Ode to a Poem

Art, Arts, Poetry, Reflection


(Man walks, in poetic fashion, down a hill)

I’m new to this group, I like poetry.

Poetry, the people’s game, the art of words arranged nicely and a lot of other things, why bring it up, why in this day and age bring up poetry? Of all things, poetry? Who even reads poems anyway? Many people. Good, that’s that one out of the way. I am a poet amongst other things, those things being a general artist, film blogger and a wizard, Harry, and I feel poetry is still and will ever be one of art’s backbones. This is because of its nature as words, as language, a poem doesn’t lose value in any form if its words remain, only in translation and global languages are variations which keep it new and exciting to unravel. I may be wrong, and tell me if I am, but until then, this…

A nonsense poem:

(The Man With No Nose – Joshua K) –

Humphrey Barnaby-Rose,

was born two feet taller than most.

His nose never grew, not at all, not like you,

and his armpit hair curled from his toes.

Bizarrely, still nobody knows,

why the man was missing his nose.

Or why he lived in a box, at the end of a shoe,

on the beach at the start of his road.

He’d seventeen eyebrows, in a line down his back,

and a pet parakeet named ‘Sir Archibald Slack’.

Two doves in a glove, three worms on a rose

and none of these knew why he had not a nose.

He’d looked for answers in France,

asked them all in Nepal.

Found none finer in China,

none more sane than in Spain.

Sat with a man in Japan,

who’d worn rice paper clothes.

Yet, none could suppose, his lack of a nose.

He’d asked

Doctors and surgeons.

Sea-parents and urchins.

Nose makers and sailors.

A deaf record retailer.

And each of his quests had been

nought but a failure.

There’d been a few in Peru,

three fleas in Torquay,

(the dog they owned too)

and a talking TV.

But, nobody knew, why his face was askew.

Why his absent most nose, was there not to see.

Poor Humphrey Barnaby Rose,

who lived in a box, on the shore of a coast.

How did he smell? Like a man in a shoe,

who’d searched the whole world for his nose.

rifeWhen: Wed 18th of June 2014

Time: 5:45pm – 8pm

Where: Watershed – 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, BS1 5TX Bristol, United Kingdom


Since February I’ve been part of Talent Lab, a Bristol-based group of 23 creatives formed by the collaboration of Watershed and award-winning creative agency, Latimer. We were commissioned by Bristol Youth Links in partnership with Bristol City Council to shape an online platform for Bristol’s youth with an eagerness to create content for the youth by the youth. Thankfully this meant goodbye to all things stereotypically appeasing to us, the youth, like the horrid cliché that was the Go Places Do Things graffiti font. Bless their souls, they kind of tried.

Bristol Talent Lab

So where did we go from there? Rife, baby. Well, a nameless Rife magazine. We knew exactly what we wanted but it took much longer to finally figure out a name. How does ‘rife’ feel on your tongue? Kind of funny? It takes a few attempts getting used to it but it’s a grower. After months of hard work building up content by the core Rife team, as a digital phoenix our baby has risen out of the cliché ashes with some stories going viral and over 10,000 unique site views in less than a month …and we are not even officially launched yet!

With just over 24 hours to go before the Rife Live Launch excitement and anxiety seems to have dangerously merged.

But that’s not stopping us because Rife is yours – all you bloggers, vloggers, photographers, writers, budding journalists, aspiring editors, ranters, reviewers, tweeters, Facebook fanatics, Tumblr scrollers, filmmakers, comedians, storytellers, cartoonists, graphic designers or simply good at generating good ideas. With so much to offer on the night; from making your own gifs, telling us what Grinds Your Gears, pitching ideas for Rife to our team, networking with industry professionals (LatimerClockwise Media amongst others) and listening to acclaimed creator of The Hip Hop Shakespeare CompanyAkala; all we ask is that you RSVP to editor@rifemagazine.co.uk to confirm your place*.

AND if that’s still not exciting enough, through getting involved you can get media training, mentoring, access to equipment, industry links and profile. So even if you can’t make the 18th Rife magazine still wants you! Check out http://www.rifemagazine.co.uk/get-involved/ to find out how you can still get involved.

