Underground / Overground (Again): Taking the Rage Off the Road

I’ve spent most of the last three years purpsefully avoiding publication. It may seem perverse, but there you have it: the idea behind the Rage Monologues was to work on an open-ended project which was about immediacy.

The pieces were penned to be performed in public, and not really to be read in private. The nature of the material and the performance fed into one another synergetically: I wanted to create visceral, raw material to be performed in the most uncompromising, uncomfortable style: each performance was different, with edits being made before each show, meaning the monologues were not fixed, but in constant development, and performed in a fashion which would have an impact. I wasn’t concerned about that impact being positive, and over time, I’ve lost any anxiety about being poorly received: I would rather people walk out in disgust than be impartial or disinterested,  or simply find myself amongst the infinite spoken worders whom audiences would likely consider adequate but forgettable.

Not publishing and keeping the monologues as something which existed only in the moment and in the ether was a deliberate act of rebellion: going offline and making the work available to only a limited audience was  intended to be subversive, a middle finger to globalisation, and ‘the process’: write, publish, tour, or similar. The fact the pieces weren’t published meant the only means by which they were aailable was at performances. A sense of exclusivity so often builds anticipation and can the the key to a cult reputation, and I took the monologues to some substantial audiences at respected – and packed – spoken word nights, wth some major highlights being in Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.

The rock concert analogy is a fitting one: band shift more merchandise after a strong show: the punters have usually consumed booze and are ‘in the moment’. But ending a set and shuffling off with nothing to sell proved problematic, especially given that as an individual (and , as a writer, a relative unknown) with a full-time job and a young family, my touring actities were – and remain – limited to spoken word night slots in places I could reach, and return from, by train on an evening – and a sale or two afte a performance can go some way to mitigating travel costs, not being a writer who commands ‘guest speaker’ or ‘headline’ slots (and I like it that way, and find ‘guerilla’ appearancs to unsupectin crowds are generally more effective than spouting to a crowd already familiar with my work, which is no way for an author to grow a readership).

And so, while the primary objective of the project remains unchanged, I’m aware that making my work unvailable to practically the entire world is self-defeating. While I would love to perform at evety spkoen word night in every city around the globe, it’s not going to happen. And while going underground as an artistic statement is fine, and keeping things clandestine is cool, rendering one’s work inaccssible and unavilabe can be, to an extent, self-defeating. So this happened: a proper book and e-book, published by Clinicality Press – available at spoken word performances and globally for those who can’t attend live events in the north of England (click on the image to purchase).

Rage Book Cover copy

And if you’d like me to bring the rage to a spoken word night near you, then of course do get in touch…

Rage on the Road – September / October 2016

Following a clutch of well-received, high-octane readings in York and Manchester in June, July, and early August, in which I premiered some new material and collaborated for the first time with master noisemonger Legion of Swine for the first time , offers of slots for reading have been rather thin on the ground. Which means it’s time to revert to guerilla appearances at open mic nights, which is actually something I quite enjoy.

Hijacks planned so far are as follows:

26th September 2016: Fictions of Every Kind @ Wharf Chambers, Leeds. 19:30, £3 entry.

1st October 2016: Open Mic Night @ The Basement, York. 19:30.

More to be announced. Or maybe they’ll just happen…

Meanwhile, there are just five copies of the limited-edition Rage Monologues pamphles left. I must be doing something right. These are priced at £3 and are available only at readings.

 

Rage Cover 2

Corporate Christmas

This piece was penned with a view to fitting the ‘Black Friday’ theme of December’s Fictions of Every Kind spoken word night at The Wharf Chambers, Leeds, on 30th November 2015 (which, incidentally, was great, with a good mix of writers of outstanding quality, and a brilliant atmosphere in a super venue).

‘Corporate Christmas’ is a part of the ever-expanding and presently ongoing ‘Rage Monologues’ project, and as such, is designed first and foremost as a performance piece. However, as I’m aware my live performances are few and far between, and tend to take place in the north of England, there are may who won’t be able to hear this material. So, in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share this piece, which doesn’t feature in the tour edition pamphlet of The Rage Monologues, here.

Enjoy…

 

Corporate Christmas

It’s all about the money. But at a certain point, the money becomes theoretical. Top-flight executives, boards of directors, the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy, I get. No, that’s not true. What I get is that it takes a certain kind of person to become a top-flight executive, a director on the board, to scale the heights and reach the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy. A sociopath, no more and no less. I will never understand the mindset, the megalomania that drives such criminal disregard for everything other than money. They’re so far removed from the reality of the everyday, so distanced from the shop floor, they’re effectively exempt. They’re wired differently. They don’t see their employees as humans. They don’t see their customers as human. They never hear the voices of the downtrodden, the weary, the world at large. They can’t hear us cry out, fists raised.

You’ve got the money.

You’ve got the status.

You’ve got the power.

You’ve got the control.

You’re fucking us all over.

You don’t see the planet as a finite resource. Everything exists for your benefit. And nothing is ever enough. You have everything already. What more can you possibly want? More… always more. Because money doesn’t just talk. It buys whatever the fuck you want. Want it? Buy it. Because you can.

What do you want? World domination!

When do you want it? Yesterday!

Competition? You’ve bought the competition, and shut it down.

Regulation? You laugh in the face of it. You’ve bought the regulators.

Government? You’ve bought the government. The parties are in your pocket, paid off with the money not spent on paying tax. You’re not the law – you’ve bought the law.

But the countless other layers of management, from the cringing petty bureaucrats at the lower managerial levels, to the ones who command payola and power but don’t own a fleet of yachts or several Pacific islands… I get where they’re coming from. And they, they’re the worst fucking scum.

You, you’ve also got the money – not as much, but just enough to think you’re special, to afford the finer things in life, not least of all thanks to the company credit card, the expense account. Like you fucking need it on your salary – pleading poverty while cruising in your Audi, smugging it up, your 2.4 kids in private schools and destined for top universities and to follow in your patent leather footsteps.

You’ve got the status – not as much as the real high-flyers, but club class will do. You’ve got enough to flash it around, to swan off on management away days and three-hour “working lunches”, plotting espionage and tax avoidance on your iPhones while chilling in first-class lounge suites making like your lives are so pressured, while not having the first clue what it’s like to have to worry about the bills – your pampered wives sipping Pinot Grigot from balloon glasses on leather corner sofas in front of a 60” flatscreen while wearing a white fluffy dressing gown, perish the thought they might break a nail in a five-bed townhouse with the heating cranked up to thirty.

You’ve got the power – not world domination, but you’ve got a hotline to the gods of business, and they know people who know people who know people who know people and the next thing, you’ve bought into Europe and you’ve got steer on the TTIP… so you’ve got power enough to throw around, enough to make you feel good while holding others down. You need to hold them down, keep them in their place.

You’ve got the control – just enough to live out your fantasies of power play. Those rebels and potential usurpers… you know how to dispense with them. Dissent? Crush it! Remove it! Yes, there are ways and means to sidestep legislation about unfair dismissal and discrimination… show them the door. No-one’s going to stop your march.

We need to make cuts to boost profit! The shareholders have spoken! The directors have spoken!

So what do you do? What do you do? Front-line staff every time: you’ll never see management voting for a cull of management, a stripping back of the layers of the hierarchy, no. Because it’d be like turkeys voting for Christmas. You’ve got just one interest, and that’s self-interest.

So you stand there in your sharp suit with your company laptop rucksack, your sharp haircut and your buzzwords, making like you actually give a fuck as you apologise for the cuts, the redundancies as you lay off yet more staff, just to protect your own bonus. Cunt.

You think you hold the power, that you have ownership. But you’re all part of the same system. The capitalist system. You’re still climbing over one another to attain material goods, more and more and more, and nothing is ever enough.

You don’t own capitalism: capitalism owns you. You’re still a part of the system, a system the purpose of which is to make people buy shit they don’t need with money they don’t have.

Incoming! Rage on the Road in Manchester with Sue Fox

I’m truly elated to have been invited to perform alongside a host of truly remarkable writers and artists (in terms of the full spectrum of the term) at the launch for The Visceral Tear, the debut novel by Sue Fox this Saturday, November 14th.

From the event page: ‘There will be an array of trangressive art by David Hoyle, Lee Baxter, Simon Taylor, Emma Phillipson, Iain Pearson, Dave Bez, Miki Christi, Sue Fox, & Hannah O’Connell.  Performers include:- John G. Hall, Lauren Bolger, Sandra Bouguerch, Jon McGrath, Louise Woodcock, Rachel Margetts, Locean and Oneiros authors reading from their books, including Sue Fox, Rachel Kendall, Chris Nosnibor & Salem Kapsaski. There will be books and art for sale, a bar, and other oddities to view and buy. Booking essential. Limited places. This event is strictly for over 18, and contains graphic adult themes.’

