienne Westwood party with that amazing flat top hair and a wonderful dress. I found myself seeing VV with her Do Wop Indie style tunes at The Soho Revue bar in London a few months later. I met her back stage and as you can see she was also wearing a hot off the press Anna Lou of London's bespoke VV Brown necklace.
To fill you in I organise numerous events including Lazy Gramophone, Musicalifragilistic and THE FAD.
Fad: A temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., esp. one followed enthusiastically by a group.
THE FAD makes the audience to 'Dress to Express' and be who you want to be. With Dancers on the bar, balloons, bubbles, DJs, free face painting and billboards sayings (above). I was recently asked by Universal to organise a showcase for one of their bands under THE FAD name.
SuperSuper made my signs their number 1 out of 10 trendz called 'Get yr sign on!' (Issue 13, page 14) with a girl holding it saying 'Go DJ'. They said '...taking lyrics, poetry and commentary onto the dance floor...' and '... reference pop culture and encourage people to join in by handing them out...held high over the heads of the dance floor, perhaps acknowledging their influence and importance in public life...'
Monday, 10 November 2008
SKIP Theatre are these fabulous 3 girls named Chloe, Laura and Charlotte. I have known them for quite a few years and they have played at numerous nights I have put on. They formed at Goldsmiths and bring a fresh performance style to theatre and club nights that is more than just skipping. They challenge spaces and the audience standing within them, but still keep a light hearted effect to newcomers not accustomed to performance. At their last night they skipped with bags of icing sugar, within a few minutes the powder had seeped through the air and you could taste it in your mouth. This was a great sensations and very original. Another one to watch.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
In life there are moments when once in a blue moon you come across something in simple terms special.
The Irrepressibles are that in abundance and I have booked them for Lazy Gramophone Presents night in the past. Led by Jamie McDermott this 10 piece orchestra with singer don't have competition, there is no one like them. If you listen to 'In This Shirt' or even 'My Friend Jo' you will understand why. They just ooze originality, quality and stubbornness. In the perfect situation, where all is hushed, and lights are turned down low, they will make you cry.
P.S I have just bought their album (28/01/09) and here is a review from The Independent
Thursday, 6 November 2008
I didn't read so much when I was young but was always drawn to images. This was very much so with Isabella Blow a muse or champion of Philip Treacy and others. She found and supported talented people.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Some people look good, some look better than good, and then there are some people who look supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! This is none more so than The Broken Hearts. Dressing as if Bettie Page is their stylist they are one of the few women around who really float my style boat. Amber and Nish work at Beyond Retro and being DJs (Red phone used for mixing tunes) in the night time they are also slowly putting a band together, with the songs being fresh from the 1920s block.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
This is Ed who dresses from a subgenre called Steampunk. You can find the Wiki explainer here, but in essence it harks back to the steam power or industrial era. You can see an article from a Guardian journalist about one of Ed's superb dinner parties I went to here. Ed is multi talented, he makes SteamPunk Jewelery, is in a SteamPunk band and lives everything...well, errr....SteamPunk.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
I met Musa in 2006 when I was checking out the spoken word scene. Musa was one of the poets pushing the scene forward at that point so much so he won Poetry Idol (beating Scroobius Pip). He is far by one of the most talented people I know and a good friend. A spoken word artist he written a book (pictured) short listed for the 2008 William Hill Sports book of the year, and is in one of the most vibrant bands of the moment Benin City with other talent and poet Joshua Idehen.
Gigi Morley is founder of the amazing Rocks, Frocks and Cocktails you can find her blog site here
She knows how to Rock, Frock and Cocktail the place anything and plans to have a book, website and TV show out in the not too distant future. She is the fab looking one in pink!
Established in 2003 by myself and Daniel Chidgey with the aim of helping young, independent, up-and-coming artists, writers and musicians to gain exposure and showcase their work. We now have about 30 we support.
www.lazygramophone.com, designed and is now being redesigned by Ben Chidgey (who is an important part of the LG family), is the platform from which the artists can display their various works of art, music, poetry, illustration, photography and more.
In 2006 Lazy Gramophone Press was established and published Adam Green's debut novel, 'Satsuma Sun-mover' on May 1st. It was long listed for The 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize which is £60,000 prize designed not only to richly reward the best young writer in the world but also to serve as a focus for and incentive to all young writers throughout the English-speaking world.
Since then we have published Sam Rawling's poetry collection 'Circle Time' and his short horror story 'Echoes of Dawn' (illustrated by Matt Black), as well as a series of handmade illustrated poetry booklets featuring collaborations between Lazy Gramophone artists and writers. Guy J Jackson's spoken word albums and Simon Gibson's music albums also became available for sale via the website.
Since 2006 there have been regular live 'Lazy Gramophone Presents' events at The Macbeth, The Miller and The Luminaire (all central London) as well as a number of small day-long festivals info. These events include music, spoken word, theatre, art displays, fashion shows and comedy. Throughout all these activities, we are constantly dedicated to supporting and developing artists and groups from the UK and London.
We instigated a charity event called 'Pip vs PIP' in aid of Cancer Research UK with links to the Hackney 'Write to Ignite' festival in September 2007 for a whole night of spoken word with the finest poetry acts in London.
Our new site will have the aim of becoming one of the most prominent creative platforms in the UK, enabling our artists to consistently update and showcase their most current work.
Since the beginning of 2008 we have been coordinating and collaborating with artists in the curation of The Macbeth Gallery, that displays both up-and-coming and more established artists' work on a two-week rotation.
Recently, we have been fortunate enough to gain support from The Hospital Club, with three of our artists' works being exhibited and available for sale at the club. The artists featured are Tom Harris, Garry Milne and Dan Prescott, whose piece 'Quentin Armstrong' was featured on the front cover of the latest member's magazine.
You can contact me at theboss (at) lazygramophone.com
London born Philip started using his head as a canvas for creativity back in 2006 when he began to go bald. He did not want to conform to shaving his head like everyone else so started using it as an art form to express. Philip’s head designs are now becoming iconic within London’s fashion and art scenes where people strive to be original. As a tastemaker he is now gaining recognition abroad including Japan and China, and is leading the way to becoming one of the most original expressions of creativity in the 21st century.
Philip teams up with professional body painter Kat Sinclair, continuously creating a wealth of designs that have ranged from his 1000-Swarovski crystal head piece to homages of such artists as Roy Lichtenstein and Hokusai painted on his head. Philip caught the attention of Mehron, the largest body paint suppliers in America and is now sponsored by them.
Philip is cultural entrepreneur, co-founding the collective Lazy Gramophone, a couture arts and design label that supports developing artists by running a publishing label, gallery and events. He is also a partner in Art Below, an organisation that strives to create opportunities for emerging and established artists and designers to showcase their work in public spaces, both at home and abroad.