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Double Deluxe

Hello. I will be posting two posts for the price of one! I am on my Easter holidays as I work in a school and all the other members are super busy. So enjoy!

Comedy: Tuesday 10th March Janice Connolly (Barbara Nice) Tue 11 Nov | How to lead a workshop

So I got to the session and there were literally only half a dozen of us. I had a cracker of a headache but alas no paracetemol. That’s when I remembered, it’s the comedy one. Janice saw the look of fear on my face. “Don’t worry you don’t have to do it.” She said. We did some warm up activities. The first we had to think of someone we found funny. After a lot of thought I told them I thought Bill Bailey is funny because he looks like my Dad. I didn’t tell them about the ASDA song… I also laugh at myself when I do stupid things which is all the time. I told them about Craft Club that day. “… so they all ended up with stripy Mother’s day cards. My sister wrote a note in hers and gave it to me. It said you have ruined Craft Club and made my friend’s dog stripy.” Hmm I didn’t tell the group my line manager had read the card first. She didn’t say anything though. They all decided it is really good to laugh at yourself (well it’s either that or cry!) Janice suggested I tell the printing story as my stand-up. I decided not to as they had just heard it. I sat in the corner and wrote. I couldn’t help remembering when I had to write a story for the Gloaming Tales in the same room and unwittingly ended up reading it out to an audience because of the fact I didn’t know what culminating meant. I used this as my intro though it wasn’t particularly funny. I don’t know how my next story popped into my head. I wrote down most of the story which is a combination of the past and present (hopefully not the future!) For my piece I decided to use the drawing board. I went last and carried it over to the MIC stand single handed. I refused help and just stated that I’m part mad (a little reference to Bill Bailey part troll). Anyway it went something like this: “So it all started when I accidentally got high at college (at this point they all started to laugh but I ploughed on). It was off a material I was working with. I walked around college and laughed when I saw a tutor. I even had a one to one. No idea how I got through it. I went to carry on my work and when I was using the heat gun I kept referring to it as a glue gun. When the tutor corrected me I started laughing again. When I got home I tried to teach my sister how to make a pin wheel and when she made it wrong I started laughing again. Recently at work I had to box up some heat guns and label the box (this is where the drawing board came in) I started writing a “G” then realised they were heat guns and had to change the “G” into an “H”. The IT Technician asked me for a heat gun. I went and got him one. Oh I meant Glue gun he said. Yeah sure you did I said.” Janice said it was quirky and I should do it more often. She asked me what I learned. I said I learned that I need to stay away from the room. This was meant to be funny but alas I’m just not funny.

Task Presentations: Tuesday 24th March

The time had come for everyone to present back to each other how their tasks had gone. You will have to excuse me as I can’t remember the exact order. Callum He wrote the most awesomest limericks and poems you could hope to dream up. Sam He wrote epic diary entries of his amazingness. Hilarity. Heidi She wrote insightful yet quirky observations. Louisa She read us a very tender and soulful poem and showed us a video giving us an insight into her life. Jess She told us of the wonders of what is to come with her collaborations. Catrin She showed us her paintings which she didn’t think of as much but were in actual fact things of wonder. James He had to observe people in Starbucks, his observations were hysterical. Mercy Her task was to write negative lyrics on one side and then flip them to find the positive. She read them out and it was like we knew the song already. Then it came to my turn. So I set up my montage on the easel (with two people holding on to it!) and started from the beginning. I explained what and why I added to it each day and then… I finished by telling them all about an email I had from the boss of Craftspace who I had forwarded my task blog to.

“So basically I’m going to be on the BBC Radio 4 on Easter Monday on Women’s Hour. Hell yeah!” I said as I took my seat and thanked Sam for giving me the task.
If you want to see more of my task you can see it here: http://chctask.blogspot.co.uk/

BBC Radio 4 Easter 2015

Thank you for reading and please come to MIRRORS on Saturday 18th April 4pm-8pm at the MAC Birmingham upstairs in the Foyle Studio: http://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/mirrors-myfutureself/

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Lovely Letters! ^_^

Hello my name is Sarah Fowler and I will be talking you through the second Cannon Hill Collective Session of 2015 🙂

We continued watching the films we had recorded. James did such a great job of talking you through our films so I will try to continue this.

Aliyah- The Art of Keeping it Real

Aliyah’s was very complex (to me anyway!). She had given herself the mission of peeling/ stripping back the layers sociologically, politically and historically of who she is, but being light hearted about it at the same time. A real eye opener.

Sarah H- The Art of being yourself

Sarah talked about her future aspirations. She read us old diary entries highlighting to us how much she has changed over the years. She did this in a humorous, calm and down to Earth kind of way.

Jodi Ann Bickley- One Million Lovely Letters

We were then shown the video above and told we would be receiving a special guest who wouldn’t want to watch herself! I was sat watching the film and was aware she had entered the room and could hear them setting up behind me. And then as if by magic the lights came on and there were tables set out for us with all sorts of crafty bits and bobs and glitter and such. We were invited to create our very own lovely letter, which would be going out to someone in great need of cheering up.

Visually I didn’t find it a challenge and in terms of making origami bits for my letter. However, I was having trouble thinking of what to write! Jodi said to not think about it too much and to just write. So this is what I did! ^_^

Letter 1- Blowing in the Wind


With this letter I just thought that sometimes you can worry too much and overthink things. I know it’s not easy but perhaps it is good to just see where the wind may take you!

