News from Inua Ellams 07/04/08 ...and thus we march into April, like to pause to nod to my new mailing subscribers, cut the chitty chit chat, recap the formula; {four news items and something good from YouTube} Off we go: BORIS JOHNSON / LYNK REACH (prt2) / LIVE RECORDING / GIGS / SKATE BOARD

BORIS JOHNSON (for the Londoners) This is the last time I mention last month's Time Out Article. My most ineloquent moment was when asked about Boris Johnson's campaign mayor, I replied... “eurgh”. At the time of said interview I lacked facts on the man and his policies. I know more now & wouldn't change 'eurgh' for the world; it sums up my visceral reaction. I admit, Ken Livingstone's had his problems, policies have side-effected, regular media clashes, he is imperfect. Both men promise pretty much the same things, so the election becomes that of the lesser of two evils. Now Boris is a man who in an article for The Telegraph called the people of Congo “piccaninnies” saying about the Queen's visit; “...the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles” since then he apologised, patronisingly, “I do feel very sad that people have been so offended by these words...” Note*, not for what he said, but that it UPSET people... incredible. London is the most culturally diverse, most vibrant city in the world, I haven't impudence enough to suggest which evil to vote for on May 1st for but... Boris?

LYNK REACH (prt2) Recap: In Feb's mail out I mentioned Lynk Reach's project, a six-school poetry slam, where the highest scoring poetry team go to Chicago for a week. I have been teaching with Nick Makoha. Two weeks ago, we whittled the team from the original 17 or so, to 9 kids. Have to say, it was the most emotionally charged day of my year so far. Over the past weeks, we have tried to teach more than poetry, we deal with behaviour management, attitudes to work, to family, school, how they influence self expression, relationships... We've had other teachers in the school stop and ask what we do, why the students have come to apologise suddenly for of past bad conduct... I found out recently that 70% of the class are fatherless, so the relationship dynamic is... interesting and at times, fragile. One such kid (who is on the verge of permanent exclusion) pulled out the most touching performance that Wednesday, a narrative poem on burglary, being arrested and sent to youth detention.

The 1st phaze ended with 'Community Building Day' on the 29th or March, where all six schools gathered to write, read, see other poets / poet coaches and to get a feel for what the Slam final will be like. The second phaze is where I feel the Real work begins, the moulding, the find tuning of poems and the priming of performance. Stay Tuned.

LIVE RECORDING** I am trying to exhaust my first collection, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (available £4 from Amazon). It has been graphically interpreted, set to music, animated, being staged for theatre, Six of the poems have been studio recorded for sale (more about all those in the coming months) but I want to have a live audio and video recording of the performance of those six poems, So I am really exited about this show:

Date: 29th April // At: The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS Doors: 7pm // Show: 8pm // End: 9pm // Cost: £3.13p - please, bring exact change!

The Deejay will be spin, I'll record three poems, Deejay will spin again, three more poems, the end. Should take no more than one hour. The venue only seats 60 people, so I'd advise arrive early. I made a flyer for the show:

GIGS: Again, a few coming up, so listing the first five:

9TH APRIL - Lazy Gramaphone £5 // 20.00 - The Macbeth, 70 Hoxton Street, LDN N1 6LP

10th APRIL - Shortfuse - £5 // 20.30 - Camden Head, Camden walk, Islington, LDN N1

15th APRIL - NewBlood - £5/£3 // 19.30 - The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, LDN WC2H 9BX

17th APRIL - Behind The Mic - £6/£4 // 20.00 - The Cavendish Arms, 128 Hartington Road, LDN SW8 2HJ

21st APRIL - Sticks & Stones - £3 // 20.00 - Strawberry Fields Bar, 159 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 3ED

YOUTUBE: SKATE BOARD Four yrs old, I taught myself to ride a bike. That summer in Nigeria, I borrowed my neighbours mustard yellow / navy blue BMX and circled my house for days till I made it round without falling or stopping, I remember staggering into the kitchen, torn shorts, torn skin, sand streaks, with the purest, smile on my face. My dad managed to control his pride, asked me to clean up for lunch. Two years pass and the craze was skateboards, by then I had discovered the magic of a pencil and paintbrush. After two failed attempts at mastering the board, abandoned it and concentrated on becoming exceptional with my fingers...

So, when I saw this on the tube, I marvelled at what I may have become. The story, the way this is shot, the slow-mos, the settings and tricks... spectacular. Sit back and watch.