SpeedPoets hits The Alibi Room this Sunday, April 5 from 2pm with a three-prong feature attack including sets from Skye Staniford, Pru Gell and Brisbane spoken word/hip-hop artist Darkwing Dubs. Darkwing shared his Desert(ed) Island Poems with me recently, so now I am sharing them with you!
1. Freedom – J5
To me Jurassic Five are what a classic hip-hop crew are all about: great funky samples, lyrical precision, and a cohesion of artistic talent on par with the greatest bands and orchestras in the world. In essence, the title “Freedom” says it all. And it’s been done before. And it will be done again. But if the message is pummeled into the brains of the many, maybe it will actually, finally happen. Freedom comes in so many shapes and sizes. To be free means different things to different people. Whether you’re in a domestic violence situation; or your whole culture is denied it’s basic human rights; or your sexuality is denied, unwelcomed, shunned, freedom is a thing to constantly fight for… Bring it on.
Watch them perform it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNh3atvswbE
2. Jack and The Beanstalk – Roald Dahl
Gotta love old mate Roald Dahl. What a creative genius! Hence you’ll find I’ve put two of his works in here. I was raised on Roald Dahl, loved his talent from the first sip of Fizzbang through to a journey with James and a ride on a chocolate river with Willy Wonka. I still pick up his books today with a smile, not just from the inevitable nostalgia, but because I genuinely still really enjoy reading his work. Me and some mates made a short film of this poem in high school, just for shits and giggles. Yet every time I read it I illicit that same mischievous laugh at how a book for kids could be so dark (something I discover more and more in his work, the older I get. I mean, what kind of psycho is Willy Wonka?… No, seriously! The dude’s a sadist!)
3. Papa’z Song – 2Pac
I was a bit skeptical of adding this one in. I mean, a lot of people know 2Pac as “one of those dead gangsta rappers”. But the 2Pac I know is far, far from it. I could go into his obsessive creative nature, being so transfixed by death and the ideas of dying, that he got more done in a single recording session than many artists do in a lifetime (hence the back catalogue of lyrics that pop up in “new” songs from time to time). How his acting ability in movies like Gridlock’d saw him break the conventional “rapper-actor” status quo. How his books of poetry piss on the conventional works in the poetry section at Dymocks.
But that’ll take too much time, plus it’s just my biased opinion, and if you want to talk 2Pac, I’m always just an e-mail or phone call away.
What I will mention is how this song touched my teenage, angst-ridden, only-child-single-mum-wanna-feel-sorry-for-myself heart.
I never had it this bad. There were no drugs. No weekly visits by strange men etc. But here is the crux of 2Pac’s universal appeal: emotion, emotion, emotion. I wanted to feel like someone out there knew how lonely I was. 2Pac let me. I wanted to feel angry at a world that looked at me as an outcast. 2Pac let me. I wanted to hate the dad I never met. 2Pac let me.
And even though I’m not in that place anymore, whenever I hear 2Pac’s voice, he takes me wherever he is. And I let him.
Read the lyrics here: http://www.lyricstime.com/2pac-papa-z-song-lyrics.html
Watch him perform it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFe8NmtFD2s
4. Television – Roald Dahl
You can just tell how pissed he is about the idiot-box. Great Stuff.
Read it here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/television/
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran “On Children”
This is the closest thing I’ve got to a bible, so to speak. I’ll look into it from time to time just to centre myself. “On Children” is great because I find myself thinking about parenting a lot (cluck cluck eh?…. shit….). So this verse helps me re-align the place children have, and deserve to have in society. As human beings.
Read it here: http://www.katsandogz.com/onchildren.html
6. Waiting For The Great Leap Forward – Billy Bragg
Easily one of my favorites. Billy Bragg is a folk singer from the UK who struts around the globe with his hand made electric guitar, fist raised. “If you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it”. Tell ‘em Billy. Give ‘em hell.
