What Was it like: Words w/ Friends Launch – Sven Stears

It’s Sunday 5am and I’m awake and actually moving. Ahead of me sits half a day of travel from Bristol to Norwich and back again. Over the next 48 hours I will spend 14 of them on a coach. And probably another 6 wondering around lost. But, between the outbound journey and the return leg is one of the best experiences I’ve had since I started performing poetry 4 years ago. When you see open submission calls on Facebook part of you never expects them to go anywhere. There are a lot of time wasters out there in the poetry world, but between Billy Pilgrim and his cousin, the Heartsease Kid, rarely will you see so much ambition. Not to mention kindness. BPTHK and their family and friends are some of the most open and welcoming people I’ve ever met. From their first hello to their final goodbyes there were smiles on their faces, warmth in their hearts, and drive in their eyes.

Billy Pilgrim and The Heartsease Kid love what they do and they are going to show you. They aligned the resources, got the studio time, found some knockout poets, produced the music, edited the tracks, printed the CDs, had the artwork made, booked the venue, and gathered us all here.

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Sunday night. Norwich. Packed venue. 9 nervous artists. There’s a trepidant air. Few of us have done this before, But then bang. We’re off. No turning back. The open mic’ers are warming the crowd. One by one to whoops and cheers. I’ve not seen Norwich’s poetry before but these guys could give London a run for their money.

Before we know it. It’s our turn. Billy is on stage announcing Tamar is to open the preceedings. She does this with the form and grace you rarely see in someone so young and new to the scene. Minty is second with a weird trip of a poem about hostages and sausages that stabs you with hidden meaning.
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Billy himself is third with a love poem that matches the track in the background so fluidly is clear this isn’t his first rodeo. Now it’s me. I have to be honest I was bricking it. More than when I performed at the Albert hall. This requires perfect timing. But before I even realise it’s over. I’m jumping the stage wishing I could go again as strangers and new friends clap my back.
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Imogen’s Scottish accent rings out behind me and I turn around to her piece marrying beautifully more traditional slam style poetry to the rhythmic lowfi beats. Zoka takes next and rocks a proper lo-fi hip hop poem/rap that has the whole room bopping to his natural rhythm. Piers performs a poem about life between cigarettes that vibrates your heartstrings through the feeling of his words and his deep amazing voice.
A few of us jump up to do second pieces before Ella gets up to do an all-too relatable poem about relationships feeling like scabs. Piers is last to wrap things up with a final piece and a big thank you to the whole room, and an ad-libbed lot of love to Billy, and of course, the Heartsease kid, whose beats the entire night were nothing other than godlike. Lo-fi with kick and retro vibe. Flawless.
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All too soon it’s over. I’m being whisked away from the after party to stay the night with Billy and the Kid’s family, Who are lovely and woke me up with coffee and absynthe. A few short hours later. I’m on the coach home. To soon. Sometimes. When you see open submission calls on Facebook it’s a waste of time. Sometimes 14 hours of travel is nothing but miles you could have missed. But this? This was perfect.
Thank you so much to everyone. To Billy and the kid. To the words with friends artist’s. To Paul and Sharon. To the open Mic’ers. And to everyone who came.
Sven Stears
P.s you can listen to the album (and buy it) from BPTHK’s Bandcamp or you can buy a physical copy of the CD from the Merchandise page.

Words w/ Friends, what to expect – according to Minty Taylor

Words w/ Friends is one of the most interesting, original and fun projects that I have been involved in so far in my performance career. Having grown up playing in angsty punk bands, shouting obscenities at small crowds of sad teenagers and bleeding on my guitar, it’s fair to say that a spoken word poetry meets lo-fi hip-hop mixtape is not the kind of thing I’m used to. Regardless of that, however, this has been one of the coolest projects I’ve known, both for the poetry and the music.

