Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Midnight Run With Inua Ellams This Saturday (GET INVOLVED!)

Midnight Run News // 16/08/2011
Hey Hey HEY! Welcome to the 3nd MNrun Newsletter. I hope you are well. It looks like the weather will hold out, so on possibly the last weekend of summer, the MNrun will be on! {phaze05.com/themidnightrun}

WHERE TO MEET // 3rd - 4th Sept
FIRSTLY, IF YOU INTEND TO COME TO THE RUN, PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL, IMMEDIATELY, I NEED TO KNOW NUMBERS. THANKS. Now, after much hushed wondering, we have a location. Please gather at the main entrance of The Tate Britain (Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG) at 5.45pm this Saturday, because at 6pm sharp, we will move! // Closest Stations: Pimlico & Vauxhall // Buses: 2, 36, 85, 436, 77 - & lots more.

1) *A healthy sense of fun. 2) A pen and a notebook.
3) One ripe Banana. 4) Roughly £20 pounds for food etc.
5) Please wear comfortable shoes; we will be walking lots.
6) Please come dressed for the weather. //

To each Midnight Run, 5 artists are invited. Their task is to entertain within the MNrun, and also to capture instance of the run in their individual art forms. Here they are:

PHOTOGRAPHER: Raymond Antrobus is a spoken word artist, poet, writer and a photographer. He is an accomplished young one, has performed alongside authors and poets such as Margret Atwood, Michael Horovitz, Lemm Sissay and Polarbear. Raymond’s photography has featured in The Big Issue, The Evening Standard and showcased online by the world famous Southbank Centre.

POETRY & SPOKEN WORD: Bridget Minnamore & Rubix. Rubix is a collective of 15 young London-based spoken word artists who began life as the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. After taking their first show ‘The Greatest Poet That Ever Lived’ to the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2010, Rubix became an associate company with the Roundhouse. Following a scratch performance of their second show ‘House Party’ at the Roundhouse studios, Rubix are currently developing the material for a wider audience. They have performed at the BAC, Bang Said the Gun, Whitechapel Gallery, Rich Mix, Poejazzi, Shoreditch Festival, Shunt, Big Chill and Camp Bestival.

GUERILLA GARDENER: Andre Haining spends most of his day organising events and designing websites for large corporate clients.  He also runs his not-for-profit organisation EFORESTS (www.eforests.co.uk) which helps create community woodlands around the UK and runs urban food-growing projects in London.  A keen amateur gardener, he started guerrilla gardening in 2006 after seeing Richard Reynolds (guerrillagardening.org) on the TV one day. Since then he has worked with Richard and other guerrilla gardeners, at numerous locations around London, turning grubby patches of neglected land into beautiful urban spaces. He also helped build the Recycled Garden (recycledgarden.net) at the Hampton Court Flower Show in 2008

MUSIC: Tj Owusu, A Ghanaian multi-instrumentalist brought up on a healthy diet of eclecticism. He plays the weissenborn, a Hawaiian instrument designed by a German luthier. Picking up the instrument in his early teens, he was captured by the weissenborn's vocal warmth and ability to paint audible pictures. His object is to create a soup for all musical buds through instrumentation.

FILM: Estabrak is a MA graduate of film and media production from a visual arts background. She began as part of ‘Imagine Art’, a world wide arts project hosted by Guardian Unlimited and has produced stunning short films and installations showcased at the TATE Britain and The Showroom Cinema, Sheffield. Her work has had press coverage in Italy's 'Amica', Middle Easts 'Bidoun' and UK's 'Diva' magazines to name a few. She hopes to travel the world challenging the nature of perception through visual story telling.

That’s it!! Remember to sleep like a whale on Friday night. Roll outta bed late in afternoon on Saturday, for when the eve comes, we MNRun!

Friday, 19 August 2011

BBC E-Mail Response To David Starkey Complaint

Dear Mr Antrobus

Thank you for contacting us regarding ‘Newsnight’, broadcast on Friday 12 August.

We understand some viewers felt David Starkey's contribution to the discussion on the England riots was inappropriate and racially offensive. We note some viewers also felt Dr Starkey's views were not sufficiently challenged by presenter Emily Maitlis.

Firstly, it is important to stress that Dr Starkey’s views are his alone and not those of ‘Newsnight’ or the BBC. It is part of ‘Newsnight's remit to air and challenge controversial views and we believe his perspective on the riots was robustly challenged during the course of this discussion.

The aim of this, at times heated, ten minute debate was to examine the causes of the recent riots and looting and in many ways it encapsulated different strands of opinion, both ideologically and socio-economically, as to what provoked the violence. Presenter Emily Maitlis directly challenged David Starkey’s views on a number of occasions, asking: ‘Is black culture the cause of the rioting?’ and ultimately ending the discussion by asserting that Dr Starkey was ‘using black and white cultures interchangeably as good and bad’.

