Bongo Bongo Bangs…

59436829_2473722489307347_5088938485096644608_n

James Bongo bangs on…..about many matters. The conscious Poet, humanitarian and ascending master performed at last weeks Fringe Festival Open Mic Night at Frederiks. He talks to us about poetry, life and beliefs.

In choosing from a collection of over fifty poems to perform at the event last week his work reflects his varied beliefs. He doesn’t abide by any religious controlling mechanism or any other ‘isms’, feeling that they are detrimental to society. However, he does believe in God, the Universe and the energy of love. His interests lie with social unrest and true history, not the nonsense we have been force fed.

Born in Liverpool and raised in the city centre, then Croxteth the youngest of eleven of an extensive very loving Catholic family. His parents and siblings liked a drink , this seemed normal to him, after his Mum and Dad passed away he drank to mask the pain. Things escalated:

‘I hit the wall with the booze.’

He knew he had to stop, he was harming himself, his family and his partner. They helped him through alcoholism so he could face life again. In cohort they fun an exciting family business, ‘Practical Magic Vintage’ based in Newington. James has been free from alcohol addiction for six years.

Attending college in old Swan he decided against Uni in favour of self-education. He looked at many sources of literature including Sumerian Texts and the Gospel according to Thomas. Studying ancient symbolism, he re-addressed the Bible, the Quran and other religious readings. In terms of writing, he began to produce works relating to the control of the masses through religion and schooling. Reflecting his view; ‘We are born free, we enslave ourselves in the mind prison, we need to free the mind and free the soul.’ His major works include ‘The failed indoctrination of a broke entrepreneur gospel, according to Jimmy Bongo’, this will be published in the autumn. In addition to the poetic works, he includes writings about his life and growing up in Liverpool under ‘Thatchers Iron Fist’ and those he has seen dye from drug and alcohol abuse.

Organizing several nights in Liverpool he is a leading figure on the spoken work front. ‘Freedom of Speech’ is a platform for performers: poets and musicians, to do their own thing, building a community of people to voice their beliefs. Second to this he holds fundraisers to help a domestic abuse charity, ‘Out of the Corner’. A friend of his, Dr Karen Johnson, set up the charity and is a survivor of domestic abuse herself. The night is a mix of poetry and music and a cause James is passionate to support. He is helped with both nights by his friends. His other life long friend peter, an expert with filming and technical matters we all strive to master.

The next Freedom of Speech night will be held this Sunday (05.05.19) at Dr Feelgoods, 57a Bold Street, Liverpool. There will be performances from many including, Electric Shakedown, Just Joe and not forgetting 1 cool Poet.

I shit my Pants

Jesus was a Chonger

Grab a Granny Night

Maggies Children

More about Out of the Corner

49077851_428772637662161_4150999043050307584_n

24 Hour Playwrighting

A3 24hour copy

The 24 hour hour play is returning to Lark Lane as part of Liverpool Fringe Festival.

At 10pm on Friday night, the Old Police station on Lark Lane is aligned with 6 writer, 6 producers and 24 actors. They are grouped together:

1 writer + 4 actors + 1 director

We have creative micro clusters and that will, if nothing else, guarantee fireworks! Over the next 24 hours the play must be written, the lines must be learned, the process must be directed, and finally, it must be performed.

This year, writer, Irene Stuart returns to the creative chaos of the 24 hour play, we catch up with her about playwrighting and her plans for slumber-time scribbling:

So Irene, it’s you second year of writing for the 24 hour play, can you tell us a little more about last years event?

Last year’s event was definitely exciting. Staying up all night, writing a play from scratch and then seeing it performed, all in 24 hours was amazing.

We all turned up in Lark Lane for 10pm on the Friday, names were drawn from a hat and I was lucky enough to draw two wonderful female actors: Gemma and Hayley, Margaret Connell was drawn as the director. I arrived home around 12pm and immediately started to write. I came up with a spin on a dating show and called it Mr Loverman, a comedy. The actors really got into their roles and the audience were very appreciative. I was amazed at the quality of all of the writing and how quickly all of the actors had learned their lines, there was no script in hand and as far as I could tell, no fluffing of lines. It was a great experience and one I’m looking forward to reprising on 12th/13th April.

Was it simply a matter of getting home from Lark Lane then churning out dialogue or did the idea’s generation process take you into the early hours of the morning?

I’m quite lucky really as I can think on my feet and the idea just came to me the minute I sat down at the computer. It was the drafting, then redrafting which took the time and I wanted to give the actors something to get their teeth into while making the lines short and sharp given the short time span they had to learn them.

