Giving A Part of Yourself to the Guillotine: A New Venture, an Old Faith.
I ended my last column with a quote by the famous Christopher McCandless, or Alexander Supertramp, if you prefer. “Happiness is only real when shared”. It’s an insight that I truly believe, one that I’ve carried with me for many years, even more so since I wrote my last article.
The Eagertongue began almost one year ago, when I performed in a local pub two of my shortest ever poems. One about my wife, the second about my obsession with death. I barely perform either anymore. Only 11 months ago, these were to me my strongest poems. How do things grow and change so quickly? How does time make everything go so fast? The simple answer is, people.
When I first started wanting to just perform my poems alone through spoken word, as opposed to writing songs and music, I had no idea where to even look. I would scour band message boards hoping someone would also have some similar idea or incentive, some clue as to where I could perform. Honestly, I barely had any clue of what spoken word entailed at all. I was new at this. I had seen Henry Rollins a bunch of times and admired Cold Cave’s Wesley Eisold’s poetry books or ‘zines’. But was what I wanted to do ‘spoken word’? Was that was I was doing? I had no idea. All I knew were two things.
- I had written some words.
- I wanted them to be spoken out loud.
Spoken word seemed like the simplest and closest description.
Eventually I sought out Adam Chesire, a local poet. As inventive as he is exciting to watch, he invited me to perform at one of his hosted events. I was thrilled. As it turned out it was one of my worst nights of my life. I had performed horrifically, mumbled my poems after making a dire opening joke and hurriedly rushed out of the pub. In stark constant, Adam and fellow poet Kieran Kelly were on fire. Funny, articulate and most of all; dangerous. Adam was on punters tables, telling them about the impending apocalypse. His flame was burning brighter than the gates of Heaven, yet I felt I was in Hell. It turned out to be a good learning curve.
I sit here 11 months on with over 20 shows in the bag. I have supported some of my favourite artists, Listener and Employed to Serve to name a few. I have built up a friendship with one of my heroes, a writer and a noise rock vocalist, Eric Paul. I have performed live with the ridiculously bright and talented producer Lewis Glass. I now get asked to play shows rather than begging to perform in a pub. When I look back on what I’ve achieved in a short time, I look back with immense pride and gratitude. A whirlwind that is sometimes more like a twister. Too wrapped up in it know how far it’s gone.
So I return to my opening musings: what invokes this whirlwind change? People. No doubt, hard work and dedication helps, but it’s the time, love and encouragement of people that have held these waiting doors ajar for me that really inspires growth. From my wife buying me a note pad, to Eric Paul advising me via Facebook message on the quality of my syntax. A once frustrated, desperately angry 20 something who hated the general public, is now in debt to almost everyone he has met over the last year. For once, I know how I got there. A beautiful tempest, a whirlwind I don’t want to stop living.
Henry Rollins said that “being an artist is dragging your innermost feelings out, giving a piece of yourself, no matter in which art form, and which medium”
For far too many years, 8 to be exact, I poured out my feelings through the ink of a pen, but I never gave them out openly. Perhaps it was sheer fear of what people might think, if they thought on them at all. My feelings, my heart and passion. It’s a scary thing, bearing those. It makes me wonder how many others hole up their wondrous innermost thoughts. We’re all artists really. Even when I finally went for it, I still feared I had messed it up, broken my confidence…
Kristy, Adam, Eric, Lewis, Aidan, Jonny, Doug, Fiona and Henry…yes, you too Henry! It was you who always got me back up on that stage. Believing I could do it, even when I didn’t. And then when I did, supporting me even more. That’s why I’ve decided to try and give something back to people. We have so much talent that so often goes unnoticed. It scares the living daylights out of me. And I’m sure, simply because I’ve been there myself, that bearing all scares those talents much more. We need to chop of the heads of silence and fear.
So, it is with delight that I begin to build Burnt Church Alternative Press. Bands, spoken word artists, DJ’s are all too often ignored or cannot afford to take it any further and so I want to create a platform for these voices. With an ethos built on forward thinking, pro-love and alternative forms of art, I’m sure won’t have to look too far for new material, and I can restore my faith in humanity all at the same time. The first release for me will most likely be my first set of recordings, The Voices in Your Coma Sleep; released 6th October with my first headline act at The Old Hairdressers the same day.
I’ll openly admit that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, yet again. I don’t know where to start. What I do know is how to build a website and how to promote, so I’m going to play to my strengths. These last 11 months have given me a brilliant starting ground from which to launch. I want to give that back to art of all forms and to share the encouragement with others that I felt so strongly along my own path. To the people who have backed me and my ideas and to the strangers I have yet to meet, let there be press. Support should be rife and no artist should ever feel like their art is a waste of time.
So here’s to the next adventure. I don’t yet know what will become of it, but I have faith in people again. I hope that with this idea, they can have faith in me.