Aside from Emily Maitlis’ interjections, guests Owen Jones and Dreda Say Mitchell clearly took exception to David Starkey’s opinions and were given ample time and space to make their disagreements heard. Owen Jones particularly highlighted that many people listening would find the views expressed offensive, and Emily Maitlis provided further context - making it clear that David Cameron had stated that this was not a race issue, and that people taking part in the riots came from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Although some viewers found David Starkey’s arguments offensive, others agreed with them. It is not ‘Newsnight's’ job to censor the views of our guests; the programme would rather challenge them in a robust way on air, and allow viewers to draw their own conclusions. We believe this discussion was conducted in a fair and professional manner.

Please be assured your concerns were raised with the programme.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.


NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

Kind Regards

Andrew Hannah

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Response To David Strakey's Racist Comments Wrapped Up!

Since the London Riots I've heard some of the most outrageous, outright racism mainly from (educated and unappreciative) white middle class people. This weekend I did a gig at a Festival in Bath and got into a conversation with a lovely (white and higher educated) lady who works for a bank who had this to say.

"What on earth do these ethnics have to complain about living in this country? Its not like South Africa is it? no! we have a fair and functioning society with free health care and welfare state. It's disgraceful and they should have bought in the army"  etc

I asked her to expand on the South Africa comment and she said

"White people know about oppression, my friend is a white South African... I mean sure she has black maids and the rest of it but she's having a hard time as a white person out there"

I've not seen South Africa for myself but I'm going out there to work in a township for two months in November. I'll comment on this when I've seen it for myself but I think I know enough to be sure this is a shallow and insensitive comment.

Now, lots of people I know personally have shocked me with some of their twitter comments and facebook updates and I couldn't help but be a little conscious over my own social standing as a young, Jamaican and British male born and raised in Hackney (in a single parent home).

I used to do voluntary work in Hackney Youth Clubs and I've grown up attending quite a few around London. The comment made by a Politician about "the kinds of kids that got involved with the riots aren't the kind to want to go to university or play ping pong at a youth club" is a horrific statement to make.

I've seen kids who despite carrying knives and smoking weed on the (youth club) premises, responded positively to the youth club environment. It kept them off the streets and many of them were pretty good at ping pong. (ha!)

Anyway, after seeing Starkey's comments which has angered and embarrassed as many white people as it has black. I couldn't help but once again be made aware of the horrific prejudice that has surfaced from the skins of our society in this past week.

This video from Nabil Abdul Rashid is on the money!

Here's a poem by Chill Pill's Mista Gee which featured on BBC Radio the other day.

 Dear Mr Juvenile (An Overview of the 2011 England Riots) by Mr Gee poet 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Conversation With An Anarchist During The London Riots

fuckin’ police look at em’ all lined up. No wonder people fucking hate them. You feel the gravity here? That’s what fear feels when its injected by pigs... fuckin’ hell, the air here could burst into flames. Burn the city and pork chop these cunts with their sticks! Ere’, I dreamt I wrote a play last night and it was called ‘God The Orchestra’ and it was about a bunch of puppets that go rioting! De’ja’fucking vu, eh? How’d it end? Fuck knows, the puppets burnt their strings and scattered. I woke up in my bed feeling like something is trying to tell me something and this is fuckin’ it! These people call their belief a system and if that’s the case everyone needs another mechanic! One with the earth on their hands instead of blood and oil, that’s the only dirt you can roll in and be the cleanest soul alive. We want peace but this is our war for it. Yeah, we all want fuckin' peace except the pigs who want power. I'd happily sit around and smell the shit out of flowers when things are right! When things are right I'll grow a fucking garden and everyone can bring pig meat to the barbecue! That’ll be the day to welcome a neighborhood that’s right for real fuckin’ people!

Here's another voice on the street -

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Mess Is Our Own By Anthony Anaxagorou (short essay on our youth and London riots)

Bring in the army! Bloody looters! Yobs! Deport them! Shoot them all like the dogs that they are! I’m sure many of you will be familiar with phrases such as these. Twitter and Facebook have recently become the therapy ground for those sitting watching, from the confines of their living room, the bedlam that has mastered itself splendidly across England’s capital. However, all of these terms were documented as having been said by White Americans during the Watts riots of 1965. A staggering 46 years later and the same sentiments are being shared with little consternation.

