~ Sounds of London

I'm introducing a new section to the blog called Sounds of London, premiered by a young writer and spoken word artist I saw perform at the Kingswood Timebank Black History month back in October last year. Timebank is a charity run by local volunteers for the benefit of the community who seek to mentor and inspire members to become more independent.

As a segue into his spoken word piece I asked Tahi to give us a brief introduction and express what London means to him.

About Tahi

I'm a South-London based writer, tech advocate and digital publishing know-it-all :P. A jack of many (digital) trades, master of none and a great lover of smoked salmon. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of publishing and technology and the future of the book in the digital (and quantum) age. I write poetry, spoken word, fiction and non-fiction, and am currently working on an ereading app that utilises the power of advertising to bring readers bestselling novels anytime, anywhere and completely free. 

On London…

London is one of the major modern capitals of the world, and as someone born and bred in the city I feel this wherever I go. I’ve lived in France, travelled western Europe and taken regular trips to the USA but nothing compares to the boundless modernity of The Big Smoke. Just take a look at the city’s skyline – the cranes that populate it represent a city that’s always ‘under development’ and progressing, both eyes locked on the horizon.

The people have adopted this mindset too, for better or worse, and are blindly hurling themselves into the future – a future that’s arriving even quicker with the spread of online collaboration – collaboration like that of TimeBank. I wrote this piece entitled Modern Mal-itia at the end of my time in Paris as what I believe was a backlash against an environment that, while it was beautiful, was centred around history thus, primarily backward facing. I was reacting to a feeling of being a suffocated by an overbearing foreign antiquity, and being surrounded by modern intellectuals from all over Europe who's self-righteous attitude to technology and innovation was chiefly one of fear and disdain. 

While I wanted to celebrate the idea of the new, I was aware that merely listing a bunch of modern products and services would be rather uninteresting, so I contrasted it with many of the iconic and intellectual ideas that I’d learned about myself, ideas that people often use as a weapon against capitalism in  our new digital age. I was disproving my ignorance but promoting ideas that the so-called ignorant often favour. And because people rarely speak so articulately in defence of modern culture, the result was a slight ambiguity as to whether the piece is entirely satirical.

In many ways the piece is a vivid illustration of who I am via the experiences and knowledge I’ve accumulated in my adult life, and because nobody in the world has undergone identical experiences to me, the likelihood is that no one person will immediately recognise all of the references and wordplay within. While it was certainly a true representation of how I felt at the time of writing, I’ve grown since and I am far more accommodating of the past and present. Still, it’s interesting to look back at my former self; bitter, discontented, yet choosing to poke fun through the medium of performance art. When I look back at it I think of a quote a friend once said to me: 

‘This is what it is to be human isn’t it? At least to be young, and present in this stupid youth, ‘to live the questions’, to focus on the most immediate circumstances that dictate your situation.' – S. Misra



Guest contributor  You can follow Tahi on Twitter




About Yewande Okuleye

Cultural Historian|Londoner
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