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Forked | The Love Edition | Barbican B-Bar Plymouth| Apples and Snakes | 14 FEBRUARY 2019

Forked | The Love Edition | Barbican B-Bar Plymouth | Apples and Snakes | 14 February 2019



Marion Clare compares Apples and Snakes Poetry Night 'Forked' - at B-Bar ABOVE : Marion Clare compares Apples and Snakes Poetry Night 'Forked' - at B-Bar

Ducks and the power of love, stroking noses, Dick Turpin, dancing, cynicism, Tigers and typewriters. Forked: The Love Edition on Valentines night of 2019 saw Apples and Snakes bring together four poets, the London born, Barbadian raised Birdspeed, Plymouth born Punk Poet T.S Idiot performing with Exeter's Bard Chris White , Bristol based Poetry Machine founder Beth Calverley and the performance artists/musicians The Spoils Collective to Plymouth Barbican's B-Bar...


Birdspeed with a spoken word performance that entranced those presentABOVE : Birdspeed with a spoken word performance that entranced those present

Birdspeed, whose captivating headlining performance fluttered between enchanting passion and earthy disquiet, delivered her poetry with rhythm and gravitas, dropping truth bombs into the skilfully prepared fertile ears and hearts of an audience entranced by skills sharpened across England, New York and Philadelphia. A remarkable talent who wrote, recorded and filmed a poem every day for British Black History Month she will be competing in the finals for Hammer and Tongue and the New York slam championships, and her voice is one to listen out for.

A regular staple of the Spoken word performance poetry circuit 'Forked ' was compared by the incomparable Marion Clare, poet, performer and founder of Versify. She was an outstanding host and joined the Spoils Collective at the end in her other role after the poets, to wrap up what was a memorable night in a greetings card and chocolate free zone.

'Forked'at Plymouth Barbican's B-Bar. The Spoils Collective close the showABOVE : 'Forked'at Plymouth Barbican's B-Bar. The Spoils Collective close the show.

Chris White and T.S Idiot (Tom Stockley) wrote some of their set on the train down and shared the stage for a triumphant L.O.V.E themed poetry exchange. Using random quotes read by Tom from the Daily Fail and replied to laconically with messages on sweets from a tube of Love Hearts by Chris was brilliantly executed. They took turns performing some of their own work and it was a real treat to witness the birth of what I hope is not he last time each very talented poets perform together.

Subtle and warming, the founder of the Poetry Machine; Beth Calverley shared not only her own delicately constructed hug like world of words, but also shared with us poems created for others
with a particularly affecting and expertly crafted Dahl free poem, about the experience of working in a chocolate factory.

In between sets and before the night began, I managed to interview all four poets whilst making a short film for the night, which will be linked to when finished. The questions I asked and their thoughts and answers are transcribed for you below.

London born Barbadian raised Birdspeed performing her poetry in PlymouthABOVE : London born Barbadian raised Birdspeed performing her poetry in Plymouth


How far have you travelled from today ?

Trobridge in Yorkshire..I like this area.. I like the Ocean

Can you describe your style of performance?

Energetic..My name is Birdspeed and the clue is in the name. Very energetic, lots of action..powerful, fiery. Lots of social commentary in my work as well. My work comes from the heart and that is what is important. It is passionate.

What do you enjoy most about performing live?

Every time I perform, the poem always comes to life in a new way. So it is like I am resurrecting it from the page again. And also the audiences always react differently to how I expect and so it is nice to perform to different audiences. Yeah it is interesting..I like it.

What does love mean to you?

Love means acceptance. Loving yourself, or anybody else, accepting them for who they are and not wanting them to change, and I think that when it comes to relationships if you cannot accept your other half, or yourself, then you are going to fall out of love very quickly. So.. acceptance is the first word that springs to mind right now

Spoken Word star Birdspeed on stage at the Barbican's B-Bar in PlymouthABOVE : Spoken Word star Birdspeed on stage at the Barbican's B-Bar in Plymouth

What started you on the road to performance poetry?

I have always been a performer. I was a dancer before I actually started poetry and I just wanted to use my voice. I felt I had something to say and I didn't hear a lot of people saying it, so I said 'I'll do it myself' and that is how it started.

Do you have any thoughts on Ducks?

They are very mischievous, because they seem so graceful...but down below they are paddling away..... A Duck is a good analogy for a poet. When we are on stage, we can seem so well put together and I guess that is largesse, but really ?(laughs) ..oh really? It's a completely different story. The stage part is the easy part

Is Poetry like dancing with words?

