About ‘Utter!’ - Spoken word events, MisGuided tours, writing group and more…
Spoken word with a good sense of humour, comedy with a poetic sensibility
“prepare to be left speechless by the tongues of these capable bards” - **** ThreeWeeks.
‘Utter!’ grew out of a community writing group started in Wood Green, North London, in 2002 - an offshoot of Word for Word Crouch End. One year later in 2003, we put on our first successful live shows above the Lordship pub featuring writing group members alongside more established spoken word acts like Abe Gibson, Steve Tasane and Rosemary Harris, and music and comic poetry acts like Ritchie Scurvey. The night was co-hosted by group Co-ordinator Richard Tyrone Jones and Lee Nelson from Luton.
We soon moved down the road to the Salisbury Pub and gained Arts council funding for its first season of nights. The open mic slots grew into the Paid Gig contest (previously ‘Ajar Mic’), where the audience decides which of four acts they would like to see return to do a full, paid slot, thus nurturing new talent. Bringing all your mates to vote for you is positively encouraged, but there are always surprises! Acts who performed for us at the Salisbury, in the back room which we shared with a kitchen, included Iain Sinclair, Zena Edwards, James Kettle and Stewart Home. The joint winners of the first ‘Utter!’ Paid Gig Grand Final were Sejal Chad, Niall Spooner-Harvey and Alison Brumfitt.
We started doing themed nights for our second tranche of Arts Council funded events in 2008 - ‘Utter!’ Youth, ‘Utter!’ Disability, ‘Utter! Gingers, etc, which proved a big success. We also made the move to the more central Green Note cafe in Camden while putting on events in Brixton, slams at the Hackney Empire and the Arcola Theatre Dalston, featuring the likes of Simon Munnery, and Clare Pollard. The winner of the Paid Gig Final 2008 was the very talented Mr George Chopping.
Also in 2008 Richard Tyrone Jones started the ‘Utter!’ MisGuided tours in Archway and Crouch End. In the following years these have expanded, with funding from the Arts council, to cover Stoke Newington, Hackney, Camden, King’s Cross and Brixton. A mixture of cultural and literary history, live poetry and tall tales, these have seen Ernesto the naked poet strip off in a pub, poetry in playgrounds and outside Tescos, much to their Security’s chagrin…more are added every year.
In 2009 we rammed the Green Note for a ‘SylviaPlathdeatheve’ special, ‘Utter!’ Chopping, hosted by George Chopping and featuring John Hegley, ‘Utter!’ Baldies and our Edinburgh preview… which featured none of the acts in the Edinburgh show.
The Edinburgh festivals have been our biggest projects to date. We were part of the PBH Free Fringe at Fingers Piano Bar in 2009, broke even with shows including the likes of Luke Wright and John Hegley and returned as the flagship show of the Free Fringe’s Spoken word section in 2010. RTJ battled through near-fatal heart failure to put on not only 22 shows with a different line-up every night, but was also Director of Spoken Word, programming over 30 different shows in the Banshee Labyrinth. ‘Utter!’ returned at the end of 2011’s festival. Please see our ‘Edinburgh’ page for information, reports and fantastic line-ups!
In September 2009, back in London, we ran events upstairs on Thursdays at the Cross Kings in King’s Cross, a 200-capacity venue, now sadly demolished. ‘Utter!’ Evolution featured Robin Ince, Baba Brinkman and Wimbledon poet-in-residence Niall O’Sullivan and the 2009 ‘Ajar Mic’ final in November saw Rob Auton beat 8 other fantastic poets to win the £100 prize money.
We also extended the Paid Gig contest to comprise most of our events at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, where floor-spots can win a slot in the final. This started with the successful ‘Utter!’ Cats, continued with ‘Utter!’ weirdness, Utter! Prime Numbers and ‘Utter!’ film featuring Simon Barraclough, Nick Helm and HotDoctors. These sadly finished when the Whitechapel ran out of funding. We hope that it, and we, will return, but for the moment the last one was ‘Utter!’ funeral in February 2010, where RTJ, to mark his thirtieth birthday, sat in a coffin for three hours while surrounded by mourning women in black holding aloft fatherless ginger children, with hymns, tributes from friends, flowers, a song and professionally-produced programmes. And, as if on cue, one month later, he suffered near-fatal heart failure… (see blog entry!)
We returned to the lovely Green Note at 106 Camden Parkway in 2011 for a series of ‘Utter!’s with crowdsourced themes including ‘Utter!’ Agony, Pointlessness (featuring Matt Harvey), Coalition, Nutters and Puppets (see ‘News’ feed for more details).
Richard Tyrone Jones Has a Big Heart is the debut one-person show Richard Tyrone Jones got out of his near-death experience. For more information please see the ‘RTJ’s Big Heart’ page, above.
Weprovide thought-provoking and entertaining spoken word events and writing workshops which encourage new talent alongside established high quality acts, fostering a sense of community. Richard Tyrone Jones usually hosts events, with help from talented friends like James McKay, Cat Brogan, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Tim Wells and Sophia Blackwell. For more information on upcoming events, see ‘London Events’ and ‘Edinburgh’. To book us, see ‘Book our talent’. For social media, see ‘links’. We have some big plans for 2012, so watch this space…