Have you worked with any of the actors, crew or director again since last year? Did you develop the ‘Mr Loverman’ scratch further or re-visit the theme?

I contacted both actors a month or so after Mr Loverman as I had written a play about a female who had been the victim of a serious sexual assault. I thought both actors would be perfect for two of the roles. Unfortunately they were both performing in other plays. I see the director regularly as she is the artistic director of Lantern Writers of which I’m a member. I haven’t done anything further with Mr Loverman as I’ve been involved in a number of other projects. You have now however inspired me to revisit it and perhaps perform it again.

Great, now there are to be some changes this year, the newspaper article as a start point is to be abandoned and the actors have been asked to bring props. How do you envisage this alter the play writing process and what was the first prop which you imagined being brought into the Old Police Station?

When Sam (Lead Co-ordinator, Liverpool Fringe Festival) mentioned this year’s change, I imagined a wooden prop of some kind, I don’t know why, perhaps a yard brush with a wooden handle? I don’t think adding a prop to the script will prove problematic as the play doesn’t have to be written around it, it just has to appear in it at some point.

Wood, fantastic, I was thinking elephant, but that’s irrelevant. Have you any idea’s about an outline or theme for the performance or is it simply a matter of waiting for performers, props and likely pandemonium before you can make any decisions?

Hopefully nobody will bring an elephant! Sam said there is no theme, I suppose that’s good as we’ll have to start from scratch like last year. It all depends on which actors you’re given and whether your brain is in gear to come up with something worth performing. That’s what makes it both challenging and fun.

The 24 hour play will be performed:

Saturday 13th April 2019

Lark Lane Community Centre

Tickets £7 (Concessions £5)

To Book

More about Liverpool Fringe Festival

Not to be missed!

The Police and Consent

consentEarlier in the week we were presented with an array of news articles over children to be taught about the nature of consent in school. This extract from the novel Casual Nexus tackles issues around consensual and the Police. All evens and characters are fictional and not based on real life.

The Chief Constable in charge sits looking at the paperwork in front of him, Sal’s files with all the open cases, none of which had come to any sort of sensible conclusion. She was causing him nothing but trouble, as she had always been, at home and whenever she went abroad. From her late teenage years they would have girls of their own in place, recruited as babes, lookers that would normally take the centre stage, then Sal would simply turn up with messy hair and not as well groomed and knock them out the way. The Police funded regular hair styling and top high street brands like Oasis and French Connection didn’t seem to work against Sal. To have any chance of getting there own way they had to send the best looking girl they had, the coolest kid and a real joker. Even then it rarely work, Sal had this way of effortlessly outdoing the majority of females they employed. It had been easier when she was still at school, it looked like the fear of her Brother Jacks activities had stunted her confidence and made her easier to control, one of the standard blond types would normally have done back then.

Out of coincidence, across the Force they had tried to take the attention away from Sal by sending classier, wealthier girls many of which had turned out to be the daughters of Senior Police Officers. He knew in his head what had happened, Sal had taken centre stage again and he now had a long list of Senior Officers trying to insist that Sal was jealous of their offspring. There were also several cases being investigated as Police co-ruption, Devi and Fat Fiasol fathers both serving on a Senior level. Then on the other end of the phone, he had the FBI and varies rape investigation units wanting updates and progress reports. The only way he could escape this ongoing pressure seemed to be to prove Sal to be some kind of obsessive fantasist, a stalker of Men and a telepathic liar. Then he could put all these open cases to bed, the constant ringing of the phone would stop, his staff could be proved to be effective again, internal investigations and the FBI could go back under the stone they crawled from underneath.

His mind began to work through the list of undercover Officers he could send, there were numerous who would claim a girl was in love with them when they weren’t really interested. This case might be different though, Sal and the crimes she had been subjected to were very well known across the Station and they might think twice about messing up a high priority FBI rape case. He would need a complete ‘Arsehole’ he thought to himself, slowly but surely C-I-S-S drips into his brain. Perfect, he had made several checks on his conduct himself previously, a proven track record of constantly writing reports about how desperate women were for his affections when in reality many showed little regard for him. There was one case he had checked personally when Ciss had claimed a girl had been constantly texting him when her phone had actually been in Police hands. Her lodgings had been burgled and they had recovered the property the next evening, the following morning Ciss had filed a report about receiving more text messages from the girl from all over the weekend. He had debated reporting Ciss to internal investigations himself but decided to move him away from investigating single women indefinitely until he could become of use, and of use, he had become.

