Frack You Very Much

Dogknife on the Front Line against Fracking.

PNR protest July 25.jpg

Peaceful-but-militant opposition to fracking occurs daily in Lancashire.

Approximately 5 miles south-east of Blackpool is a non-violent direct action protest area on Preston New Road, or PNR. This area is home to three or four anti-fracking camps, nicknamed The Gate, Maple Farm and New Hope. There is a fourth camp that remains off-radar but all the camps are occupied 24/7 and are home to some of the most dedicated and selfless people from all walks.

the gate at pnr

The Gate camp within the PNR Anti-Frack Protest

The Gate is where, for months-on-end, brave and proud people have literally lived on a pavement in tents, under tarpaulins, in rain and shine, and everyday tirelessly joined together to non-violently confront the heavy goods vehicles travelling in and out of the Cuadrilla site. As any of Cuadrilla’s supplier’s vehicles near The Gate camp, regularly preceded by police vans with blues flashing, a handful of The Gate protesters make their way towards the road, triggering heavy-handed Lancashire cops to rush forwards to grab, push and punch to keep them back. Unnecessary police tactics (such as closing entire roads when only one side of the road is blocked or ‘man-marking‘ single protesters in the area when convoys travel through) and excessive police violence is an everyday occurrence at PNR and Green Party MEP Kieth Taylor last month publicly called for an inquiry into police handling of peaceful anti-fracking protesters at the site.

guardian at pnr

A recent Guardian piece covering aggressive police tactics at PNR

The police operation is reported to cost a staggering £450,000-a-month to ensure Cuadrilla can attempt to utilise their licence to frack even after Lancashire County Council planning officers rejected Cuadrilla’s plan based on ‘noise concerns and blotch on the landscape’ concerns. Westminster, in a clear bid to keep its big business cronies happy, squashed the local red-tape which had helped to keep fracking away for a short time (less than a month before Cuadrilla were back with a revised plan and appeal to the government) and since the beginning of this year, Cuadrilla have had sanction to do pretty much as they please.

Image result for reclaim the power blackpool pnr

Hundreds of anti-frackers were fed in a long line outside Cuadrilla’s site, shutting it down for the Carnival For A Frack Free Future, Friday 28th July 2017, for Reclaim the Power’s Rolling Resistance

Even though North Wales Police pulled out of the protection of Cuadrilla’s interests two weeks ago, citing the fact cuts to police budgets in Walesare already hitting community services, there are still 140 Lancashire officers and a compound full of police vehicles, 4x4s, vans and squad cars, on deployment round the clock to protect their corporate interest. A private security firm of goons also occupies the site, with a catalogue of violent incidents at PNR to their name. It seems cops and security love battering people around who want only to use their right to peacefully protest.

cops at lorry pnr

Disruption at the PNR site often comes with protesters – some seasoned, some newbie – locking on to concrete blocks outside the gates or in the road or marching en-masse to close the gates and stop any Cuadrilla-related traffic from coming through.

Image result for preston new road cuadrilla

A protester stands atop a water tanker attempting to get into the site to drain flood water from the rig pad. Work was stopped for a day because of this peaceful action.

It could be argued that only in the last month of July have the police and Cuadrilla’s suppliers really been tested as Reclaim the Power, a seasoned and organised direct action group, held a four-week gathering at PNR, based at Maple Farm, which they called Rolling Resistance. The Rolling Resistance held lock-ons and road blockages almost daily and saw over 75 people arrested and multiple days of Cuadrilla’s awful work thankfully halted.

Image result for preston new road cuadrilla

Locals have always protested Cuadrilla’s presence in the Lancashire countryside.

However amazing RtP’s organisation and creativity was, nothing can be taken away from the actions over the months and years of the dedicated campers at The Gate, Maple Farm, New Hope and beyond, many of whom were arrested for the umpteenth time during July. They, the founders of the camps, the locals who day-in-day-out feed each other, laugh and cry with each other, raise kids together and stick at it no matter what, are the foundation upon which Reclaim the Power were able to throw some of their best actions at Cuadrilla. Wherever it started, who ever started it, the resistance to fracking is here, live and happening everyday on Preston New Road.

one ton barrrel pnr

A lone-protester locks-on to a one-ton barrel inside a transit van, a new tactic at PNR that police aren’t used to. The Cuadrilla fracking site was closed for a day as a result of this peaceful protest organised by Reclaim the Power and other activists.

The fact that Cuadrilla needed to sneak a large piece of fracking rig onto its site at 4.30am on the morning of Monday the 31st July, itself a breach of the supposedly rigid planning permission laws laid down by Lancs’ County Council, surely shows that cracks are appearing in both the resolve of the corporation and the police, who both have started shifting tactics towards faster truck convoys along the small, busy roads and more police violence aimed at anyone in the way.

Image result for preston new road camp gate cuadrilla

Part of the £450,000 per month police operation to keep Cuadrilla’s profits on target.

In comparison, the protesters fear nothing except a poisoned planet.

Expect more news from the anti-fracking front soon…..very soon.



Production Wish List: Be Part of Nottingham Film History!

Magdalan is a film that is going to amaze audiences with its fast action, kick-ass story about one woman’s fight against the odds in a future United Kingdom. We are now calling on film fans to hep with the production of this epic project as the shooting dates in June draw near.


(Chrissie Chanel is playing the role of Magdalan)

As with any looming production, there are certain requirements that are needed and cant be finalised without a good old fashioned call-out for support from everyday film fans. The shooting weekend is 3,4,5 of June in Nottingham, although this date might need to be pushed back if we cant get things arranged on time.


(In this scene, Magdalan prepares to fight to win money for food)

To keep this short and sweet, here is a short list of some of the things/props/people the production team need to fulfil certain scenes during shooting, and if you can help out with them please leave a comment here or on facebook/twitter or email to let us know.


(Storyboards in all their glory, on the wall)

magdalan auditions 2

(Foreground: The dazzling Hinako is playing prison girl-gang leader, OhOneOh)

You of course will be credited and thanked in the film and you can also appear as an extra of course, especially in the prison yard scene where we need up to 50 extras to take part.


(Prison yard will be filmed in this grungy Notts car park)


(Designer Rina Abdullah’s rendered prison yard)

Production Wish List:

  • Two fake/broken but realistic looking toy/air-soft machine guns.
  • A shop front (permission to shoot outside a shop front)
  • Inside of a shop (permission to shoot inside a shop for a single scene)
  • A young boy to play the part of Isaac (aged around 6 or 7)
  • A boxing ring.
  • Boxing gloves for the main actress and her opponents (up to three opponents)
  • Female boxing opponents
  • A builder who knows how to drill things to external walls (important for one location)
  • A ton of extras (we need up to 50 extras, men and women of all shades and varieties)
  • White clothing (prison gangs all wear white shirts, blouses, trousers, shorts, dresses, t shirts).
  • A small room in a flat or a small flat (for two or three key scenes)
  • More money…Bit of a long-shot without a proper campaign, but of course we are always looking for funding partners to help with costs. A proper campaign will happen soon, but we are just putting it out there that more money always helps.

If you can help us fulfil any of these important requirements please let me know and you will be thanked in all the film material and of course have the opportunity to be in the film as an extra, we also have some speaking and action roles for people as well.

magdalan audition 15

(Chrissie Chanel in her audition for Magdalan)

Be Part of Notts Film History!

Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair 2016


Anarchism, for those who are not aware, is a principle of autonomy and non-hierarchical responsibility-taking for groups or individuals and usually manifests in anti-authoritarianism and other egalitarian structures, for example with groups like Occupy or Climate Camp, Reclaim the Streets, Earth First! If you are into dictionary definitions, check here.


(Gender-defiance from author Jacinta Bunnell)

Because anarchism at its core is essentially about taking responsibility, its fans are often by default at the forefront of radical activism, from direct action against benefits cuts through to No Borders groups in Calais helping refugees.

(Emma Goldman: perhaps the most famous anarchist ever)

Whether it’s relatively obscure-but-nevertheless interesting pamphlets on insurrectionary ecology or squatting politics or more mainstream tomes on capitalism – and rebellion against it – by the likes of Noam Chomski, Marx &Engels, Kropotkin, Emma Goldman or even war reporting by socialist journo’ John Pilger, the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair is a treasure-trove of radical publishing.


No stone is left unturned in this festival of revolutionary dialectics and the many stall holders, each with flags and badges and postcards declaring every possible anti-state or pro-activist slogan, camped out all day flogging their means to a busy Sheffield public and some of the stalls that jumped out at me (ie. the ones I can remember from heart) include Queer Agenda Sheffield (QASh), IWW, Sheffield Against Fracking, AK Press, Class War, Earth First! and STRIKE magazine (who were selling cool kits to put up posters in bus-stop advertising spaces). Of course the corridors were buzzing with talk of revolutionary ideas and more.

Ruth Kinna

(Professor Ruth Kinna, an expert on anarchism)

For myself I grabbed a couple of badges (one of them ACAB,** in memory of the recently deceased and infamous Sheffield punk of the same name), a bit of vegan cake thanks to Queer Agenda Sheffield, and went to a workshop on creating ‘rules’ within anarchist spaces or constitutions based on principles of anarchism, led by Loughbourough University Professor of Political Theory Ruth Kinna. The workshop was recorded and will be aired on IndymediaUK soonish.


(Showroom & Workstation is where the Anarchist Bookfair took place. NOTE: the cops were parked there for football fans, not to spy on anarchists as they have been known to do before!)

It might be worth popping along to next year’s event to see if any of the hundreds of books take your fancy, like this brilliant gender-defying colouring book by author Jacinta Bunnell, ‘Sometimes the Spoon runs away with another Spoon‘, which features the re-creating of several nursery rhymes or kids slogans:


Diddle Diddle Dumpling, my son John,

Went to sleep with a pretty dress on

One shoe off and one shoe on,

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John.

 Check out Jacinta’s amazing book here.

To finish this piece, I think the last word should be had by the London Anarchist Bookfair Collective, who once said, “anarchist bookfairs are the liveliest political events across the country.”

*List of present or upcoming anarcho bookfairs in the UK and beyond.

**riot porn (for nihilist/egoist/insurrectionist anarchists, so they don’t feel left out) RIP ACAB of Sheffield.



Review & Interview with 20:15 Writer/Director, Marc-Andre Morissette


Still_1.15.1 - copie copy

(20:15 features a distraught husband plotting the ultimate sacrifice)

20:15 is proof that there is still room in the sci-fi market for well-plotted and beautifully shot shorts, as this piece from Canadian writer-director Marc-Andre Morissette shows us.

Vladimir Philogene

(20:15’s Director of Photography to watch out for, Vladimir Philogene)

Cinematographer Vladimir Philogene deserves perhaps half, if not more, of the credit, mostly for crisp lens work and development of suspense through use of shadow. Amateur movie makers are scared of shadow, told to key-light everything, but in 20:15 it’s about what you don’t see, which helps with pace and tension, even when there are several motifs throughout alluding to the twist. Well-tuned film buffs will spot them whereas budding DP’s would do well to watch this film twenty times in a row. A particular shot when the central character steps slowly into a shadow at a crucial moment speaks volumes and in a script with no dialogue that is film-making gold.


(20:15 writer & director Marc-Andre Morissette, working in Canada, where film-making is exploding with talent right now)

The subtle yet nuanced performance from male lead Jean-Pierre Cloutier as the deep thinking ‘man’ (in the credits simply ‘L’Homme’) carries the narrative with the aforementioned no use of dialogue, and direction is perfectly pulled-off by Morissette, who crowd-funded the cash to make the flick. With the finished work so polished and tight, he has surely satisfied his funders that their cash is well spent.

( Jean-Pierre Cloutier steals the show as the grieving maths genius ‘L’Homme’)

Therefore 20:15 is no ‘run-and-gun’ (to be fair, most decent indies these days aren’t), and the only noticeable shoulder rig work is toward the end of the final act which adds urgency to the climax as Cloutier’s grieving husband attempts to settle the score, come-what-may. I say noticeable, because the work is so well crafted that you can, as a film-maker or film-making fan, see the work involved as it unfolded yet still enjoy the story, which is essentially what great film-making is about. From sound design with clear and well-mixed foley to use of light and shadow, 20:15 is not only a quality short that will grab some awards in its lifetime, but serves as a lesson to movie-making wannabes that this is how grown up artists do it, so take heed.

(Olivia Dandurand, co-star of 20:15 is the enigmatic ‘La Femme’)

Props of course to Olivia Dandurand as the elegantly poised woman (La’Femme) and hats off to the crew for their dedication to the craft.


Impressed by 20:15 so much, I contacted writer/director Morissette for an interview and he coolly obliged…

Dogknife: Hi Marc-Andre. Firstly let me say how impressed I was with 20:15. How did you develop your relationship with director of photography Vladimir Philogene, how did you meet and move forward with this project?

Marc-Andre Morissette: I met Vladimir through our mutual friend, Quentin Delcourt, who also acted as first assistant director on 20:15. Before I had even started my search for a DoP I had already drawn most of the storyboard, and after showing it to Quentin he suggested I contact Vladimir saying that his style is exactly what the film needs. I knew from the start that I wanted the camera to communicate the characters’ state of mind. Take L’Homme for example, he’s alone in his world, he’s depressed, he has to live with this awful weight and the camera communicates this information to the viewer thanks to slower shots, slower movements, or sometimes none at all, every shot is very centred and symmetrical in L’Homme’s world.
Quentin Delcourt
(Montreal artist and film-maker Quentin Delcourt, 1st AD on 20:15)
For the shots in the office and kitchen we kept with the storyboard and Vlad executed it perfectly. When it came time to do the garage scene’s I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to shoot it. We had only finished building the props the day before and I hadn’t really had time to think about the best way shoot these scenes. Vlad and his assistant Paul-Arthur suggested keeping the garage dark, saying it would add to the mystery and also, on a more symbolic level, it would dive the viewer into the character’s world and give them this claustrophobic feeling.
(20:15 is a superbly shot sci-fi with a brooding plot)
Dogknife: This for me is primarily a story about grief and sacrifice, with the SPOILER-CENSORED aspect added for extra suspense. Was there another way you could have come at this without the SPOILER-CENSORED aspect of it?
Marc-Andre Morissette: Actually, when I first started writing the film the spoiler-censored was what I wanted to really explore; to present two worlds separated not only by plot but also by the aesthetic look, and eventually bring these worlds together. We can sort of see the idea of the separate worlds if you look at the camera work from one sequence to the other but I guess the story, the grief and the sacrifice thematic took over, which I think is a good thing, it makes the characters more compelling, we want to know more about what happened rather than just see the differences between both worlds.
(L’Homme contends with complex maths in order to reach the clever climax)
Dogknife: Having a film with no dialogue is a risk for some audiences and I felt that 20:15 accepts the challenge of no dialogue with masterful skill…Did you always write it to be that way or did you edit any dialogue out? Why did you choose to make a film with no dialogue, even a short where of course it is more ‘acceptable’?
Marc-Andre Morissette: The film was always intended to be without dialogue, although there is one scene where I thought we could have some dialogue, but keep it silent. Like we could see the characters speaking on the other side of a window or a security camera, but eventually decided that it wouldn’t fit with the look of the film.
There are two main reasons why the film is silent:
1- At school we are taught that actions speak louder than words especially in film, and I believe this is very true. It’s much more interesting to have a character do something rather than say he does something. This is a visual medium, let’s show the audience a story. And so with this mentality I thought ”why not have the whole thing silent?” and for extra challenge why not make it non-linear!
2- My mother is from Ontario, my father from Quebec, so half my family speaks French, the other half speaks English. How do I make a film that they can all appreciate?
(Dogknife predicts the silent sci-fi 20:15 will scoop awards at the first festival it screens at)
Tell me about principal photography…How long was your shoot and how much preparation went into it?
The bulk of principal photography was done within two days. The first one was insane! We started at 8:30am on the Saturday and finished at 4am on the Sunday. Then Sunday we started again at 12 and finished at 6pm. We didn’t have much of a choice to do it this way because we only had the actors for that weekend, we could only get the convenience story from 11pm to 2am on the Saturday. And because of continuity with Jean-Pierre’s beard we had to shoot everything on Saturday. But other than the insane hours everything went great!
The only thing left with photography were the cat scenes which we shot during the following week. Those took about 3-4 hours but that was only me, my cat, Paul-Arthur and Schubert our data wrangler.
As for the preparation we did a lot and good thing we did! There’s no way we could have pulled it all off in such a short amount of time had we not been prepared. We started pre-production in January and filmed in June. But I still feel we could have planned more, especially when it came to our funding campaign. We had several events other than the Kickstarter planned out to help raise some money but they didn’t all work out as well as expected due to lack of planning. So everything really depended on the Kickstarter.
Having 20:15 crowd-funded was another accomplishment, how did the campaign go from start to finish?
It was my fist crowd-finding experience so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but Kickstarter does a great job coaching and giving tips on how to run your campaign. It was a slow start but I did get some unexpected backers which felt really great to know that complete strangers were wiling to get involved in our project. We eventually met our goal at the last minute which was great since we had already shot the whole thing and the debts were piling up.
Finally, where and when did you learn film-making? Was it at college or are you self-taught?
I did go to college, but we mostly learned how to read films. Which is great if you want to make films with some depth and have something to say. The practical part I learned by helping out on other peoples’ projects and also Film Riot. If you want to be a film-maker and you don’t know about Film Riot what are you doing?

Watch the exclusive teaser/trailer for silent sci-fi 20:15 here.

Film-makers check out Film Riot here, for all your tips and advice on indie movie-making.

Vegan Pizza Launch @ The Cremorne

the cremorne

Revelry in The Cremorne

Having heard that well-known, Sheffield party pub The Cremorne was hosting a Vegan Pizza Launch night, I had to get me down there to sample the grub as there is no vegan pizza in the world I wont travel to test, mostly because I am a greedy son-of-a-punk, but also because I make them myself and fancy mine to be quite delish.

The Cremorne yesterday around 7pm was mostly quiet, a few friendly regulars and Blur’s Song 2 pumping from the juke box as I arrived to meet a mate who was also in for the vegan pizza tasting sesh.


Nodding at most of the music (the sign of a pub that knows its music) and warming to the vibe as more and more vegans clambered through the door  (soon it was standing room only), I marvelled at the size of the pizza when it was plonked on a wooden slab in front of me. None of that thick, little round, sugar-filled Pizza Hut business here…this was a large, thin-base-style, like they do in Italy…How pizza should be done, to be fair. A friend did mention it was very thin and yes, there are slightly thicker thin-base styles out there but it was merely an observation, not a dis’, I assure you.

I opted for the vegan bacon and two cheeses but was pleased to know there were other options including the usual onions, olives, sweet-corn and what-not and vegan chicken and vegan sausage.

pizza at teh cremorne

£14 for two vegan pizzas and two pints and it went down a treat. (I don’t drink but I was informed the vegan ale is tasty).

Get to the Cremorne and try it for ya sens…you wont be disappointed and it’s true what they say; the music is eclectic in there and the crowd are good potatoes. I was gonna say good eggs, but that wouldn’t really have been appropriate, would it?

The Cremorne’s vegan pizza gets the Dogknife thumbs up!





Verse Matters @ Theatre Deli

Arriving at Theatre Deli for this month’s Verse Matters evening of poetry and performance, I was delighted by the decor of the cafe/gallery, with a flavour of being visited by a set-designer from a Terry Gilliam movie; vivid and colourful art pieces vying for eye-ball space on the walls, a criss-cross of fairy lights, like a star cluster strung from the ceiling and of course, the players, fellow audience members of all persuasions, equally colourful, smiling and up for it. Oh, and Rhubarb, the canine representative of the Poetry Appreciation Society, who barked at all the right intervals, was also in attendance.


(Rhubarb, of the Poetry Appreciation Society)

First up was Rachel Bower, Verse Matters organiser, who brings together this feast of word-smithery, grabbing the mic to get things moving, giving us a reminder of content warnings and triggers, which is refreshing to hear when many similar events often don’t have that and performers simply let loose whatever stuff they have which can of course unsettle audiences, catching them off guard. Poetry, perhaps somewhat by its very definition, ought to provoke and inspire, absolutely, but it is clever and also considerate to think we can support each other more as an audience, especially as we don’t know the struggles that others face each day when they step into the world. Good call, Rachel.


(Verse Matters organiser, Rachel Bower)

The first poet of the event was Vicky Morris, whose Our Girls’ Tip-Top Annual retreated to the childhood memories of reading adventures involving chuckle-inducing parody’s of stero-typed young female behaviour, including, as Morris reminds, ‘lashings of exclamation marks to match their bewildered faces.’

vivky morris

(Vicky Morris)

Morris’s Ghosting considers people who walk out on relationships, often after years of commitment and left us, the audience, feeling like there was more to know, more to ask, but a poem apt enough to give an understanding of the reality of partnership breakdown; the haunting memory of better times shared.


(Susie Halksworth, a strong newcomer)

Next on stage was first-time performer, Susie Halksworth, whose apology in advance of what she called ‘a miserable poem‘ may have prepared us for what we thought would be social-decrying akin to reading the etchings inside the skull of Jack Dee, but actually was something of a misdirection, as Halksworth’s first piece about Chia-seed puddings and the bland delusion of people who ‘pretend that food will stop us dying’ was actually laugh-out-loud funny and we lapped it up. A marvellous treat of observational poetry from the debut artist with a very elegant delivery as well.

steven kay

(Author and poet, Steven Kay)

Steven Kay, author of the historical account of the first Romany to play football for England (The Evergreen in Red and White), stepped up to offer Resolve, a balanced, humbled outlook based on a narrator’s dealing with loss during war-time. The fact that the character in the poem was a Munitionette added the underlying weight of hope for brighter times, not just for humanity as a whole, but of course for a more rounder freedom for women at a moment in history when mother’s, sisters and partners were keeping life together ‘on the home front’, effectively running the country.

steven kays bookk

(The story of the first Romany footballer for England)

Rachel Bower returned to the mic in place of late-arrival, the wonderful Nicole May who was due on stage at any moment, and we were treated to a very illustrative use of half-rhyme in Bower’s piece about people watching on the iconic Sheffield through-fare, The Moor.

Nicole May from Manchester, a passionate poet rising through the scene, then graced the stage and delivered a powerfully-tongued piece about domestic abuse of a mother, which punctuated the previously charmed air to remind of the stark reality of patriarchal violence, but not without grace did the flowing alliterations call us back to the here and now when May told us at the end of the piece that it was a representation of a mother, not her own.

nicole may

(Nicole May, performing the piece Culture Clashes at a previous event)

The brilliance of the poem was all the more illustrated by May’s ability to captivate us with what was believed to be a biographical account of abuse. Poetry as an art form should delve into representation as much as possible, especially in this time of me-me-me and Facebook, which May’s next piece, a calling-out of scrolling the internet for the next headline, adequately placed into the frame, perhaps shaming our eyes from our rose-tinted phone screens. The line, ‘murdoch’s morning minions,‘ sticks in the mind.


(Award-winning Rosie Garland, below: Rosie’s debut novel, Palace of Curiosities)

rosie garland

The poised Rosie Garland commanded the stage and mic when she started with Lights Go Out, a sensual piece performed in a soothingly provocative display of controlled form and a dazzling wave of the hand in the manner of an urban shaman of words…

Back row or back room, my hand finds yours

Pulls you cheek-to-cheek, lip-to-lip

Go down for the third time and come up choking

And down again with my hand on your head.

The lights go out.

Rosie Garland

Garland’s piece about the Hindu goddess of chaos, Kali, inviting the Virgin Mary out to party was funny and carefree, ‘Mary call the babysitter and let me take you dancing.

Garland stole the first act of the evening and left the stage before the break with all the air of a literary titan, albeit more approachable.

After the break, singer-songwriter Sarah Sharp took to an electric piano which floated easily through clever octave changes as her fingers danced, unleashing soft melodies with punchy lyrics, such as the side-splitting, ‘Nobody likes your ornaments! Nobody likes your ornaments!‘ Sharp let our minds wander into escape clouds of comfort and joy.


(The delightful Sarah Sharp)

Sarah Sharp is a master stroke along the border between comedy genius and on-trend musical tastes, kind of like a folksy Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls meets Perrier award winning comedian David O’Doherty, with the soft yet purposed voice of Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. An aural treat, for sure.

With the music over, short story writer Anne Garage arrived up front to read a well-crafted tale about Luke, a little boy who becomes fascinated with the activities of a fox living around the garden of his new home. The boys unease at being recently moved to a new place, unsatisfied with the wallpaper and generally needing a perk-up, is balanced into a more hopeful piece with an unspoken reminder that nature is always between us city-based (or ‘civilised’) animals and that when we capture a look at it, in all its natural surround and behaviour, it captures us, revealing everlasting sublimity.


Sez Thomasin stepped under the lights to inform us that they have been writing a poem everyday for the last 25 days or so and that each year they embark on a challenge of writing a 100 poems for a 100 days, which is quite remarkable when one considers how much effort poets put into their work.


(Sez: Their piece about monkey genitalia was funny-as-f**k!)

Sez didn’t disappoint either, with their eloquent observation of magical memories in Coin Flip and glorious control of audience participation with the brilliantly titled (and written), The Louder the Monkey, the Smaller the balls. Not an unsmiling face in the room after that one Sez, exceptional.

Perhaps billed as the main act but by no means outshining any of the aforementioned artists – for no other reason than the whole cast was talented – Rob ‘The Baron’ de Born appeared on stage with what I would nevertheless regard as something of the more form-based pieces of the night.


(Rob ‘The Baron’ de Born)

What Rob didn’t have in performance flair, a la Rosie Garland or Nicole May, he certainly had in driven imagination and control of genre, delivered with charming nervousness as he placed rhymes in their lines with thrusting hand movements, the sign of passion in the purposed poet, which de Born definitely is. Rob is an entertaining poet and then some, with his piece about not be able to visit an 11th century palace during a stay in Morrocco having that rhythmic, pocket-riding, wordplay of hip-hop or, to be more poetry-centric, well-paced spoken-word.

I could chew upon the laurels

All prophetically

While out came scented vapours

From the grating under me

And you’d take your impressions

Though impressed you might not be

By the fallible confessions

All about his majesty

Rob de Born

De Born’s ode to his wife was wonderful, Woman Made of Flowers, was crisp and clever, an unadulterated celebration of his love for a woman who couldn’t be with him last night because she is unwell and a piece that was peppered with the already alluded-to romanticism of nature, with colours and scents of flowers. Perhaps Rob’s work is crafted to evoke a sense of an Eden-for-poets, where The Baron can wander freely, safe and assured that he is the master of all he lyrically purveys.


(Sheffield poet and scene-regular, Carol Eades)

Performing before de Born on the billing, but deserving of the final mention, was local poet-scene regular, Carol Eades, who read a short piece on behalf of her friend and fellow poet, Liz Ferrets, who due to an illness was unable to attend and was surely missed by those in the audience who know her well.

For Liz.

Verse Matters is back again in June, so check out there facebook page for more info’ and consider going along.

7 Tips to be Greener at Festivals


At Glastonbury alone a few years ago, researchers counted 400 gazebos, 9,500 roll mats, 5,500 tents, 6,500 sleeping bags, 3,500 air-beds and 2,200 chairs that had been abandoned. There was also the tonnes of other crap left about, leaving chemicals seeping into the land.

tent left at glasto

(Tent city; Glasto’ becomes 3rd largest town in south west during June)

What that means in real terms is, there were about 7,000 hung-over should-know-betters walking smugly around work the following week after Glasto’ telling everyone they had a great time but neglecting to mention they have no comprehension of what it means to try and make a sustainable future for other generations. This waste is of course happening at Glasto every year and other massive and even smaller festies all around the UK. That’s a lot of should-know-betters on the loose and lets not forget these are our mates and our colleagues, with whom we should be having these discussion about waste.

litter bug

(3000 tonnes of rubbish per year at Glasto’)

7 Tips to be greener this festival season:

  • Don’t use those little white cigarette filters (which are full of chemicals and mess with nature) in your rollies, go native instead and use a bit of Rizla rolled up or go truly old skool and don’t have a roach. If you use ‘proper’ cigarettes, don’t dump them in the field. Purchase a wallet designed for fag-ending on the move.
  • Don’t drive. Full stop. 
  • In reference to above, if you have to travel by car, cadge a lift with someone who is already going that way, to reduce carbon emissions and get dropped off nearby so that the impact of heavy traffic in the area can be somewhat diminished. Park as far away from the venue as possible and jump on laid-on bus services or walk.
  • Don’t take polystyrene or other non-biodegradable junk, like cheap plastic shopping bags and food wrapping. Use paper bags or cram it into your rucksack in its original packaging and keep that rubbish to dispose of properly.
  • Don’t leave your tent and sleeping bag/wellies on the field. Come on, don’t be a lazy bar-stool, be a grown up and let’s try and show the kids how to be sustainable. Pack it up and bring it home, or if you have to leave it, at least pack it down in a nice fashion so that it can be tatted by the boy scouts or girl guides or other voluntary groups that scour the wreckage of some large festies looking for good tat.
  • Don’t dump batteries in the field, tent pegs or other crap…take it with you or get it in a recycle bin.
  • Don’t flick your filtered fag ends onto the field (just to reiterate).

To paint a better picture of what managing festival waste is like, well, it’s basically like running a city, as Geoff Ellis, festival director of T in the Park, tells us, We are the fifth biggest town in Scotland when T in the Park is on, with all the issues that come with running a major town.’

t in the aprk

(T in the Park waste management)

Clearing up mess at T in the Park costs around 40-50 grand each year, from a managing budget of around £1m.

Now really, this isn’t just about clearing up mess and recycling, like Rob Tearle of Glasto’ says, Waste reduction is the key, isn’t it? Recycling doesn’t really save a lot of resources or energy, does it?’

And of course he is right; it’s about telling people not to bring the crap that will pollute the earth once they have had a great time and buggered off home. Still on the subject of Glastonbury, Michael Eavis once reminisced, About 40 years ago, all my hippie friends that came here originally were the first green thinkers, and the green initiatives started there, really.’

old skool

(Old skool hippies had the right ideas: be green!)

Now though, much of that green thinking has been lost on the crowds that flock to Glasto and T in the Park and the hundreds of other festies around the UK and Ireland (and of course the rest of Europe and the world) as has been evidence in the rise of rubbish and pollutants on site.

Eavis’s colleague, Rob Tearle, mentioned that he noticed a difference in rubbish and pollution when the better-off festie-goers started arriving and attendance by green-thinkers and other hippy-types and of course, the travellers, started to wane: as the demographics of the festival have changed from the original ‘green’ hippies, to include more commercial types, their waste generating capacity has increased.’

yogurt weavers

(Bread-heads, yogurt-weavers and should-know-betters do most of the damage) 🙂

In traveller speak, ‘commercial types’ means bread-heads or yogurt-weavers, perhaps better described as those who might not care as much as some about the planet whilst they’re getting crumpet-faced. But this attitude should be discussed and responsibility taken.

So even the organisers and those charged with cleaning up have noticed that the trend in the last decade has given rise to this nonchalant, ‘throw-away’ festival goer: they who turn up, get caned and often don’t give two-flicks about what they leave behind, which is totally against the original founding principles of festies like Glasto’.


(Hovefestivalen, Norway: got its act together)

In Norway there is Hovefestivalen, which claims to be 100% carbon neutral and in the UK there are well-known festies like Big Green, Northern Green et al, who have focused on solar powered, pedal powered and of course greener ethics all-round. But the truth is, it’s not the punters of those green-minded festies that need to take note, is it? Really this is a call-out to those of us who are flukey enough to have grabbed a ticket to the bigger named festivals, where most of the eco-damage is being done on site.

Alternatives to Glasto’ and the big names: A list of smaller, perhaps more eco-friendlier festivals in the UK.

One of the biggest eco-criminals, believe it or not, is cigarette butts, as these facts about their waste will illustrate, (paraphrased from the Royal Geographic Society website):

  • Nearly all fag butts contain 12,000 plastic-like cellulose acetate fibres, which can take up to 12 years to degrade.
  • Just one average cigarette can pollute one square metre of land with over 200 chemicals.
  • Cigarettes remaining on land seep chemicals such as nicotine, pyrene and flourathene into sediment.
  • Within an hour of contact with water, cigarette butts can begin leaching chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into the marine environment.

fag butts

(Fag butts: literally poison for the earth)

Maybe these surprising facts will make people think twice before flicking nub-ends into the field while assuming it will get cleared up. Within an hour, it can already be doing damage to micro-organic systems.

And then of course we come to the tents, wellies, sleeping bags and other tat left behind, which we hear about year-in-year-out. It’s this simple; watch the following video, it’s only a few minutes long, which shows the tragic waste of such a valuable commodity in this day and age (especially when you consider how many refugees in Europe would benefit from all the festie tat that gets chucked away, as well as homeless folks in the UK and beyond).

Video about tent waste at festivals:

So remember, spread the word and do your bit, you munters!  🙂



13 – A Play



Written by multi-Olivier Award winner Mike Bartlett and directed by the Television Workshop’s Tim Evans, 13 is a stark and provocative epic, forcing its audience into the minds and lives of a mesmerising array of sleep-deprived characters suffering with the repetitive nightmare of explosions and monsters. In this contemporary Un-united Kingdom, the female prime minister – played astoundingly by Molly Coffey – must weigh up the ‘special relationship’ with America as the powers of the western world inch towards what could be a catastrophic war with Iran.

tom blyth

(The hypnotic ‘John’ is played by Tom Blyth)

The light at the end of this doom-laden tunnel is John, a messiah-esque figure back from wandering, who crowds flock to listen to when he takes up his soap box to decry the worrying status quo. John becomes a social media hit, and his orations culminate in a massive protest outside downing street that threatens to cripple the country and bring about a general strike; all on the eve of the prime minister’s decision on whether to gather the troops or settle for peace.

mike bartlett

(Award-winning playwright, Mike Bartlett)

Each engrossing sub-plot, including a violent end to a strained mother and daughter’s relationship and mystery surrounding John’s initial disappearance years before – is cleverly amalgamated with the main story-arc and is truly a testament to the brilliance of Bartlett’s script as much as it is to Evans’ use of space and form with his young cast.

Staged in the wonderfully apt Art Deco Warehouse, 270-276 Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, the audience are treated to a 360-degree stage with accompanying large screen installation featuring live web-cam interactions during key scenes, most notably during the final act. This use of tech’ helps to bring to life the idea that social media and the interconnectedness of everything in modern life is semi-narrator, lifted off the pages of Bartlett’s work by Evans and fused into a character in its own right.

molly coffey

(Outstanding performance from Molly Coffey as ‘Ruth’)

As previously mentioned, Molly Coffey’s prime minister is exceptionally gripping as (only) 19 year-old Coffey showed masterful execution in delivery and presence and is certainly a name to look out for…Remember where you heard it. Tom Blyth as the hypnotic John, Louis Greatorex as staunch atheist Stephen, Indie Evans as rabble-rouser Rachel,  Kali Dennet as teen-rebel Ruby and Jacob Seelochan as Amir are all the cast that stood out for me, as my personal favourites, but with such a large posse of Television Workshop actors in this fantastic milieu, there is a character in 13 for every kind of audience, I’m sure.

In all honesty, 13 is a quality show and if you have nothing important planned for tonight, get yourself to the aforementioned venue for 7pm, grab yourself a ticket for less than a tenner and you will be blown away, of that I assure you.

For more info on the show’s details, follow this link.


Short Review of Vaughn Teufel’s Short



Vaughn Teufel’s short film, The Captain, premiered last night at The Nottingham Writer’s Studio in Hockley, in front of a packed basement of film-maker aficionados, musicians, fine-artists and of course plenty of other creative industry n’er do wells of varying persuasions; I even recall seeing a top-hat floating about. But then this is Nottingham, a city currently buzzing in the creative industries, so a great turn out for a much-anticipated project is no surprise.

The Captain is a joyful-but-delicate portrayal of one woman’s misdirected energy and her sobering redemption; boozy men grovel for attention, while neglected young son, Ken, sits with toys in a corner. We are told that Ken has an over-active imagination, so by the time the ghostly avenger, The Captain, arrives, we are left wondering whether events are real or solely in the mind of the child. Perhaps it is Ken’s wishful dreaming that brings about a turn of the tables for all the characters, who face an unleashed terror – itself with subtle yet well-timed comedic elements.

Stylistically, The Captain is shot with a little of that Shameless look by being up close and personal in the lives of society’s dregs and forgotten; a flirty single mum; a tracksuit wearing wide-oh; a pot-bellied drunk who should know better and a quiet crinkle-suited drug dealer who dishes out pills to spike drinks. In this way, each character is well-defined, efficiently occupying their own space on screen and giving the film realistic depth. The cinematography by Jordan Dubash is exceptionally crisp, with no rough edges, revealing superb control over lenses and light.

Featuring a comic cameo from Not From London’s Will Robinson and further excellent acting from Lucy Varney and Phil Molloy (as The Captain), Teufel’s piece is a professionally crafted artwork which will do well on the UK festival circuit and beyond, particularly as its themes of parenting, lust, morality and death, will capture audiences from all walks of life, leaving them with plenty to think and talk about.

Watch the trailer for Vaughn Tuefel’s The Captain here


An Amazing Minecraft-Based Game Show Has Arrived

noxcrew 4

The Noxcrew Game Show, a real game show with competing teams, commentators and a whole raft of imaginative, action-packed games,  all based in Minecraft, went live this week across YouTube and already has 15k+ views, and rising, for its first two episodes. WP_20150326_002

(Andrej Panic, working on The Noxcrew Game Show)

The team behind this dazzling Minecraft-based wonder are called The Noxcrew, a 40-strong posse of designers, coders, gamers, musicians and writers, all with a passion for creating a new and quite brilliant piece of internet history.

View the first ever episode of the game show here and read on to hear what Andre Panic, the lead writer on the game show, had to say to me in a recent exclusive interview. Alternatively, listen to the full 11-minute interview here.