When I went to record my poem for the first Ww/F we were in Southampton. I slept on an airbed in what was then the living room of The Heartsease Kid. It was the first time I’d met THK and things got off to a rough start when we were playing Monopoly and I not only lost pretty badly but completely fucked him over as well, leading Billy Pilgrim to a smug victory. To this day I don’t believe I have been fully forgiven. Below you can listen to Vol I.

And Vol II is even cooler.

The first project was mostly recorded at Southampton Uni and was just a sort of ‘who do we know who writes poems?’ kind of thing. ‘I do,’ I squeaked from somewhere off screen.

This time, however, the boys wanted to do something special. Vol I did not have a call for submissions, nor was there a release gig. It was cool but it was very much a trial run. Vol II is going to be a big one. To the call for submissions came thousands (probably) of replies, all of which were listened to and analysed and reflected upon with such a depth that even the greatest diver in the world would take one look and say ‘nah mate’, until finally it was narrowed down to the best of the best (have I mentioned I’m on it?) to record their poetry at Drill Hall Studios.

Recording this time was an awesome experience. Most of us went to record in a huge one day session, which was a lot of fun in particular because we got to check out each other’s stuff. Everyone sounded so awesome and we even got to mess around with some fun little extra parts (listen out for Tamar Moshkovitz on Zoka’s track). Furthermore, the beats are sick. THK has really done some cool stuff on this one.

Now that everything’s been recorded, we just have one thing left to do: the release gig. On the night of this very Sunday (26th Nov ’17) we’re throwing a party at the Owl Sanctuary in Norwich. There will be a poetry open mic (so if you’re getting all excited and you wanna join in then come on you little tike, pick up the microphone) and then we’re doing a live performance of the mixtape in it’s entirety and you’ll even be able to buy a CD. You lucky kids. You can find more details about the gig here- Words w/ Friends Vol II release event

Check out the BP-THK page. Oh and maybe give my page a little look-see over here – Minty Taylor Facebook

See ya Sunday buddy!

– Minty Taylor

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Spoken Word Introducing: Piers Harrison-Reid

It is less than a week until the release of ‘Words w/ Friends Vol II’, a night of spoken word poetry and digital music in Norwich. You are probably wondering who the man in the moody image above is, and why you’re reading and article about him. Well, we found him at Norwich’s Poetry Collective and naturally we were desperate to have him involved in the project. He is a spoken word poet with outstanding capabilities, but also a very busy human being. Unlike most of our other poets who submitted their work through our Call For Trailblazers, Mavericks and Poets! we bothered Piers until he agreed to free up some time for us. so I bet you wanna know why we love him so much.

Piers Harrison-Reid

Piers Harrison-Reid is a Norwich based Accident and Emergency Nurse, and a far too occasional performance poet.

Having moved from Sheffield to grow up on the sleepy side of Suffolk, he began to write intensely personal performance pieces inspired by the wordplay and flow of hip-hop, and the passion of punk. Channelling these influences through his combined love of Slam and Beat poetry, he tried to define his conflicted feelings about modern humanity, politics, and academia during this college education. Luckily, other people felt the same way, and having supported Buddy Wakefield, Scroobius Pip, Dean Atta, and The Dead Poets, as well as performing at Bestival, Latitude and a multitude of folk and boutique festivals, he has brought his dense narratives to a wider audience than he ever expected.

A frequent performer at poetry events around Norwich during his 3 year Nursing Bsc, his self-reflective and cathartic poems now tell the stories of life, love and loss of the people he meets in the hospital, whilst intrinsically acknowledging the toll healthcare professionals take. He aims to focus on the raw nuances of humanity, laid bare on what may be the worst and best times of their lives, and to educate about the current state of the NHS, how poorly we are taking care of our loved ones, and those that care for them.

‘He is not angry, he’s just disappointed.’

Piers is such a talent that we are humbled to have him involved in the project, having worked with him in the studio last week, I can tell you that his piece is going to blow your mind. We can’t wait to show you what we have created with all of the spoken word artists involved in the project. Be sure not to miss the “Words w/ Friends Vol II” launch event its going to be absolutely insane. And keep your eyes peeled for the online release over on the BP-THK facebook page.

