Sunday, 29 November 2015


I can't remember where or when I heard it, (agh my sucky memory!) but apparently the OED or another dictionary officially added a new definition for the word "literally", and the definition was literally the opposite. You know how we use literally now. Like when we say: 'Oh my days, when I met Conan O'Brien I LITERALLY wanted to DIE!' But I was thinking about "literally". I'm kind of stuck in a creative rut, not to sound pretentious and I was thinking maybe I could get out of it if I took things a little more literally. 

When I was studying satire in my second year of university, we studied Andy Warhol, and so I have the book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. I re-read it, watched every documentary I could find and came across something. When Andy did commercial art, he was commissioned by a company that made luxury leather goods and they wanted him to design an image for a snake skin shoe. Andy literally took the body of a snake and painted it in the outline of a shoe. And it was the perfect symbol.

You know that saying that says if you want to be treated like a King, you've got to act like a King? Well, MJ took that LITERALLY. And therefore, everybody else did, in most cases metaphorically, in one particular case VERY LITERALLY.

And so I wonder what would happen if I took things more literally, if I got out of my head a little bit. You know when you're in class, reading a book, and the teacher says 'What's going on here', perhaps meaning, you know, interpret this a little bit, and there's that ONE person who goes off on some philosophical business bringing in some academic article they read on Nietzsche or whatever, and the teacher's like no, literally tell me what is happening. and you do, and you break it down, and you gain an insight you might have missed if you'd just done the instinctive thing of interpreting the hell out of something?

Taking things literally or at face value has helped in other ways. I used to have terrible anxiety. After a social situation I felt had gone badly, I would obsessively analyse every single detail and make metaphors of them and amplify them. I still get anxious but it's not as debilitating because I try take things a little more literally. E.g I stuttered. That is literally what happened. And that's that. Instead of I stuttered - I can't even function like a proper person - what is wrong with me - you are destined to be a hermit - pack your things and leave for the nearest cave immediately. 

So how do I incorporate this into making things? Hunter S Thompson typed out The Great Gatsby in its entirety because he wanted to know what it felt to write a masterpiece. He wanted to type out those words himself, "make" those word choices, literally "write" The Great Gatsby. Ha, it's so funny how entangled literally and figuratively have become. But where grammar and language enthusiasts may be frustrated, I feel like it's opening a new space to creative.

There's benefit in copying my favourite articles, my favourite pages of novels, out word for word. In the literal physical act, something figurative is happening underneath and that will inform what I do literal sense.

To photocopy. To copy lines out. To take pictures. Tracing paper. I recently bought some carbon paper. and learning from this. Not stealing, but learning from trying to literally make the same lines, maybe realising you'd make a different choice, the same with words. Learning about form, and style, studying.

So yep, [Imagine witty joke that includes the word 'literally' in punchline here]

Monday, 16 November 2015

Awreeoh (Oreo)

*Janet Jackson Voice* It's been a while

I have no excuse really, I've just been tired and working and lazy. Oh.. those are excuses hmm but I'm back!

Been watching and listening to Grimes over and over again. I love Flesh Without Blood. Dear Grimes, why aren't we acquaintances??? I've read the Youtube comments where people are saying they get a Taylor Swift vibe and I get what they mean. For me it's like Grimes x Taylor Swift x I Blame Coco. The video is stunning it really is like a vivid dream

The MOBO awards (which is the UK version of BET, well sort of) took place last week. It was the first time I had watched the awards in absolute years. I think my favourite moment was when Sir Lenny Henry, the comedian and actor, accepting his Paving The Way award, reeled off, from his memory a long and amazing list of influences and influencers, the majority of whom were black. It was really powerful

Speaking of Music of Black Origin (What MOBOs stand for) I went to  Hip Hop Karaoke night at SOAS with a friend and sang Hotline Bling at the top of my voice. The day after I kind of got on a nostalgia wave and listened to some old Grime and came across a Dizzee Rascal video from a couple of years ago. The track is called Don't Need A Reason. I'm not obsessed with the track but I am with the video.

