One of the #BarbicanPoets is performing at Pascale Petit’s Poetry from Art showcase @Tate Modern next Mon, 18.45. Let’s support. Go Greer!
Just nominated NutshellMail for Best Social Media Management Tool http://mash.to/2ImZn #MashableAwards
"I sat for a moment, staring at my knees as I tried / to put broad, wide images / into small, tidy words." – Joel Craig: http://j.mp/aoqADx
RT @susanatango: In case you weren’t at RAP at Albany, u missed Nii Parkes, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Charlie Dark & other stars re-shaping the …
If you had to list your all time favourite Hip-Hop tunes? Rhythm and Poetry Party at the Albany TONIGHT. My list here: http://bit.ly/9XvdCA
I’ve just about recovered from the tech outage (iMac purring away nicely) in time to get my head together for this evening’s gig - Rhythm and Poetry Party, curated by spoken word wunderkind Inua Ellams. with the stage shared between Charlie Dark, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, PolarBear, Breis, Gemma Weekes, Musa Okwonga, Joshua Idehen, Zena Edwards, Kate Tempest and yours truly, we each get to perform a Hip-Hop inspired poem and introduce two of our all-time favourite tracks. Should be a nice night.
As you can imagine, selecting two Hip-Hop tracks was like chasing your own tail. So many classic tunes float up from memory, but after reminiscing about tracks I liked or tracks that meant specific things to me, I also started to question representation. What about the female emcees in my listening library? Is British Hip-Hop represented in my selection? Am I selecting tracks for lyrical brilliance or sheer neck-breaking “move yer ass” appeal? And some of those tracks I used to bounce to were never that politically correct, even though they sounded so good… It was a tough choice, and from the shortlist I was asked to submit, I have no idea what’s been chosen. So here are a few that I would have pushed forward, if I had the chance. These are in in specific order, and are chosen for a range of different reasons. Parental advisory warning: explicit lyrics contained in some of the tracks listed. Kids - cover your ears…
Silver Bullet - 20 Seconds To Comply
Oh yes - him with the iconic Robocop sample. Did I know what he was saying half the time? No. I went with this one for sheer energy. Why was so much British Hip-Hop so abrasive?
Kobolt 60 - Concrete Show
“Having no style is a style of its own…”
For sake of disclosure, the production half of this duo lived over the road from me - he was my DJs big brother. We borrowed some of his records and equipment for some of our early tracks. This was on one side of their only release, but it was inspiring to see our people making things happen. ‘Sup, Sean?
Crooklyn Dodgers - Crooklyn
“I come from the ville and never ran / damn”
You can spot all the original heads in the party when they strike a perfectly synchronised running pose at this point in the track. Special Ed, Masta Ace, Buckshot - golden age Hip-Hop… To a British born Caribbean kid, tracks like this turned Brooklyn into a mythical, holy place…
The Roots - Leonard I-V / Good Music
Neither of these are tracks I’d instantly reach for when thinking about The Roots (Love of My Life, Double Trouble, maybe…) but this is the sound I remember them for from back in the day - the original Hip-Hop band…
Pharcyde - Hey You
Every album had its popular tracks and its unsung classics. This is one of those for me. Of course, the Pharcyde produced a number of laudable joints - including She Said, Drop, Runnin’ Away, Passin’ Me By… Hold on, did I just squeeze in a Pharcyde megamix there? Sue me…
Mos Def - Umi Says
Not strictly speaking a Hip-Hop tune - in the regard that it’s sung rather than spoken - but it’s a stunning piece of work from a multifaceted artist, and a beautiful example of what Hip-Hop is capable of.
And there’s so much more I want to point towards - Jeru, Smif n’ Wessun, Gangstarr, Brand Nubian, Sage Francis, Antipop, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Bahamadia, and then some…
See you tonight?
RT @charlesbeckett: At last, London has its own 826. Props to Ben and Lucy for making it happen @Mini_Stories – volunteer here http://ww …
Oh, and by the way - I reached the milestone of 1000 posts here two posts back. That’s not much for you image-toting reblog galleries, but I’m feeling like a grand old Tumblr veteran right now. It only took me three years to get here…
Party in my blog post!
