TALIA RANDALL: Um ok are you ready feur yor, faw yaw I duh *blows raspberry* (audience laughter) End scene

(Instrumental UK garage jingle plays)


Welcome to Cassette Tape Radio. I’m Talia Randall and this episode is dedicated to a live show that I run called What Words Are Ours? It’s a poetry knees-up that I put on every couple of months. What Words Are Ours? showcases D/deaf and hearing artists on the same stage. We were scheduled to bring What Words Are Ours? to the Free Word Centre in London but sadly; the show was cancelled due to Covid-19. So instead I’m sharing material recorded at previous live shows, plus bringing you brand new recordings from some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary poets. Expect to laugh, cry and wet you pants with joy.

As usual a transcript of this episode is available at my website, plus I’ll be sharing some Visual Vernacular and BSL interpreted poetry videos in the coming weeks. Watch out for those. This is all part of creating a digital hub for What Words Are Ours? and keeping the project going during the pandemic. We might be in different places at different times but we can still experience poetry together and try to find some peace and power in isolation.

First up we’ve got Jackie Hagan whose work explores class, sexuality and disability, plus she’s really bloody funny. This was recorded live at my live show What Words Are Ours? in September 2019.

(Jingle fades out)


So yeah so you might notice where many of you have got a tube of meat I’ve got a glorified stick. For the cheap seats lets do this 1, 2, 3 woo (audience woops) and erm, thanks. That’s because I had my leg off 5 years ago and when I left he hospital they gave me a list of things to avoid and one of them was falling over (audience laughs)

And a couple of things start happening when you have your leg off. First of all you get called brave every 5 minutes, just for anything just for like eating a twix, you know (audience laughs) and every taxi driver tells me I could be a paralympian (audience laughs). Ay mate and you could be an Olympian couldn’t you?

And when I was in hospital it was erm, it was like a bootcamp in coping, I was in for a really long time. And there was two women who were integral to my development while I was there. One was Barbara the nurse who had a face like a hen party (audience laughs) and the other one was Edna who was in the next bed to me for five months.

Now Edna was 73 and she hated Scousers, Mancs, tea, coffee, swearing, toddlers, wisdom, jumble sales, my tattoos, my hair, my face, me (audience laughs) and above all nurses. Now I loved Edna you know she had balls I could imagine her in leather. So this poem is dedicated to Edna wherever she is now. And this poem is a list of advice to get people like me from one end of the day to the other and its called You Can’t See Through Another Man’s Eyelids.

  1. Don’t cut off your face to spite someone else’s face.
  2. Don’t cut off your face.
  3. A boiled sweet pause in someone else’s mouth doesn’t necessarily mean its time for you to speak.
  4. You are probably not as ugly as you think you are, you are a generous buffet of crisps. (audience laughs)
  5. The minimum fill line on a kettle … is real. (audience laughs)
  6. Don’t be mean to fumbling people, the wet effort they put into punch lines. People can fly when you don’t make them feel self conscious about it.
  1. Give your pets a heroic aura.
  2. Romanticise the repetitive clunk.
  3. I come from a town where the barmaids have tits and the fella’s are homophobic, but in nice way: ”you’re weird and you’re short and yer Mam tells me your gay but I knew your Da, and he was witty and so are you, you’re alright you love, yeah. weird hair”.
  4. If you’re working class you inherit anger. If you’re middle class you inherit manners. And a house. (audience laughs)

Oooo, apparently not anymore, the amount of shit I get for that line, when you’re outside having a fag afterwards apparently so the middle classes are not getting houses anymore and apparently its all my fault. (audience laughs)

  1. The fight for sexual equality is not between men and women, it’s between people and dickheads.
  2. No one looks like Kate Moss, including Kate Moss
  3. If I could I’d stay in that moment where the tennis ball reaches it’s height and takes a breath before remembering to fall … in that moment sunset feels like acceptance.
  4. Unsolicited advice can make you sound like a tool.

Thank you, clap. (audience applause)


What Words Are Ours? is all about is about the link between language and power. Words have kept us down, held us back and locked us up, but at the same time words have freed us; we have found ourselves and reclaimed ourselves with words and with language. The language we use and how we communicate is inherently political and intrinsically about power. What Words Are Ours is a fun, glitter-drenched, variety show that explores these themes.

