The much beloved Three Minute Theatre in Afflecks Palace in Manchester is closing at the end of the month, my event Stirred Poetry on the 29th July is likely to be the last ever event there. However last night we were at another regular institution which has often resulted in content for this blog: Flim Nite, a cabaret event where a film is retold in an anarchic fashion by any kind of artist/comedian/poet/whatever you can think of (they want more dancers btw). Please I implore you support this one of a kind experience of an event when they relaunch at Gullivers in September follow them on twitter @flimnite for news and updates. The film was Fight Club, one for which I have a great deal of affection having used it for a feminist analysis of masculine bodies on screen during my undergrad dissertation, the way I would write about it today would definitely be altered more than ten years on but plenty of interesting themes in the film, Roger Ebert from whose reviews I often sculpt a poem by removing words in order did not agree, he gave the film two stars and thought it incited violence, which of course made for an interesting poem to read on the open mic. A link to the original content from which the poem is crafted is here: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/fight-club-1999
The poem is here:
FIGHT CLUB (1999) Rated R For Extreme Violence, Sex 139 minutes | Roger Ebert October 15, 1999 Two Star Review
A celebration of violence in which the heroes write themselves a license to drink, smoke, screw and beat one another up. Sometimes, for variety, they beat up themselves in which eroticism between the sexes is replaced by all-guy locker-room fights. Women, who have had a lifetime of practice at dealing with little-boy posturing, will instinctively see through it; men may get off on the testosterone rush. She’s a “tourist” like himself–someone not addicted to anything. She spoils it for him. He knows he’s a faker, wants to believe everyone else’s pain is real. a man whose manner cuts through the fog. seem unsatisfied unless they can add final scenes that redefine the reality of everything that has gone before He’s a shadowy, charismatic figure. “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything,” he says, sounding like a man who tripped over the Nietzsche display on his way to the coffee bar in Borders. In my opinion, he has no useful truths. He’s a bully- a leather club operator without the decor. Is not about its ending but about its action. It is a warning against it, a lot more people will leave this and get in fights than will leave it discussing moral philosophy. creates a feisty chain-smoking hellcat who is probably so angry because none of the guys thinks having sex with her is as much fun as a broken nose. He seems to be setting himself some kind of a test–how far over the top can he go the second act is pandering and the third is trickery, whatever the message is, is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy–the kind of ride where some people puke and others can’t wait to get on again.
(photo credit to Flim Nite/Jasmine Chatfield)
Done my usual sculpted poem from a Roger Ebert Review for Flim night the cabaret night where a film is retold in poetry, comedy, puppetry and any on stage or screen artform you can think of. Link to the original text below:
Earth scientists are playing it cool: A NASA spokesman denies that there’s anything unusual about an unexpected total eclipse of the sun unwilling passengers. cheerfully willing to look as phony as it is You can make a city float in the clouds and look marginally realistic there’s something fun about the city that floats in the clouds and looks like a large miniature model floating in fake clouds. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d left a tube of model airplane glue lying in the lower left-hand corner played for laughs, and wisely so takes the curse off material that was old before it was born, men of unlimited imagination harnessed to definitely limited skills. Bored with life in the universe, decides to pick on Earth. After warming up with a few hurricanes and earthquakes, he sends the moon spinning down toward the planet. There are intrigues afoot, is true to the visual tradition Everyone is dressed in capes and ridiculous boots and headdresses, stand around ornate. There’s an imperial court to applaud and boo at the appropriate times. Is all of this ridiculous? Of course. Is it fun? Yeah, sort of, it is.
Today’s prompt was the dream diary one http://www.napowrimo.net/day-fourteen-5/ I chose to define rowboat, teacup and ballet slipper. I read a lot of these dream dictionary type books in the 90s and noiw frequently write my own dreams into these poems, these are all made up dreams though! The writing music today was Alisha’s Attic’s album Alisha Rules The World which had the great singles I Am, I Feel and Alisha Rules the World.
