Dave ‘QVC’ Pitt

If you are one of the 1,117 people who follow me on Twitter you might have noticed my Twitter name has changed. Dave “QVC” Pitt. Is this a sponsorship? Will I start flogging Diamonique jewellery? Well never say never but I doubt it. Even if it is the partnership we’ve all been waiting for. Imagine me on a high cable channel at 2.45am holding up a sparkly watch. Tell me that wouldn’t be must-watch television. 

A beautiful set of Diamonte earrings.

But no, miracles and a shockingly low level of alcohol aside I won’t be doing that. The QVC has appeared for an entirely different reason. 

There has been a spate of people recently putting the phrase “GB News Viewer” on their Twitter biogs. It’s easy to dismiss them as bots and some definitely are. Yet there are some who do behave like human beings. Albeit seemingly radicalised human beings who can’t wait to tell you their opinion on Muslims, Brexit or Cultural Marxism. But human beings all the same. I find it strange to ally yourself to a TV station. Especially one which is so new and unable to get through a single day without another hilarious cock up. I understand connecting yourself to a football team; particularly one you’ve followed since being knee height to Lionel Messi. I can even understand connecting yourself to a hobby or workplace but a television station? I can’t remember anything like this happening before. Or maybe Craig “History Channel” Perrival just never showed up in my timeline. 

This all came to a head over recent weeks with the Internet yet again demonstrating it can be a jar of honey with a lump of shit in it. It might not spoil all the honey but you’re not putting any of it in your hot toddy are you? So when I did a gig on Tuesday and performed my anti-Internet poem; on an online gig because I’m nothing if not a hypocrite; I prefaced it with a statement that “It’s not like I call myself Dave ‘QVC’ Pitt, is it?” As I performed the poem that other part of my brain who really needs to be kept locked in a suitcase on top of the wardrobe was going, “You really should call yourself Dave ‘QVC’ Pitt.” 

It won’t last long, probably until something else vexes my candle. Then I might change my name to something like Mr Sizzle or Um Bongo (remember Um Bongo? Of course you do, you’re singing the song from the advert now) Until then I’ll be Dave ‘QVC’ Pitt.  

Other televisual celebrations of capitalism are also available. 

14/48 Summer 2021

It’s been a week since the echoes of the 14/48 festival have dwindled so it’s time to do a bit of reflection. 14/48, for those that don’t know, is the creation of 14 plays in 48 hours. It’s immense fun and a massive challenge. Like jumping on your old Grifter bike and riding no handed down a pothole strewn hill of cobbles.

But the pandemic changed almost everything and 14/48 was in no way immune. This festival was across 2 cities with live audiences and everything web streamed. It shouldn’t be possible.

But we did it.

I was a director of two plays and I was lucky. The two scripts by Emma Penney and Emma White were both corkers. And the actors the 14/48 Gods granted me were perfect.

But this post rummages around day 2.

The script was angry, staunchly feminist and held up a mirror to the patriarchy. It showed toxic masculinity for the horror it is.

If this had fallen on my lap outside of 14/48 I’d have run to Fran Richards, Heather Wastie or even Emma White herself and said, “You should direct this.” That’s not how 14/48 works. The randomness forces you to get on your Grifter and ride. Like it or not I had to direct something which forced me to confront parts of my past I would sooner forget.

I was such a fucking coward growing up. No way was I strong enough to deal with all those bitter tastes in my mouth. In the script a nude photo of a girl gets shared and has horrific consequences. We didn’t have mobiles when I was a kid but I had to ask myself a question…

Would the 14 year old Dave Pitt have shared that picture on Whatsapp given half the chance?

Of course he would. He was a prick. And what would have made it worse is I’d have known it was wrong. I’d have known it was doing damage. But I’d have been too weak to not be the one who shared it. That makes me worse than the tossers who would have shared it and wouldn’t have thought about anyone else.

There is a male character in the script. I saw shades of grey in the boy. A weakness which was also about the toxic masulinity surrounding him. I didn’t want this to be an excuse for his behaviour. What he did was wrong and this didn’t justify it. Talking about it to my actors I could feel my hands shaking. I could taste the copper in my mouth.

