Sunday, 17 March 2013

Benjamin Zephaniah Poetry

 My inspirations, emotions and creative awareness have always lied in specific genres of novels, magazines and musical lyrics. I don't like to consider other mediums of publishing that don't come as naturally to me. Recently I was introduced to a famous and talented poet, which had me rethinking my interests I mentioned previously. My last lingering memory of poetry was being forced to write sonnets about affection in primary school. The boys in my class made fun of me extensively and I shuddered at the thought of writing fourteen lines elaborated with infatuation and rapture dedicated to these school boys who lived to traumatise me.

Fast forward to my twenties, I still associate poetry with forced love and passion that makes me flinch. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I read Benjamin Zephaniah's poetry. Leaving school at the age of 13, Zephaniah drew on his hidden natural flair for written composition. He sourced inspiration from the music and poetry of his Jamaican roots and what he refers to as 'street politics'. His realistic and gritty style of writing struck a chord with so many people, that by the time he was 15 he had a cult following in his home-town of Handsworth, Birmingham. He went on to publish a successful book at 22 and in the early 80's his poetry was recited at many street protests involving issues such as homelessness and unemployment. He has also been a strong force in the music industry, as well as foraying into the fields of child poetry and novel writing for teenagers. So humble and validated is this man's rational intellect, that he turned down an OBE from the Queen because it reminded him of how his fore-mothers were raped and his forefathers brutalised.

I may not be the little girl who deals with school bullies any more, but that's because I've learnt to make the best of various faulty situations that were forced upon me and sometimes, what I brought upon myself. Everyone has a story and that's what Zephaniah conveys. He speaks on behalf of that homeless man we pass on our way to work, the immigrant who's tolerated racial abuse for a greater sense of freedom or the wealthy businessman drowning in his own camouflaged loneliness. The following is one of my favourite poems of Zephaniah's:

De Rong Song

Your house is
Falling down
And you got
To eat
Don't worry
Be Happy
Your fish
Have drowned
You wear
A frown
You search
But you don't
Own a pound
Don't worry
Be happy.

You ain't got
Nowhere to
Just balconies
Don't worry
Be happy.

You meet
You really like,
They tell you to
Get on your bike
Don't worry
Be happy.

You're on your bike
And all is fine, 
You get caught
In a washing line,
Don't worry
Be happy.
You go to school
The school is
The Government
Put Pressure on, 
Don't worry
Be happy.
Your tea is
Your ice is
Your head is
Tied up in a 
Don't worry
Be happy.
You worry
You're hurrying, 
And hurry
You're worrying
Don't happy
Be worried


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Attending a TV Presenting Course

I was saving up for the weekend 'Presenting Diploma and Showreel' course at the London School of Media, Film and TV, for months. The first day of my course finally arrived on 2nd March and on my way in, I imagined my next two days being filled with wannabe eccentrics in the form of Russell Brands or Keith Lemons. I'm not exactly a shy or quiet person, but inevitably I would be eaten up alive I thought. Without question.

So imagine my genuine pleasure when I arrived to find a small group of equally nervous people. Right from the beginning I bonded with other course mates Elizabeth Pumer (Beth) and Pamela Toyin (Mama T) and felt like I wasn't on any course at all! Mama T was a freelance journalist like myself, but had a book published in Ireland in regards to her Nigerian heritage. Her style of presenting was evident to that of a community show and she had us in fits of giggles throughout the course!

Beth on the other hand was there to build her confidence for a spot of public speaking she was going to be involved in, whilst on a 3 month bikram yoga course in Los Angeles. (Jealous much?) Within minutes of knowing each other, me and Beth connected. Jokes were shared, nerves were calmed down and support was given to each over the course of the next two days.

Our tutor Steve Blacknell, a presenting showbiz veteran put us further at ease. We were fully engaged in his quirky stories about his 'terrible' acting career and his time in down-town ghetto Hollywood. He made an extreme effort to get to know us individually aswell and what we hoped to get out of the course. He felt more like a friend than a tutor by the time the course was done.

For the actual content of the course, we wrote our own scripts on the first day which were niche to our intended markets. Two short scripts were for our autocue segments infront of the green screen, and the third script was intended on being filmed outside. We then practised them in-front of the autocue screen, where we were then given pointers and tips as to how to make ourselves sound better. We were also given advice on how to make ourselves appear more approachable and warm on camera. The second day, we put all our hard work to good use! Coming in bare faced to a professional make-up artist made the horrific Sunday-cancelled-trains-commute worth it. She got us all dolled up and we shot our indoor autocue takes first. They were done relatively quick and we then proceeded to film our outdoor take. This was a great experience for us to consider natural elements that may affect our performances in future presenting jobs. The adrenaline of having many Londoners stop and watching me put me at complete ease and I got my take done in about 2 minutes. I knew right there and then that saving up for this course was worth the money! My showreel will be available soon to view :) 

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