David Robilliard

 

An unsung genius and a true wit, we’ve been inspired by the work of artist and poet David Robilliard.

Robilliard moved to London from Guernsey, Channel Islands in the 70s and after being championed by Gilbert & George, soon found fame with his humorous drawings and poetry, that were published as well made their way to newspaper columns. He died tragically at the young age of 32 but his ingenuity lives on.

Image Source: http://www.aurelscheibler.com/

 

Image Source: http://www.aurelscheibler.com/

Image Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Image Source: http://www.tate.org.uk/

Image Source: http://www.aurelscheibler.com/

 

Image Source: http://www.aurelscheibler.com/

 

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maaikelauwaert

It’s how we Tube

 

Some more Megan Beech.
(to be read in a single breath)

Snogging on the Circle Line

Sitting trying not to stare on the train at the chain of saliva, vein-like and pale, with as many twists
and turns as this underground rail.
Snogging on the Circle line, they should implement a fine.
I mean I’m fine with public affection shown in moderation but begin to lose my patience.
Is he giving her resuscitation?
No tongue seperation in almost FOUR TUBE STATIONS!
And their performance doesn’t stop as we come to a stop,
a parade of people getting on whilst they’re getting off.
PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING JAWS
that open again as her throat he explores, in inconstant drips of fluorescent light,
adolescents laugh and mothers overt children’s eyes.
The carriage continues to rattle in rush hour, with a background sound of suction which makes
strangers glower.
Peer past the pages of the Metro and pray the passion fades as the train begins to slow.
The gap they’ve created they don’t seem to mind,
as they step off and head towards the London night.
Their lust escalates as on the escalator they stand,
smug smiles, linked limbs and hand in hand.
Beaming believing the world is their Oyster
card.
In future they should use taxis or tandems or tinted windowed cars!

***

And in the spirit of Tube love…here’s some renegade humor from Stickers on the Central Line who have made many a harried Central line commuter smile. They’ve been quiet for a while but I wish them a speedy return and maybe a move to the Piccadilly line for a change.

Tube maps are surprisingly shy. While it’s nice to feel appreciated, few want tourists gawping at them all day.
‘Tube maps are surprisingly shy. While it’s nice to feel appreciated, few want tourists gawping at them all day.’

During quieter hours on the 7th day of each month, a 3.5 minute rave is held between Woodford and Buckhurst Hill. If you’re quick there’s just time to down a pint and dance to a song. Unfortunately since Boris Johnson decided to ban alcohol on the tube, such raves have been pushed underground.
‘During quieter hours on the 7th day of each month, a 3.5 minute rave is held between Woodford and Buckhurst Hill. If you’re quick there’s just time to down a pint and dance to a song. Unfortunately since Boris Johnson decided to ban alcohol on the tube, such raves have been pushed underground.’

tumblr_lkhksxZSbJ1qjvzqlo1_1280‘Alcohol’s heaviest user is humans. But it is also widely used by crabs, which is why they walk so funny. Unfortunately for Alcohol there are less dedicated consumers, like frogs and dolphins who prefer cocaine.
After a tiring day of rolling back and forth, transporting the workers of London, the Central Line likes nothing better than to kick back with a few cold ones. Occasionally it turns into a bit of a lashing, and it doesn’t function quite so well the next day, sometimes not even bothering to turn up! It happens to the best of us though, and we always forgive it.’

And finally…

A Shepherd’s Pie is very easy to make, and, its topping of fluffy, creamy mashed potato covering succulent hot mince, vegetables and gravy oozes flavour! This isn’t just a Shepherd’s Pie however. This is a well designed, shiny, self adhesive Shepherd’s Pie coming soon to a Central Line train near you.
Gas mark 4, says it all.

Lon(e)don

 

We experienced the sheer force of 19 year old spoken word poet Megan Beech at a Booked Literary Event a few weeks ago. Standing in front of a room full of strangers, she magicked us into spellbound silence with her verse.
And you knew instantly that is a poet, a young girl, who will go far.