Stay safe out there,

BP-THK

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Spoken Word Introducing: Tamar Moshkovitz

This Sunday all of our spoken word artists living in Norwich travelled with us to a Beccles based studio called Drill Hall. We recorded poetry and ate scotch eggs all day long and the results are fantastic. The release of Words w/ Friends vol II is scheduled for the 26th of November at The Owl Sanctuary Norwich, where you will see the album performed in full, as well as an open mic for any spoken word poets that didn’t feature on the project. We have just two poets left to introduce you to and one of them is. . .

Tamar Moshkovitz

 

Tamar is an Israeli, Norwich-based writer. She learned English as a second language and tells us that this has always impacted the way she writes and percieves language in general. Her work uses repetition, rhyme and alliteration frequently to create rhythm and her performance style is about as authentic as it comes. Tamar writes about a bunch of things, but a lot of her spoken word poetry begins to discuss ideas of home, what home is, as well as what it means to be away from home. Through personal experience Tamar explores issues of national and cultural identity.

She is a libra sun, and a cancer moon, and we don’t know why that is important but she said it was.

Tamar started out writing prose but recently shifted to poetry and we are really glad she did. Below you can watch Tamar address the validity of camouflage as a fashion choice, and uses her perspective on Israeli conscription to shed new light on the topic. Through poetry, Tamar creates powerful anti-war rhetoric and makes you want to throw away your cargo shorts. (If she doesn’t you should still throw them away, cargo shorts are disgusting.)

 

We are so excited to have Tamar on the project, and (spoiler alert) her track is absolutely incredible. You won’t be able to hear Words w/ Friends Vol II until two weeks after everybody else if you don’t come to the release gig and buy a CD. you can find all the details about our night of spoken word in Norwich by clicking this link – Words w/ Friends Vol II Release Event, and if you’re a poet wanting to perform at our open mic, then get in contact here BPTHK Facebook.

Stay safe out there,

Billy P

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Spoken Word Introducing: Rob Carnie

Sadly one of the spoken word poets featured on Words w/ Friends Vol II won’t be able to make the gig in Norwich on the 26th of November, apparently its his birthday or something. Even though he can’t make it, he’s such a sick poet we want him anyway. And if we want him, then you’re gonna want to get to know him. Lets have some quick fire facts about a spoken word artist with significant artistic value.

Rob Carnie

  • He was born with a bearish appetite for peanut butter (preferably lashed over banana bread)
  • Rob is slowly developing the eye sight of a sea urchin, thankfully without the cynicism.
  • He is currently residing in the South, living in a converted van equipped with kitchen and wood burner.
  • He’s prone to pens leaking in his pockets.
  • He’s yet to own a suitable number of coat hangers/Yet to sell my unsuitably large collection of coats.
  • Rob couldn’t spell defribulator to save his life.
  • You can often find Rob nursing a green tea, and often leaving aforementioned bag of green tea in mugs to fester.
  • He favours a sunrise over  a sunset.
  • He’s only ever been late once in his life, honest.
  • Rob is fond of fumbling with phonetics and trying to sound poetic, and we think he does it pretty damn well.

 

Check out Rob Carnie’s spoken word poetry below.

If you wanna listen to more of this, get on Rob Carnie’s Soundcloud, and you can hear more from this master of the English language. If you’re interested in what the first project sounded like, then listen to Words w/ Friends Vol I on youtube, listen to both of them at the same time and rumour has it you will open up a wormhole to another dimension, actually, you might only get a taste of whats to come. And finally don’t miss out on a huge night of spoken word poetry in Norwich, at The Owl Sanctuary on the 26th of November, we’ll be there, sadly Rob won’t, but we might say his name a bunch of times to make it feel like he’s with us. Click this link for details – Words w/ Friends Vol II release event.

Stay safe out there,

BP-THK

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