Thursday, 20 December 2018

Playerist Eight


Playerist Poetry Magazine #8
on the theme of ‘Deep’
includes poems by Cathy Flower
and Yassin Zelestine
alongside lyrics
by Christine Collister
and more.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Playerist Poets Live

Not to be missed the Playerist Performance Collective makes a sparkling return to the Poetry Society on the first day of Spring, March 20, for an inspired seasonal programme.

The line up features all immensely talented writers and poets including Ernie Burns, Tara Newton-Wordsworth, Chris Sav, Chris Silver, Amy Neilson Smith and Yassin Zelestine. With live music from guitarist Richard Carter.

The enchanting North London singer-songwriter Jenni closes the evening with the launch of her eagerly awaited EP also entitled Spring. Together with a stunning art installation by Chetan Prajapati, this will prove another very memorable night for Playerist.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Playerist Poets Live // March 14 // Poetry Cafe

Illustration by Chris Sav (exclusive commission for PPL).

 performance collective returns to the Poetry Cafe on Friday March 14 for a very special night indeed. Doors open at 7.30pm from when guests will be treated to the ethereal folk music of the immensely talented singer-songwriter Skopje. The cafe is open all afternoon so why not arrive early and relax with the scrumptious food and drink on offer. This comfy and cosy venue is centrally located, in the heart of Covent Garden, but tucked-away so check the map. For literary lovers there are shelves of magazines for browsing, with the guarantee of no loud pop muzak.

Actor and writer Tara Newton-Wordsworth.

The project’s patron Jillian Miller kicks-off proceedings once more, in her uncommonly effervescent manner, with a brilliant performance of an infamous spouse-to-spouse rant. The wide-ranging topic ‘Relationships’ offers something for everyone to enjoy, laugh at, laugh with and reflect upon. Jillian will then introduce the very gifted artist and poet Chris Sav who dishes out another of his quirky tales, on this occasion concerning a not-so-romantic dinner date. Another Chris: Chris Silver, will read his matchingly quirky rhymes. Mr Silver is a Vauxhall-based film-maker who recently released an independent spine-chiller Inside Shadows to rave reviews. Actor and lover of poetry Jean Apps offers her personal selection of works. And fellow thespian Denis Quilligan will perform his self-penned and excruciatingly rib-tickling monologues. Sarah Rayner returns to ‘Playerist’ with her brutally hilarious takes on love and life, as does up-and-coming writer Sean Wai Keung who previously offered his superb stanzas on coffee shop ethics. The delightful Tara Newton-Wordsworth, fresh from London’s longest-running sketch show ‘NewsRevue’, completes the first half with one of her brilliant ballads.

Melissa James photographed by Mark Guthrie.

Drinks are allowed in the performance space for the second set but that won’t dampen the feisty and fearless feminist commentator Piroska Markus. The running-order repeats with all players voicing vociferous variations on the theme. This time around, Chris Sav will take-up his guitar and, wordsworth by name and nature, Tara will narrate her own lines. By no means least comes the musical poetry of the sensational vocal artiste Melissa James, with live accompaniment from musician and composer Tom Gamble. It’s a rare opportunity to sit back and listen to this fantastic singer in the most intimate of surrounds. The licensed cafe is then available for a remaining hour of socialising between friends old and new.

I again have the honour of introducing these tremendously talented acts (doubtlessly interspersed with one or two items by myself and others) for what promises to be an unforgettable evening. At only £3 on the door it’s incredibly great value, a wonderful start to the weekend, right in the centre of everything – exactly where ‘Playerist’ loves to be.

– Martin Slidel

Artwork and photography by Hutch.

The print edition ‘Playerist 3’ is available for purchase on the night. It may also be ordered online via the Facebook page which represents a growing community of artists and writers. The Event page provides all updates.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Pasta Sauce

From Playerist Literary Magazine No. 3, October 2013 (ISSN 2048-2515)
Submissions and PayPal:
© Sean Duffield and Martin Slidel, 2013. All rights reserved.

I’d like to say that the idea for this drawing came about as a moment of passionate and angry protest against what is an ugly, negative and hateful patch of humanity: the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). But it didn’t. It was because I was amused by how ‘Pastor Phelps’ sounded like ‘Pasta Phelps’! I’m unsure why my funny-bone gets tickled by the things it does (a touch of arrested development?) but this puerile chuckle quickly led to an idea for an advert for a homophobic Pasta Sauce with ol’ Fred ‘Gramps’ Phelps’ face plastered on the label.

Illustration and text by Sean Duffield, Brighton, 2013

I have watched documentaries about Fred Phelps and his messed-up family. I saw the hurt they were causing, and the tragedy of brainwashing their own children, and I reacted with anger. Eventually, I realised that this response is what they want - and what ratings-hungry TV stations want too. Freak-shows and bogeymen that create strong reactions are always good for pulling a crowd. For a group that seems to hate most things beyond its confines, one could be forgiven for viewing WBC as a right little bunch of media whores whose members have studied the ways and loopholes of the law as well as, if not better than, any scripture. (Most of the families trained in law.) It doesn’t take Einstein to figure-out that they specialise in goading people to react before suing those who fall into their trap. Just as they’ve used religious ‘status’ for tax-avoidance or to save pennies for picketing.

There seems to be a pattern with these guys:

1) Turn up at the funerals of gay men, soldiers or whoever else the angry little voice of God (who lives inside Gramps’ head and only he can hear) is choosing to persecute that particular week.

2) Wave picket-signs with nasty and often baffling messages whilst haranguing mourners.

3) Wind up the grieving or local residents and soak-up all that confrontational hatred!

So why bother even commenting on them? Why indeed. When someone thrives on causing pain, the worst thing to do is to feed them. But like all good attention-seekers they’ll find ways to get attention whilst tabloids milk it for all it’s worth. The two need each other. Sensationalised media elements prefer extremists who stir-up blame; rather than addressing subtler problems closer to home.

This brings me back to Pasta Sauce. Advertising and self-promotion is what WBC do best and what keeps the media going, so they have that in common. To my mind, most advertising has similarities with WBC: it’s manipulative; has nothing useful to give; relies on knee-jerk reaction; preys on emotion; is materially driven. Then again, you won’t get hatred shining through TV ads for spot cream, tampons or supermarkets that opt for patronising condescension, saccharine values, and annoying jingles and catchphrases (WBC have theirs: ‘God Hates Fags’ the equivalent of ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’). If WBC’s ‘brand marketing’ were analysed it would be like Marmite – ‘You either love it or hate it’. Of course, the only people who love it ARE the Marmite. They love to hate. They love the taste of hate.

Other family members have escaped control of their sinister patriarch. The most notable being Fred’s sixth son Nate who left at eighteen and is now a gay rights activist and founder of ‘Recovering from Religion’, a group specialising in helping victims of harmful cults. Granddaughters Megan and Grace left the church very recently. Megan wrote an eloquent, sober and encouraging Blog that is well worth checking-out. Phelps’ biggest and most bitter defeat is that his children have slipped through his grasp, found their own voice, and a more positive way to live. If only we could all just stop having our strings pulled by advertising.



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