I hope I’ll be seeing you there – look out for the girl with the R-shaped earrings!


*doors open at 5:45 to those who have RSVP’d and by 5:50/55pm any unclaimed RSVP’d spaces are then opened up to the public with a first come first serve system.

Animation, Art, Article, Artist, Arts, Books/Comics, Bristol, Cinema, Drawing, Events, Fashion, Games, Illustrator, Inspirational, Launch, Literature, Music, Origami, Painting, Performace, Performance art, Photography, Poetry, Printing, Theatre, Uncategorized, Video, Watershed, Workshop

No Boundaries #2: For the Love of All Things Without Boundaries

Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, York

“The cultural map is being re-drawn… by new behaviours, new technologies, new models of funding and new local, national and global thinking. On 25 and 26 February 2014, No Boundaries considers the role of culture in 21st century society, bringing together leaders and activists and connecting discussions across two venues and the web.”

For the last two days I’ve been working with Watershed as one of their young journalists for No Boundaries, an open symposium on the role of culture and the arts in 21st century society. I can’t wait to share all the incredible things that I’ve been able to be a part of! Day 1 done, now…

Day Two

The beauty of Dr Benjamin Barber’s talk was that he sparked and incited a passion within me about defining cities and democracy amid shining a light on how the private versus public space conflict affects both. He seamlessly lays the foundation of the ‘No Boundaries’ theme and how it does and doesn’t correspond with Session 5′s Internationalism theme.

If you were following the #NB2014 Twitter feed you may have read my tweet: “Can’t quote @BenjaminRBarber fast enough. Could I link people to his talk and be done with my opinion? Everything he says is spot on #NB2014″. And to be honest I still stand by that so as soon as the link to his talk goes up I’ll be the first to tweet about it.

No Boundaries, The Guildhall, York. Image: Matt Baker

Having never encountered democracy in the way Barber expressed in my personal life, amid growing up in a society where ‘democracy’ equivalated to politics and voting, not communities and understanding, I couldn’t agree with him more about how ‘democracy is a way of life, a way of living that takes into account our diversity and encourages our collaboration and imagination’. It has taken seventeen years for the identity of our society, ‘democracy’, to be presented to me in a way that makes a lasting connection that makes me proud to be part of it instead of the systematic impersonal association I’ve grown up with. And isn’t it sad that this intimate concept wasn’t instilled with me in the ritualistic system of academia where I could have grown up with a healthier outlook on the ‘intercity intercommunity world without boundaries’. Oh no, it was a ten minute talk in the fifth session of a two day event. The chance of me being present for Dr Benjamin Barber’s talk is so slim and against me it only makes me more grateful for this innovative way of thinking. I use innovative loosely because it’s simply too ironic: I wouldn’t be surprised if the founding fathers of democracy looked upon Barber’s definition of it ‘taking into account our diversity and encourages our collaboration and imagination’ and offered up high fives all around. It’s so obviously the original meaning and intention it’s sad how it’d now be regarded as a creative new age way of thinking.

‘The city is the human habitat and community, it’s what defines us; where we’re born and grow up and get married and are buried.”

But that’s just it, ‘cities oddly, though made up of communities, are all about private space’ and even though ‘communities can’t thrive without public spaces they are defined by private space’. It’s this insidious war on public spaces ‘over the thirty or forty years of market commercialization and privatization of public space’ that needs to be addressed. We need to acknowledge that there’s ‘not enough public space to do the public work culture needs”. After all, guess who’ll be the first ones to complain about a culture deficit? Us.

So for the love of all things without boundaries can we inspire, support, nourish, develop and maintain our public spaces and remember they are for the people by the people, not by ourselves for ourselves.

P.S. had experienced my first and only technical difficulty during Session 5: Internationalism but I love how engaged the standby punk-poet Henry Raby had me from his infectious high energy right from the get-go with his spoken word. Even with hindsight, I’m still pretty sure his slip up was staged – he pulled that one off with amazing craft. I loved his energy and I’m ashamed to say part of me was sad once I found out he was just providing mid-technical-fault entertainment for York.