The show was programmed at Free Word Centre for a season that was all about power – centering artists that challenge and reimagine established power structures. The season obviously couldn’t go ahead how they planned, but Free Word Centre have been brilliant in creating a digital programme in place of the live events. The digital season is called Finding Power in Isolation looking at how we find power, whether that be political, collective or personal but in the isolated situation that we find ourselves in.

This next poet on our line up does exactly that in her poem Lesbian. This poem was recorded in isolation and shared with me especially for this podcast. Get ready for Lisa Luxx


Way before the pandemic and the quarantine we know now lesbians have been isolating the whole damn time, that is our lifestyle, that’s survival technique. Even when it comes to language the word lesbian is still such a taboo, out there in the world and even in our communities and that’s a very isolating experience. We have to learn to empower ourselves within a vacuum.

We’ve been made homeless in language

Kicked out of our own word

A community centre so hostile.

That we clumsy through umbrella terms



You never know which days your clothes will become fatigues

Which days you’ll be made to bleed. Bones moving out the way

Of fists, like girls dodging the tanks of the street.


You never know which days your blood will be conscripted by men

Who deploy orders with their knuckles,

Carving rivers out of flesh.

Droplets giggled down her neck,

Across that plate of stone between the breasts

Private places she tried to protect.


How many times have I pulled away from a kiss

To find a stranger’s face so close,

His breath was forming puddles on my cheek?

Gangs of boys surround us as we lips

Dicks pointing like kids

“Mummy, what are those ladies doing?”


The Metro article about Melania and Chris

That we all circulated

Didn’t use the word ‘lesbian’

‘Lesbian’, say it without feeling that fizz of taboo

Say it without thinking porn category

Punch line or a threesome your due

Say it without thinking phase, without thinking male gaze,

Without thinking TERF or enemy of the queer crusade

Say it without thinking we’re your currency to spend

Say it knowing we have to steal our bodies back from men

Say it. Say it above a whisper, say it as easily as you say gay.

Say it like it’s my name.


Everyday my shoulder is a stack of sandbags

My brows lifting above the parapet to check

“Baby, are we safe yet?”

Our palms are two bird wings, folding in

A nest of fingers, we rest our hands together

As we move. Public is a place to hold each other safe –

A softness so often ambushed by shame.


You never know which days

Your eyes will turn black. Lifeless swamps

Burping out everything you’ve swallowed.


You never know, so you prepare every day.

Love cramped in fear, twitching alert

Our last nerve frayed by the words

“Hey ladies, can I join in?”

Isn’t it the very point of being lesbian

That it has n o t h i n g to do with man

Their entitlement bloats at the insecurity in that.


‘Lesbian’ is a word stuck in your throat

The shuffle of wet feet, pulling out of the bog land beneath.

Who gets to keep the feathers of all those broken wings

Fried in fat and served to feast.

Lesbian is the flutter plucked from flesh,

Decorative, trampled, passed between a gasp

Of wind and breath.




Say it.

Say it like it’s my name.



Every WWAO we have a game, where the audience write down their most hated or most loved words or phrases and scrunch them in a ball and throw them at my head.

TALIA (live on stage):

Um so again a world that you love or word that you hate, a word that I really hate is the word authentic, I really hate the word authentic, we can talk about why when we have a gin and tonic. I hate the word mixologist. As in someone who makes cocktails ‘I’m a mixologist’ alright Brian fuck off.

TALIA (back in the studio):

That was me on stage being vitriolic about mixologists for some reason and big apologies to anyone called Brian I don’t know where that come from. Anyway, we get a poet to collect all those bits of paper that the audience give us and create a speed poem from. Its probably the hardest job of the night, but still, people agree to do it, thank you poets. Here are some of the words that the audience gave us on a recent night:

TALIA (live on stage):

Collective, this is words that this person hates apparently and crabs? (audience laughs). Say no more

ZIA AHMED (live on stage):

Hate word – content brackets even definition. And then love – solstice and tide (a big ‘yeah’ from someone in the audience)

TALIA (live on stage):

Peace man. This is fucking shopping list right here. (audience laughs) Cheese, bygones, pancakes, turkey, (audience laughs) decombobulate opposite of discombobulate, fluid fantasm and curls.

TALIA (back in the studio):

And here is the poet Zia Ahmed with a poem that he wrote from these words in 45 minutes on a dimly lit stairwell backstage. Honestly I think it’s a masterpiece and when I listened back to this I love how excited the audience get when they hear their word in the poem, its beautiful. Anyway, here we go, Zia Ahmed with a speed poem.