Rowboat: You dream water is rising fast your arms are strong enough to carry you away in your waking life you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities you want time to think your own thoughts not work on someone else’s ideas
Teacup: The teacups have been known to dance their patterns shift to the beat you wish to be reckless drink absinthe make art you work in an office let your freak flag fly wear odd socks and blue lipstick
Ballet Slipper: You make the pirouette barely perceptible unease passing your face you fear the fall you cannot believe your luck you are happy when you open your eyes think it can all go in a blink
A late entry today. This poem comes to you via the prompt about the future of your body http://www.napowrimo.net/day-eleven-6/ and the headline of this article about Physicist Carlo Rovelli’s comment about the nature of time https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview ”there is no such thing as past or future” this poem makes no attempts to be accurate from a physics standpoint it took that line and ran into whimsy.
There is no such thing as past or future we are moving through the everlasting now there is a now where my hair shone long to my waist there is a now coming up where I will need to pare my nails the upturned toes hitting the inside of my black leather converse there is a now when I woke in the arms of someone whose heart was perfectly joined to mine for a given unit of now however impossible that is there is a now where my skin healing capabilities will slow the burst blister on my heel took less than a week that now is not now there is a now when my skin will no longer feel soft after I brush it in the bath and I will not smell the roses there is a now where I will get a geometric shape burned on me having missed a patch with spf there is a now when I will have finished writing another book of poetry if I close my eyes I can see the outline of it like persistence of vision there is a now when I will see stars in bed again there is a now where I will successfully paint my fingernails there is a now where I will cycle for an hour with ease there is a now where I am drinking camomile tea this now occurs often there is a now when I will sing on stage again.
You can tell I haven’t been out that much this month this is your third bath poem. However as the challenge I set myself was to just have a go and do it quickly this what you get. Today’s writing music was Joy Division’s Closer.
Day nine’s prompt was something large and something small colliding I didn’t quite manage that but me vs a collapsing house is somewhat on that scale.
My most persistent intrusive thought/hallucination/misperception is that the futon bed flowered throw and all that the bath I am trying to enjoy singing along to Leonard Cohen ”touched her perfect body with your mind” is going to fall through the floor the bath one carries most water in my anxious mind there was a leak under the bath years ago unnoticed till the flat below’s carpet showed it rotten joists come into view below me and I am naked injured skewered by pipework broken lipstick smeared moisturiser glass jar fragments greased cling to my skin ridiculous among the bubbles in the foundations.
The prompt for day was to write a poem where something mysterious or magical occurs http://www.napowrimo.net/day-eight-5/ I will take any excuse at all to write about mermaids so that is what you got today. The music was Lou Reed’s Transformer whose song I’m so Free on the album has the line ”Do you remember the shape I was in? I had horns and fins” which seems apt.
It was 3am my Sahara mouth rudely woke me I grasped the unicorn printed glass to slake the thirst Quetiapine creates in the night blinking under the uncovered lightbulb achieving an impossible feat in bathroom light: remaining beautiful a mermaid perplexed in the bathtub she had a cake of soap in her hands was testing it like a coin with her sharp teeth I could see her scales were drying out turned on a cold tap the gills on her neck breathed a sigh she splashed and let me take the soap I sat on the side of the bath she looked wide while I glugged from my glass a rarely seen receptacle while whole rocks are unkind to glass I thought on what to offer my unexpected guest as she slurped from the tap where ever she travelled hunger was presumed pondered the fishfingers in my freezer there is no etiquette I know of on what to serve a mermaid who appears in your bathtub I thought of how to get her back to the sea a small tub on a trailer I could pull with my bicycle round here it would pass for hipster antics someone would stop us to ask where she sourced her monofin I left to rattle the cupboards hoping bladderwrack, a fresh haddock, a plate of oysters would appear the splish splosh her tail made stopped I looked in the bath a white shell and nothing more next to the plug hole.
I said at the beginning and joining late I would not be taking this that seriously so I missed a few days and have done day ten’s prompt http://www.napowrimo.net/day-ten-6/ a poem of simultaneity- where many things happen at once.