P.P.S no seriously, he deserves some credit: http://www.facebook.com/HenryRabyPoetry

Sunday Roundup

Books/Comics, Bristol, Music, Performance, Poetry, Roundup, Theatre


It’s time to meet your hosts for this week’s sunday roundup… DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince!


Charlie CT:

Went to go see The Rememberers at Arnolfini yesterday which was part of the poetry festival. It was a really cool mix of graphic novel, Hip Hop, storytelling and live music. check it out (ignore the date at the beginning it’s an old video).

The Ammerdown Experience w/ Salaam Shalom

Meditation, Nature, Reflection, Roundup


Over the course of 5 days, Maz, Emma and I took part in a residential courtesy of Salremadelogobestressstxtsmalleraam Shalom, an organisation keen to promote dialogue of all kinds between young people. I went to Ammerdown with an open mind, even to the Buddhist meditation which left me as I was – uptight and tentative. Still, I’ll try anything once except incest and morris dancing, though watching Russell Peters draws the line somewhere near the former. I think of ‘atheist’ as a shoddy word often inexorably linked with ‘materialist’ and ‘pessimist’, but would never protest if bundled under that label. It’s just simply not that I don’t believe in God(s), but that I don’t know or claim to know the mind of this deity, knowledge I view as man-made and positively unattainable.

I find my beliefs are largely unmoved, but through the Salaam Shalom programme I am all the more richer culturally. It was utterly fascinating to be a part of a Passover seder meal, which involves an analogical meal – including mellow Israeli wine – and the joint, jaunty singing of songs in Hebrew. A highlight was the opening of the front door for Elijah’s spirit to join the table and help himself to a modest meal laid out in Judaica porcelain, after 5 seconds of which a young boy declared ‘He’s not here!’, followed by many a ‘Perhaps there was nowhere to park’ joke.

Everybody in our group engaged well in debates, with one comment often sparking off a thought in someone else, and so on. The times I learnt the most was listening to others, and trying to absorb a simulacrum of the way they see the world: impossible, but interpersonal understanding is one of our better traits. Still, I found myself often immersed in dialectics of one kind or another throughout the residential, whether with seven other people or just in my own head. I never felt trapped at Ammerdown, only liberated; no question was too contentious, no belief dismissible. Ultimately, this journey nicely coincides with my timely discovery of the work of Graham Greene, specifically his beautiful novel The Heart of the Matter which at one point states:

‘How often, he thought, lack of faith helps one to see more clearly than faith.’

– Tom

Ammerdown was a really trying and self evaluating time for me personally, with hindsight I can now appreciate how it has helped me refocus certain aspects of my life.

In particular, our Wednesday morning spiritual reflection session was led by John Preston on Buddhism. Funnily enough, with my Christian background, you wouldn’t have initially expected this Buddhism session to be the one that got to me the most, as opposed to the other Christianity-based sessions earlier on in the week. However I appreciate the fact my lack of familiarity with Buddhism; the concept, beliefs, et cetera; engaged me all the more.

The session was fragmented, with the first section consisting of Preston discussing his life; from being a senior Social Services manager, a counsellor, a lecturer in adult education to his five years of training as a monk at a Buddhist meditation monastery to his current life. Afterwards we had a brief discussion which included asking him our own questions. His honesty and consciousness to not feign being omniscient as if he had all the answers is why I hold him in high esteem because it’s so refreshing to experience such candour.

The last part of the session was a meditation led by John (feels weird calling him Preston, first name basis guys!). I’ve always wanted to successfully meditate but living the city life you never seem to get the chance to and this just seemed like the perfect opportunity. Once we got going I really noticed the Achilles heel of my meditation efforts – my impatience. John’s breathing exercises seemed to go on for so long but what I’ve realised is the meditation worked then for a reason, he seriously knew what he was doing. When I reflect on the actual meditation part it’s hard to describe it. But if I had to pick three words: clarity, consciousness, free.

And it’s the best thing I’ve felt in a long while.

– Emma Blake M.

