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Before I go on holiday

August 5, 2011

Thought I would reflect on what’s been happening at City Chameleon before going on holiday.

First, best wishes go out to the poetic twiglet that is Byron Vincent recover well my son.

City Chameleon has been doing O.K. over the last few months and I have been talking to a wide range of people about projects.

Autumn this year look out for:

Word of Mouth at Bristol Old Vic will see Dizraeli, Molly Naylor and Luke Kennard entertaining crowds in Bristol. At The Thunderbolt we will be opening our doors to let some of Bristol’s other poetry promoters showcase some of the artists they have been working with.

I have also been organising Writers’ talk for Bristol Central Library – 4 October sees Courttia Newland (below left) reading from his new collection of short stories “a book of blues” and in conversation with Dr. Edson Burton. 25 October will see Gary Younge (below right), Guardian journalist and author, talking about the issues in his latest book “Who Are We: and does it matter in the 21st century”. Check City Chameleon website for booking details.

In November I’m dead excited about “Seasoned” performing at The Tobacco Factory in the Brewery.

courttiaGary Younge









I have also been talking to a number of writers about projects for spring next year, more on those in the near future, just to say they range from biographies to poetry anthologies.

Gorilla’s in our midst

July 10, 2011

gorillaWith Steph and Reba of to Priddy, Ben and I had to fill our day in Bristol. After drama we went gorilla hunting. We got a map and went hunting. It took us to places in Bristol I had not been to with Ben before. We went into the Mariott Hotel took a picture of the gorilla and looked around, never would have gone there if not for the gorilla. The hardest one to find was at Temple Square. It was no where near the spot on the map. We started at 2.30 and got home at 8.00. We have just over half the gorillas photographed and are hunting for more.

Opportunities to promote live literature in Bristol

July 1, 2011

Meeting at Bristol Central Library today. The date for the Courttia Newland event may have to change. I have to email him to see if it is possible. If he wants to go ahead on that date it’s fine, just Munwar won’t be there.

They also want me to organise another event in October as well. It should be possible, I just don’t want it to take up more than 1.5 days as I have other projects to deliver.

I’m pleased word is getting out that I am willing to organise events and design books and magazines for others and not just doing my own projects. Part of the idea behind City Chameleon was to create access to print and provide literature services for groups and organisations.

For the second library event I have more say in the writer. Courttia is a great choice for a first writer and has set the bar. It will be tough to maintain that level, but, I am sure I can do it.

Working for the future

June 27, 2011

A lot of work has to go into Seasoned to get it ready for November. The organisation of it has now the actuality of it has to be done. The image looks amazing. Will have to possibly design the font but it will all be together.

Got a small commission for Central Library organising a reading by Courttia Newland in September. This has come about because of Word of Mouth and the other events I’m organising people want to work with me to promote their events.

I will have to factor this into the overall business plan. How I can provide a full event organisation and promotion management.

There are lots of side services I can provide, so long as they do not affect the core service provision.

Spreading the word

March 3, 2011

It feels like I spent all of today improving systems to market events, marketing events, distributing flyers and telling people about our next event. Which is great, but it means I have not done much reflection on last’s gig.

Ian Sills and Shaun McCrindle worked really well as a programme. Their humour and style were complimentary and the quality was high.

Ian is a poet who wants to be a rock star and Shaun is a rock star who wants to be a poet. It had all the elements that make a good Word of Mouth evening (a part from the audience numbers).

Ian and Shaun, I’m sure are going to help each other out if not work together. I met Mike Gartside who was in the audience and got introduced to him. Audience members chatted to the artists and each other and enjoyed it.

The events at the Thunderbolt always have a great vibe. So satisfying when people love what you do as much you do.

January round up

January 29, 2011

This month has ended on a more positive note than I had expected at the start of the year.

Word of Mouth:

At the Thunderbolt with Alan Clayson was wonderful and insightful his biography of Jacques Brel had passion and admiration but was also honest. The chanson renditions to show his work had an extraordinary emotional effect on the audience.

At Bristol Old Vic we are building an evening that blows all expectations, we have provided a high standard of quality, challenging work. The last 3 events have shown what performance can be and where it can go.

When I feel low about the effort it takes to keep City Chameleon going I think about the artists we have put on at Word of Mouth and the inspiration their work is to audiences, fellow artists and myself and it helps to keep me moving forward.

It is not easy – this year City Chameleon will need to find more support and generate more income than ever before, but I still feel in my heart, mind and soul it is worth it.