I’m not the gamer I used to be. Much as I’d like to maintain my “finger on the pulse of all things at the intersection of tech and pop culture”, my Xbox hasn’t had been thrown so much as a sideways glance over the past few months. And I have to say, the concept of gaming on the iPhone never captured my imagination. Touch screen faux-sticks and buttons just don’t appeal. What I get excited about, however, is the way that new UI challenges push innovations in gameplay. I recently fell in love with Strategery (turn based strategy game of map domination), and I flirt with Osmos, ShotShotShoot, Fieldrunners and Spirits every now and then, but 3 Degrees of Wikipedia is the first “game” that tickles my impulses for gaming AND gaining knowledge simultaneously.
The challenge is to solve connection puzzles - how to hop from a beginning point (Wikipedia entry) to an end point with one resting place in between, using only the links contained with the pages. You can create your own problems and submit them for other people to solve, track your “enlightenment” via Twitter and/or Facebook, and did I say that it looks beautiful? Like “I could stare at you for hours” kind of beautiful?
If I had a kid, this would be mandatory on their iPhone. Of course, by the time my future child is old enough to own a mobile device like an iPhone, the contemporary equivalent of a smartphone will probably be subcutaneous. Ah well.
#BarbicanPoets were on fire last night. Fibonacci poems to warm up, then hardcore crit. Analytical Mind awards to Ayesha (1st) & Max (2nd).
An update about my new tech setup, and a little hint about why you haven’t been seeing so much of me lately – see here: http://ow.ly/3aIxT
Not quite stellar, methinks. I might be able to concede to the status of “planetary body”, perhaps - a moon, reflecting the light of stars like you…
(Seriously though, thanks much. You know the love is mutual)
I’m now the proud owner of a 21” iMac. I went for the entry level model, since I’ve already spent far too much on tech hardware over the past 10 months, and really, it’s as powerful as I need it to be. Sure, it’s only a Core i3 3.06 Gigawhachumacallums, but since my last workhorse was a 2 year old entry level 15” MacBook Pro that would have done me fine if it weren’t for a dodgy logic board, I really don’t have any chip-envy about any of the other available models. It has that new computer smell, a clean, untouched surface, and I’m skipping right past the migration assistant that automatically copies everything over from your old computer (or backup on an external hard drive, in my case). I’d accumulated far too much junk on my old machine, and I really don’t want any of it back. This is akin to starting over with a fresh new canvas - I’m grabbing only the bits I need from the old hard drive, and moving forward lean and mean.
This is the first desktop machine I’ve owned in something like 6 years, and while I still appreciate the flexibility of being able to pick up a laptop, hit a coffee shop, amenable arts centre or other open venue with free wifi and get serious work done, I’m actually quite looking forward to putting a rein on things. It’s far too easy for the obsessive worker in me to burn hours away plugging away in front of the screen. Now, there’s something attractive about having my serious work on a computer tied to one main location, something that, in a perverse way, is liberating.
Of course, having said that, the two old MacBook Pros that died, ushering in the past few weeks of tech-lessness? The working parts will eventually be salvaged and stuck together as a working FrankenBook (display/screen and hard drive from one, plus the rest from the other), so if I really want/need to be a road warrior, I can go there. Also, since this iMac setup comes with a wireless keyboard included, the iPad just became about 100% more useful as a mobile machine. Big win. And although I talk about getting away from the screen at the end of a working day, I’ve got a dream vision of toiling away writing late into the night with this new machine. My December schedule is dedicated to making that vision real…
In other news, if you’ve made it past all the geek bits, I spent the morning in a cemetery discussing options for graves - final interment of Pops’ ashes, and Mum’s future resting place. There’s something admirable in the old Caribbean pragmatism around these kinds of things. I remember Mum prepping me with details for what to do just in case the worst happened even when I was a kid. Today, she staked out a plot near Uncle Lorris and Aunt Edna in Grove Park. She joked - if the neighbours complain about hearing a guitar, it’ll be me and Aunt Edna singing under the willow tree, and commented on how light she felt about knowing where she’d be, near loved ones, and how happy Pops would be to be there too. I’m not sure when Aunt Edna passed, and Mum hasn’t picked up a guitar in years. There’s something I need to write about death and deterioration of people you love. The way the Parkinson’s in my aunt’s hands made my name illegible in the last Christmas card she sent me. The way my mother can’t take the stairs without pain. The oncoming tremor in her voice. These things that catch up with us all. There’s something I want to write, but I don’t yet have the words. Soon. Maybe.