One Foot in the Rave is coming to Nottingham!

Hello! I have some exciting news. I’m bringing some award winning spoken word theatre to Nottingham on 17th April, if you fancied popping down.

One Foot In The Raveย is the debut verse play from performance poet Alexander Rhodes. The show is an energetic mix of agony and total ecstasy. Set to a backdrop of remixed club classics, Alexander moves effortlessly between the characters and scenes, delivering the chemical highs and pitiful lows.

Supported by DIY Poets.

Friday 17th April, @ City Arts, Nottingham. Doors 7.30pm, show starts at 8pm.

Tickets are ยฃ10 / ยฃ8 concessions, available from here: https://city-arts.org.uk/event/15302/one-foot-in-the-rave/

You can read more about the show here: https://www.alexanderrhodes.me.uk/#one-foot-in-the-rave

The play is magnificent, full of twists, turns, emotion and 90s classics. This is the biggest event I’ve put on to date, so it’d be great if it was a sell out.

Maybe see you there ๐Ÿ™‚

Trying to Write Every Day

I’m trying to write every day this year, even if it’s just for ten minutes or while the kettle is boiling (I have a really rubbish kettle, it takes ages). It’ll be interesting to see what happens in my mind as the year goes on. Will it flourish? will it burn itself out? Time will tell.

This is one of the early poems to come out some of these days.

## Big Book Announcement ##

I’m super happy to let you know that my first book, The Prettyboys of Gangster Town, is going to be released in September 2020 through Fly on the Wall Poetry.

You can read all about my collection here.

It feels great that a press like Fly on the Wall wanted to publish me. They’re a wonderful press and a great match for the poems in my collection.

To have your manuscript described as ” This collection was easy to fall in love with. Honest, hard-hitting, understated and with an endearing style of writing.” also makes me really happy.

There’s lots to be done, but we’ll make sure that every single part of every single poem is as good as it can be.

I hope that you’ll enjoy the book as much as I do, so let me know if I can put you down for a copy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks to @at.the.poetry (Insta, Fb) for the image.

Happy National Poetry Day!

What better way to celebrate than by being a magician at the Poetry Funfair, tonight at Nottingham Playhouse. There will be poetry hook a duck, poetry fortune telling, poetry magicians and much more, followed by performances by some of the UK’s top spoken word artists. It’s going to be magic!

Poetry can take you to some fun, interesting and unusual places, but especially to things you’d never normally take part in, except as a punter. Long may it continue ๐Ÿ™‚

Squiggles and Sounds

Hello ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to be posting on here more regularly from now on. In the meantime, here’s a video of me from the World Jam Anthology book launch at Peggy’s Skylight in April 2019. Better late than never, right!

The anthology showcases poems in many different languages, from first and second language English speakers who have made Nottingham their home. The poem is a celebration of language, of how our different ways to say the same stuff can unite us. I hope you like it! If you don’t, then apologies for wasting 102 seconds of your time.

Thanks to John Berry for filming.

You can find WorldJam and the book on facebook at @worldjampoetryandmusic.

Happy World Poetry Day!

Happy World Poetry Day! Here’s a poem I wrote about a busy Berlin intersection. I hope you enjoy it. Most places have beauty in them if you choose to find it, even if it’s not obvious with a quick look.
PS: I’ll try to update this blog a little more often from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

States of Mind

I made some big changes earlier this year, so I could spend more time on all things poetry. I don’t regret it for a moment, but changes come with difficulties, some expected and some not. I thought I’d write about how I’ve learnt from the mistakes I’ve made and the problems I’ve had, on the off chance it can help anyone else.

 

Routine
Having some time is amazing, but there’s often no-one to prod me if I’m not making use of it. I’ve learnt to treat my free time like a 9 to 5 job. It forces me to get up early and do something, whether it’s writing, practising, learning, organising events or whatever, because at first I wasted far too much time being lazy. It’s amazing what difference some discipline can make to your poems.

 

Procrastination
I also spent way too long doing things I thought would allow me to do what I should be doing. The attitude that you’ll just get this done first only leaves you with more random stuff to do first. I try to make time for poetry every day now, even if it’s just fifteen minutes to do a writing exercise. There will always be faff to do, but it can often wait more than your poems can or even combine with them. Why not learn your lines while cleaning the bathroom? Some people can do a lot more than I’m doing in much less time, because they’re much better than me at getting on with it. Thankfully, I’m finally getting better at this!

 

What am I doing?
It can be a shock when you first break out of your comfort zone. I went from knowing what I was doing, or at least thinking I did, to processing loads of things I didn’t understand, tax codes, extremely blunt feedback, events going wrong, lots more rejections, feeling way out of my depth. They can make you lose confidence in what you’re doing and I did for a while, but I got it back. Things not going to plan are just things to consider for next time. Poems or manuscripts being negatively judged can help you see the flaws in your own work. Someone giving advice on how to improve your delivery can make you a better performer. Nobody improves without making mistakes and sometimes feeling like they’re not good enough. It’s a rite of passage, but only if you stay confident and keep going for it.