I’ll be on fairly early – around 8:15 and will be performing a ‘greatest hits’ set from The Rage Monologues. There will also be an extensive Clinicality Press merchandise stall, and I’ll have copies of the limited, numbered tour edition of The Rage Monologues for sale.

Further event details and tickets are available by following the link below….

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-visceral-tear-book-launch-with-sue-fox-transgressive-art-books-performance-tickets-19138271084

It’s going to be a cracking evening: if you’re in / around Manchester on Saturday night, get down – it’s certainly not going to be your average book launch!

Visceral

Rage Monologue #9–Neighbours

So the plan had been that The Rage Monologues would be a purely live project during 2015, that I would build a set over the course of the year with material that was intended primarily for performance, before ultimately – perhaps – producing a pamphlet or chapbook collecting the pieces I had done in 2016.

The cancelation of a number of events, coupled with a simple lack of openings for a writer whose pitch is to stand in front of people and bawl obscenities in a way that will make them feel shit about their sad pathetic little lives (not an easy sell, believe me) compelled me to reconsider my strategy.

The number of monologues ready to go is expanding weekly. the number of places to perform them seems to be reducing at a similar rate. So as a taster, here’s a monologue I am yet to perform, due equally to a lack of opportunity and a lack of guts.

Enjoy. And of you’ve got a spoken word night in need of some live rage, get in touch.

 

 

Neighbours

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Can you hear me? Yeah, me, banging on your wall? I guess not, since you didn’t hear me banging on your front door or window earlier. It’s me! The guy next door! The quiet, friendly guy you sometimes nod to in the street, usually if we’re arriving or departing at the same time. Yeah, howdy, neighbour, nice to meet you. Only, I wish I never had. Because right now, your racket’s causing me considerable stress. Could you please just keep it down a bit? Please? Just a bit? I’m not even expecting you to stop, although that would be nice. But c’mon, have some consideration, would you?

Do I keep you awake? I doubt it? Does my racket mean you can’t hear your TV, your music, that you can’t hold a conversation over dinner? Are your walls and floors vibrating on account of anything I’m doing?

Listen, we all make noise. I play music, watch TV, do DIY. All the normal stuff. But I watch my volume and I watch the clock. I never vaccum clean after 9pm. You know why? Because I don’t want to disturb the old lady on the other side, and in truth, I don’t wan to disturb anyone. I keep myself to myself, you know? I’m not saying I’m a model neighbour, but all I’m asking is that you have some consideration, you know?

Do you hear me? Are you listening? Hey! Yeah, you! Motherfucker! Can you hear me? Will you please just shut the fuck up? I’m sane and I’m sober, but you’re driving me to a place I don’t wanna go! You hear? You hear? I’m telling you, you’d better listen up! Motherucker!

If I ever get round there you’ll regret you ever moved in with that fucking stereo and that fucking awful dance music. You’ll regret you were ever fucking born. I wanna smash that fucking stereo to smithereens. I’m guessing you don’t have any vinyl and probably don’t even have CDs, so I’m gonna have to smash your iPod or whatever the fuck else you’ve got, and your laptop, but not until I’ve deleted all of your fucking Spotify lists and ripped your fucking cable and phone lines out and stamped your router to bits.

But it’s not the equipment’s fault, is it? Venting my rage on inanimate objects is pointless isn’t it? A temporary solution. And complaining to your landlord or making your life hell to the point you’re evicted or move of your own accord, it doesn’t solve the problem. The problem that is you. That’s why I wanna cave your skull in with your fucking speakers and kick your broken body down the fucking stairs. Kick it out back and boot it around the yard for a bit, like that night when you and your fucking idiotic mates got pissed up and played football with various random objects like tin cans and milk cartons from your recycling box – after you’d lost your ball over another neighbours’ wall at 2am. Yeah, you’re such big tough guys, no fear of scrambling over to fetch it till the dog came after you. It’s jut a shame it didn’t get you and chew your fucking balls off, ‘cause as much as I’m sick of your shite music, I’m sick of your loud shagging at all hours too. No, I’m not envious: your half-witted girlfriend’s a fucking skank and what’s more, you disgust me and don’t deserve to get laid. And regardless, who doesn’t hate the sounds of someone else’s sex?

And so, I want you to be silenced. I want to do you damage. I want to break you. Demolish, annihilate you. And when I’m done I wanna fucking skin you. Sit your throat and fucking skin you.

