Wednesday, 7 October 2009

HMP Pentonville Visit/ Performance

(8:30am - Bakerloo line - Elephant & castle to Oxford circus)

Mind blowing, there was so much about the visit to Pentonville yesterday that remains on my mind. I am currently on the train making my way to work and I cannot help but to reflect back to the visit.

Walked into the prison and they had various ID procedures that you had to go through, me and my fast self had to take a snap of the Visitors badge (good thing I did because they took it off of me as I left.) We wasn't allowed any phones into the prison so all of the gadgets including iPods had to be handed in.

Walked through into the library area and the walk there was interesting, noticed the electric wires on top of the walls and amongst various other things.

Hold on! I have to pause because my train is just not moving! Gonna arrive to work later than planned! Don't you just hate that.

Annyyway, lol. Whilst we waited in the library we met the staff who highlighted that they will be taking us through the infamous G wing to get to the Chapel, (I think they try shook us a little lol)

So... On we went.

Now I'm not gonna lie, that walk through felt very weird! Banging on the cells, swearing at odd occasions and also I was with females so that got some of the Prisoners on a hype. They looked they stared they greeted us and was very polite. Now aside from the guest performances we was also judging acts. 9 inmates wrote pieces to perform and I was blown away.

First off let me remind you that this was a poetry event in a prison and all of the acts including the audience were poetry lovers. It was beautiful, no rapping, mcing, singing, strictly poetry.

The stuff they spoke about was real, thoughts of their family, friends, son/daughter and mothers of their children. They spoke about life inside and how their names have been replaced by a number, a big chunck of their identity gone. They spoke about suicide amongst other disturbing things. It was real.

Us being the guests were very humbled to be invited and we done our thing! Glad to be back in contact with Joelle Taylor, Joelle plays a big role in the poetry society (Google it) she holds various poetry slams in england. The last time we spoke was in 05 so imagine the look on her face when she's hearing about album launch and various gigs.

Natalie Fiawoo done her thing as always, touching on topics such as identity, this was heartfelt by the inmates.

The participants were mixed in age, I'm talking between 22 to 40 but there had to be one winner.

Mr Wheeler took the prize money by performing a piece titled Circle, even though he mentioned it like 50 odd times lol its the way he linked the word to his rhymes with lines like "when we do exercise, prison guards makes us walk in Circles"

The prisoners enjoyed every part of that event, I spoke to some of the inmates, heard their stories. Some have been waiting for their trial/sentencing for over a year, sad part as well was that I spotted faces that I knew from secondary school.

The trip to Pentonville prison was definitely one of my performance highlights of the year.

9:21 - just getting off of the train. KMT! Friggin TFL.