Sal was sorting things from boxes in her new flat, it had been time to get out of her parent’s place again. Jack and her Dad worked together and he had been coming around for lunch. Her Mother would start making plans for Him, Dee and the children to coming over, Sal getting dragged into their plans often without even being consulted on her intentions. Although the flat, well more of a flat come bedsit, was small she had her own space again, a door where she could lock out the outside World, Jack and his wife Dee, in particular, giving her the mental space she needed to think independently. She was arranging her art materials into her desk drawers, there was limited space but room to be creative at the same time. She decided to start on some exhibition pieces for a small arts centre in Dartford who were asking for submissions. This evening she had a party to go to, last week she had been in the pub adjacent to the block on the instigation of her new neighbour and one of the regulars had invited them both to his moving in do this evening. She was looking forward to it as the new crowd looked fun and besides which nibbles, beer and dancing were hard to avoid on her part.

The Chief Constable makes some calls and directs Ciss to be sent to his Office as soon as he is available. On his arrival, he briefs Ciss on the identity of Sal and where he was to engage in her company this forthcoming evening. Bating him readily; he explains there had been numerous examples of Sal being over possessive in the past, excessive text messaging and clear signs of an obsessive personality. Ciss is enthused, it had been ages since he had been sent to investigate any single women. A prime opportunity to prove women find him irresistible, one with massive scope and he had heard about this girl she was a top looker as well. The Chief Constable explains that they have an Officer next door to her, he would get her to the party, his way in was with another one of the pub regulars, he was to inform people that he was his brother.

Ciss began getting ready late in the afternoon, bathing then washing his hair with shampoo then an extra dollop of conditioner. He dries himself thoroughly and dresses in the bathroom, looking in the mirror. His hair is a dirty blond managing to be an awkward combination of greasy at the routes, dry and frizzed out towards the ends. Although not anaemic his skin was pasty in appearance around the arched areas of his nose and cheeks, then flaky towards his jawline. Over his pigeon-like chest and narrow shoulders, he slips on as well YSL shirt, overarching his shoulders and outstretching his arms to form a T junction. Ducking his head down he fastens to his purchased as ‘Tight fit’ jeans which were, in fact, loose on him. He shakes his legs and a foot at a time then opens the bathroom cabinet. Rummaging around his collection of bottles he finds Hugo Boss aftershave. Slapping plenty on he drops his hands against the sink, puffing up his chest he looks directly in the mirror and thinks how irresistible he is as he looks himself up and down.

Sal’s neighbour taps on her door mid-evening to see if she was coming to the party. She grabs her coat, then they pop in the Pub first, but stay only for one drink as most of the regulars were already down the road. They made their way to a small terrace several streets away, Sal was in a good mood, she didn’t have much in common with her neighbour but they were finding things to talk about. The party was packed when they arrived, the entire pub seemed to have re-convened in this once Victorian dwelling. Drinks in hand they began to mingle, Sal talking to all the people she had met last week first, then some new girls which everyone else seemed to know. One of the men who had taken a shine to Sal last week passed her a glass of whiskey. Throughout the evening every time she seemed to finish the glass he glided over to top it up instantaneously.

Following his appointed counterpart, Ciss arrives at the party. Although he knows very few people there and only briefly he puts on his unsure air of overconfidence; arching his shoulders, raising his arms to each side and cusping his hands. He begins to work his way through the room, talking to everyone he had met previously as if they were lifelong companions of great standing. As Sal was getting her tumbler of malt topped up again the Officer spots his prey. She hadn’t really dressed up for the party but looked great in her fitted denim jeans, simple top and a delicately knitted cardigan. Her hair was messy as usual but it swept nicely to one side to reveal her slightly drunken smile. Excellent, Ciss thinks to himself, looking great and on her way to being wasted, just the way he likes them. He decides to linger, leave her to get some more drinks down her before he makes an approach.

At around eleven o’clock Ciss takes his chance, the bottomless servings combined with larger and a couple of glasses of wine got to Sal. She began to stagger slightly moving towards the fireplace, Ciss grabs her by the hips to steady her motion. After carefully manoeuvring her through the departing party goers they arrive at the front door. The tempter who had been pouring Sal the whiskeys could only stand their and watch, he had been hoping to get closer to Sal later that evening. Ciss negotiates Sal through the main exit, people moving due to his outstretched arms. As they head towards Sal’s flat she tries not to fall against any lamp posts as she staggers home thinking of bed.

Ciss uses Sal’s keys to open the door to the bedsit then slides her towards her bed. As she begins to fall into sleep mode he pulls off her top, out of for sight he moves quickly. His jeans and shirt come off almost in one instantaneous action, then he removes her trousers followed by her underwear. During Sal semi-slumber he begins to penetrate her, in his mind imagining she is enjoying this thrusting, her mind not fully aware of what was going on.