Hackney Hammer and Tongue Slam : December Edition

4th December, Tuesday

The Victoria Pub, 451 Queensbridge Road E83AS

An open poetry slam, 8 spots, winner gets to go to the Finals next year (the position I found myself in last September) and possibly represent Hackney in the Hammer and Tongue Slam Nationals 2013 (against like, actual cities)(Hackney won it last year btw just saying)

Featuring …

I’ll let their videos speak for themselves:

Byron Vincen

Sophia Walker


….and in case you couldn’t get enought of Sophia Walker,  or if you missed Tuesday, myself and an amazing up-and-coming spoken word poet named Matt Cummins whom I met over the summer are throwing together our very first self-organized poetry night featuring her! What happened was that we were going back and forth thinking about organizing a gig for ages, then I asked someone I knew if a free venue was free on the first week of December. He said “yes”and I said “um…let me think about it,” by which I meant “I can’t think about this right now” Then he told me “yeah its reserved for you”. Then I said, shit Matt, looks like we are going to have to do this.  And Matt said, Eh.

Then David Lee Morgan and Errol McGlashan offered to perform and we knew there was no going back.

Forget What You Heard (About Spoken Word)

5th December, Wednesday


Ryan’s Bar, 181 Stoke Newington Church Street, N160UI

as up-and-coming London poets Steph and Matt pop their own-night-hosting cherries BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES! Allow them to introduce to you to some of their favourite poets on the UK scene, and come strut your stuff on the open mic.

and prepare to be blown away by the inimitable Sophia Walker, the irrepressable Errol McGlashan, the incredible David Lee Morgan, and your hosts Stephanie Dogfoot and Matt Cummins.

because this showcase is open to all. If you fancy sharing the limelight with our fantastic feature poets, make sure you get your name down for four minutes on the open mic

or not….entry by donation (recommended 3 pounds or however much you think its worth)

Sophia is a poet and teaching artist who tours Europe and the US, performing and being random. This summer she won the Edinburgh Book Festival Improv Slam and represented the UK at the international queer slam. When she grows up she wants to be purple

Errol McGlashan is a multiple slam winning, up and coming star making moves on the London Spoken Word scene. He is also the host of a new monthly performance poetry night at The Vibe Gallery in Bermondsey

A performance poet, saxophonist and winner of a fair few poetry slams including the 2010 Farrago UK Slam Championship, the London Slam Championship and the Soul City Arts I-Slam.

and not forgetting…..

Started off scribbling rants in the margins of law textbooks and yelling them at drunk people in pubs and squats. The Singapore Slam Champion of 2010, her poems continuing to draw people in with their insight, compassion and just the right amount of awkwardness.

A familiar sight on the London open mic and slam scene over the last couple of years, Matt’s down to earth hip-hop flavoured poetry is always personal, sometimes funny, occassionally moving, but never less than honest.

The name comes from this song Down by the Cafe by C R Avery 2bs


So that is what is happening next week.  You should come.


An Interview

I did this poem and interview in a pub at the Edinburgh Free Fringe with performance poet/activist/mischief/squatter-friend Pete The Temp. It is part of a series of interviews and recordings he did with a bunch of poets in Edinburgh, including Sophia Walker, The Mighty Third Rail, Shane Koyzcan, Buddy Wakefield and Harry Baker. The whole thing is part of an even more amazing internet database of largely North American spoken word artists called Indiefeed. Its weird hearing my accent on the internets, and I swear I did not plan on going on for that long about Edward Said. Anyway its here. Thanks Pete.

Poetry Tries to do Useful Shit

Between January and June 2010 I visited immigration detainees at Yarls Wood Immigration Detention and Removal Centre, tucked away in charming Bedford, as part of a student group called SOAS Detainee Support. Basically, this involved taking a train to Bedford once a week, meeting women and sometimes, families, who were in detention because they didn’t have the right immigration paperwork and got taken from their homes in London and placed there so they could be watched and controlled while the UK Border Agency decided whether to deport them or let them stay in the UK. And try to act as a link between them and their solicitors as well as the outside world. It was not the happiest place, as you might imagine. 

Later that year I helped organize a poetry segment for Release, the group’s annual fundraiser and wrote a poem about my experiences. The poem now has the honour of being on the SOAS Detainee Support  website: 

I highly recommend you to to check out the rest of the website and see what the group does, and learn about UK immigration policies, regardless of your beliefs about nations, borders, and immigration.