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12 Sep 2011

Mark Grist - Poet in residence Blog 10 - September 2011

Hello again. Gosh, this summer has been busy! I’ve just returned from Ramsgate Arts Festival, where Mixy and I were performing our Dead Poets show. We think this was roughly our 180th time performing as the Dead Poets and it was great to be doing the full show in a theatre to a huge range of ages. It’s always cool to see Grandparents and teenagers chatting about the show afterwards.  And even cooler to sell some CDs afterwards.

I’ve nearly been working full time as a freelance poet for a year now. It’s been incredible. The highlight was definitely going on stage at Latitude to hundreds of inebriated campers, but the schools I’ve toured around have also been great fun. My writing has come on leaps and bounds, thanks to the MA that I’ve been doing at Goldsmith’s and my show Shetland Boy packed out Peterborough’s Key Theatre, getting some great feedback in the process. I think it helped that I did a week long residency in Waterstone’s to promote the show, during which time I wrote poems for the customers (10 minutes per poem, which was fairly intense!) and if all that success wasn’t enough I only made myself ill a handful of times (which, considering the amount of time I spend sleeping on the train, is no small feat).

In September I’m taking ‘Shetland Boy’ out for a few more test runs around the East of England, and doing a mini tour of Jersey on a fortnight. Aside from that I’m working on a new school’s tour of the East of England and starting work on a new show.

It’s the new show that I’m most excited about. It’s called ‘The Geek Shall inherit The Earth’ and involves me taking on a range of super geeky activities and trying to find out why people get obsessed with certain things. One is food. I’m going on ITVs ‘The Great British Taste Tour’ to see what happens when I encounter some serious foodies, whilst no doubt getting made to look particularly stupid.

Within the show there’s one moment that I’m particularly excited about. I like to play Risk. The Board game. I’m hooked on it and I’ve found out when the National final is on. The plan is to go to the event in Pennsylvania and see how I do, whilst writing about it for the show. I’m also doing a range of school gigs and some consultancy. It certainly seems that, compared to last year, when I had a completely dead September, I’ve actually got a few bits and bobs that I can do (thank goodness!) We’ll see how the coming month stacks up.

For now, here’s one of those pieces I wrote in 10 minutes for while promoting Shetland Boy. I was asked to write a piece about Steve Jobs being killed by a trebuchet (!) for Nicky and his friend Mia.

What a blow, Mr Jobs

Finally, we catch him. He’s presenting outside, about two miles away. There are high fives and cigars; then we get down to business. Nicky unloads the van.

It’s not a sweatshop. For a factory it’s pretty nice.

It takes four of us to assemble the trebuchet.  Mia shows up with the meteorite.

Would you rather we were a Korean company?

The trebuchet is aimed. We are whistling while we work.

I’m sorry about your girlfriend. Life is fragile.

We pull the crank. The meteor is released.

As it shoots out over our heads and we bump chests, the meteor considers the irony of the situation.

It considers the apple’s involvement in heading up the discovery of gravity, and gravity’s involvement in discovering the Head of Apple. Discovering it with a huge slab of space rock.

The irony of this is not lost upon Steve Jobs either, as he sees the meteorite fall towards him. It’s an irony that’s expanded on when, once  struck, the smear that was once Steve Jobs is then hit with a lighter, newer, and arguably more pretentious meteor than the last, which, whilst being more aesthetically pleasing, is nonetheless no improvement on the previous model.


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