It's directed by Emile Sornin who directed the video for Alt J''s Fitzpleasure, and uses looping effects, and the whole aesthetic is great. Okay, I went and listened to the song again and yeah it's actually a tune, though.

Continuing on this hip hop vibe, I finally watched Dope, Rick Famiyuma's film about three nerds who get called Oreos, and love 90s hip hop and accidentally get involved with some drug lord and have to sell a shit load of drugs and go about it in a really creative way. OH YEAH, and they have a punk band called Awreeoh. The soundtrack is great, the clothes are great and it was amazing and inspiring seeing a cast led by three people of colour. Malcolm, Diggy and Jib be my friends please. Btw Jib is played by Tony Revolori who plays Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel! Ahhh I really recommend it. It will change your life, even if only for a fortnight.

So, yep. I've just been consuming a lot of media, working, oh and writing. I got a little thing published in Bad Movies Magazine which you can read here and also buy and support the editor Cass who is amazing.

Well, that's all  folks! Until next time, which hopefully won't be another three weeks.


all images not mine

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Having A Coke With You

I'm not a huge fan of poetry. Never have been. There are perhaps a handful of poets whose works have actually affected me. Probably Rossetti, Langston Hughes. Probably Keats. I know On First Looking into Chapman's Homer off by heart. Keats speaks about reading Chapman's translation of Homer for the first time. It articulated in a way I had never been able to, what it feels like when you're really affected by a piece of literature. 

 Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
   When a new planet swims into his ken;

And Frank O'Hara. Sometimes it's the environment or the context in which you first experience these poems that makes them mean something to you. That's how it was with Keats. That's how it was with Frank O'Hara. He was on the course I was doing at uni. I went to the lecture, delivered by an absolute genius of a man, and a poet himself, and he began to read from Lunch Poems. I cannot for the life of me remember what poem it actually was, despite owning a copy. But I at the time I felt so overwhelmed that I started to cry. Yep. I actually started crying in the lecture theatre. And I scribbled my f33lingz down into a poem. I've re-read that poem since and it's awful. A poet, I am most definitely not!

But I will never forget how affected I was. What I love about many of the Lunch Poems, like The Day Lady Died (about the death of Hollywood actress Lana Turner), is that they read like diary entries. My favourite O'Hara poem is probably Having  a Coke with You. I think it's telling, of myself,  that two of my favourite O'Hara poems reference pop cultural icons. It's like pop art poetry. I not only love the poem itself, but this recording of O'Hara reading it in 1966, shortly before he died. 

img credit: Andy Warhol

Friday, 23 October 2015

A Different Kind of Beauty

This is what I do now. I go and try on clothes and take fitting room selfies because  I despair of my own wardrobe. I tried on a couple of t shirts which I will probably buy hen I get paid (cash register noise rubs fingers together). I tried on the dress, a sort of 60s/riot grrrl dress, saw the price, and whipped that shit of so fast. One day. Haven't been up to much recently, except talking to my sister, who's at uni, and making irl emojis, and doing a bit of writing. Some of said writing actually got published. 

I wrote this personal essay about learning to love my African facial features, particularly my striated neck, after encountering a Ghanaian sculpture at the Wellcome collection. It got published by Those People on Medium where I've read some of the most brilliant things and so am so excited to have my work there but also felt some serious imposter syndrome. But yeah, I thought about writing this almost a year agothis has been in the works for almost a year now but I think it needed to be finished now. I think I was spurred on by the fact that it's Black History Month in the UK. 

Here's a preview, you can read the rest by clicking on the picture above

I mentioned that I was making a zine about Jeff Goldblum and have actually received some really great submissions, which you can see here if you like. The deadline is Nov 30th!

So, yep! That's your lot! Have a great weekend everyoen