Home to Hip Hop – Scottish Storytelling Centre

Written & Conceived by Peter “The Temp” Bearder

Featuring Dr. Katie Ailes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reckon you don’t know much about poetry? Think again. From everyday usage, to civil rights speeches which challenge the status quo of the globe, the art form of spoken word has been a determining factor of countless decisions throughout history – from ancient philosophers to contemporary wordsmiths, Homer to Hip Hop charters this journey.

Award-winning poet and slam champion Peter “The Temp” Bearder shapes the NetherBow Theatre into a journey along the poetic and spoken movements that have shaped our collective history. From the expectant places of bards and ballads to the more contemporaneous punk scenes of the sixties, spoken word once more finds itself on the dawning of a revival as a crucial and immediate tool. From Homer to Hip Hop charters the way we choose to use our communicative skills, from the revered to the vilified, and yes, to the feared.

The dimensional structure divides this evening in half, one part Pete’s performance lecture, and the latter half a more traditional Loud Poets evening where host Dr Katie Ailes takes to the mic to provide readings and perhaps dissect a little of the customs and trust between an audience and their poet. All culminating in a Q & A, where the gloves are off, the opinions honest, and the adoration for this craft evident.

Professional gobshite and peddler of words, Pete the Temp brings his Homer to Hip Hop to the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre for one evening as a part of his post-Covid revival tour. In part performance piece of verse, Homer to Hip Hop crams the centuries of oral communications, soliloquies, sonnets, customs, and lyrical rap into a brief lecture of its influence across the predominantly English-speaking world. And by his own admission, this is only part one of a series, and takes a broadly Western/UK stance, acknowledging the presence of various other spoken word and poetic customs across the world.

As fascinating as it is a fracas, there’s a natural rhythm and chemistry Pete has with the crowd, bringing even the more reserved Edinburgh crowd to their feet for rousing moments of comedy and energy imbuing chants. Differing between venues, Edinburgh was lucky to find themselves in the company of Loud Poets alumni Dr Katie Ailes, who presents the traditional reading aspect of the show, with an experimental flair – with the audience being her subjects….

Opening with a touching piece on identity, grief and understanding, there’s an evident clutch of the structure of craft and excellence in delivery. One which conjures an authentic, natural connection with the audience. But it’s a funny term; authentic – isn’t it? The remainder of the evening finds Ailes opening a discussion of the correlation between a poet and their audience, the expectations a crowd shares with a poet, of intimacy and authenticity, and yet, no one would feel betrayed to discover the performer on stage isn’t actually Macbeth. But they would feel let down if the poet’s touching piece on loss was fictitious. What it makes for is a fascinating pry into the world of spoken word, where boundaries seemingly breakdown, and where poets build them back.

If one needs a stringent reminder of the magnitude with which spoken word impacts the fundamental elements with our cultures across the world, look no further than those who use it for negligence and propaganda. But to understand this power, and to bask in its revived status in Scotland, we need to recognise its value and incorporate it further into curriculums and value poetry at the same level as literature, visual media and theatre. Peter the Temp and Loud Poets are an example of the accessible nature of spoken word and a measurable hoot of entertaining value, offering audiences comfort, a laugh, and the ability to claim they are now smarter than when they first started the show.

For more information regarding Homer to HipHop’s tour, check Pete’s tour dates here.

And if you’re keen to learn more about either Loud Poets or The Scottish Storytelling Centre, information can be found here and here.

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