Let’s Push Things Forward

There’s a group of ageing Hollywood actors who appear to have given up learning their craft. They might have been a hot ticket in town 30 years ago, but now they turn up in forgettable films, probably thinking only of the paycheck.

For as long as I write and perform spoken word, I never want to slip into this mentality. I always want to be able to look at other poets – and folks in other creative fields – and take something from their work that hadn’t occurred to me.

To chart my progress so far, I need to go back to the Millennium, years before I began writing. This was when I first heard the Gil Scott Heron track The Revolution Will Not Be Televised on the radio.

Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d never heard anything like it, this relentless and repetitive stream of consciousness with cultural and political references I only half understood. It opened my eyes to what can be done with words. I eventually bought the whole album on vinyl, and it’s of an equally high standard.

Another early influence was Original Pirate Material, the debut album by The Streets, and its follow-up A Grand Don’t Come for Free. I was at university at this time and whenever I listen to these, I’m transported back there.

Looking back, I can now spot weak points in the lyrics, but I particularly admire the concept album structure of the latter. There are two other major releases by The Streets that followed these, but I’ve never liked them as much as the first two.

These days, I continue to be influenced by those I’ve seen and heard: the humour of John Cooper Clarke, the forthrightness of Andrea Gibson, the politics of Alan Bissett.

I recently attended two performances by my friend Gemma Connell, who’s a dancer. But as well as movements, she made prolonged eye contact and even brief physical contact with members of the audience. And last week, I once again saw Luke Wright, who gave an energetic performance of What I Learned from Johnny Bevan. I’m now asking myself how can I make an audience feel the same way as I did, but using my own words.

Of course, there comes a point where I can have too much creative input and I think I’ve reached that stage now. So I’m going to let it settle, then start writing my own original pirate material.

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A favour from the blogosphere.

Hark – an unscheduled entry!

Yesterday, I launched The Purple Spotlights EP with its bespoke domain name. However, it’s come to my attention that not everyone seems able to access the link. I think I’ve figured out the problem now, but I need to test it. To this end, I need a small favour.

When you click http://purplespotlights.com, it should redirect to https://gcameronwriting.wordpress.com/the-purple-spotlights-ep/. There might be a short delay while this happens.

Let me know whether everything’s hunky-dory for you, or if it won’t load.

In which I launch my spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP.

I’m today launching my debut spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP, featuring four poems on the theme of friendship: some long-term and certain, others transient and complex. It’s available from on 7 DigitalAmazoniTunes and Spotify, and many other outlets. Head to PurpleSpotlights.com for samples.

Although I started as a prose writer, I soon built up a collection of poems. Some of these run to more than 100 lines and many publishers will not accept work of this length, so an audio recording seemed the ideal format. In February, I attended a masterclass in Edinburgh with professional performance poets, and that prompted me to turn the idea into a reality.

The Purple Spotlights EP cover
Created by Isaac Lemon at http://www.lemon-drop.co.uk

I expected the distribution to be difficult and making the recordings to be simple. I’ve talked before about my previous interest in radio and music production, so I drew on some of that experience. However, the production was tricky as the microphone picks up a lot of unwanted noise that needed to be removed.

I’ve also previously discussed my lack of design skills, so I knew I would need assistance with the cover. After some research, I discovered Isaac Lemon here on WordPress, and he’s since moved to Lemon Drop. He quickly created the striking mountains design, which looks fantastic next to other recordings.

One of the few disadvantages of releasing work online is that there’s no physical product to sell at live gigs. However, if The Purple Spotlights EP proves a success in the long run, I would consider making it available on CD, as an e-book, or as a paper pamphlet.

But until that happens, go and tell all your friends. Heck, even tell your enemies. I’ll be performing tracks from the EP at a few gigs this month: