Monday, 28 November 2011

Fragile Stories (A Commission for The Cultural Olympiad London 2012)

Images of John Siddique and Dancers by Tim Smith
Fragile Stories was commissioned through Alchemy
as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Fragile Stories was choreographed by Silja Thomsen and featured dancers from from Northern School of Contemporary Dance  - It was Performed at Ilkley Literature Festival 2011

...and if you like dance here is a film, again, choreographed by Silja and this time filmed by Szymon Szulakiewicz and set to the text of my poem Every Atom from the Full Blood collection (please note film begins with silence)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Making Britain - From The Margins To The Mainstream

An exhibition celebrating success stories of people with South Asian heritage
who embody transformation from the margins to the mainstream.

National Media Museum, Bradford, 23 November - 4 December.

Photos by Tim Smith
Piece in The Guardian

Occupy Wall Street 'and you may contribute a verse'...

As Whitman said.. 'and you may contribute a verse'...

We donated 'Thirst' from Full Blood to the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology just as their library was being destroyed. It seems that the 'powers who like to imagine themselves 'to be' don't want people sharing stories, literature and information. I love that poetry has always been dissident material and found at the root of change.

OWS Library have been creating a weekly poetry anthology from poetry written by Occupiers and those like myself who they represent. Though my take on the whole thing is that we should simply begin learn how to turn our backs on the so called 1% by being bold and creating better ways. We must learn from their failures and try to do better ourselves; not just keep on with the same old thing - we got it wrong, now let us be human, loving, have conflict but no killing and take a step. If we were to stop begging for crumbs at their tables, they would soon come running, and it would be too late for them. Anyway I digress

- All are free to contribute to the anthology, and it is encouraged that you download it and share it around. Please think about sending them some poems, but more importantly keep in your heart how important books and libraries are.

Please also feel free to use Thirst where you will, but please do keep my name attached. I also asked this of OWS, because sometimes it seems that we have little more than our names, our integrity if we choose to live with it, and our words. For me that means my writings. I hope you understand.

O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I,
and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the
struggle ever renew'd,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see
around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here--that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

MANIFESTO - A Letter To Myself (from my notebook)

I reject living the world of living death brokered upon us by politicians and the middle-classes who buy freedom, liberty and adventure in vacation sized lumps with either inheritance spending or credit card debt. 

I reject literatures that only find their way into the world through privilege and connections, which contains the death of the soul in its syllables. Our stories have value too.

I reject the trappings of compromise, closed mindedness and aspirational comfort, acquisition as wealth. Settling for a life of television, shopping, video games, debt, pornography and bad sex; leaving the world and each other unexplored because we cannot look each other in the eye. We must refuse to live up to our stereotypes.

Real literature/art offers an open door to beauty, humanity, joy, difficulty and meaning. I choose the open door, the risk of love, of failure. I’ll take beauty over a credit rating, I’ll take fire, and the possibility of crashing and burning over a slow long life of decay, unlived moments and soul debt.

Everyday the living dead grin into our faces, selling their shit. Everyday we have to clean our minds of these pedlars’ values. The news is not the news, so much of life and reality is unreported, unknown to us, we have to step into life to access possibility. Switch off the newsstream. It is a battle of the soul and we must never forget that.

Art is an act of rebellion.

Do the things which bring you openness and liberty. Take the risk and make love to your partner or yourself, don’t be full of acquired images but know the person you have sex with for who they are. Look into your lovers eyes. Read books of life. Take small daily steps of freedom, learn to make bread or plant a garden, walk a mile, ask for some of what you desire, look into your own shadow and acknowledge both parts of yourself. Listen to the music of rebellion and don’t just have it with ten thousand other tunes on your music player, let it sing into your heart and actions; find others to sing with. Don’t use passive aggression and never trust hippy/fairtrade types. They are assuaging their guilt by spending a few pennies which never get to where they are supposed to go.

It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake as long as it is genuinely made in the pursuit of the real and true. Be considerate of those around you - learn the difference between compassion and pity, freedom doesn’t mean hurting others, it means taking responsibility for your own life.

More about the work.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Dulce et Decorum Est

Poetry often needs to be heard aloud as well as being read. Wilfred Owen's classic takes on such life when given voice. I hope you enjoy my recital of it.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Yew Moon - 'We Are Russian Dolls To Ourselves'

'We Are Russian Dolls To Ourselves'

Written & Spoken by John Siddique
Music by Katie Chatburn
Animation by Lawrence McWilliams
Produced by Walter Santucci

Taken from Recital - An Almanac. This is the final full moon film. You can enjoy all 13 films on our channel, or using this webby widgety thing below.. Thank you so much for being a long for an amazing year of full moons. We Did It!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Newsletter for November

Hello there,

All snuffly and full of cold here, and we're having ISP troubles so that the monthly newsletter we send out has not been getting through. From now on there will be a link to a web version of it on our main site - you can grab it here if you are interested.

You may also enjoy this piece on Sarah Salway's blog where she starts five lines and yours truly finishes them.

Full Blood now has its own Facebook page - please come on over

Our ISP promise all will be well in time for next month's news update so if you would like to sign up to our news please just send us an email requesting that.

For the rest of the afternoon it's cups of tea, Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Book 1, and reading a bit more of Claire Chambers' excellent book 'British Muslim Fictions'

See ya


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Full Blood - Bestseller

I would like to thank readers of Full Blood for helping it to recently spend some time as an Amazon bestseller, reaching the dizzying heights of No.1 modern poetry book. It was released in the kindle format at a very special price, which helped a lot. It has also boosted sales of the paperback. What is most interesting to me is that a book can do so well, not by press coverage but by word of mouth. One reader telling another reader about a book, this is how it should be.

Online you can get it here:
Ordering UK 
Ordering USA 
Rest of World

Please support your local independent bookstore by ordering from them.

Two wonderful reviews of the book: 

Maureen has also been moved to pen an essay on two poems from the book about the war in Afghanistan. These poems name with equal weight British soldiers and Afghan civilians killed in the seemingly endless war raging there. 

The collection now has its own Facebook Page. Please drop by, 'Like' us & participate in the chat.  

Thank you - NUFF SAID


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Canterbury Poetry City II

Some images from my 'poem in light' commission in Canterbury. I asked people to share their secrets and dreams with me and I made poetry from them and projected them 60 feet high.... Imagine seeing your secrets written large and knowing that no one else but you knows it is yours.. The whole poem is 127 lines long. This is some of the linking text.. but it will give you some idea. 

Poetry City was devised by the wonderful Workers of Art, and I must say I feel particularly blessed to given such a free reign to create by painting poetry in light over the ancient walls of the city... 

(the lovely projections are made by clever projections & butch auntie)