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Green Light in the City

Lyric Lounge hits Nottingham

2 September 10 words: James Walker
Jean ’Binta’ Breeze, Blackdrop, John Agard and many others will be performing at the New Art Exchange
Everyone's favourite pensioner-poet Jean ’Binta’ Breeze. Don't you wish she was your Nana? 

September is on us already and everyone is as miserable as sin. The roads are endless traffic queues now that the school run is back on, Big Brother is about to finish so Nuts will no longer have a production line of tits to fill their pages and 150,000 media students have graduated only to find that the closest they’ll get to seeing their words in print is writing out price tags for the foreign meat section in Lidl. But all is not doom and gloom because the Lyric Lounge is coming to the New Art Exchange on Gregory Boulevard as part a region-wide series of mini-festivals that has taken in Derby and Leicester on its tour and culminates in Loughborough. So if you’re a wordy kind of person who’s got something better to spend their giro on than Booze Busters latest offer, check out some of the events.

Friday 24 September, 8-11pm: Blackdrop with John Agard (£5/ £3 Concs.)
Blackdrop can usually be found on the first Monday of every month at the Canal House Bar. Hosted by 'Stickman' Higgins, it is an eclectic mix of talent that comes with a strictly 18 rating and has previously featured internationally acclaimed artists such as Benjamin Zephanaih and everyone’s favourite pensioner-poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze. Legendary Guyanese poet and former Poet in Residence at the BBC, John Agard, headlines this particular performance.

Saturday 25 September,11am-8pm
Sees a mammoth poetry all-dayer with free grub thrown in. It kicks off at 11am for a two-hour session with Jean ’Binta’ Breeze and Cathy Grindrod. I saw Jean perform at Shambala at the weekend and she commented that it was the best crowd she’d had at a festival because people got involved and didn’t shy away from a political narrative. If you haven’t heard Jean before, she perfomes dub poetry over a DJ soundtrack so make sure you get involved and to get in her good books, take her a rum and coke. What can I say about Cathy Grindrod other than she’s often a first port of call for any wordy type advice and has recently published a beautiful collection called The Sky, Head On. In a recent review our Poetry Editor Aly Stoneman concluded ‘Characters in these poems are seeking escape, their experience of life is often weighed up and revealed through observation of the natural world, while evocative images of flowers echo from one poem to the next - as ineffective herbal medicine, as photographic subject and sexual metaphor’.  

Talking of which, Aly runs the 4.30-5.30pm: Lyrical Teatime session and will be sharing her recently commissioned experience of working with a YWCA Young Women’s group. Aly could be described as an Eco-poet, blending a mix of myth, history and nature over the top of acoustics provided by local guitarist Milk. Another Lion appears straight after in the form of Andrew Graves, better known on the WriteLion forum as the ‘Mullet Proof Poet’. Think of him as the bastard child of Roger McGough and John Cooper Clark, offering contemporary views of culture from his weighted, bouncing prose. MPP was also commissioned to devise a piece from his work with the YARD Youth Theatre, and will be supported by our tip for future world domination, Deborah Stevenson. This is followed by an open-mic session when you’ll have the chance to strut your stuff.

Slam-winning Irish-Jamaican lyricist Michelle 'Mother' Hubbard, who recently performed at Scribal Gathering.

Sunday 26 September, 11am-8pm
Sunday kicks-off with the Polarbear Workshop. Polarbear is not a massive white carnivore that consumes seals, rather a Brummie raised on hip-hop and Arthur Scargill. I think that says it all, really. Later on sees the Charity Shop DJ’s Music Club where you can bring a single down for them to spin before the screening of ‘Slam’, the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted, young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City (insert Top Valley, Bestwood etc as applicable). The night ends with Tilt's Nottingham Liming - where carnival meets spoken word – and features new commissions from slam-winning Irish-Jamaican lyricist Michelle 'Mother' Hubbard and award-winning poet Panya Banjoko. Daljit, Nagra, Sureshot, Mellow Baku and Caroline Bird will also be doing their thang before host Melanie Abrahams hands over the open-mic to your good selves.

To book your place onto any of the workshops or to apply for a one-to-one, please contact [email protected]

To purchase a ticket for either Blackdrop, YARD or SLAM & RETURN call New Art Exchange on 0115 924 8630 

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