 

I’m not achieving anything
It’s a very parasitic thought I sometimes have. I had the perfect excuse when I was pacing home from the office bleary eyed at stupid o’clock. I had no time. If I had more time then I’d get to that show, take that opportunity, finish that collection, right? Wrong. Suddenly, I had more time and still wasn’t getting anywhere, because it’s easier to hide behind excuses than confront the reasons why you make them. Things only happen if you make them happen, and initially I wasn’t. In some ways, I’m still not, but then in the last six months I’ve won my first slam, taken part in a couple of big shows, made some videos I’m proud of, made a website, started writing a theatre show, raised some money and food for local charities, gigged in quite a few different cities, met loads of really nice and successful poets and learnt so much about writing and performing. Most of all, I’ve had a lot of support and hope I’ve been able to give some back. I hope I’ve also earnt the respect of some people I really admire. Achievements just takes more time than you think they will, so the bits of positivity can easily get lost in the gaps between them. Soon, I hope to find my way into writing jobs that help other people, instead of make ends meet stuff, but it’ll happen when I’ve made it happen. I encourage anyone reading this to make a list of all the stuff you’ve achieved this year, big and small. It’ll probably be longer than you think.

 

Exhaustion
Working all day and night doesn’t help me achieve stuff any faster. It just takes away my head space and makes me inefficient and stressed. Nobody does their best performance or writes well when they’re exhausted or can’t think straight. I’ve learnt to mix up my writing with decent mental breaks, to exercise a lot, to make healthy meals, to drink enough water and to try and sleep properly each night. I don’t want to ruin myself for something I enjoy, it’s much better to work efficiently than work all the time.

 

I should give up
Another very parasitic thought I sometimes have, but no, I shouldn’t. True, I have a lot of poetry things to achieve, but I’m chipping away at them bit by bit. I choose to build myself up with what went well and learn from what didn’t. It’s self reflection, which is more powerful than self criticism. Our minds are often our own worst enemies, especially with what we really value. Mine is, anyway. I’ve spent a long time learning how to coach mine, to recognise its trigger points and learn how to overcome them. Knowing your trigger points really helps you manage the destructive emotions that can creep in, poetry or otherwise.

 

If you’ve read this far then I hope it you got something out of it. I don’t know if any of this was inciteful or not, or whether I’m just really late to the party. I just wanted to write it, so I did. Maybe it’s just another form of procrastination. Either way, good luck with whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.

It’s Been Quite a Month

Well, August has been a goodun. I’m a bit knackered, if I’m honest, but also full of ideas for new poems. After a July that was mostly spent setting stuff up, learning a lot about writing and finally losing my dealing with editors cherry, it was nice to spend a month really getting on with writing and performing.

Me and Julian have been busy writing our From the Word Go stage show, which is really good fun to make, coming together slowly and will be revealed when it’s ready.

Chapter and Verse, our monthly open mic, is taking shape nicely. Our second event was like Terminator 2 to the the first Terminator, with great headline sets from Martin Dean and Two Seda, but we’re hoping that our next event on 1st September will be way better than Terminator 3. Head down to Jam Cafe, Nottingham on 1st September, 4:30pm to 7pm, for the next one. If you have a project or book launch you think we’d be interested in then feel free to drop us a message too, as we like all that stuff.

After a quick trip down South to see Avebury Ring, the largest stone circle in the world (it’s way better than Stonehenge, by the way), I spent a week up at the Edinburgh Fringe. I met lots of lovely and successful poets, wrote and recorded a poem from Arthur’s Seat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzRvse5C8G0), performed at the most excellent Other Voices and managed to get into heat 3 of the BBC Edinburgh Slam. I was promoted from reserve poet at about ten minutes notice and knocked out in the first round of the heat, but it was fantastic to be part of it. I definitely didn’t take the no-show guy to a dodgy chicken shop. Definitely not. Watching the final in the big BBC tent in front of nearly 400 people, that was other worldly good. One day I’ll be on that stage. This year was all about getting myself out there and seeing as many shows as possible, next year I hope to have my own show and have a bunch of feature slots at other people’s events.

I’ll be out and about around the East Midlands over the next few weeks, with at least three feature slots confirmed. Have a look at my Live page if you fancy popping down. I’ll also be working hard to untangle the mess that is the massively conflicting feedback on my book manuscript, trying to write some new pieces and working more on our stage show. Exciting times.

You can find all my projects by clicking on the Links tab. Feel free to give any of it a like or a follow if you like what I do.

Take care all ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

I Should Have Said Something, my new video now on YouTube

Brand new on YouTube is myย second video from The Revolution Sessions, a series of videos from poems in my forthcoming book. If you want to follow my channel then just head toย www.youtube.com/martingreypoet.

“I Should Have Said Something” is about a couple I overheard on a train and the internal conflict it can give you when you hear nasty and incoherent things, but aren’t sure how to confront them in the moment.

Their conversation got a lot worse than the stuff referenced in the poem, but I chose not to quote the really bad bits, even though it’s from a critical perspective. We’re all entitled to our views, but ignorance and malice get us nowhere.

I hope you enjoy it. As always, constructive feedback is always welcome.

Video filmed and edited by the most excellent Roseanna Escobar-Byrne.