Hello, yo that was, that was tricky. (audience laughs) er this does not make sense to me but I don’t know yeah if you give it a title it becomes poem right. So. (audience laughs) Ok

What comes before wag 2?

Wag wan

(audience laughs)

Todays been a hard one

The tide’s come in

Streets covered in flotsam and jetsam

This weren’t the future promised in The Jetsons

(audience laughs)

A wreck there’s falangies strewn

Across the sand

(audience laughs and someone claps emphatically)

But then the seagull shits in my knickerbocker glory

(audience laughs)

‘Bruv’ the man at the stand asks

If the ackee and saltfish is organic

(audience laughs)

Bludclart, get out the shop

A stray love heart says ‘dismantle the patriarchy’

This ting tastes of melancholy

A bunch of whippersnappers eating peppercorn

Let me be clear it is what it is

What is it?

(audience laughs)

Stare into the void

And the void stares back at you

Nietzsche what a top geezer

(audience laughs)

Bring that beat back

My mind is a meat sack


It’s the sound of the police

(audience laughs)

I manoeuvre through the ginnel

Ay up cuck

The residents through quiche

At the coppers

The cat lady shouts

Who is that tall drink of water

On your bike

I aint done anything wrong

Ya feel me

Why are you running

(audience laughs)

Why are you running

Feeling leggy

Streetlights shiny turn the corner

Bendaliscious like Beckham

How long until they gentrify Peckham

(audience laughs)

Cant let em

Anarchy in the uk I feel giddy

The bag lady tops up her lippy

And Leonhard Cohen plays

From her shopping trolley

The sun flies low

Like a gelatinous velociraptor

(audience laughs)

What the?

A city full of svelte actors

Eating low fat chunky monkey

The elephant in the room

Broke out of the house and shouts

Everything is moist

(audience laughs)

You have a choice

Freedom is tantalising

A silver star amongst the dung

Is this compromise

Noodle legs I can’t run much longer

boing boing super Mario coins

I thought the octopus was exquisite

But now my body is ram jammed with salmonella

(audience laughs)

Nah it was just mushrooms

And psychosis is taking over

Slobber hangs from my lips undulating

A metronome ripples like mitochondria

Powering a cell

An epiphany arrows through my body

ey by gum

(audience laughs)

Life is for living

At the end of the day

Comes the night

The moon says wagwan

(audience applause emphatically)

Yo, that’s all your words, haha cool.



You’re listening to Cassette Tape Radio by Talia Randall. If you like what you’re listening to subscribe to us, leave us a review, everything helps. Thank you and carry on listening babes.



Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by The Repeat Beat Poet

yes-yes     yes-yes

let’s go     let’s go

let’s get it     let’s get it

gotta move     gotta move


gotta stack that paper

gotta make that cheddar

gotta chase that bag

gotta get that bank

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

so bow down to the pound

don’t stop don’t stop

gotta hustle gotta juggle

gotta tightrope walk

more work less talk

and you better get yours cos imma get mine

I’ll be fine when I dead off this 9-9

Eight Days A Week at the standard grind

grinding out shifts

grinding coffee for the pricks


“Can I get a skinny wet decaf almond double flat white with a cinnamon twist?”

if you insist.


Don’t push me. I’m close to the edge

at the end of my tether

whatever the weather

whatever the method

it’s all of my effort not to –


doing ten toes

grindstone never left my nose

in this city where you can’t stop   can’t stop

can’t breathe       can’t breathe

no justice       no peace

no sobriety       no release

sleep no more for London hath murdered sleep


we kick back                         roll spliff

take a load off                     get licked


before bliss slips to guilt trip

a quick blip

a rip   in     time

and back to the grind

I gotta make it, I can’t stop!


Coz when I’m there…

with my sweet hard earned freedom filling the air

Sniffing the glory of the feast I worked years to ensnare

I’ll sit still


and wait


for the others


and the rest.



(plump and playful hip hop rhythm instrumental plays)

That was Zia Ahmed with his speed poem, followed by The Repeat Beat Poet with Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. The Repeat Beat Poet recorded this poem in isolation and sent it to me especially for this podcast; he was booked to perform in the live show so I’m really glad that we could still share his work. We’re also going to share some BSL interpreted videos with poetry by The Repeat Beat Poet and Lisa Luxx, watch out for those in the coming weeks and months. (Instrumental music fades out)

TALIA RANDALL (live onstage):

I’m gonna do some poems now, is that ok? (audience woops) I mean even if it wasn’t ok I would do it because it’s my night and I could…whack a tit out if I wanted to (audience laughs). Some of you are looking literally horrified at that (audience laughs) don’t worry its not… I haven’t put it in the risk assessment its not gonna happen but if I wanted to, I could.