Following the shooting of Mark Duggan by police on Thursday 4th August in Tottenham, what originally had begun as a peaceful protest has since proceeded to escalate into an anarchist-driven theme park. Many of those now engaged in the looting of shops and homes are so far disconnected from the main cause of the protests that it is unwise to assume that these individuals are the same ones who marched in the name of Mark Duggan. What has subsequently erupted is the inevitable. As I stated a few days earlier a key psychological factor to any form of social disorder is essentially a group of socially invisible people making themselves forcefully visible. Now before I proceed, by no means am I trying to prescribe anarchy as a means of gaining the recognition of a nation. In the long run this only plays to a peoples’ detriment and helps to reinforce those ill-bred stereotypes ardent bigots possess then unhesitatingly set free once given the chance. I believe with all my being that a collective focus, which incorporates the faculties of both intelligence and leadership is what is needed to overcome the social obstacles laid out before much of Britain’s youth today.  

Those living in the privileged sectors of our society will undoubtedly look upon the lootings as imprudent acts of vandalism. The opinions being voiced across the social network stadiums are all similar in nuance and weight, yet we fail to recall that all those involved in the pillaging are young, vulnerable people who our society carefully raised. So why is it that the same anti-social behaviour is unable to occur in London’s more affluent divides? This has unequivocally exceeded the precarious branding of a ‘race riot’ and even the malevolent treatment of Mark Duggan adopting instead a new uniform, one that contains all the properties of a dispossessed class. What we are having problems digesting is that we ALL sat obliviously in front of a voiceless generation who we encouraged to feed off a diet of misanthropic music and film, receive intellectual and scholarly neglect from both the education system and their government, as well as being constantly haunted by the media edifice with the term hoodie, chav and hood rat. If a society holds its young people in such low esteem how then can we demand their respect and cooperation?      

It must be noted that the atmosphere is now set for closet racists to abandon their political correctness and hurl their tirade of liberated racial abuse at those they feel are responsible. If only we would learn from the blood that soaks our history. As always we deceive ourselves into believing that these young people live outside our idea of reality, that they are exempt from feeling and emotion and instead deserve the rough end of a heated bullet, or noose, or whip. The irony being that these same bigoted people are so far disconnected from the reality of these young boys and girls that this is most likely the first time they have ever had to acknowledge them in a serious light, so as in past times a persons skin colour becomes the point of aim as we know nothing more about them apart from the fact they are Black or Brown. In places such as Croydon, Wood Green and other parts of East London the looters were predominately Asian, Cypriot, Turkish and White yet our inherent racism prevents us from acknowledging that this is a rebellion of Britain’s lower classes, not its ethnic grouping. 

From where I stand there is an emerging danger that far left organisations will now begin to rowel up impressionable Black and Brown men as a means to help carry out their work against the government. This will undoubtedly become the racial imputes that far right members have been waiting for so now more than ever community leaders need to intervene in order to prevent a class uproar becoming an unfathomable attack on Britain’s ethnic citizens.

There is more to be said yet I feel those ominous nights are far from sleep. I will conclude by saying that before you turn in disdain at the masked faces in tracksuits ask yourself how much do you know about their reality? When was the last time you stopped to find out what their every day life consists of?  How often do you see wads of police officers stopping to search young Black and Asian boys in the street? Think back to when you were young and how authorities treated you. If we continue to stigmatise and undermine the infinite genius of our young people how can we expect them to act any other way? This is our mess, as any parent will tell you if you bring up a child with hate and scorn you can be guaranteed that when the child grows he will inherit that same language as his own. As someone who works closely with young people and who was once just as impressionable as they are today I ask you to understand their condition, to reacquaint yourself with the empathy you might espouse if it was your son or daughter in the flames and to lose the myopia that this is just another case of young Black boys who have been left to go wild. The last few days are not the result of another Black man being killed by police but rather the volcanic surge that smashes through the social borders of an unequal city only to scream from inside the flames, ‘I’m here, I’m powerful and I’m your problem!’        

Anthony Anaxagorou 

London Riots (Hackney Cleaned and Boarded Up

London Riots (Hackney)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

On Being Ugly

often I walk into rooms as the loudest mouth with the least to say.

I talk like I read self-help books.
I talk like I only mean what I whisper.
I talk like I’ve been lonely.

if I look good
I'm standing a good distance away
from myself.

if I see myself differently,
it’s because other people see me differently.

I talk to myself more than I talk to anyone,
talking to myself is like talking to someone that won’t shut up!

my head is not in the sky, I talk to my feet a lot.

I’m always asking them why I can’t move on as easy as they do.

I look at myself in a broken mirror and see a thousand people that don't want to be me.

I go to parties and sit in the corner and read.

someone will come up and ask what I’m reading and I’ll talk about myself.

I think everyone here is thinking that I think too much.

I don’t know what I think about people that remind me of me

because there is always something wrong with them

especially if they fancy me.

Pics from last nights Chill Pill at Soho Theatre

New Poetry Videos by Harry Baker & Christian Watson

Harry Baker has been making waves on the poetry circuit this year and here's is part of the reason why.

Christian Watson featured on this blog earlier in the year. We discussed if Rock & Roll killed poetry. Now he discusses Police killing democracy in this video he just put up.