Yes, and I also dance while I perform poetry sometimes

I really enjoyed Dick Turpin:The Tiger King, Can you tell us a little about it?

Yes, well that was part of a project I did during Black history month. So every day I wrote, recorded and filmed a poem (about) a British Black historical figure.. so that people could learn about the black figures in England rather than looking to America all the time, and Dick Turpin just stood out to me. I wanted to write a story about him and also look at.. African and Caribbean mythology and relate it to that, and when I read about his story there were so many similarities, the idea of fighting against the world and racism and he inspired me, they all did, so I wanted to write a poem about him.

Beth Calverley performing at 'Forked' in PlymouthABOVE : Beth Calverley performing at 'Forked' in Plymouth

Beth Calverley

Can you describe your style of performance?

I wouldn't say that I am a really loud.. performative poet but I try to embody my words and draw people into my world. With my writing style I try to use imagery that puts people in the moment as much as possible.

Where have you travelled from today?

I travelled from Bristol. It was a really lovely day to drive, clear blue skies and a clear motorway listening to The Eagles 'Life in the Fast Lane' for the first time.

What do enjoy most about performing ?

I like bringing the audience into my world and the feeling that we are there together in that moment, and I am part of creating that. I really like that. When you write, ..I feel like, until someone listens to it and shares in that, it hasn't really been created. I like the dual process of performing and writing.

What kind of subjects do you think are important to address with spoken word?

I just think that whatever is your truth. is what should be expressed. I don't think there is any specific topic. All my work is true. It is all based on true moments. All of my work, not just my performance poetry. My project 'The Poetry Machine' ... I speak to people in Hospitals, Universities, Charities, and turn their story into a poem which I give back to them. And that is all based on truth telling, and helping people to express and understand their own truth. I feel that the worst thing you can do with poetry is to try and write someone else's truth or try and say something you feel you should be talking about, when it doesn't feel right to you.

'Poetry Machine' founder Beth Calverley shares her work with the audienceABOVE : 'Poetry Machine' founder Beth Calverley shares her work with the audience

The Typewriter you use with The Poetry Machine seems a brilliant tactile tool with which to break down barriers?

The typewriter is very practical, because obviously I could not have a printer there. I am doing this at hospitals and festivals. It is very place based, I am not plugged in or anything. So the typewriter is very practical but also a lot of the people I work with are older, so the typewriter stimulates a... nostalgic feeling that unlocks memories.. I find that a really helpful stimulus. Kids absolutely love it, because they have never seen one before, so they love playing with it. They are absolutely fascinated.

Is the Poetry Machine a response to the commodification of words and a way to help people to engage on another level?

I am definitely not against the commodification of words. Poetry is my job and I am more than happy to be paid for the skill I have honed over the last 20 years

What does love mean to you? means all kinds of things..I guess you will have to watch my performance to find out. Love is with us throughout our whole lives. It is the first thing we feel when we are there with our mums, and then sibling love, first romantic love..lots of different forms, but is about connection.

What started you on the road to performance poetry?

I grew up in a rural village community where ..there was a local arts festival and everyone chipped in.. there was an open mic there and I performed at that open mic and that was my first kind of experience, and that was when I was about 8 and I enjoyed that and continued performing at open mic nights from that age.

Do you have any thoughts on Ducks?

I like Ducks. My parents have chickens and they have also got one Duck. They had more but most of them flew away, and one of them remained because it actually thinks it is a chicken. It is friends with one of the other chickens, and after a fox attack, the chicken it is friends with, they are basically in love, got really scared. So it refused to go and roost with the other chickens and instead it roosted in a tree for ages and the Duck would just sit there when it was bed time, calling up at the chicken 'Come down. Come down'. And then eventually the chicken got over it's fear and went and roosted with the other chickens. So that is the power of love really. Even with Ducks.

BELOW: Chris White (left) and T.S.Idiot (right) perform at 'Forked' in Plymouth

Chris White (left) and T.S.Idiot (right) perform at 'Forked' in Plymouth

Chris White and T.S Idiot (Tom Stockley)

How far have you travelled from today?

TOM: I'm a Janner but I don't live here anymore, a beautiful beautiful sh*thole

CHRIS: I really love Plymouth. I am from Exeter but if I was going to move anywhere next it would be Plymouth. There is so much going on here at the moment and it's fun. You can say a city has a lot going on culturally..but the things that happen here are a bit kind of scratchy ..and a bit

TOM: It's got a good underbelly

CHRIS: Yeah You were saying it's got a kind of Punk feel to it

TOM: Yes that is my background..Mutely Plain...