When I started to realise I did not love him I cut my hair I kissed a man I didn’t know the name of with a better beard I became as fixated on filling notebooks with my thoughts as at seventeen I stopped listening to Buddy Holly for the longest period since I was a child in adulthood he came to imbue new love and hope in me
When I started to realise I did not love him I no longer recognised my own face or how to paint it the sprawling succulent in the kitchen shrivelled with lack of care tins of tomato soup fell on me every time I opened the cupboard equilibrium was lost my feet were bleeding from the wrong shoes and I scratched holes in my scalp sleep evaded me books fell off the shelf onto the bed I was not sleeping in the ever familiar ever ridiculous fear the bed will fall through the floor ever present
Today I sleep soundly I replaced the battery in my white hearted alarm clock I wonder if it has fooled my subconscious into hearing another heart beat the way you can fool a young pup with the tick and a hot water bottle each morning I wake more ready to open my heart.
Your gravestone is shored up
with a block of wood
shoddy against flecked granite
the tree that sheltered you all that time
lies have been told about your last night
on your 26th deathaversary there was gin
and too much of everything
I smoked other peoples cigarettes
kissed a stranger and had an argument
there is no proper ritual to attend
the ghost I do not believe in
I cannot place daffodils above you from here
the weight of grief swings like the scales
I played with in our kitchen adding
and subtracting discs of ounces
I am yet to find the kind of love I would risk my life for.
As I am off to the fabulous frenetic genre defying cabaret that is Flim Nite for the first time at the Sheffield edition I am uploading my poem for tonight’s open mic. At Flim they retell a film (tonight The Matrix) in poetry, comedy, music, puppetry, video, interactive video games or anything you can do on a stage with a screen (they haven’t had dancers yet they really want dancers if you are one get in touch) more details here: http://writingmanchester.com/home/flim-nite/
Today’s writing music was inspired by The Matrix’s soundtrack which includes Deftones My Own Summer so I listened to Around the fur.
I have for some years been contributing to Flim by making a sculpted poem from a relevant review by the late great Roger Ebert who wrote so beautifully about film that editing his words down to poetry is easy. For this I tend to use a computer rather than ink I copy and paste the review and cut words out in order, preserving the original order if the text and avoiding adding anything unless sense is totally lost without. Here is The Matrix here I have kept the text as is, hence any typographical/grammar errors, just deleted words till I got this. I have quoted a line with the link to the review I used that I deleted but laughed so much at.
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-matrix-1999 ‘’ (I am reminded of the animated kid’s film “Doug’s 1st Movie,” which has a VR experience in which everything is exactly like in real life, except more expensive.)’’
THE MATRIX (1999) Rated R For Sci-Fi Violence 135 minutes | Roger Ebert March 31, 1999 |
Visually dazzling full of kinetic excitement, retreats to formula just when it’s getting interesting kind of a letdown redefining the nature of reality Too bad, because the set-up is intriguing It’s fun, but it could have been more. they’ve played it safer; you can aim higher and still do business. Warning They’ve made a fundamental discovery about the world: It doesn’t exist. (You can still get killed, though: “The body cannot live without the mind”). The notion that the world is an artificial construction, designed by outsiders to deceive and use humans fascinated by the poignant dilemma the illusion terrifying logic to its decisions. offered intriguing motivations for villainy It’s cruel to put tantalizing ideas on the table and then ask the audience to be satisfied with a shoot-out It creates fearsome creatures morphs bodies with abandon hang in the air “acting” as little as possible. I suppose that’s the right idea. like all Oracles is maddeningly enigmatic. did not bore me. It interested me so much I wanted to be challenged even more. audacious conclusions, to arrive not simply at victory, but at revelation. I wanted, in short, a Third Act.
Here I am again staying on the equine. At this point I am sticking with the rattling these out in a short space of time. Today’s music was Prince’s Under Cherry Moon. I did the prompt from day two using two voices in this case I and you in two different stanzas.
I want to be held I have taken to sleeping with a pillow in the small of my back twenty minutes after a zopiclone it almost feels like a body leaning in my libido is wakening quick as my hair grows I want to wear all velvet everything be soft to the touch I wear Paul Smith Rose everyday a rose hope undertones of green tea refreshing as the idea of future pleasure
you are bored of men of yourself make art not love you have time and mind for another lover later you wake sticky willowed across the bed in relief most days you have stacks of paperbacks unread cupboards to clear of mice infested objects the hideous 90s lemon mistakes of conical uplighters stuffed in the bin yesterday you think too much about bins for love right now the sun is shining and your legs long for your purple bicycle