Hey Fat Roland! S01E02

 

I was in an episode of Hey Fat Roland!, a new podcast by Manchester spoken-word legend and all around funny-man Fat Roland! It has absolutely outraged Nicholas Royle, Man-Booker prize longlisted Wyl Menmuir, host of VerboseMCR Sarah-Clare Conlon and me!

I get stuck in a dark pit of despair about teachers that I promise doesn’t actually represent my feelings towards teachers (teachers are great!). If you like what you’re hearing check all of the people interviewed out and go along to Fat Roland’s incredible spoken word night, Bad Language! A monthly night at The Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, Manchester.

Click here for the podcast, share it and let Fats know what you think!

‘Spiderseed’ Launch and Update

Hi everyone! I know it has been ages since I last posted and I am sorry about that! Over the past few months I’ve been involved with something really exciting! I am part of a Manchester-based publishing house called Sleepy House Press and we were lucky enough to publish the outstanding David Hartley’s new collection, ‘Spiderseed’.

It was a daunting project, a scary project but one I loved and enthused over for the entire time I was working on it. On the 25th February 2016, ‘Spiderseed’ hatched and was released onto the world. We had a great time putting this all together and David Hartley’s 20 flash fictions make up a unique and inspiring collection! We were also honoured to have Emily Ingle fully illustrate the book including the cover.

We had so many people working with us and helping us and at the end of the day ‘Spiderseed’ wasn’t just Sleepy House Press and David Hartley. It was a Manchester-centred but all-over-UK effort and we did it! We made this thing and it is great!

David, thank you so much for letting us get involved and trusting us with your project. It has been a joy to work with you. Thank you Emily for bringing your beautiful eye to the project. You are mind-blowingly talented and I am glad I finally got to meet you! Thank you Marg for being incredible patient with designing the layout and listening to our ridiculous requests. Ryan and Alex, thank you for filming the trailers for ‘Spiderseed’. They are incredible and I’m glad Sam knew you guys to have you on board. Thank you to Raz for being an excellent and patient proof-reader and for Comma Press for being a guiding hang for the newbies on the publishing scene! THANK YOU!

Sam, the other half of Sleepy House Press, you are fantastic. I’m pretty much in awe at how incredibly hard you work at everything. Thank you for bringing me into Sleepy House Press and thank you for just being fantastic and great and lovely.

One final thank you to everyone who came to David’s launch party at the Castle Hotel, Manchester, UK to celebrate! It was incredible seeing you all and I felt so proud that we had made it and were ready to loose this outstanding book into the world.

If you are Manchester-based then look out for Spiderseed at spoken word nights and (hopefully) shops near you soon! Otherwise, check out our site for the estore/ebook launch coming soon! It is a cracker of a collection.

I went to bed an ecstatic Alex and I’ve woken up even happier!

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Check out the links below for the talented people involved and all the great stuff that came out of this!

David Hartley’s website: http://www.davidhartleywriter.com/

Emily Ingle’s website: http://emmyingle.weebly.com/

‘Pickaxe’ from Spiderseed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-snMvX_hL4

‘Trade’ from Spiderseed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_K4-Qmzcxo

 

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You, the Silence and I

I have been working on a film for the past few months that focuses on life as an abuse survivor. This film means so much to me and I am so honoured to have been able to produce it with the incredible team Jam St. Jam St. were formed as part of the Creative Breaks project hosted by Panda and Union Street media in Manchester – two incredible projects supporting artists.

I wrote a little about the film for the presentation, please see that below. Otherwise, I give you… ‘You, the Silence and I’.

 

When Amy approached me with the opportunity to make a film about something I had been writing about for most of my time as a performer I was confused. I was scared, I was intimidated but I was excited. So excited. I saw what became ‘You, the Silence and I’ as an opportunity to really give some visibility to the reality of abuse, particularly as a male abuse survivor, in the Manchester community. I knew it was going to be excruciating at times, having to confront a lot of things I had tried to ignore since I left my abuser but I thought I owed it to myself. I always say that if one abuse survivor hears my pieces and realises that they weren’t, and aren’t, ‘a fuck up’ then I have done what I aimed to do. I do not speak for all abuse survivors but I have a voice that I wanted to put to use. The opportunity to actually bring my goals to life in a completely different medium, with a group of supportive, talented and lovely creatives was something I could not turn down. I went into ‘You, the Silence and I’ expecting to learn and hoping to understand my situation better. It became much more than that.

During and after filming/creating the film I got to speak to people about my experiences and understand how I saw myself as a performer and writer. I had an interesting moment with Jo, our director, when I realised that the poem was the first time I had ever written directly to my abuser. It was cathartic getting to say to him ‘I felt screwed up for so long because of you and now I don’t and I see what was happening between us now and that is over’. I cannot thank Jam St enough for what this film has done for me. Without it, I would not have gotten to experience the creative process in a completely different way and in a team. I am lucky to say I have worked with each member of the group and I know that I will be working with them in the future. A massive thank you to Panda for giving them the opportunity to contribute to ‘Creative Breaks’ and allowing me to connect with the wider creative community in Manchester whilst really growing from the experience.

One big, final cheesy thank you to every member of Jam St for letting me come on board and be myself. Amy, Jo, Morgz, Tom and Sonia you are fantastic creatives and anyone you work with in the future is beyond lucky to have you on their team!

-Alex W.

How to make news: (excerpt)

Dearest, when the world is watching

with bated-breaths

I will climb to the highest point,

use petrol to mark a path to me.

I’m not hiding anymore.

I’ll use our spark to light it,

burning myself into your home,

flirting between the broken bars,

busted cars

and shut-down shops.


As it all comes together,

when the fires unite into a pyre

built from burst tyres,

splintered wood and cracked windows

lie down in the embers,

you are the widow,

our love, the deceased.


We might be extinguished

but these fires don’t need fuel,

watch me burn your city down.



-Alex W.

You, the Silence and I (excerpt)

It’s been so long

since we last spoke;

the words that fell withered

and unspoken

never even met your deaf ears.

 

I grew to know the silence as you,

so I sat with it

until it was the only thing that remained.

In place of you

the silence became my lover

and I learnt every muffled confession by heart.

 

When I embraced the silence

I tasted you there,

mixed in with my fear.

You filled my body

and I reeked of you.

 

I wore the silence like armour

worried that if I spoke and broke it,

you’d come back.

It protected me from

realities I was scared to

whisper into existence.

 

-Alex W.

 

Excerpt from a piece I’ve been working on for a poetry film for a festival in mid December!