BELOW : Chris White 'Bard of Exeter' performs at Plymouth's Ocean Studios on 17/04/18

Chris White Bard of Exeter performs at Plymouth's Ocean Studios on 17/04/18

What do you enjoy most about performing live?

TOM: Getting paid to be a dickhead is nice. I suppose ..what do you like about it?

CHRIS: I want to say like 'connecting with people'...but it's a laugh isn't it?

TOM: If we are being honest we have a little bit of an ego probably and to have people say 'You're really good' and you can go 'Oh no..I am glad someone else notices'

What does love mean to you?

TOM: Boll*cks...a series of chemicals and scientific doo dahs that we put our name to. I suppose this is love though, people coming and supporting each other and enjoying the night and being nice to each other. That is as true love as I gets. And also Ducks and Moustaches

CHRIS: I don't know I am 25 , so not like a lot. I am trying not to be cynical about things. I feel like am becoming cynical and I am just trying to enjoy life

Chris, are you in love with cynicism or is it just a series of fleeting affairs?

CHRIS: I am obviously not. I always go for the cynicism thing but it is ..very thinly veiled desperation..

TOM: It's a front yeah I would agree with that. It's a front for me

CHRIS: Of course it is . I am alone. I am desperate

TOM: Mines the same

CHRIS: All I want is love, but cynicism is a lot more fun and also Love is just a capitalist construct and all of that...

Tom Stockley (T.S.Idiot) on stage at 'Forked'ABOVE : Tom Stockley (T.S.Idiot) on stage at 'Forked'

Tom: Is having your nose stroked still a positive gesture of support?

TOM: Yes, anyone is very welcome to do that it helps. Any part, as long as you ask.

CHRIS: Do you..What..Nose stroked?

TOM: My nose's on Social Media

CHRIS: Do people do it for luck?

TOM: People stroke my nose sometimes at gigs. It's nice. It helps.

Tom: Is music the love of your life or just a very understanding and reliable friend with benefits?

TOM: Ha! The second one probably. I can't play anything. I can't really do poetry either. Just anything that gets you on the stage and making lots of noise. Music is a good way to do that and you can convince people you are a musician more than you can a poet.

You have supported some great acts

TOM: Yeah It has gone alright... by persistence and inappropriateness. Glen Matlock, T.V Smith...

What do you think is important to address with spoken word and performance poetry?

CHRIS: I really like nights this because a night like this has not just a diversity, in terms of performers, but having music and stuff brings in a different audience, because it can feel really inaccessible, and it can feel a little bit pretentious, and a little bit like other worldly and this thing you can not really connect to. And it doesn't really need to be that, you can do whatever the f*ck you want, obviously if you are a poet you can only speak from what you know and nights like this are really good for opening out to the world.

TOM: We were talking about this on the train, weren't we? Variety and diversity is good. We have the wonderful Birdspeed here tonight, who is very different from what we do, but that is really important to get different perspectives...The spoken word scene is good for it's differences and the way we support each other.

T.S.IDIOT performing with The Spoils Collective at 'Forked'ABOVE : T.S.IDIOT performing with The Spoils Collective at 'Forked'

The Spoils Collective live at 'Forked' at the Barbican B-Bar in PlymouthABOVE : The Spoils Collective live at 'Forked' at the Barbican B-Bar in Plymouth

If you would like to book me to capture your performance, exhibition, gig or any other kind of event, you can contact me HERE

FORKED:SPRING is back at the B Bar on Plymouth's Barbican on Thursday 18 April in a spoken word and Drag act special featuring

Amy Tollyfield
With an MA is Shakespeare Studies and a BA in Drama and Theatre practice Amy’s favourite study remains the female allure. Her collection The Suicide offers an insight into a range of hopes, dreams and possible dreads.

Patrick Pink
Patrick’s writing looks to capture a sense of atmosphere, to give people a snapshot of his emotional state. A regular performer in Swansea, this will be his first reading in his hometown!

Josie Alford
Josie’s stage presence is sequinned, Spice Girl inspired, pop culture referencing, infectious, and welcoming. Her work ranges from the subtle nuance of dealing with loss to meeting your partner whilst dressed up as Justin Beiber.


Ginny Lemon
Midlands drag act Ginny will be sharing with us her unique style of cabaret, described by Simon Cowell as ‘….hideous. Honestly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.’

More details here -








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