TALIA RANDALL (back in the studio)

That was me saying that I’m gonna do a poem now, so here we go – me, Talia Randall recorded live at What Words Are Ours? at the legendary Roundhouse in London.

TALIA RANDALL (live onstage):

Proverbs for a woman drinking alone

If a woman drinks

undisturbed in a forest,

does she even exist?

(audience laughs)


A man walks

into a bar,

and ruins the woman’s evening.

(audience laughs and claps)


If a woman never has to

hold her tongue

what does the cat get?


The man with the long face

thinks he’s a gift horse,

he leads himself to drink but never to water.


Its reigning men.

And a hard man is good to find,

find a keeper? Losers find her.


Make sex, not love,

better late than first thing in the morning

the early bird has worms.

(audience laughs)


Easy come, not so easy cum.

(audience laughs)

Remember, good things come

to those who masturbate.

(audience laughs)


Action man speaks louder than Barbie,

she shouldn’t put all her eggs

in one basket


unless she’s considering freezing them.

(audience laughs)

The clocking bomb

of her biological time,


trying to every list

off her bucket

before she kicks it


keeping mum for later,

son is a bitch

like father, daddy issues.




(sound of pressing ‘play’ on a tape)

(tight rhythm synth + 4/4 funk beat)

(fax machine noise – sounds like internet dial up tone)

TALIA (sing-talking):

I wanna, I wanna wanna fax you.

I wanna, I wanna wanna fax you.

(bendy synth)

Baby relax, fax to the max.

(Music fades lower)

TALIA (talking):

Cassette Tape radio is a mixtape style podcast, each episode tottally different to the next – poetry, interviews, comedy, and original music like this.

(Music gets louder)

TALIA (sing-talking):

What’s your number? What’s your name?

Push my buttons and scan my page.

Lets make a date, to modulate.

Fax me up I’m not engaged.

(rhythm guitar)

Speak to me in audio frequency

tones. Screech on the telephone.

(Music fades lower)

TALIA (talking):

And this

(sound of ‘fast forward’ on a tape)

(Bongo beat + medieval lute)

TALIA (speaks in a posh accent): ElectroKrud, a new musical genre

TALIA (sings in autotune): ElectroKrud

TALIA (speaks in a posh accent): Imagine that the entire youth population of the Home Counties are all on acid and all of them are sharing one cigarette, in a yurt on the Sunday morning of a festival.

TALIA (sings in autotune): ElectroKrud

(Music fades lower)

(sound of ‘fast forward’ on a tape)

(instrumental UK garage jingle plays)

Talia (in her usual talking voice): so make you subscribe, share it with a friend, leave us a review and carry on listening. (Sound of pressing ‘stop’ on a tape)

TALIA (back in the studio):

Ok we’re back! You’re listening to a special episode of Cassette Tape Radio featuring performances from some of the most exciting contemporary UK poets, much of it recorded live at my show What Words Are Ours? We’ve also got Jamie in the room say hey Jamie.

JAMIE PAYNE (in the background): hello!

TALIA: audio engineering and music, thank you very much. So far on the show today you’ve heard Jackie Hagan, Lisa Luxx, Zia Ahmed, The Repeat Beat Poet and of course me, your host Talia Randall. We’ve been mulling over this idea of finding power in isolation, who has a voice, who gets to use it and speaking directly to those themes next up we’ve got Cheryl Dole the Erudite Prole. Here we go.



Hiya Roundhouse how we doing? (audience woops and cheers) well you’re a lively crowd, awesome. Right I’ll just put me drink down. Ok, this ones called Speechless.

Me local MP, he paid us a visit,

A drop-in centre held at the clinic

Near me flat, so I went down for a chat

To make sure he knew it is my opinion that

Closing the library, which has been there for years,

Would have me kids in tears, and without I fear

For their learning, cos I’m earning but I don’t have the money

To buy them new books, and it’s really not funny

Cos without them I worry that both me kids could

End up not reading as well as they should.

