I had to pull me socks up and get round to writing a braggy show blurb – but gigs are actually coming in nicely so nice to have the writing all finished and looking all proper. Horray!
Have a trial run at Woodstock cafe in Selly Oak soon – details to come. Also playing Birmingham Jazz festival, Valefest and another thing at York University in June – so its all funtimes in babylon when should be revising for finals – hey ho.
James Grady: SCUMBARD
‘I want to do you like a crossword!’
Set against a backdrop of terrible night clubs, chicken takeaways, and avaricious cinema chains, rambunctious stand-up poet and slam champion James Grady wrestles with such lofty themes as the nature of art, friendship and fumbled attempts at sexy sex in his fast-paced and hilarious debut show, following a year of slam-poetry success.
With verses that skip along in his light, mercurial style, Grady naturally blends poetry and comedy as he tries to convince his family and worried friends that poetry is cool. Neither punk-poet nor literary wordsmith – but having his filthy cake and eating it – James Grady’s ‘SCUMBARD’ is a riotously fun, unmissable wordy treat.
Got a new revised version of an old poem ‘Rooster House.’ It burned down the other day – horrible. Hope ya like it!
PS: Gig at 6/8 Cafe in Birmingham on Saturday night for Slaughterhaus http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/welcometoslaughterhaus?fref=ts coolest night of the month. I’ve got a weird little thing cooking that wouldn’t be allowed to get away with anywere else, and finally get to share a bill with my brother Pat doing his comedy – psyched!
Saturday at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival was brilliant. I spent the day with some great friends and a horrendous hangover thanks to watching Counting Crows the night before (which was well worth the splitting head – they were great!) The road trip down with Lilly Blacksell, Ben Jackson, Elisha Owen and Ben Norris was ace, especially with our elder compadre, the inimitable Birmingham legend punk poet Spoz:
The ‘War of the Words’ slam we were booked for was proper good fun. Everyone was on top form and for once I wasn’t nervous about performing… probably due to having too much dinner and ale and just feeling vaguely contented sat in the sun all day. Finally, a brilliant day, dissertation free. Then it came down to an all-Brum final! We’d been sat at the back together the whole time, occasionally going up to do cheeky sexy poems and it really felt like we were the naughty kids – getting away with something… I don’t think the evening was what the more literary crowd were expecting, but there was an open minded atmosphere that had a real warmth and goodwill about it – even if each F-Bomb filled poem suddenly had a sense of danger about it, rather than being fairly passé as we’re used to at the raucous Birmingham gigs.
Mr Norris came 1st with another effortless performance, and by some clerical error (no exaggeration, it was TIGHT) I came 2nd. Shwweeeet. Cheers Cheltenham Poetry Festival, had an absolute blast – can’t wait for next year! What clever, funny, brilliant friends I have – totally blessed, you all humble me.
Looking forward to Thursdays ‘Grizzly Pear’ now, psyched to try out some new shit and watch one of my poetry heroes Tim Clare work his beardy magic. Come it!
Occasionally you get a Moth story that just kicks the shit out of you and you just know you’ll come back to it months later. One of those things you keep sat on you iPod like a friend you can go visit. This is one of those. Had the privilege of meeting this guy last summer, really nice bloke – dead funny too. This is what spoken word is all about. Dropping the artifice and being genuine and sincere. Can listen to this stuff and not think about my own craft for once, just get completely absorbed in it. The Moth is wonderful – highly recommend.
Here’s a new poem I did to keep things ticking along, not me best work, but hopefully still a fun little romp nonetheless. It’s about 3D films. Also I’m thinking of calling my show either “Scumbard” or “Do me like a crossword” – what do you reckon?
I’ve been reading ‘Wild: An Elemental Journey’ by Jay Griffiths – its a mental book. Its nice to read for fun again. It keeps you sane, especially during finals when reading was becoming a chore. Its a brilliant book though – full of a weird pagan energy and a great prose style that just skips along. Its about her 8 year travels in the wildernesses of the world – living with tribes – but it mostly reads as a really compelling attack on western civilization, in a ‘hells yeah mother earth gunna fuck you turkeys up!’ sort of way. Well not that at all. Its nearly 3am, i’m doing a terrible job of convincing you – but genuinely, its great – read it.
