Thursday, 3 November 2011

Everybody Everywhere Stomp Your Feet!


I have just released a CD and download album of poetry and songs for children, featuring some of the poems that I perform in schools. The album comprises of fourteen tracks including the title song ‘Everybody Everywhere Stomp Your Feet!’ which is based on an action poem from my book ‘We Are Poets!’

You can listen to the title track here:

The album includes some poems from my book, which was published in 2008 by Flapjack Press, as well as some new poems for younger listeners. Many of the poems are set to music or a backing beat. I use a lot of these poems in workshops when I visit schools and have included an additional six bonus tracks that can be used in workshops; these are merely the instrumental pieces and beats that accompany some of the poems on the CD. One of the poems is described as a 'rap' (get me!) and has a simple beat added to it, which should add to the fun in workshops when year six get to write and perform their own versions of the poem.

 

I hope that the album will be a useful resource for teachers when they are teaching performance poetry, as well as being fun for children to listen to. The song ‘Everybody Everywhere Stomp Your Feet!’ is always great fun when I visit schools. I get all of the children and staff to join in doing the actions which include flapping wings like a bird and waving hands in the air. The track has a thumping dance beat too which requires LOTS of funky dancing especially from the teachers!

You can listen to all fourteen tracks if you visit www.helnthomas.bandcamp.com or use the widget below:

Full Tracklist Including Bonus Tracks 


The album is available as a CD, download or as individual track downloads from the Bandcamp website. You can also buy the 'We Are Poet's'  book and will receive the download album free of charge. 

For more information visit my website  

Friday, 16 September 2011

More youtube nonsense from me...


Fun with video making software...

I'm sure it all looks pathetic to anyone who knows what they're doing,
but I've had enormous fun mucking about with Windows Movie Maker. 
Here's what I've been up to...



Friday, 9 September 2011

Dear cat biscuit manufacturers...


I have just downloaded the coupon printing software and tried to run it but it won't work despite me disabling pop up blockers and anti virus software. You have also emailed me a link as an alternative. That doesn't work either. I am now losing the will to live. I am not a stupid person and am quite computer savvy, but your voucher system is not very user friendly and now I am very cross and pissed off. Would it be possible for you to simply put the voucher in the post? I have two cats who love your product and I have wasted the best part of 40 minutes getting increasingly frustrated trying to redeem this voucher. My address is......................

Might I suggest that asking people to download software that doesn't work isn't the most efficient way to garner customer loyalty? If I was a little old lady trying to do this, I might have had a heart attack and died from the stress of it all, and my cats would have had to eat me, so please, think on... 

Hope this helps. H. Thomas. 


Monday, 13 June 2011

Kill it, cook it, make a crass TV show out of it...

The following is a re-post of a blog that I wrote on my myspace page a few years back.  I thought I'd re-post it here seeing as the revolting 'Kill it, cook it, eat it' franchise has recently made a return to BBC3.

I just blew my chance to be on BBC3.
Current mood:
enraged
Category:
Pets and Animals

I just received the following e-mail:

Dear Helen,

I am working on a TV series for BBC3 called Kill It Cook It Eat It.  I came across your name while scouring the internet to find poets or perfomers who might make great contributors to the recording, next Wednesday in Oldham. I would love to have a chat with you as soon as possible about the possibility of you coming along to the recording of this episode, which will actually be the Christmas programme. This would just be about whether it is something that you would be interested in contributing to, or at least hearing more about.
Here is a little more detailed information for you.

'Kill it Cook it Eat it' takes a serious and balanced look at Britain's attitudes towards meat and it's consumption. It is not just an excuse to be controversial. The project involves an in-depth look at the provenance of the meat we eat – from the field to the fork - and each programme brings together two moments that the meat-loving public has conveniently separated: the death of the animal and the consumption of its meat.
The specially invited group of contributors will have the opportunity to see for themselves the process that puts food on their plates. Through insert films and commentary they will follow the life and death of an animal and in a specially converted abattoir, they will witness the skill of the slaughter man and butcher as the animals' destiny is fully realised. 

The first series of 'Kill It Cook It Eat It' was very well received by the BBC3 audience, prominent members within the meat industry, experts and contributors - including vegetarians - who took part. In this second series we will again be addressing all elements of the meat industry from farm to fork and will provide accurate, interesting and informative facts about meat. We are addressing farming, slaughter and butchery in the hope to better connect consumers with their food.