And he just sat there thinking I’m a piece of shit,

As he ogled my tits for the whole five minutes,

In which I tried my best to make my views heard

But he heard not a word from this Northern bird,

Of the truth that I spoke.

It’s absurd that this bloke,

All these toffee-nosed folks, scrambling for votes

Can revoke on their oaths, which they solemnly swore

To speak up for the rights of both rich and poor.

Now, accuse me all you like of snobbery inverted

But when rich deprive poor its daylight robbery converted

Into budget cuts. austerity measures

Cos belts must be tightened and leisure’s a pleasure

We can’t afford, no more holidays abroad,

Or mortgage rewards, or reading for all.

Well, hang on one sec, last time I checked,

Literacy’s not a bonus, but a vital aspect

In the education of the next generation

Of this struggling nation.

There’s a clear correlation

Between levels of learning and earning potential

So closing the library will be detrimental

To the future of kids in my community

But your public-schooled children have impunity

From your actions, cos cash-transactions,

Keep the books on the shelves of their schools set in mansions.

Now don’t get us wrong, I’ve no qualm with private schooling,

Just the fact it separates the majority from the ruling

Class, so far up their own ass, they can’t help but talk shit

And spew noxious gas when they chat.  So I ask

That you hear the point that I make,

And don’t dismiss me cos of my accent or cos my tits are fake and

Don’t harshly criticise if I split the infinitive

Me schooling was limited, my absence definitive

Me teachers despaired as I played with me hair

Pretending I didn’t care so no-one would be aware

I couldn’t read the question never mind know the answer

Through time my shame festered and grew like a cancer

Feeding off my silence ‘til everyone thought

I was that type of girl who just would not be taught.

So I wasn’t.

And it wasn’t until I saw someone on stage

Rapping away with words I’d used everyday

For years, that the tears started rolling,

There was no controlling, my mind was unfolding,

Beholding the true nature of what I had lost

That not reading books is not the real cost

Of being illiterate, but not having the means

By which to give voice to the shapes of your dreams –

To make frozen the sun, or hear the stones cry,

Or have time run backwards, or ask the Gods “Why?”

So I enrolled in adult classes and learned how to do it,

Me A, B C’s and finally got through it

And now I read and I write and I speak from my soul,

I’m Theresa’s worst nightmare, an erudite prole.

But all I can do is ask them to listen,

And hope that my words make them change their decisions

But they won’t, cos you see, when they look at me

They don’t see a lady who’s hoping for better

They just see me sweater, me track-suit and cap

And assume that everything that I speak is crap!

Cos I’m just cog in their well-oiled machine

Just a rat in a wheel of their corporate regime

And I don’t deserve more, cos I’m probably a whore

With six kids from four fathers, need I say more?

Well, no, probably not, but I will anyway

Cos in this day and age, this is the only way

That people like me (whatever that means)

Get our thoughts heard, get our views screened,

With the press in their pocket and policeman corrupt

My voice is silenced. This country is fucked.

So take me kids books, steal words from their lips,

They’ll just make up their own to be used when they spit

On the mic.

Aye, that’s right, no matter how little you teach us

You can count on one thing: We’ll never be speechless.

Thank you (applause)



That was Cheryl Dole. Cheryl is the creation of David Cummings a multi-talented writer, composer, lyricist, performer. You can see the full bios and photos of all the artists featured in this podcast by clicking the link in the podcast description. And if you like what you’ve experienced so far big them up online, follow them, support their work, especially now when we’re all losing work left right and centre. There’s also a link to a transcript of the episode in the description.

(Computer Voice: What Words Are Ours?)

(Plump and playful hip-hop beat plays in the background)


At What Words Are Ours, we feature D/deaf and hearing artists together, the show is always BSL interpreted and often captioned, so alongside this podcast – which is obviously hearing focused – I’ll also be sharing BSL and Visual Vernacular videos. For example, I commissioned a fantastic Visual Vernacular artist called Ish to create a Visual Vernacular performance piece. And for those who don’t know, Visual Vernacular or VV is an art form pioneered by D/deaf artists that uses the language of movement. If you want to see an example of Visual Vernacular by the incredible artist Zoe McWhinney there is a youtube link in the episode description, its from a set Zoe performed at What Words Are Ours? back in June 2018.

(Music fades out).

Ok, only a few more poems to go. Are you ready? I’m ready. Get ready for Amina Jama.



The poem I’m gonna do is called Life: in four parts.

