Recent Preoccupations via Dizee Rascal

As I write: Dizzee Rascal speaks to me from the little documented past–before the album, the mercury and the notoriety–through the tinny speakers of our living room stereo. I say little documented because for a great many people, raskit’s ascendancy happened ‘almost over night’ and was ignited by the critical faculties of the mercury prize panel. I take issue with this sort of thinking. Whilst the notion of overnight celebrity is publicly lauded and discredited the fact remains that we buy into these overnight, get-rich-quick stories. The reason for this is that this makes such fame, or better still recognition, accessible but the actuality is that such recognition eludes many who graft beneath the radar for years. Imagining Dizzee in those days of garage raves and late night pirate radio sessions I’m reminded of the importance of graft and vision.

Whilst there was a certain degree of luck and maybe even tokenism in Dizzee’s eventual success there can be no doubt that he did work hard on his music. How much the luck outweighs the graft is a discussion for another day. Given that the luck presented him only with opportunities there was a need for Dylan Mills to capitalise on the choices open to him. For some time I have been trying to do this myself; attempting to follow Michael Donaghy’s entreaty ‘always carry a spoon in case it rains soup’. I’ve been thinking a lot about those words since I first came across them trawling the net for interviews with writers. Inherent in them there seems to be an acute awareness of timeliness and luck in the achievement of goals wished for and stumbled upon. However I don’t think these words encourage opportunism but instead preparation. There is a lot to be said for it.

Having just returned from Sheffield and the 2nd birthday of an event series I co-founded, my thoughts  on ambition have been brought into sharp focus by the work being done by Opus. This arts collective is in its 3rd year and specializes in the provision of quality community driven arts events and publications. The Opus brand has expanded by some margin since I first came across an open mic night they hosted on Sunday evenings back in 2006. In the time I have worked with them I have come to learn a lot about the importance of building a community. In my haste to achieve the next goal  to bring me closer to recognition my notion of community has become increasingly blurred. As the youthful desire to prove myself falls away I hope I am prepared for the graft that comes with striving for something broader than my own personal goals.

Where was I…

when Senator Obama became President Elect Obama?

Well…I want to say I was at the edge of my seat waiting for the the pivotal 270 but alas I was passed out after travelling back from Operation Black Vote’s ‘Moment in History’ Celebration (A celebration of Obama’s candidacy in the tentative evening and a victory party in the early hours) @ Paper Nightclub in the west end.

I had been asked along to perform some poems at the proceedings and was very impressed by the sheer ‘swankiness’ of the place. There were a number of MP’s in attendance as well a various public figures ranging from actors to journalists. No surprise, then, that I felt slightly overwhelmed.

The event was a huge success all told and the reading was good fun but waking up at 7am to the news of Obama’s victory trumped it by some way. Let’s hope this optimism lasts eh?

‘The Mindscape of Alan Moore’

I am a big fan of comic books and have been for some years now. I am currently working my way through some of the ‘seminal’ works of the medium. So far I have explored the work of Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes and have just started on Alan Moore.

After reading Moore’s ‘The Watchmen’ I became interested in his thinking and was guided, through some late night googling, to a documentary entitled ‘The Mindscape of Alan Moore’. I cannot recommend it enough. His commentary on literature as magic is particularly interesting to me but there is plenty in there to fulfill the philosopher in me as well. Superlatives dispensed with, here is said documentary (it is just over an hour long).

By way of introduction…

Hello,

My name is Kayo Chingonyi and I am a poet, writer, events promoter, workshop facilitator, music fanatic and all manner of other things. This is my first foray into the blogosphere and I must say it has been a lot more painless than I thought it would be. I have started this blog ‘Conversations With the Future’ as a place to write about what I am up to and what I’m interested in. I aim to add at least one post a week and hope that, in time, you will find something here worth reading. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a video I have been enjoying a lot of late: