Some people feel artistic spaces are a place they don’t belong. Roy and his approach suggest otherwise…
Not only does he offer the opportunity of a straightener should you request one via his Twitter DMs, but Roy also offers an insight into the twisted mundanity of the life of characters in Liverpool. He writes stories and tells them to people. Don’t call him a poet, though. He might batter you.
A recovery worker by day and spoken word fella by night, Roy has brought a dimension of gritty realism to the artistic scene in Liverpool. Breathing new life into what some feel is a paradoxically sheltered and insular space, Roy has attracted and intrigued a new audience. A group of people who have often felt ‘ah that’s not for me all that’.
Creative spaces can sometimes be a place where the pretentious gobshites come to play. A place where people wear glasses when they don’t need them. The only thing pretentious about Roy is his name. It’s not his real one. Don’t be too bothered though. Everything else about him is as real as can be: accent, dialect and demeanour. A scally in most senses of the word who is here to tell you a story. When a scally talks, it is a good idea to listen. We don’t listen to them enough.
We’ve listened before, and we have also read. Roy released Algorithm Party last year. It is a collection of his spoken word pieces in written form described as a ‘publication in which an utterly original, fully-formed literary voice announces itself, somehow full of life, on the page’. It’s a barrel containing laughs, tears, cynicism, and sanguinity. Drink from it if you dare.
The quest for self-fulfilment and acceptance, in a society under the clutches of performative masculinity, patriarchy and loads of other horrible things, is often the setting in which Roy’s tales are told. The deprivation of North Liverpool, and the sons and daughters it gives birth to, provide the pieces to the societal chessboard that is Walton. One wrong move and you are done for.
Roy’s authenticity, coupled with how relatable and unfiltered his art is, creates a magnetism that has an unrelenting pull. On top of this, his complete not-arsedness, and how it releases both him and the audience from any symbolic shackles, manifests a freedom of the imagination which transcends the regularity of your thinking.
‘K Is For Kirdale’ is Roy’s latest offering which is coming to The Playhouse in Liverpool. We will be in attendance to watch the performance of his piece as part of ‘Love, Liverpool’, a collection of writings and material brought to life on stage by actors at the theatre. “Before inspirational quotes ever existed, we soon found out that happiness is just a by-product of authenticity” is one of the many enigmatic lines you can expect to hear cleverly woven into the descriptions of a variety of different characters.
It’s boss seeing somebody like Roy, a scally from the north end, bring stories to life. By venturing outside the standardised reality of what being working-class and scouse can mean, through penetrating this artistic space of spoken word, all whilst maintaining every shred of legitimacy, and choosing to veer for nobody, is something we should cherish. Tapping into our creativity is something we often neglect. Roy shows us why we shouldn’t, and more importantly that it’s okay to do so.
Cover photo: @glamgigpics