Megan’s been kind enough to share her poems with us. And here’s one that puts into words what makes life so much more alive in my city London,  against the backdrop of a time lapse video of the Millennium Bridge by Tim Lewis.

 

Lon(e)don

“Evening Standard” on standard London evenings,
this city is heaving.
Chests beating, palpitate with the weight of their innermost demons.
But every face remains unfeeling.
And population statistics appear to deceiving,
because in a city of eight million, I’m alone as a civilian
and my days well I am filling them with theatre seats for one and Waterloo sunsets vermilion.
And “I am in paradise”, lost in a smog of anonymity
and that’s part of the reason why I love this city so religiously.
My liturgies are these littered streets,
this constant hum the song on my hymnal sheet.
But today I am struggling to find belief.
All is pinstripes and traffic lights and Boris bikes and concrete.
I let it conquer me, ’cause anyone can see
this place doesn’t belong to me.

I still have to wait for the man to turn green before I cross the street
and the constant need to rush to get crushed in tube doors is lost on me.
All I hope for is kindness not diamond encrusted dreams,
because we tie ourselves in ties and then claim to be free.
But my soul too is shackled,
to the leaves and bark of Richmond Park’s tallest tree,
and the shadow of St Paul’s as the sun falls in evening breeze,
those like me prepared to shiver to watch Shakespeare outdoors for free,
the blue plaques that track the literary history of every street.

The Big Issue seller on Fleet Street that I pass every day,
who offers a pleasant smile despite me never having change
to the change and the range and the depth of human kind
who populate this city and flourish side by side.
The sense of feeling you’re alive, that vitality survives behind the garish glare of neon lights.
Because the vibrant and violent must give way to silence and the dazzling calm of night.
My London: brutal, beautiful and wild must have some others who see the world through my eyes.
But until those I find and I settle in this city as my home,
it’s a comfort to know that when alone in London you are never alone.”

Spoken magic

 

The more I listen to it, the more I love spoken word. And here are a few gems from the Booked Literary Events evening last night.

Dan Simpson

 

Postmodern Post Office

We’re a postmodern post office:
we don’t deal in packages
we only handle concepts.

We don’t have pigeonholes
we don’t like to label
why stamp on an identity
when it’s quite clearly unstable?

What does “first class”
even mean anyway?
like we’re judging some things
better than others
because they’re worth more?

No.

We don’t get lost in the male
concept of the feminine
we try to be ourselves
whatever that means;
we try to be genuine.

There is no postmaster
we don’t do hierarchy
no wage slaves
no wages:
we’re post-Capitalist
which is to say
we don’t make any money.
We’re even post-ironic
which is to say
we’re really not that funny.

We’re a postmodern post office
don’t call us Royal Mail
for it’s only ceremonial
and we’d rather reassure you that
we are certainly post colonial.

We’re post Structuralist too
post structure
in that we don’t have a building
just a series of semantic constructs
that we know you find appealing

though knowledge is relative
truth a subjective matter
read the signs, between the lines
either astronomical or astrological
it’s all the same, really
if we’re being epistemological.

We are post office:
you say you didn’t get your letter?
well post hoc ergo propter hoc
you really should know better.

We deal with the post, man
a post-mankind environment
it’s why there are no staff here
thanks for queuing and being so compliant.

We’re not at the cashier windows
we’ve bigger fish to fry
we’re considering big questions
heavy lifting for the mind.

We’re a postmodern Post Office
no postmen or women
we’re post people
post caring
if we’re honest
post emotion
and post feeling.

 

Charlie Dupré’s rhymes have unlimited charm…

 

And I am now eternally a fan of Eliza Shaddad and this is largely the set she performed.
Stick around for Long John (as sung by Dinah Washington) that comes around the 15:00 mark.

Eliza also heads the Eliza Shaddad Quintet and there’s a free jazz album available for download if you like the sound of her.

All brain food…and definitely words and tunes to keep me musing for a while.