This poem was an attempt at a more eloquent response to Griffiths’ brilliant book… But then I realized that the ballad style I usually write in is too tight and confined for a poem about a book about wildness. So for once here’s a loose poem in free verse. I don’t like free verse but the subject demands it really – so this is new ground for me – hope its not too shit
Honestly… I think this might be the worst thing I’ve written, but its fun to try new stuff
Wild: no nods, no winks
My love is a savage love
My rage a savage rage
Passion stripped naked
Base and Essential
….I am a’blowin in the wind…
Nature red in tooth and claw
Wild in cock and cunt
I want our toenails to fall off
As we scramble up K2
And sing Kumbayah at the peak
Like moonshine pissed hippies
Wild and scratching
Starving – running – climbing
Miserably sob alone on Christmas Day
Half way round the world but
– Ecstatic cause I’m in a flippin jungle
They say we can’t be wild
We need buildings and corridors and
Roads and qualifications and… Tesco’s
There may be too many people, but
Some people there aren’t enough of -
Lets swim to South America
Lets die on the way!
Together and free
And full of possibilities
What a way to go.
Anything but the bleep of a life support
And no natural light
The stink of disinfectant
And some last-rites priest looming
To make your mum feel better,
But they don’t know
I’m a wolf
Savage in love and rage
Wild in cock and cunt
And there is no such thing
As Doggy Heaven.
Been in dissertation hell all week and haven’t managed to write any new poems for you, but that would be pretty egotistical of me anyway so I really want to share a poem I love. It’s by Mark Grist (you might know him from that rap battle against blizzard that went viral http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp4wEewrQdU) Kinda frustrating that I just saw this the other day and its pretty much a way better version of a theme I keep battling with and failing in my poems… so yeah, watch the master, here’s how it’s done:
Blimey Charlie! Stone the crows! Shag a dad! One email and suddenly I’m way out of my depth – some mentalist has booked me to play the Bestival Amphitheatre Stage this summer – doing me stupid poems. I know?! – mad.
So yeah, seeing as this stand-up poetry malarkey has gotten so out of hand I thought I really ought to do it proper and start a blog. This’ll pretty much be for keeping this bit of my life frozen in hypertext for posterity. Gunna whack gigs and recordings of the poetry and music on here and hopefully we’ll all have a smashing good time. Right, it could get complicated (a ‘mingled yarn’ if you will – cheers Shakey) so I’ll fill you in on all the plates I’m spinning now…
Firstly, the poems – they’ll all be here. This is a lovely picture of me doing the lovely poems in a sweater-vest your mum would swoon over – ooh er matron!… where’s his hand going??
Second, I do solo (pussy-white-boy-with-a-guitar-and-curly-hair) music: http://soundcloud.com/jamesgradymusic Really proud of this stuff to be honest. Got an album on the way in 2 weeks or so (but don’t hold me to that. It’s been 2 weeks away for 2 years now.) This an arty picture of me banging a drum with Sam Mason (who is ace – check him: http://soundcloud.com/diemasondie)
And a strange little hybrid mongrel project with Ben Norris (http://bennorrispoet.wordpress.com/) and Elisha Owen. I do music to some of his poems – still cooking though – it’s something of a Big Art Attack and we’re still not quite sure what it is just yet. Got some peculiar little demos here if it tickles your fancy: http://soundcloud.com/bennorrisjamesgrady Get into it before it gets cool! Look at this photo of us giging back in 1929 there, ah to be young again.
Finally here are the 2 new poetry videos that got me the Bestival gig and hopefully a bunch more. Thanks @AnnaMairi(http://www.youtube.com/user/annamairi92) for filming and editing and generally enabling all the cool shit I get to do now!