The 'Christmas episode' will be recorded next Wednesday, September 12th in Oldham. We would absolutely love to include the opinions and reactions of vegetarians and hope that a performance poet who is also a vegetarian might be able to communicate some of these particularly well. We are looking for someone who would be able to uniquely articulate their views and those of other vegetarians / guests. We believe that a young poet would be much better able to engage with our viewers than many of the academics and industry experts who, although incredibly well informed, may not be as in tune with our audience. 

Have you written any poems about vegetarianism and or meat / eating meat / christmas? If you are available and interested, do you think you might be able to write a poem about the day and your feelings / reactions to events witnessed and perform it at the end of the day?

I'm so sorry for the late notice, but we were only notified very recently that the BBC also wanted a 'Christmas episode'. Due to the unique arrangement of filming in a purpose-built studio, next to an abattoir, we have very little time to put this special programme together, so that it can be recorded with the second series.
I really do hope that you will want to take part and can make yourself available. 

My direct line has still not been activated, so please call me on my mobile or email me and I will call you straight back.
Yours sincerely,
Kate Harding 
Kate Harding
Assistant Producer
Firefly Film and Television Productions Ltd


Here's my reply:

You must be fucking joking. I'd rather stick pins in my eyes. Are you seriously suggesting that I come along to an abattoir so that you can increase the ratings for the cultural cess pit that is BBC3? I now find myself agreeing with John Humphreys re. the future of your channel.

You are being disingenuous and cynical when you describe your show in the following terms: 

'Kill it Cook it Eat it' takes a serious and balanced look at Britain's attitudes towards meat and it's [sic] consumption. It is not just an excuse to be controversial. The project involves an in-depth look at the provenance of the meat we eat – from the field to the fork - and each programme brings together two moments that the meat-loving public has conveniently separated: the death of the animal and the consumption of its meat. 

Most intelligent people know where their food comes from and they make personal choices about what they eat based on that knowledge. You say that your aim is to inform consumers. That's bollocks. You don't need the gimmick that is an abattoir next to a restaurant in order to discuss the meat industry. This is just sensational telly for apathetic townies who neither know nor care about the origin of their food. Slaughtering animals on TV seems to be the latest ratings grabber and I for one don't wish to be a part of it. What with Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey et al slaying whole farm yards on camera and the rash of faux explorers who think that eating anything that moves makes them intrepid, the whole death of an animal on camera thing has been done to death (no pun intended). So please, make it stop. 

You also say: We are looking for someone who would be able to uniquely articulate their views and those of other vegetarians / guests. My vegetarianism is a personal choice and I represent no-one but myself in this. I try my best not to evangelise - like I said, informed adults are capable of making choices for themselves. 

You also say: In this second series we will again be addressing all elements of the meat industry from farm to fork.  If you addressed these issues in the first series, why do you need to do so again? For titillation perhaps? Everything about this show is offensive and disrespectful to the animals involved. The title alone is just tacky. 

Also, I can't help but think that having a performance poet railing against the meat industry will only serve to make vegetarians and poets look like a bunch of reactionary twats. Or perhaps that's the intention.
Finally, don't believe everything you read on myspace. I really don't think that I qualify as the voice of 'yoof'. However, do let me know if there are any vacancies on 'Grumpy Old Women'. Joking aside, I'm really quite disgusted, offended, and as you can probably tell, angered by your inquiry. 

Helên

P.S. And I don't celebrate Christmas.
************************************************************************************************
So, veggie poets, do you think I did the right thing? I particularly like the question:


I did once write a poem about Christmas...when I was ten. I also ate a rabbit pie when I was ten, but that's another story and it won't be appearing on BBC3.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Baby Names: Click 'Like'.

There was a story in the news the other day about a couple who decided to name their baby 'Like'.
This reminded me of a blog I wrote on my now defunct myspace blog a while ago, so here it is again. 

Baby Names.
Current mood: grateful
Category: Life
 
I won't be having any children, but if I did, here's who they'd be, and, more importantly, what they'd be called: 

Inertia: Female. She is a lazy flaky arse who takes after her mother although she claims that she would like a career in industry. She suffers from low blood pressure, bedsores, greasy hair, dandruff, constipation, bad breath and the inability to make decisions. Likes anything pink and novelty slippers.  

Kiosk: Male. His Dad is a Polish immigrant who runs the popcorn and sweets franchise in the local cinema. We got friendly after he gave me a discount on a jumbo packet of minstrels and a can of coke. Kiosk likes football and gherkins.

