Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fucking Reply to Fucking Prole's Fucking Poetry Editor

Originally a response to a s/m FB photo-update prefaced by the words above it, reprinted below; from the mind of Prole poetry and prose magazine's co-founder, publisher, and Poetry Editor, Brett Evans, writing from Abergele, on the North Wales coast.

Only for the fuckwits - you know who you are: those sharing Britain First posts and banging on about if foreigners want to be in the UK they should 'learn the fucking language' - well, it's a fucking school day.
Not that I expect you to have read this far. Well done if you have - yes, that was meant as patronising as it reads.

~~

The most inventive repetitive use of the word fuck that I ever witnessed was at the National Student Drama Festival, Spring 2003, to the background of the Iraq invasion, watching tellies of 'us' going all in on the major invasion and diet of smart-bombs. Shock and Awe.

Khalid Abdalla and Cressida Trew in the Cambridge Footlights version of Bedbound, by Dublin playwright, Enda Walsh. Abdalla was truly mesmeric in the role of the father of a paralysed girl. The set was a cube, that when the audience was seated, wondering what was going on - a cube onstage - the wall facing the audience fell down. And this ingenious use of cramped bed-set of a girl and her dad sitting on it, with both taking turns doing their monologues, was a key element in the successful telling of a story by nothing but the use of hyper-real prose-poetic lingo. 


The father recounting his past as a ruthless furniture salesman who conquered Cork, at the expense of his daughter and her health.

Abdalla is such a brilliant actor, as his starring roles in the film of the book, The Kite Runner, and his debut Hollywood critical smash and classic thriller, United 93, attest - that I wondered if he was an Irish actor. For thirty or so seconds until it became apparent it was not an authentic Irish voice. By which time it did not matter a jot because the language was so gorgeously earthy, and everything one associates with the corporeal elementary and profoundly poetic Irish voice - we'd been grabbed hold of and were on a magic carpet journey powered by unadulterated linguistic joy alone. With nowt but creative faery dust and artistic verbal twinkle.

He had an animal magnetism and it was no surprise he got nominated for an Academy Award, and such was his acting, I was surprised to discover his parents are Egyptian dissidents, and Abdallah, eight years later, became one of the central English language media figures documenting from Tahir Square; living in Cairo and bringing his gifts as a filmmaker to the process of the Egyptian Revolution. At the time, watching him onstage, such was his natural physical ability I thought i was watching an actor as Celtic/Irish/Scot/Welsh as myself, to look at.

The opening. A man on a bed, in it is his daughter:
 

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
fuking hell fucking hell fuck fuck fuck Jesus fuck!!!

fucking hell!!

ME!

On the bed. I can feel that blanket wrapped around me like a sea; and me a little shrimpways underneath.

Feel them wrapped around me bony body ribs making me stay in bed.

Squeeze me lungs out of me gob and making me shout: 'Fucking hell Maxie, get out of bed, you're late!'

I swing me legs out of the bed already running I run inta tha jacks.

There's me big brother Jerry on the jacks having an early morning crap! I smack him a left hook!! Shamck!!

He hits the ground like the sack of shit he is! 'I'll deal with you later kiddo!'

Splish splash run the tap get scrubbing me face!

Look in the miror at the fifteen year-old me looking back! 'Gotta get to work, Maxie! only fifteen minutes to save planet Earth, Flash!' Spin back to the bedroom and into a suit!! A bit of damp from washing it last night but fuck it! Isn't it always damp from the late night wash!?

Have ta be clean! Gotta get going! Inta the wet shirt! On with the damp suit! Jesus I'm the smart one! Sharp is what I am!!

Outta my smelly hole gaffe, the stink of the hot sweet milk in the air, a breakfast puke! A family of lazy fucks huddled around the electric heater like laboratory rats, I leave the fucks behind. Shame shame!! Fucking shame!! I'm at the bus-stop! Bus stops and I'm on! The usual faces stuck in their morning sleep! 'Great workers of Ireland! Is it not time to drag our priest-ridden, second-rate, potato-peopled country of ours into the twenty-first century before we're spat into the next shagging hundred years?'

They half-smile like I'm a fucking psycho!

~

I had such a great experience writing there for the daily paper, Noises Off, NOFF, where anyone was free to write and submit. Short squibs; a poem, and enough by the end of the week, to have felt a part of something uniquely British, and not only that but English as well; what with writing on that beautiful cliff-side terrace of the Spa complex overlooking the South bay. And there was a truly democratic spirit in the NOFF office, a large conference room in the complex with ten or so free-access computers. 

By the end of my first year there, with a couple of extemporized comedy reportages that got noticed, I felt grand. The following year, i was a real contender for the hack laurel. I lost to Cambridge mafia office souljah, Chris Wilkinson, a Guardian theatre section stalwart. He won. He beat me. So, what are we going to do about it?

At the following year's festival, I think it was Next Generation 2014 poet, Luke Kennard, who returned from a collaborative smash from Bristol Uni, Freudian Slip, a Monty Pythonesque surreal gold-dust of a play, that had won the previous year's 03 comedy award.


In 04 he came back with a solo effort, a radio play that had been one of the opening specials and centre-piece of pre-recorded theatre to kick the week off, and there was a lot of expectation surrounding it. His first time alone, surely the magic of Freudian Slip would be there? Alas no. It bombed. Lots of respectful bemused silence. On his own, a year later, the mojo had gone.

Desmond Swords

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