(40 people across the globe, working together over 6 months, made The Noxcrew Game Show)

I meet Andrej at the door of his modest room in a student complex, down town Sheffield, UK, and he immediately puts me at ease with a comfy chair and offers of water or tea. I politely decline (“I’m already fed and watered, thanks.”) while he shows me video edits of future Noxcrew Game show episodes that he is working on.

The Noxcrew Game Show, a purely Minecraft-based delight is set to dazzle internet audiences and everyday gamers after it launched this week with episodes 1 and 2.


(Exclusive interview with Noxcrew Game Show writer, Andrej Panic)

Minecraft, if you are not down with the latest yoot-cult followings, is basically Lego for gamers (Andrej’s words) and has taken the world by storm since it burst onto the Web around 2009, with a full version following in 2011. The creators are now zillionaires and the rest is history.

Now, I am not a Minecraft aficionado par se, although I have played it a few times – a little zombie killing here, a little getting chased by massive spiders there and that’s it – I’ve never built anything. But if Noxcrew’s game show is anything to go by, Minecraft has a shit-load to offer the world, not just blocks to shift around. Entire worlds are built, palaces, cities and now, thanks to months of hard work by an efficient team of adorable uber-nerds, a fully working game show…


(Johnny Smooth & Bobby Groove, the shows commentators)

Dogknife – Andrej, nice to meet you! Minecraft is obviously this amazing game that has taken the world by storm…lets not go on too much about that, lets get straight into the Noxcrew Game Show. What is it? What’s the best way to explain it?

Andrej -The Noxcrew game show is quite literally a game show in Minecraft. If you’ve ever watched Wipe Out or Takeshi’s Castle, or Jungle Run, 50/50, many games, like Crystal Maze, we’ve literally just taken those concepts and put them in Minecraft and we’ve built games. One of the biggest appeals of doing it is there is no health and safety, so we can push the limit, we can have death matches-

D – You can kill people.

A – (Laughs) Pretty much, if we want to!

D – You can blow shit up.

A – Right. But in many games we don’t have that though!

noxcrew 1

(Noxcrew merch – support their cause here)

D – How hard is it to make a game show in Minecraft? What are we talking in hours? Man and woman hours? Days? Months?

A – Well we had a pilot season [check it out, a cool 460,000+ views] which was on and off for about two years and we were doing it for fun, as a hobby, we thought it would be cool to do and fun to watch. But with this new season, season 1, we decided to really go for it, a really structured approach, so we did most of the work in 6 months.

D – (Jaw drops) It took 6 months to get all the episodes together?

noxcrew 5

(Andrej’s Noxcrew avatar, ‘Duhshronky’)

A – All the assets together, yeah, the builds corrected. Some of the games didn’t work, we had to fix those. There is a coding system in Minecraft called RedStone and our lead RedStone designer is really good.

D – So if people know RedStone they can design things like The Noxcrew Game Show?

A – Pretty much, yeah. But it’s hard work.

D – You’re the lead writer on The Noxcrew Game Show, so what did your job entail over the 6 months?

A – Mostly it was everything around post production, scripts for commentators, for example, but I didn’t have much to do with the building.

noxcrew 2

(Noxcrew founder and Andrej’s bro, Stefan ‘Noxite’ Panic)

D – That was your brother, Stefan?

A – My brother founded The Noxcrew, he looked over the pre-production assets and stuff and we have build leaders for that as well…About 30 or 40 people, mostly all over the globe.

D – (Second jaw drop) All over the globe?

A – Yeah, but we are mostly based in Europe. Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany.

D – So…(scratch my head) How the hell is something like this coordinated?

noxcrew pilot shot

(The Game Show in its pilot years)

A – Time, really. We initially started out as a gaming community, we wanted to build something on Minecraft, we advertised in forums for people to make adventure maps and from that, concepts got bigger and we were like ‘what if we do a game show and invite people to play it and record them?’

D – In real terms it’s like hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of work, isn’t it? If you were all working for a big company, that would be a lot of cash’s worth of work?

A – Probably. It’s a labour of love for us. We have joked around that we are not just a community we are a family. We have had fall outs and stuff.

D – What kind of things would you fall out about?

A – Most of the time it’s the way people talk to each other, like, sometimes its sort of condescending!

noxcrew 4

D – And you’re separated by these great distances, over continents and stuff, I imagine it does get quite stressful. My question is…Why does this exist, why is it here? Is it for the sake of it or is there a monetising scheme going on?

A – My brother started it initially during a summer, in his gap year, he was in a transitional period, he had just left his job and was about to start uni and he was bothering me saying lets play these games and lets build games and I didn’t have much interest in it but he pushed it through and found others and we got on it.

D – He was the exec producer…

A – Yeah.

D – The Noxcrew Game Show looks great and is unique to me. But why is it unique to the internet?

A – No one else has really attempted this before. It has been a huge piece of work. To do it to this quality and time takes dedication and some people don’t wanna do that…There’s not a lot of money in it but we would love to do it as a full time job.

mayan hunt

(Fans of the flick Apocalypto will dig this game made by Noxcrew)

D – Its a vast gamers and audience’s universe isn’t it, Minecraft?

A – The way I explain it is: its Lego in a computer!

D – And episodes 1 & 2 of The Noxcrew Game Show are out now, yeah? People just search Noxcrew Game show, right?

A – Yep. The Noxcrew Game Show. We release every Wednesday and Saturday.

Set to take the interweb by storm? Another milestone in the history of internet movements? Tell me what you think. Please share your response to The Noxcrew Game Show and of course watch the episodes which are listed here and above.

Watch the first complete episode of season 1 of The Noxcrew Game Show

Listen to the full, unabridged 11-minute interview with Andrej Panic

@Noxcrew on that Twitter thang

Noxcrew on the Book-of-Face