Thingy: Gender irrelevant. Thingy is an average, unremarkable child who makes friends easily and is always being called on to lend utensils to his / her classmates. Thingy is a twin. S/he collects pencil sharpeners and rubbers; s/he's particularly fond of the fragrant ones that dangerously resemble real sweets. S/he has catalogued them all in a notebook, ranking them from most to least favourite, and freshens them up with bottles of old scent that she buys from charity shops.

Youthere: Gender irrelevant. Youthere is Thingy's twin. They sit together in class. They are biologically identical but they are easy to tell apart: Thingy is clean and has a well stocked pencil case full of classroom utensils whereas Youthere has a permanent snot bubble, breathes through his / her mouth and smells of wee, biscuits and synthetic jam.

Moraine: Female. Moraine works on a building site and has previously been a landscape gardener. She is a hypochondriac who is convinced that she is going to die of cancer. She wants to live in Scotland. She has a bubble perm that makes her look like a 1970s footballer. Favourite foods: quiche and malt loaf.

Fauna: Female. Fauna lives in Ireland with her paternal grandmother. She likes Irish dancing, treacle toffee and Eurovision. She achieved local notoriety when she claimed to have seen the image of the Virgin Mary in a dollop of cat sick although her grandmother attributed it to a fur ball.

Finial: Male. Lives with Fauna in Ireland with their paternal grandmother. Models himself on Laurence Llewellyn Bowen. Owns his own sewing machine but likes to get a man in to jigsaw the MDF. Works part time in the local Chinese restaurant sculpting roses out of raw carrots, radishes and turnips.

Salivary-Amylase: Female. Fancies herself as that bird from 'Chocolat'. Dribbles a lot. 

John Way Hey: Male. John, in adulthood, is a priapic party animal. His father is not registered on his birth certificate so John uses his mother's surname. He's a bit thick, but everybody likes him. He's especially popular with older women. He's studying 'sports science' at college. Favourite food: baked beans straight from the tin.

Helix: Male. Helix is the larger of two conjoined twins who are joined at the hair. 

Double Helix: Male. Brother of larger conjoined twin Helix. 

Stella Art Wah: Female. Stella was conceived on a building site, but is a bit of a social climber. She wears sunglasses indoors with a black beret and a white string vest. She's had her nipples pierced and frequents art galleries whilst sucking a pencil. 

Androgen: Male. Androgen is a fantasist who is addicted to bodybuilding, plastic surgery and porn. Currently living in Hollywood, working as a stripper. He once got to stand in the background of an edition of 'Baywatch'.

Tuatara: Female. A skinny girl who suffers from psoriasis, bulging eyes and a long thin tongue. Doesn't like the cold. 

Pub: Male. Pub is short and stocky. He enjoys running round the playground at school frightening the girls. He likes playing on his own but will do anything for a dare. He rarely plays with the other boys, but will occasionally stand in as a goal post if they're short of jumpers. Despite being only eleven, he has self-tattooed the words 'LUVE' and 'HATS' upside-down on his knuckles. He recently got sent to the Headmaster's office for eating tadpoles. His dad is missing. 

Andfinally: The last one. Wants to be a ringmaster. Very small. Male I think.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Friday, 6 May 2011

Infinity And Beyond!

This is a re-post of a blog that I posted on my myspace blog some time ago. I'm posting here because I refer to it in a blog that I'm going to re-post on the Tingle In The Netherlands blog:

I'm going to put a link to this blog in that blog so anyone reading this can just get sucked into the blogosphere until someone finds their skeleton slumped over a keyboard after they have clicked their last and croaked. Confused? Try living in my head. Aaaannnyway, here's the blog. 

Infinity And Beyond!

I've been wondering whether I've left it too late to become an astronaut. They're quite rock and roll aren't they astronauts? Well, to be precise, they rock, they roll and they float about in zero gravity whilst listening to all kinds of music; they're hard drinking, risk takers and probably quite mad.

Why, it was only the other day that NASA decided to implement a rule banning in-flight drunkenness and more recently cocaine was discovered in the space shuttle's hangar, allegedly .

But back to drunkeness...Apparently, it was quite common for the astronauts to over do the Dutch courage to such an extent that they'd be blasted before blast off, and no one thought anything strange about this.

Then there was that woman astronaut who drove halfway across the USA, whilst wearing a nappy, in order to shoot her lover's girlfriend. 
Basically, the woman was a 'bunny boiler' (though she probably wouldn't know how to boil a bunny as they only eat freeze-dried strawberries and ice-cream in space). The media was mostly preoccupied with the fact that she chose to wear a nappy in order to save on journey time.