I – Birth

I was not born under a rhyming planet,

I was born a conclusion to her motherhood

premature, spitting fire from belly

shattering uterus, taking her womb

out into the world with me.

I was born dirt

underneath fingernails,

scrape me away, take me away

I was never meant for this world.

I was not a blessing, just a mistake,

father took it from her this time

didn’t bother asking.

When I was born, the moon did not descend

no sheeps were slaughtered,

raising me was sacrifice enough.

Before the cord was cut, they argued on what to call me,

he wanted a name that I couldn’t run away from,

she wanted a three dimensional one.


Now nothing bring her joy,

she opens her mouth to laugh, I presume

and a body falls out.

When my name is said out loud it reminds her

of missed opportunities and revolving doors

and no escape.

She vowed I am the last of her tribe.

When she called her mother

over the rocky signal,

she explained that I was not a miracle,

just said I was born.


II – Child

I learnt at a young age to apologise for taking up space.

My old family home holds secrets in the floorboards.

The new residents don’t know that at night

they lay where dad use to keep his belt,

that the bathroom sink was always blocked by bulimia,

the kitchen tiles were originally white not red,

the landline was cut but still rung,

there were broken promises in the bread bin,

the staircase was made of bones

and a chalk outline of Ahmed’s body on the living room floor.

Can they not smell the decay, the rotting?

They called us trouble children,

but I think we were more of scared,

thought that the monster

underneath our bed looked

a lot like our father.

The neighbours children kept throwing chicken wings

in our front lawn and we questioned our existence.

At night, I felt uncomfortable by the sound of doors closing;

only a wall was separating me from a murderer.

When I woke, the house is full,

and I think about the women in my life;

they must find something in forgiving men,

they do it so often.


III – Love

We dance for what seems like all of life

our bodies moving more one

than enough swans in a lake.

I laugh into my pillow;

you said my laugh made you want to believe in God.

I’d never felt happiness corroding

my insides until now, with you

my organs meld together and find their way up my throat

where it tastes grey,

like the aged love bite on your neck.

When we take a trip to the beach,

keep us away from the sea, I’m scared

I’ll drown our time together.

Maybe love is like Jummah; like Friday prayer;

like sujood, so after we dance and before we sleep,

can we bow our heads to a God we both believe in.


IIII – Death

Often I spend my nights swimming in coffins,

planning memorials because the world so easily forgets.

Now I lie alone in dark rooms

the spleen I ripped out from behind him

sitting in my hands.

Somedays, I leave my house in search of missing black children

but return home days later, barefoot,

a clump of hair in my hand and loss trailing behind me.

If you listen real close you can hear death climbing into bed

with my pain and asking her about her day.

My mother still harbours her lost children in her lungs.

Sometimes I think God feels guilty that I am still here.

When I walk around in her clothes,

I see her face everywhere, I crane my neck to follow her

down a side road. My body stays put

cracking my vertebrae’s and my head

continues down the road alone.

I think the angel of death might be coming

But its way too early to tell.


Thank you so much

(audience applause)


We’re going to hear a cut up poem now. A cut up poem is when you take a piece of text that already exists in the world, you cut it up, you rearrange the words to create a poem out of it. And a couple of years ago Theresa May our former prime minister made one of her many catastrophic speeches and I decided to make a poem out of it. Here we go, me Talia Randall,

TALIA (live onstage):

Who remembers the speech Theresa May made in October 2017, where she had that crazy coughing fit? (audience laughs) put your hand up if you remember thatmost of the room. Yeah it was totally shambolic. So she had that crazy coughing fit and then someone gave her cough sweet, obvs didn’t work and then someone gave her a P45 which was fucking wicked (audience laughs) and then the set started falling apart. It said ‘For Everyone’ and then it was like ‘or Everyone’ (audience laughs) And then what else happened? Oh yeah she kept talking about The British Dream the whole time and everyone was like ‘that’s not a thing’ (audience laughs). Everyone started trolling her online with like pictures of fields with a cow going ‘The British Dream’, or like the perfect cup of tea with just the right amount of milk ‘The British Dream’ (audience laughs) or a seat on the tube ‘The British Dream’, so um it was just a perfect moment of what it meant to be British at that time – everyone is eating itself up and caving in on itself so, its performance art.

Its pretty fucking dark this poem but don’t blame me, blame Theresa May because its easy to blame Theresa May but also because all of the words in this speech – in this poem are her words from the speech, just rearranged and its called Theresa’s Cough (audience laughs).