“So join the struggle while you may, the revolution is just a T-shirt away”…
Watch him perform it on the Rollins Show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7d6ZwAp28Y
7. Coded Language – Saul Williams
I’ve only just recently discovered Saul Williams, and what a delight he is. So fresh and bold. Check out this on youtube if you get a chance.
Watch him perform it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzY2-GRDiPM
8. Shadows of Tomorrow – Madvillain (feat. Lord Quas)
I truly can’t get enough of anything Madlib and MF Doom touch. So hearing this music is the very definition of “music to my ears”. Madlib on the beats, Doom on the vocals, yet this track sees a switch up. With Madlib and his alter-ego Quasimoto stepping up to present a wordsmith’s dream of philosophy and downright confusion. I’m still unsure exactly what it all means, and for me, that signifies a great, sincere, mammoth effort (especially in the current hip-hop climate of wack beats with even wack-er MC’s).
Read the lyrics here: http://www.lyricsdir.com/madvillain-shadows-of-tomorrow-lyrics.html
Watch them perform it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhoAP9A_mTM
9. The Creation Of Ea – Ursula K. Le Guin
This is the poem that begins her classic Earthsea novels. I’ve read this book so many times throughout my life I’ve lost count. I started reading the Earthsea books when I was about 7. These books symbolise, to me: death and life; hope and despair; love and hate; and youth and maturity. The poem at the start says it all.
She is an author who can say in one sentence what takes J.K. Rowling a whole chapter (not hating on Harry Potter, don’t get me wrong, I really dig a bit of expelliarmis and death eater action myself, but if you compare the two, you’ll agree). Le Guin transfixes me in worlds beyond your standard fantasy and science fiction.
Read it here:
The Creation of Ea – by Ursula K. Le Guin in “A Wizard Of Earthsea”
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life :
bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.
10. Extract from Macbeth – William Shakespeare
I returned to Shakespeare last semester at uni. It was really great to explore that world again. Shakespeare’s work is something that will be examined and defined and redefined until the human race is extinct. It works on the basic human levels of love and loss, hate and love and pain and death death death death death.
You’ve got to love a morbid ending or nine.
I love Macbeth. The witches, the death, the betrayal. Underbelly needn’t be true or not, it’s still the same story!
I particularly liked this scene, because the way it’s written is top class Shakespeare. You can hear the heavy breathing of a man suffering between each line. The despair and the grief. “Out, out brief candle!”
Read it here:
Extract from “Macbeth”
By William Shakespeare
I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t: I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.
Wherefore was that cry?
The queen, my lord, is dead.
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
About Darkwing Dubs:
Darkwing Dubs has been performing hip-hop for over five years. After joining M.A.S. in 2003, he quickly established himself as a charismatic front man and skilled MC and Producer.
While a member of M.A.S., Dubs supported:
The Herd, Hermitude, Cog, Apsci, Morganics, Dogg Pound, Bone Thugs N Harmony, The Coalition Crew, Bias B, Muph n Plutonic, The Serenity and Rainman.
Since leaving M.A.S. at the beginning of 2008, Darkwing Dubs pursued the Poetry Slam scene in QLD. Taking out the Chermside heats, and earning a spot in the QLD final held at the State Library.
He has since performed Poetry and Hip-hop at:
Queensland Poetry Slam 2007 and 2008
‘Outsiderz’ @ Tongue and Groove 2007 and 2008
Queensland Poetry Festival 2008
Woodford ‘Word-food’ Slam 2008
City Cyphaz 2008 and 2009
Collaborating with fellow Hip-hop artist and Poet, Zennabomb, Darkwing Dubs has had rave reviews including:
Darkwing Dubs & Zennabomb take a sci fi twist to the unlit sparks and torch the space between The Cramps swallowing Sage Francis and where every comic book villian with three feet finds a beat and starts to dance. Hip hop sonic word twisters for the bent generation, boyyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. – Ghostboy
Find Out More:
Last FM: http://www.last.fm/music/darkwing+dubs
Be there to catch Darkwing’s set at SpeedPoets this Sunday, April 5 at The Alibi Room (720 Brunswick St. New Farm), from 2pm – 5pm.