I need to be clear. I don’t hate you. I just hate your behaviour. The way you stand at the front, and the the back of your house, smoking cigarettes with the smoke blowing in through my windows as you talk loudly with your housemates and your friends. I don’t actually mind your existence, and actually expect occasionally to hear sound, sneezing, coughing. I’m a reasonable kind of guy. But you don’t need to be slamming every door in the house every time you move between rooms. The fact you insist on cranking up your console gaming to such a volume I feel as if I’m in the room, yes, I hate that. I hate your coming home drunk and bawling all the way down the street at 4, 5, 6 am, then spending an hour yelling up and down the house, tramping up and down the stairs, banging and crashing against the walls.

I hate your mid-week parties that start at four in the afternoon and run for 12 hours straight. I hate your fucking shitty club music. That despicable, shitty club music. That endless, repetitive, dum-dum-dum-dum, the same fucking tempo for what feels like an eternity and more. Those endless fucking beats, that monotonous rhythm that drives into my brain at all hours, relentlessly, relentlessly, dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum…. die you bastard, die!

The Jinx

You often read that projects are or were ‘ill-fated’ and I’m starting to get that feeling about my latest project, ‘The Rage Monologues’.

I’d written a couple of pieces that seemed well-suited to spoken word nights, not because they were exactly accessible, but because they weren’t stories, but fiery rants that straddled poetry, prose and performance art. I read them at a few spoken word nights, and they were successful (at least by my standards), and so the concept of ‘The Rage Monologues’ was born.

In short, I devised to write a collection of pieces that were designed with performance in mind. I’d take them on the road, do as many spoken word and open mic nights as I could get to, and maybe when I had enough, end it all with a one-man show where I did maybe 40 minutes of ranting and publish the pieces as a pamphlet / chapbook.

Things started well enough, with a well-received slot at Speakers’ Corner at The Golden Ball in York, and an even better received turn at Platform Thirsk a week later. I decided it was time to build momentum and hit every night going, and with a slot secured at ThreeVerse at Nevermind in York, I delivered another successful performance with some new material at Speakers’ Corner.

Alas, the ThreeVerse slot was cancelled due to several of the other performers cancelling. I got my slot rescheduled, but the week before I was due to perform, ThreeVerse got pulled by the venue.

Then I got news that Spokes, a night I had performed a number of times, and probably the best spoken word night in York due to its curated nature, announced it would be calling it a day in June.

The Leeds events I had previously attended seems to have stalled, but keen to maintain some kind of momentum, I decided to try my luck at the open mic might at City’ Screen’s Basement. I was revved, but anxious – open mic nights are a major gamble, especially for a fringe performer like me.

I arrived ten minutes before doors – just as the poster stating that the night was cancelled due to the venue flooding went up (seemingly a problem with the drains).

After three successive attempts to perform have been foiled and two regular nights have called time, I can;t help but feel that I’m something of a spoken-word night jinx, destined not to bring The Rage Monologues project to fruition.

But I’m not done yet. And if I have to resort to bellowing on a street corner before I get beaten up or moved on by the police, so be it. But if you’ve got any spoken word slots going and want to give a platform to an angry man spouting stuff in a fashion that may captivate or clear the room, give me a shout.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at christophernosnibor.co.uk

Rage On the Road

They turn up in their cable-knit sweaters and cord trousers to nod amicably to observations about hedgerows in spring. They quaff half-pints of session ale and continental lager, red wine and soft drinks ‘because it’s a school night’ even though half of them are retired. They chat amiably about this and that, this and that, thus and that, primarily who has a book launch event coming up, who’s event they went to and whatever beautifully-crafted collection they’ve just read. It was recommended by so-and so, and so-and-so other did a simply delightful job of the artwork and so-and-so else gave their apologies but had recently had an accident or injury or was otherwise incapacitated or engaged… The poetry set. The ageing, the mumsy, the middle class pseudo-sophisticates… the middlebrow, nicey-nicey, bland-as-fuck head-in-the-sand dinner-party chatterers who think a mild swipe at Cameron set to an acoustic rendition of some 60s pop hit qualifies as edgy, pithy and political…

I don’t sit comfortably with the poetry set. Nevertheless, I occasionally raid their spoken word nights as an uninvited guest. Sometimes, I’m invited to perform, too.

The momentum of the Rage Monologues may not have gathered quite the pace I’d hoped for in the last couple of months, but April’s calendar so far looks rather like this:

April 23rd – Nevermind, York (5-7pm)

April 25th – Basement, York (7:30pm start)

Expect rage. Expect to see me die. Slowly and painfully. Get in touch via Facebook / Twitter / whatever if you’d like me to come and spill fiery venom at your event. Will rant for beer.