I wasn’t expecting such a laugh at that I thought that was quite a lazy title actually but… it’s a keeper, tick. Ok Theresa’s Cough

I see a rock rise in the nuclear east

a stark globe cracking onto the nation

like a broken beacon falling onto us.

As we emerge from a lithium dream


another day has begun.

Early steps cut streets

built with the skin of forgotten hands.

Under ground, a distant voice pounds


trying to speak the silenced story

of our dark past

the things we should know.

But we cement over those unsung lives


lost in the foundation of history

we march on.

A tower burns above us

and the world is still with terror.


The building calls out to us in fired tragedy

a million pockets try to ice it with charity

there is a limit to the water

not even a sorry drops from the cough of Westminster


in the drought of compassion

a council man strikes a cowardly deal

sweeping away the remains of paper houses

under a proud pile of small money


but the day still continues.

And our leader is throwing women behind iron.

Women whose only crime was to run

towards proud borders


in a precious fight for liberty

we welcome them with detention

in to another battery.

Blood is the colour of our country


no matter how we choose to paint

our absurd passports.

The future is armed.

The future is stagnating


in the rooms we turned into hurricanes,

the heavy voice of the nation booms

breaking these small islands into scrap.

The curtain is setting on this narrow day


and in these final hours

we seize small drops of joy.

Hope held in closed hands

waiting to turn into a powerhouse key,


unlocking the bright strength we seek.

A nervous tomorrow calls us to justice

to act, to witness, to speak and do we chose to listen

as we fall into electric dreams?

TALIA (back in the studio):

Theresa has actually featured in my work quite a lot for some reason – there is a link so some photos in the episode description you wanna see more you perverts. Final poem of the episode coming up. Insert sad noise here Jamie (sound of people sighing a disappointed ‘arh’).

Have you enjoyed this? Like and subscribe, share. Leave us a lovely little review. Get this out there, look out for the BSL and Visual Vernacular videos that we’re gonna have coming out spread them all around, please do. Last poet! You’ve heard him already, he’s brilliant, he’s wonderful, we love him. He is Zia Ahmed



Alright this piece is called er Mango

white man go i don’t know

maybe it need a symbol represent the exotic

something like a mango


man go into bar + barman go why the long mango

(audience laughs)


snap poll

which racist do you want on your bank note


give you default sitar solo

aka indian banjo

(audience laughs)



election time

gotta hang low


this guy’s telling me to go back home

type nw2

what does your sat nav show?

(audience laughs)


Are you indigenous tho?

Are you indigenous tho?

If not

You better be vigilant bro

Or what?

I think that I’m invisible


I think that I’m mythical


Like working class black

Working class brown

We don’t seem to have

any worth in your towns


I know in the old days

Everything was ok

I saw it in a documentary called mary poppins

(audience laughs)


(audience laughs)

mr englishman

which part of england do you grow them leaves

that make your famous english breakfast tea


english like a cheeky nandos

english like cutting through your country as if it were a mango


when it come to hear us

people in power go seem to cut their ear off

like van gogh

or van gogh

(audience laughs)

power corrupts

you already killed duncan

you might as well kill banquo



will you do the fandango


are you gonna bang

are you gonna bang doe?

(audience laughs)



islamism is the new communism


time to reboot rambo


skies are grey

today they still have drones

today they still have homes


nah i need to have a word

with the espirtio santo


the meaning of life

it gotta be series of portmanteaus


never straight negro y blanco


i hold the baby in my arms

she don’t weigh much more than a box of mangos


i have hope

i have love

and I will fight

for days


+ nights like this

taste sweeter than


cool, cheers

(audience applause)



That’s it! (Jingle fades in)

This has been Cassette Tape Radio, Special What Words Are Our? edition. Our partner today was the Free Word Centre in London, be sure to check out the rest of their digital season finding power in isolation. And big thank you to Arts Council England who supported this episode in place of the live show today, massive, massive, massice help. You’ve heard, today on this show: Zia Ahmed, Amina Jama, Cheryl Dole, The Repeat Beat Poet, Lisa Luxx, Jackie Hagan and of course me, your host Talia Randall, be sure to check out all the artists online, support their word especially now. Cassette Tape Radio and What Words Are Ours? is created and hosted by me Talia Randall, music and audio engineering is by Jamie Payne. Tune in next time babes. Bye!

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