Wednesday, 18 October 2017

'Here Be Dragons' EP 4 'Watling Street' podcast out today...




🎧 Good Morning!

Why not start your day today by exploring the wonderful world of Watling Street with John Higgs ‘Here Be Dragons’ Ep 4 of Watling Street podcast up now on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com 

This series of 4 programmes features great conversations, history, geography, myths, magic, poetry and story telling from John Higgs, David Bramwell, Cerys Matthews, Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair, DJ Greg Wilson and many, many more. I've been commissioned to write a poem for this podcast and you’ll find me in Ep 4. Go to iTunes now and seek it out, it’s got to be good for your soul to start the day with connections to our dreams and histories...






WATLING STREET

Poem for John Higgs - 'Pessimism Is For Lightweights' 


Think of those that marched Watling Street before
And those that will tread here in years to come
The road in shadow and the road in the sun
The road before us and the road all done
History is watching us and what will we become

This road is of flags and milestones
Immigrant blood and sweat and tears
Built these cities, built this country and
Made Watling Street last all these years

Watling Street is made of protest
And those not permitted to vote
The people that are still fighting to speak
With a boot stamping on their throat

Pessimism is for lightweights
Watling Street is not clear nor straight
But I believe living is about living true
and love will conquer hate

When you lose something
You retrace your steps until you find it again
And Watling Street is older than history
Times of gods and witches and dragons and noblemen

We live in a time of building walls
But the language has always been the same
Them and us and us and them
Burning bridges in shame and in God's name

But if there is one thing Watling Street teaches us
It's the same cycle with the same blatant flaw
That the rich can only stay rich
By keeping the poor, poor

Every king and queen knows this
All the kings soldiers and all the kings men
But the ghosts of slavery rise up and shout
never say never again

Watling street is paved with blood and conflict
Sometimes just because people wanna scrap
Tearing lives apart, creating division
By drawing borders on a map

We can choose the stories we tell
And the page of history we share
The way we want to be remembered
And if we were dreaming or we were really there

Pessimism is for lightweights
This road is never a straight white line
It's the bumps and curves and obstacles
That make Watling Street yours and mine

Pessimism is for lightweights
We're under fire, bombarded like hail stones
Every morning more negativity
Buzz buzz buzzing in our iPhones

Ah yes, the future is so bleak
There is no point marching to Downing Street
But they want you to feel powerless
So get up and out and on your feet

Pessimism is for lightweights
Watling street is not easy or straight
But living is all about living alive
and love will conquer hate

But there so much magic in having optimism
To have faith and to stay true to you
Because if you can look in the mirror
And have belief and promise you

Will share wonder in living things
Beauty, dreams, books and art
Love your neighbour and be kind
And have an open heart

Then you're already winning at living
You speak up, you show up and stand tall
It is silence that is complicit
It's apathy that hurts us all

Pessimism is for lightweights
Don't eat low-hanging bitter fruit
Pessimism is for lightweights
Put all that doubt on mute

Pessimism is what pessimism does
Feeds all the negatives because
As long as you're feeding ignorance and fear
There's no need to imagine a better world dear

To believe in love takes balls and heart and guts
If you can keep your head, whilst the rest of the world goes nuts
Shoulder to shoulder we fight the same fights as all our parents yesterday
And they didn't silence them and they won't silence us today

Pessimism is for lightweights
Watling Street is not a straight white line
It's the bumps and curves and obstacles
That make Watling Street yours and mine

You must believe in more
Believe love will conquer hate
To sing it loud and clear
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights

Watling Street was never easy and straight
And living is all about living alive and lively
And love will conquer hate





(c) Salena Godden / London 2017
Poem written for John Higgs, 'Watling Street' - First draft 'Pessimism is for lightweights' performed at Corbyn 'For the Many' Gig, Kentish Town Forum July 2017 - This version for broadcast on the Watling Street Podcast.









... COMING UP ...


