Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poetry Chapbook Review: Paki Lover by Andy Carrington

Paki Lover is a short chapbook by Andy Carrington, an aspiring poet from the UK. While labelled as a poetry compilation, the experience of reading Paki Lover was more akin to reading stream of consciousness prose of the main character from Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground (albeit not with the same psychological depth or to same extents of depravity). Focused on his own experiences in modern British society, Carrington expresses a tone of apathy, cynicism, and utter disgust throughout his poems at the blatant racism, inequalities, and violent social rifts he perceives in the world around him.
Though frequently cutting his anger with doses of sarcasm and an even sometimes humorous tone, Carrington expresses a clear struggle with holding his own liberal beliefs in what he perceives as an overwhelmingly conservative and traditional society. Sickened by the racial intolerance and prejudice around him, the poet is met with ignorant opposition when he shares his views publicly, being called a “LIBERAL CUNT” (pg. 23), “PAKI LOVER” and “pro-immigration supporting / QUEER” (pg. 21). Carrington conveys a sense of internal conflict to stay true to his values while at the same time operate within society. He even struggles not internalize the discriminatory contexts he overhears, reads, and comes across every day, writing: “I betrayed my race” (pg. 25) in a seemingly sarcastic and somewhat defeated tone. A poem called Childhood Gone by contributing poet Chetna Patel illuminates the harsh reality of being a victim of the racism and bigotry that Carrington describes, with the poet wondering “Why did we move here?” The impacts of the ongoing discrimination faced by the poet are painfully evident in the poem’s closing lines: “I’m barely even / eleven years old // By my childhood, / it would seem, / is already over.”
Carrington alludes a few times throughout his poems to relying on drinking to ease the stress of his life, writing that he feels “content that this is my only / form of freedom and given right / as an individual” (pg. 10). Rather than resist his own lifestyle, he seems rather to embrace his “choice to scrape / by with limited means” as his “only / fucking viable alternative” to giving into the status quo of prejudice and societal illness that he perceives around him. Though Paki Lover may be a bit difficult to swallow for some readers, the chapbook does end on brighter, more hopeful note. In the last poem, The Fight for Love, Carrington expresses the truths he holds dear to his heart. Quoting the words of someone close to him, he writes: “‘The division of colour, / the division of class, / they’re both false; // the only real and true / thing here…is love’” concluding that he’s “not ashamed / now to say that I think / you may be right” (pg. 27). Despite all lines of discrimination in society and his own internal conflicts, the poet comes back to his ideals and chooses to stand by his liberal values. For Carrington, it seems, there is a reason for hope in the future.
Direct link to the Paki Lover
Link to Andy Carrington’s website:

Words from my homie Noyz, who produced the entire ITFONA album:

Me and the homey MC FÜBB first started working on our album "In The Face of No Agreement" in the fall of 2009. The first beats I sent him were "History" and "Feet Don't Fail" and we both felt we had established an immediate chemistry as MC and beat maker. He hit me back and put forth the idea of building on a full length album and I was a little unsure at first as I hadn't been making beats for very long but I looked at it as a chance to learn.

To make beats for an entire album with one MC is challenging because you run the risk of sounding repetitive and making the same songs over again. FÜBB is a very versatile MC so the beats I provided had to show a wide range of emotion to give him a broad landscape to paint on. The majority of what is on the album are beats that I made specifically for FÜBB as I didn't just want to have him pick and choose from my catalogue.

The opening track of the album was actually the last one we put together as we felt we didn't have a definitive standout for the intro and we were having issues with securing a singer. FÜBB was able to get Mike Devine on board in the 9th inning and he blessed this song beautifully. The chorus sums up the overarching theme of the album and how we as people can't give up on our goals no matter how much adversity we face.

Check out the song here:

We're selling the album for $10, so if you can show your support, it would be greatly appreciated. You can listen to the album for free, so at the very least, drop your 2 cents and let me know what you think of the album.


Friday, April 8, 2011

In the Face of No Agreement (blurb)

It takes something for us to take a stand for what we believe in in this world. The easiest thing to do is to follow the path of least resistance – to do what society expects us to do and blend in with the masses. But to stand for something, to acknowledge a cause greater than ourselves and work diligently towards forwarding that cause, is among the hardest things we as human beings can do.

What makes consistently standing for a certain cause so difficult is that if we are sincere in our efforts and actually begins to make progress towards our goals, then we will invariably face obstacles and even opposition. On the quest to materialize our dreams in this world, it is essential that we have others in our community agree with our vision and share our commitments. Unfortunately, a by-product of expanding our effectiveness in realizing our goals is that we are bound to come across much indifference, apathy, cynicism, and possibly even direct opposition to that which we are committed to. For every dream in this world, there exist forces that have No Agreement to it being fulfilled.

Another form of No Agreement, less obvious and more insidious that external opposition, is our own resistance to our own greatness. No Agreement towards ourselves can take the form of self-doubt, self-sabotage, self-destruction, disempowering beliefs, fear, anxiety, confusion, and even self-created rationalization against fulfilling on our own commitments. In order to be able to effectively face obstacles in the external world, we need to learn to master our own internal worlds so that we can stay clear and focused on what we say we stand for. Because at the end of the day, all we can truly own are our own words and actions in our given circumstances – everything else is in some degree beyond our control.

The source of human greatness is our ability stand firm to our commitments in the face of No Agreement. Regardless of our circumstances, our past experiences, our limitations or disadvantages, we always have the ability to choose who we are going to be in this world. And if we are courageous enough to be unwavering in what we stand for, if we maintain our integrity with our commitments, promises to others and most of all with ourselves, then we are already living into the future that we want to see materialized right now.

Choose to be powerful. Choose to be courageous. Choose to manifest your own greatness.

Stand for what you say you stand for – In the Face of No Agreement.