People. Caring, considerate people everywhere. Ammerdown was an awesome experience for me. I truly loved spending my five days there and spending it with people who I, whether or not I knew them before, developed such a strong bond with. Obviously, it was good to even just get away from Bristol for a while and reflect. Courtesy of Salaam Shalom, we participated in three days worth of workshops and activities (and vegetarian meals), all of which I took something from, whether it was due to the actual activities or the debates they provoked. I felt comfortable during these group discussions and as a result of this, I probably expressed my opinions more confidently than ever before. When I truly felt the love and bond we shared for each other was when I fell ill and everyone seemed so concerned and kept asking me if I was okay. When it came to it, there was someone holding a bucket and reassuring me while I puked. Surprisingly, no-one ran away and I never felt embarrassed.

The final day was very interesting as it consisted of a poetry slam competition (organised by Shagufta Iqbal). For the competition we were put into pairs where we had to put together a poem and perform it. We were judged on our writing skills, performance and audience response. It was nice to end with us collaborating and creating something physical, something everlasting (hopefully) in a way, and then showcasing it to each other. Even when I looked at the program before getting there, this poetry day had intrigued me; I knew I would leave me feeling better equipped to write, even if it was only me discovering Polarbear, and it did. It’s at Ammerdown where I wrote my first ever, what I would call, “official poem”. Being given a broken apple, that someone had been throwing around, to write about, this is what I came up with:

Ever since seven or eight,
They told him: “Oh boy, you better have your five a day
You see it keeps the devil away,
Yes you better have your five a day,
‘Cause it keeps you from going astray.”
But he found that even when he put his forehead to the ground, illness and death still came to play,
Still they say: “Oh boy, you better have your five a day,
You see it keeps the devil away,
Yes, you better have your five a day,
‘Cause it keeps you from going astray.”
But hey! What’s so wrong with those who don’t believe the same???
The more he thought about it, the more he raged,
As a result, he never makes time to pray,
In frustration, he picks up one of his five a day and throws at the wall which breaks away,
This makes him say: “I can still be fit and healthy, without five a day!”

Also, I can’t forget to mention the awesome last night we had. It was probably the first time I’ve danced to bhangra music in front of an audience. Sadly though, the videos of this were accidentally deleted.

– Maz Shar

Salaam Shalom’s Website, Twitter & Facebook.

Sunday Round-Up: London Trip

Music, Performance, Poetry, Roundup, sculpture

Yesterday, a group of Young Arnolfini members visited Standpoint Gallery in London to take part in a 2-hour workshop with Duchamp & Sons. The workshop was centred around the Bobby’s Recital exhibition currently being held at the gallery, and touched upon things such as the creative use of musical instruments, sound, language and words.

Here are some of our experiences/highlights of this trip:


One of the things that caught my eye as soon as I walked into the gallery space was the presence of a prepared grand piano, with coloured egg-shells resting on the strings. We talked briefly during the workshop about the strange effect that static instruments have in a space; such as instruments left on stage after a performance, or a piano that nobody plays in a household. I liked the way the piano was presented both as an instrument for performance and as a sculpture.


I was really interested in the possibilities of a prepared piano, and how artists such as John Cage experiment with music. Below is an example of a prepared piano being played:


I was really interested in the elements of performance within the work of the two artists who were running the workshop; Bryony Gillard and Jenny Moore. After seeing some of their work we were invited to take part in tasks.

Bryony had us experiment with words, playing a game of consequences with random sentences, the results of which were often quite surreal and poetic. Unfortunately I think someone picked mine up by mistake, otherwise I’d post some. Then we worked with the piano to see how words sounded once spelt on the piano.

Jenny’s part of the workshop involved the group collaborating to produce a radio show. This one is harder to explain, but the were no rules, only a set of suggestions. As the work developed my group ended up working towards a specific goal, which was translating the sounds of a guitar through phone signals, a toy megaphone and finally the camera’s recording equipment.

The experience gave me lots to consider. I’m starting my final project soon and have been considering moving into performance and video art, and the workshop allowed me to see other artistic methods and results. Overall I really enjoyed the whole day and really look forward to working with Duchamp & Sons in the future!


A poem compiled sentence by sentence from Young Arnolfini and Duchamp & Sons:

I ran down the narrow empty path,
In need of summer sun,
It didn’t matter anyway so I just left and went home,
As long as I get my kiss…