OCT 18: LONDON, SPEAKY SPOKEY, COLIN GRANT & AFUA HIRSCH


OCT 21: HEBDEN BRIDGE, RACONTEURS DELIGHT 



NOV 19: CHESTER LIT FESTIVAL 

NOV 20: BRISTOL, BLAH BLAH BLAH, WARDROBE THEATRE

NOV 25: LONDON, MASCARA BAR, RISING ZINE LAUNCH



DEC 16: LONDON, CONWAY HALL, ROBIN INCE & FRIENDS












Saturday, 7 October 2017

Autumn 2017, festivals, theatre shows and poetry parties






Autumn 2017

festivals, theatre shows &poetry parties 


OCT 13:  LONDON, SISTER SIZTERLISA LUXX, SABRINA MAHFOUZ, DEANNA RODGERS

OCT 18: LONDON, SPEAKY SPOKEY, COLIN GRANT & AFUA HIRSCH


OCT 21: HEBDEN BRIDGE, RACONTEURS DELIGHT 



NOV 10: BRIGHTON, COME RHYME WITH MEGRACE NICHOLLS, JAKE WILDHALL

NOV 19: CHESTER LIT FESTIVAL 

NOV 20: BRISTOL, BLAH BLAH BLAH, WARDROBE THEATRE



DEC 16: LONDON, CONWAY HALL, ROBIN INCE & FRIENDS

















Monday, 25 September 2017

'CAHIER AFRICAIN' UK Premiere at Raindance Film Festival, London





Award winning film Cahier Africain UK premiere is at Raindance Film Festival this Wednesday 27th September followed by a Q&A. 'Cahier Africain' is a feature film documentary written and directed by Swiss filmmaker Heidi Specogna. Producers Peter Spoerri and Stefan Tolz. Camera Johann Feindt. Narrator Salena Godden.

"It all started with a small exercise book. The pages were checkered with the courageous testimonies of 300 Central African women, girls and men. They reveal what Congolese mercenaries did to them. On their own initiative, they gathered together their testimonies in this book to record the crimes committed against them...."


It was an honour to be asked to narrate this film. I feel I learned so much from this project. This film has been described as 'Terrifying beautiful' - it is real life in real time, real women, children and men sharing their stories with their own language and voice. It is a film brimming with compassion, glimmering with hope, humanity and spirit. These accounts of war crime are harrowing, Heidi's lens does not shy away from the brutal reality of this world, the effects of conflict and dictatorship, famine and climate change, migration and refugees, however the dignity and platform she gives to these human beings to tell their stories is heart stopping and humane.

I remember the first time I met Heidi Specogna in Berlin for our first recording session. Heidi and I sat in a park by a river and she introduced me to this project. Heidi told me about stumbling upon the story of the school exercise book and how these villagers gathered to collect these testimonies, submitting a photograph and documenting their traumatic experiences to speak up and stand up for themselves and each other. They managed to get this school exercise book out of Central Africa Republic and all the way across the world into the European Court of Human Rights. Heidi followed and filmed this journey for seven years, almost a decade, giving the victims voice.

The women have a saying, Heidi told me, 'courage is a muscle' and this phrase sticks, it still stays with me and close to my heart. Lets encourage each other to work that muscle together and find the courage to end all violence. 

Please try to catch this film if you can, screening on Wednesday 27th September, Raindance Film Festival, VUE West End, Leicester Square, 8.45 pm


'Cahier Africain' premiered at the 2016 Semaine de la Critique of the Locarno Film Festival, where it received the Zonta Club Award. At the prestigious DOK Leipzig 2016 'Cahier Africain' was awarded the Silver Dove. 'Cahier Africain' has also received the 2016 German Human Rights Film Award (Deutscher Menschenrechts-Filmpreis)



#endviolenceagainstwomen 












Monday, 11 September 2017

'RED' launches online today...



RED - the editors choice in The Skinny, read all about it: http://www.theskinny.co.uk 




RED

You should see what I made red
You should see what I made red
You should see my art

Look at my beetroot chutney
Look at me and my soupy pants
You should see me now
On all fours groaning
Rocking back and forth
On my haunches
Breathing into it
Breathing out of it
Clinging to my hot water bottle like a life raft
Low frequency cramps
Punctuated by knitting needle cramps
With extra kick and prick
Like a scissors jab and snip inside my bloody hole

And the product is blackcurrant jelly
Redcurrant syrup

You should see what I made red
You should see what I made red
You should see my art
The sheets, the sheets, the sheets
I made all the sheets red
All the bed a pool of red heat
In the bath there are floating globs
Chunky bloody marmalade
Black cherry vomit
Farmhouse strawberry jam

I'm having a very heavy time man!

But I won't make too much of a fuss
Just leave me here to bleed to death
The last thing we want is any fuss
Just leave me here to drown in my own blood

You should see what I make red
You should see what I made red
Real red and vivid as black cherry juice
Kidneys in my frying pants
My pyjamas are my butchers apron

I used a whole packet of pads in one day
Remarkable!