I think she'd become institutionalised by NASA and simply assumed that all long journeys require major sanitary padding. I don't know why she went to such trouble; I usually pop in a Tenalady and dose myself up on Imodium whenever I'm en route to shoot up a love rival, mind you, National Express coaches do make regular stops for toilet breaks, so there's not usually the need.

So, there you are then: I think that being an astronaut would be quite exciting and I haven't even mentioned the glory of the universe, the beauty of the stars, the miracle of space travel and of course Buzz Aldrin's face lift. Face: the final frontier. Yes, Buzz Aldrin's had a face-lift.
Well, I suppose he's a celebrity and of course there's the self esteem issues that resulted from his not being the first man to set foot on the moon.

But, have I left it too late to realise my own dreams of space travel? I'm a bit old and fat, BUT one thing in my favour is the fact that I'm a woman. Ages ago I read an article in the Sunday papers* (so it must be true) that revealed the startling fact that when the first batch of potential astronauts was being trained, the women came out top in all the tests and were deemed to be most suitable for space travel.

Their first advantage was the fact that on average, they were smaller than the men, but they fared better on all the other tests for stamina and whatever else you need to be a good astronaut. This gave NASA a dilemma. The whole space race was all about machismo, especially given that the Russians were trying to get there first. From a PR point of view, sending a crew of women up on the first space voyages looked wrong. Also, there was the risk of public outcry had everything gone wrong. If the women had failed to return, their suitability would have been called into question and also NASA would have looked bad for putting a load of weak and feeble women in harm's way. So, it was decided to send the blokes because they looked the part. Epic voyages of discovery are always made by blokes aren't they?
 
It's obvious that women make better astronauts though isn't it? Everything floats about in space so you constantly have to tidy up. Also, I skim-read half of another article in one of the Sunday papers* and it revealed that the dust in space is intelligent. (Further evidence that dust is intelligent comes from the writing of the words 'clean me' that can always be seen in the dust on the back of white vans). Well, what the article actually said was that scientists have shown that dust 'comes to life' in space and forms some kind of helix structure similar to DNA. It was speculated that this showed how life originated out of the dust in space. So, as we all know, men can't even see dust, so what use will they be in space that could be full of dust that has the potential to evolve into new (potentially deadly!) life. Send the women up there with a can of Pledge and some dusters, that's what I say. Funnily enough, I was thinking about this as I was having a cleaning frenzy the other day, and guess what? My dust contains glitter.

Finally, as evidence of my suitability for space travel, I'd like to add the following poem, which should prove that I would be quite handy if any of the heat resistant tiles fall off the space shuttle whilst I'm at the space station.

Grouting

There is no doubting
The quality of that there grouting
Without it the tiles would not be flouting
The law of gravity
(which is more than can be said for the glue that they use on the space shuttle)

*There's no bibliography, but if you click on the highlighted text you should find a host of badly researched articles and blogs that support my wild and outrageous claims. Hope this helps! HTxx

Friday, 29 April 2011

Despot Playlist for the Royal Wedding.

As the royal wedding looms over us like a prison guard with a cattle prod, the media has got itself in a spin about the number of foreign dictators being invited to the party. The International Business Times said this:

"The invitation that provoked the fiercest outcry was the one to The Crown Prince of Bahrain, whose regime has killed several protesters and injured hundreds in bloody crackdowns.
Other invited royals whose regimes were embroiled in suppressing protestors in 2011 include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Morocco."

The Crown Prince of Bahrain has now been disinvited, but I can't help wondering what all the fuss is about. The royals have always been happy to cosy up to the morally corrupt, provided that they have the required cash and 'status' to mix in the highest echelons of international society. 

So, in celebration of this fact, I have decided to compile a playlist of songs about some of the world's greatest despots and dictators, preferably ones who have been welcomed to Buckingham Palace, no questions asked. 

At number 5 it's the man of the moment, Gary Glitter lookalike and graduate of the Bono school of ego and self love, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Obviously, Gaddafi hasn't been invited to the wedding which is a shame seeing as Prince Andrew is such good pals with his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

"The latest revelations in the British media have centered on Andrew's friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and claims that Andrew also had close ties to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of the Libyan leader's sons." (www.theage.com.)

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has also been in the news recently as it has been alleged that his Phd was written for him in exchange for a large chunk of funding that was awarded to the LSE. There's not much else to say about Saif's infamous father. Given the ongoing situation in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi's despot CV is currently a work in progress; his son's academic CV is a work of fiction.

Here's a toe tapping track about Gadaffi senior for your listening pleasure.



At number 4 it's Nicolae Ceausescu.

Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1978. Ceausescu was awarded an honorary GCB (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath) although he was stripped of this honour the day before his execution during the revolution in Romania in 1989.

"During the course of the revolution, the western press published estimates of the number of people killed by the Securitate in attempting to support Ceaușescu and quash the rebellion. The count increased rapidly until an estimated 64,000 fatalities were widely reported across front pages." (Wikepdia)

Here's a cheeky little number in his honour:




Slashing and burning his way to the number 3 spot, it's the man everybody loves to hate, land grabbing, syphillitic, Hitler moustachioed paranoid fantasist and all round bully, Robert Mugabe!

Mugabe has been entertained at Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions but has fallen out of favour in recent years. That hasn't stopped the royals inviting Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UK, Gabriel Machinga, along to the wedding.

'The Daily Mail called the invitation of Gabriel Machinga and exclusion of former Labour Party prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown “mind-boggling.” The paper called Machinga a servant of President Robert Mugabe’s “murderous and kleptocratic regime".' (Voice of America News)

Mind you, the royals do have other links to the Mugabe regime in the form of Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's squeeze. Chelsy's Dad seems like a nice bloke...

"A game reserve in Zimbabwe part-owned by the father of Chelsy Davy has a new majority investor, in a deal that demonstrates his closeness to Robert Mugabe’s regime. Charles Davy, along with the other owners of the Bubye Conservancy in Matabeleland South province, has accepted an investment by a consortium led by Dubai World, the sovereign investment company of the Arab emirate. No other white landowner in Zimbabwe is known to have managed to raise such investment for years." Article: The Telegraph

So, let's hear it for Robert Mugabe!




Shooting up to number 2, it's the self proclaimed King of Scotland, Idi Amin.

In 1976 the Queen held a luncheon in honour of the then Ugandan President. 
Legend has it that, following the lunch, Amin made the following speech:

"My majesty Mr. Queen Sir,
horrible ministers and members of parliament,
invented Guests, ladies under gentlemen.
I hereby thank you completely…..Mr. Queen, sir;
and also what he has done for me and my fellow Uganda
who come with me.
We have really eaten very much. And we are fed up completely:
And also very thanks to you keenly open up from all windows:
so that those plenty climates can come into lunch. But before I go
back to my country with a plane from the Entebbe airport of London
I wish to invitation you Mr. Queen, to become home to Uganda so
that we can also revenge on you .
You will eat a full cow: and also feel up your stomach and
walk with difficult because of full stomach completely.
Even when you want to rest at night; I will make sure that
you sleep on top of me in the top up stairs of my mansion
completely so that you can enjoy all the gravity of fresh air.
“But now am sorry because I have to tell you that I have
made a short call on you only. But next time I shall make a long call
on you to last the whole moon completely. Thank you very much
to allow me to undress you completely before these extinguished
ladies under gentlemen sir.
Lastly but not list, I ask the band to play our international anthem
of the republic of Uganda and also the British international anthem…
Your majesty sir, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the bottoms
of all the people of Uganda .
With this few words I thank you Sir."

(Source: The Internet so the accuracy of this is anybody's guess)

The song in the vid below is by Finland's 'Frederik' singing in his native tongue, but don't let that put you off. Frederik seems to be following the trend (set by 'Boney M' with their song about Rasputin) for disco narratives that celebrate the lives of notorious historical figures. You've got to admit it's damn catchy! For all the deaths, misery, deprivation, unemployment and social division that she caused, Margaret Thatcher is NUMBER ONE IN THE DESPOT CHART! WOOOOOO!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Women!

Women, particularly feminists with crap tits, look away now. You might like to put your hands over your ears too.

Here is a brief, yet catchy, ditty by the naughty scamp musician known as Pusbunny. It's called 'Women' and it's about women.



Obviously, I was utterly shocked and appalled when I heard such rampant misogyny masquerading as a jaunty little song and was moved to write a rebuttal which you can hear and applaud now:



If you're open minded and have an utterly puerile, nay filthy, sense of humour, you may enjoy Pusbunny's fabulously crafted anarchic songs. However, if you can't handle that sort of thing then I suggest you listen to Sting (that's a rhyme).


I actually like 'An English Man In New York' and the vid features the wonderful Quentin Crisp, but I'll be popping round to Pusbunny's house later with a DVD of Sting in concert with his tantric mandolin or whatever it is he noodles along to these days. Pusbunny, you've been warned!

You can hear more Pusbunny tracks at: http://www.nerveecho.com/nerveechopusbunny.cfm or do a search on Youtube for more tracks and rude vids that will probably feature on this blog at a later date.