Work life balance

December 6, 2010

Trying to ignore everything that has been happening to focus on making City Chameleon work, is impossible. The only hting to do is take one step at a time.

There is so much to look forward to with the projects planned, but it still needs one step at a time to make it all happen. One step at a time is all I can manage at the moment.

Thursday night will be great I have confidence in everyone involved in it. It will be inspirational, I admire the work I’ve seen of all the artists involved. Just need to make sure I keep the balance healthy.

Kate Tempest and Ben Mellor

December 2, 2010

Everything is in readiness for 9th December, Word of Mouth at Bristol Old Vic.

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest is doing great stuff at the moment and this will be a chance for Bristol to see her in a way she has not performed here before. Coming on the back of her work with the RSC it should be a great gig.

Kate’s rapid-fire lyrics encapsulate urban life. While she’s not one to shy away from telling it exactly how it is, her words are moving and inspiring with an electric delivery that whips across the stage.

“Her works are truly of upliftment and betterment” Roots Manuva

Kate has performed consistently and comprehensively since she began rapping in battles at 16 making a name for herself in the UK hip hop, spoken word and live music scenes. In New York she won the NU-Yorican Poetry Café Slam. She has performed at Glastonbury, supported for John Cooper Clarke at the Leeds Weekender, received a standing ovation at Latitude, and played all the major festivals. She has performed her poetry several times on Spoken Word Surgery on Radio 1 and also had her Sound Of Rum songs played on Radio 1. Steven Merchant invited her onto his BBC6 Music show for a live session and interview after seeing her perform.

Ben Mellor

Ben Mellor

Ben Mellor is going to go down a storm. His work shows what the spoken word can do in theatre.

Simply one of the UK’s most charismatic spoken word artists, Ben’s poems pack an entertaining but thought-provoking punch that transfixes audiences around the country.

A pure undiluted talent. Concentrated.” Lemn Sissay

BBC Radio 4 National Slam Champion 2009, Ben has performed his work at venues and events including Contact Theatre, the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude Festival, the RSC’s New Work Festival and Kathmandu International Theatre Festival. The Latitude Festival, dubbed him ‘one of the country’s biggest emerging talents’.

He has spent a six month residency at Contact Theatre, and also performs hip-hop music with a group called Freestyle Mondays. His current set is inspired by a recent ‘bicycle odyssey’ around Britain, researching social responses to climate change and issues of sustainability.

Shagufta K Iqbal

Shagufta K Iqbal

Shagufta K Iqbal is ready for national profile and she will hold her own in this line up.

One of Bristol’s most individual spoken word artists. She has been actively involved in the poetry scene since 2000 and has performed at numerous venues around Bristol including the Bristol Old Vic, the Arnolfini and the Cube. She performed at the 2006 & 2007 Bristol Poetry Festivals and was a member of the Bristol team in the Bristol vs Paris Slam.

“A mellifluous spoken word performer, Shagufta constantly draws in her audience with her strong and innate sense of theatricality.” Sharon Clark

“Iqbal is a story–teller, you may call it lying, but really it is another way of looking at the world in which we inhabit and trying to make sense of it. Her work explores what it means to be a woman in a multi-cultured modern day Britain, what it means to be human and how we communicate the emotions that govern our everyday lives.”

Byron Vincent is a true professional and a passionate performer. Behind the scenes he has just as much commitment, passion and professionalism. He deserves every once of praise that is heaped on him. He is also very funny.


Address the balance

November 10, 2010

Building up a business is all about balance. Focusing on the office and administration means less time on projects and networking. More time on projects and networking means the office and administration goes to pot. Too much time on work means less time with family, too much time with family means less to on work. I always thought that when people said to me “going into business/leadership was about facing your fears.” They were talking bolocks, but it has proven to be true. I think I’m coming out the other side of it all but I won’t know for definate for another 10 years.

Live performance and future plans

November 3, 2010

City Chameleon has had a busy summer and a hectic start to the autumn. Performance is taking over Word of Mouth is making its presence felt in Bristol. The Thunderbolt is WoM’s home and now we are working in partnership with Bristol Old Vic and looking forward to the future.

I’m improving the internal systems to make things more efficient and talking to individual artists and arts organisations about future projects. It is looking good but in these tough times I have to keep and EYE on everything.

Tonight Word of Mouth is hosting the ShedFest anthology launch, I will drink beer and relax.