But if men had periods and I was a man I'd walk into a pub
Throw the empty packet down on the bar and yell
'Hey I am having the biggest one
I used a whole packet in one day!'
And I'd demand free drink
And the pub would all applaud
And the men would slap me on the back for having a big one

In the movie of this month I would be played by Bruce Willis 'Bleed Hard'
Sylvester Stallone 'You drew first blood...'

You should see what I made red
You should see my mess
Have you ever seen such a massive giant period?
Where is it coming from?And when will it ever stop?
All this bleeding bloody blood is mine
I am making it come out somehow

But,
This blood does not come from violence
But my own violent nature
This blood does not come from murder
This blood is not my death
There are no bullets or knives
This is no wound or sickness
This blood is not a weakness
This blood is my moon, my time
This blood is all me

And yet this blood disgusts us the most
More than any blood
More than the blood on the hands of mans bloody war
This blood disgusts us most
This shameful blood, this quiet blood
Shush! Don't mention the lady blood
Shush! Don't mention this discreet blue lady blood

Yet, we must pay tax for this silent blood
Every month we pay tax to bleed
This blood of mine is so very disgusting
Yet also so taxable

And that tax goes to anti abortion charities
We are haemorrhaging women's rights
We are paying to bleed away another woman's choice
That tampon tax goes to battered women's charities
It's blood for blood, bleeding for bloody battered women
We are taxed to bleed to bleed to bleed to bleed...

So fuck you
I'll get my moneys worth
Come see what I paint red
You should see what I made red
Come see, come see what I made red
You should see my mess
The bathroom, the bedroom
Everything is stained with my stink
The whole world I paint it red, red, red
Come see, come see, come look
You should see what I made red

You should see me, see me, see red

"Anything you can do I can do bleeding
I can do anything dripping with blood"




(c) Salena Godden. London / 2017










RED
a new work by Salena Godden


Poem and film donated to the NASTY WOMEN UK major London art show at Stour Space, Hackney Wick, September 22nd-24th 2017

Salena Godden, one of the UK’s most iconic poets, has stepped forward to donate her latest poem RED in a collaboration with Nasty Women UK.

"RED is a poem about periods. RED is about stigma. This is about women's autonomy over their own bodies and their own choices. RED is a protest poem against the tampon tax, anger that sanitary products have been considered a luxury item and therefore taxable. RED is a fury that money from the UK tampon tax is funding anti-abortion charities. I have great admiration for the work of the Nasty Women's global movement and donate this work as an endorsement. We must end all violence against all women in all its forms. We must end the tampon tax. I wish all women to have a bloody safe and bloody healthy period. Period!"

Nasty Women is a global art movement that serves to demonstrate solidarity among artists who identify with being a Nasty Woman in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights. With over 40 events across the globe Nasty Women Exhibitions also serve to support organizations defending these rights and to be a platform for organization and resistance.
The Nasty Women UK inaugural event on 22-24 September is an art exhibition and weekend of talks, comedy, spoken word, live music and workshops. The exhibition includes 2D work, sculpture, sound installations, street art, performance, political baked goods and an immersive art installation where visitors will be able to create their own artwork in Virtual Reality. The exhibition also includes a VR experience that re-creates instances of sexism and street harassment and aims to give men and women a visceral understanding of what it’s really like to be attacked in the street or on public transport just because you are a woman. All artworks will be for sale, with prices ranging from £5 to £500. All proceeds will be donated End Violence Against Women, a leading coalition of specialist women’s support services, researchers, activists, survivors and NGOs working to end violence against women and girls in all its forms.
Salena Godden latest poetry collection, the live spoken word album LIVEwire was released with Nymphs and Thugs and shortlisted for this years prestigious Ted Hughes award. Salena Godden is also one of the contributors to award winning anthology The Good Immigrant. 






The Nasty Women Spoken Word event is on Sunday 24th September. Salena Godden shares the stage with powerful  poets, Lisa Luxx, Michelle Madsen, Maria Ferguson, Sophie Cameron, Michelle Fisher and Claire Trevian among many others. Tickets are £15, this includes entry to this epic Spoken Word event, live music performances plus DJ sets, book your ticket today! See you there!









AUTUMN FESTIVALS AND GIG DATES

SEPT 14: HASTINGS, THE WHOLE SHEBANG - EMMA JOLIFFE

SEPT 16: KIRKCALDY, TAE SUP WI' A FIFER  - JAMES YORKSTON

SEPT 24: NASTY WOMEN EXHIBITION, HACKNEY WICK












RED BY SALENA GODDEN ON YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My85dDqMkDw