Letter 2- Moonface


What I like about workshops is that you can get really interesting feedback from people. Aliyah said this letter reminded her of Moonface from The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton). What is interesting about this comment is that the day before I was editing one of my Auto Biography extracts, where I had written about how I remember sitting in class in Year 1, listening to the teacher reading us The Magic Faraway Tree! Aliyah also liked my paper crane -or swan 😉


After we had finished all of our lovely letters we just simply put them in a pile in the middle of the table. I leave the crane in charge in getting them all to their destinations 🙂


Here is a link to Jodi’s blog for those who want to know more about her project:


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The Spinning Wheel

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CAT: Before the performance I was slightly apprehensive as to what to expect. I am relatively new to spoken word, and after Skyping to Leo Kay in one of the earlier Collective sessions, I realised that I’d never really experienced anything like his work.

However, when Baba visited the Next Gen ‘How to budget and project manage’ we were all blown away at his quick, witty stance on the subject. I knew the performance was going to be special.

As we, the audience, arrived into the theatre space, he and Yako welcomed us with open arms and a delicious hot vegetable soup in a cup. It felt like visiting an old friend, very approachable and caring.

Sarah: Yeah, I remember picking up one of the spoons and he said “Thanks for helping me out with the spoon!”

CAT: The Spinning Wheel takes you on a journey following his father’s footsteps (Steve Ben Israel) and how this has reflected on his son. Baba uses the archive of his father’s writings, recordings, interviews and performance footage. Starting in 50’s New York, around the world, the prisons of Brazil and coming back home again. However, we realise through the journey, home has changed, as well as America and his father.

Sarah: His father was a spoken word Artist, Activist and Anti-Capitalist. Money was tight and his parents argued a lot. Culture of the time included Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, sex, love, hedonism and music; everyone out for a good time basically. These images were projected onto stacked up empty boxes on stage which made you think of an archive which, to me, was what the performance was.

CAT: The set was dressed very thoughtfully with 3 tall stacks of cardboard boxes, reminding me of tower blocks. It creates an interchangeable space that provides the surface to create beautifully projected scenes. Whether it is a film of Steve, an animation of a dove, or his father’s den, it creates an extra layer to the piece. When the performer physically interacts with the visual projection, it was particularly powerful.

Sarah: He once collaborated with his father beat boxing. He was sad that he never had a career talk with his dad, who just didn’t want to know.

CAT: The scene where he tells of his father’s and his fellow performers’ experience of the terrifying imprisonment in Brazil I found particularly moving. The use of the projection, flashing lights and audio symbolizes the time very well.

Sarah: I actually found that part quite frightening, the flashing lights, his eyes were so wide and his mouth hung open. I could almost feel his terror.

CAT: The story is very moving, especially when he describes the passing of his father in 2012. Steve Ben Israel was an important part of ‘The Living Theatre’, a New York based avant garde theatre company, aiming to revolutionise the way that theatre performed the spoken word. However, over time it shifted into a movement for social and political change. The performance also uses the birth of Hip Hop in the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx, that Baba has grown up within, to shape the piece.

Combining rhythmic, beat boxed, performance poetry, mixed music by Yako 440 and projection, you become transfixed in the story of his father, his hopes to brighten the world, ideas of looking for alternatives for the future, and the hopes and fears of Baba himself.

Sarah: Later on into the performance he spoke of people on buses with their closed minds, lack of eye contact and fear. ‘It was as if they were thinking constantly the words “Shit”, “What”, “Fuck” over and over again’. One day Mexican musicians entered the platform, but no one paid them any attention except his father, who joined in by beat boxing. So the next time his father travelled he paid everyone a dollar for their attention, including a man hiding behind his newspaper. His father simply threw a dollar bill over the top of the newspaper, let it drift down and then just stepped off the platform afterwards.

Baba got married; it was raining. He was pushing his buggy through crowds of people in the streets and they wouldn’t move aside. One man even had a go at him. A group of tourists, however, did move aside.

CAT: Baba is very natural and frank in sharing his upbringing and the problems he faced. His presentation of his father’s stand up is hilarious. However, it is often surpassed by the more serious message of how capitalism is destroying the planet, and how revolution starts from within us. The audience and performers united near the end with the ‘Unfucking’ section.

Sarah: Yes, the ‘Unfuck it’ section, was where the audience contributed things which they wanted to ‘Unfuck’ and the performers improvised it in their song.

CAT: We basically put the world to rights. As we shouted out our particular bug bears, like UKIP and tuition fees amongst many others, Baba and his friend then improvised a rap around the issues mentioned. During this sequence I found it clear to see Baba’s gift, which is astonishing.

Sarah: His father was up for an award after he died which they wanted his son to accept. His mum, who always looked younger than she was, went with him for the award. He was worried about being late to the awards ceremony, but he realised there was no need when he arrived, as all was chaos.

His father always finished his performances in the same way, and The Spinning Wheel of Life finished their performance as he would have.  You will have to go to a performance if you want to see how it finished – and everyone really should go to see it. The audience were then given the chance to leave with a pound coin in honour of his father.

CAT: I left the show feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world. ‘The Spinning Wheel’ is a beautiful piece and has left me really excited to see what the Collective can achieve through working with Leo and Anna.