Booked

 

The wonderful Booked Literary Events have another event lined up for Sunday 17th March at The Book Club in Shoreditch. And we’re spreading the word because at the last Booked event, we discovered the amazing Anthony Anaxagorou who blew our socks and shoes off in all directions.

Titled History – Herstory: two sides, the evening features Eliza Shaddad

Put Eliza and Anthony together in the same room, and you get magic

Other artists performing include Charlie Dupre and Torben Tietz, Julie Mayhew will be reading a short extract from her darkly funny novel Red Ink, Bobbie Darbyshire will be reading from the cynical/romantic collection Lover’s Lies, Camila Fiori will be introducing some of her unique poetry and so will Megan Beech.

So come. And be inspired.
Let your stories mingle with theirs.
Of loves lost and lessons gained.
Scars healed or broken open.
What is yours to cry over might make someone else break a smile.

And here’s why we love spoken word.
Because Sarah Kay made us.

Poetry for a Monday morn…

 

My love for Poetry on the Underground is unflagging, much like my love for words.
Here’s one from the latest they have on offer.

Stations

As he travels home on the Northern Line
he is reviewing his marriage.

When he used to tell her that he loved her
it was certainly true; but now the words –

though they still fulfil a useful and ceremonial
purpose – have lost some of their resonance.

as in Barons Court or St John’s Wood
or the beautiful Shepherd’s Bush.

Connie Bensley


(c)

I mean…

By Anthony Anaxagorou

It wasn’t always like this
I mean
I didn’t have to be the man
to be the man in a world that loses touch
with its fingers just so it can boast about having bigger hands
I mean

there was a time where you could hold me
and not be conscious about the size of my muscles
or the speed of my car or how well I could fight
but rather your concern was with how long I’d lay beside you
just to tell you things my mouth
was still trying to learn the language to
because just having you there
whilst the rain gave its silver sheen to all things dry
and the couple upstairs
were still afraid to understand one another
when your skin kissed mine in a dark room
held together by candles illuminating the worry
that made my eyes look rich and I would stare
with too much hair on my face into the walls as if waiting for them to tell me the secret to win back the world
I had lost
I mean

it won’t always be like this
I won’t always be struggling and our love won’t always be lost
inside the pennies of tomorrow’s lucky dip
because hope sustains the soul and everything I’ve ever done
I’ve done under the influence of dreams
like that night when I whispered into your sleeping ear
that life isn’t always about following your heart
and not everyone we meet is good in a world where love
is the only war we’ve yet to wage

and just then, at that point
I think I fell asleep inside you
because you smiled with those unturned eyes
like all things that have ever been loved smile
and I closed the lights holding your hand
in mine hoping that somehow I could take it with me
when I pass so as to have it build the heaven I would
sleep in forever
I mean

I know I’m not an easy man to be with
and I know I’m hard in places where other men are easy
and I’m quiet when really I should be loud like at a party
where everyone looks like an emancipated photograph
and handshakes are strong and plenty
along with the, ‘how you doing?’
‘What you working as now and have you gained weight?’
I mean

I’ve tried it all
I’ve been that guy at 3am talking circles with the last drunk
trying to help him find his addiction’s weary purpose,
and I’ve stood with empty vodka bottles
waiting in their glasses for a lost bus that gave up on its route.
I’ve spoken with ignorance, I’ve got angry at the injustices
I have read until my mind has become a blister
filled with all the world’s poison
yet when the politics gets too much
and the racism tests my faith in humanity I lean back into myself
and I say
see everything as art, hear everything as music
and feel everything as love
I mean

when I come through the door
like a bitter draft
that fell out the back of winter’s long coat
and I see you standing there with a benevolence common
only in things without a self
then I start to finally understand what I mean,
falling asleep inside the streams of your hair
I breathe the ocean again,
I feel my heart beat and sway to the music of an orchestra
conducted by peace
and I remember my name.

I mean
I could write forever, but most of my words
fall on water
I mean

I got the chance to see the mesmerising Anthony Anaxagorou perform at an event organised by Booked Literary Events this evening and I was blown away. Humility, honesty and magic become that man. Here are the other pieces he performed.