As I said earlier, I was lucky. They understood and we worked through it.

Due to me getting the wrong phone number I hadn’t had chance to talk to Emma about the script. When she arrived at 11am we had already pushed through the script and was getting it on its feet. She watched a run through.

I watched Emma.

The copper taste left my mouth. My hands stopped shaking.

Me and Emma had a few conversations during the day. There was a lot of nodding and gentle squeezes of the hand. We stuck stablisers on each others Grifters. The downward slope didn’t look all that scary anymore.

It was also tough on the actors. Olivia Dean in particular who had a heartfelt monologue at the end which brought her to tears. It seemed like all I said was, “Are you okay?”

But this is the thing about 14/48. Are we okay? Probably not. We’re all big bags of emotion trying to ensure tomorrow is a little better than today. Sometimes things remind us of yesterday and it hurts us and scares us. But with 14/48 you suddenly find you’re at the bottom of the hill, you haven’t fallen off and things are okay.

And then, because this is who we are, we look for a steeper hill.

Dave Pitt
4th July 2021

Good Game

I’ve put a reading of a new short story called “Good Game” onto my Bandcamp page. There is some strong effing and jeffing so best to not listen while little uns are about. Other than that… enjoy.

TEDxWolverhampton – Again

Yesterday (Saturday 7th November 2020) was another TEDxWolverhampton. TEDx is the baby sibling of the globally recognised TED talks and this was the second time my beloved city has played host. And the second time I was involved.

Last year was a whole day of talks, entertainment and a massive audience within The Light House. This year Coronavirus did it’s best to stop it happening but the team fought through it. We ended up with an online event where speakers and performers had been recorded beforehand and it was all streamed from The Arena Theatre.

Yet again, I got to entertain the audience with some poetry.

It was all a bit strange, visiting the University of Wolverhampton on a dark and cold Monday night. Me and Dr Martin Khechara locked ourselves is a massive room, I had lights and a camera or two shone in my face, and I delivered my set to… well, Dr Martin Khechara.

It’s surprisingly tough doing a set to nothing but a doctor who is focused on the cameras working. Performance poetry is as much about the audience as the performer but I got through it.

My performance got tagged onto the end of a wonderful afternoon. Every speaker (as is the standard with any TED or TEDx talk) was fascinating, knowledgeable and left you with loads to think about. For performances I was joined by Alex Vann. Alex is easily one of the most talented people around and he seems amazing at everything he can do.

Hopefully the videos of all the talks and mine and Alex’s set will be live on the TED You Tube channel soon. Now, it’s time to relax and bask for a little while in how wonderful this city is.

Spider Brendan

A few weeks ago, for one of our PASTA nights, we had a theme of Childhood. I toyed with the usual musings on my own childhood but nothing seemed right. Then, during a walk around my old home town I stumbled on a piece of graffiti which fired a memory. A couple of days later this poem had been produced. I love the title Spider Brendan because it makes no sense but hopefully has enough about it to make you want to read on. Here we go:

Spider Brendan

At eleven
he spent most of the Autumn term
doodling daft faces
onto the sperm
which lazed
across the pages of Biology 101.
We all did quite frankly
But his better ones
looked a bit like
Youngy’s mom.

At twelve
on the walls all around town
he’s spraying “spider”.
Started off with crude childish lines
before the designs got tighter.
Soon
like we’re eating five gobstoppers
we’re silent
admiring them.

At thirteen,
thanks to a library book on
New York Subway graffiti,
and some shifty spray can thievery,
his spiders became 3D.
It had quite an impact on us
when we’d reach out a hand and touch them
to find they were flat

At fourteen
while we’re all trying to get off
with Emma Salisbury
he’s painting a picture
of a spider catching a bumblebee
on the door of the cop shop.
Right under their CCTV.
He even drew a spider invasion
across the door of the Chief Super’s
Austin Aggravation.

At fifteen
after marking more of the town
than a pissy dog
he’s decided to hang upside down
off the overpass.
Then he’s done a spider
towering over a silhouetted city
examining the tableau
through a looking glass.
We day know about
metaphor and simile.
We knew it looked good though.

At sixteen
this story gets to the crazy part
because this Egg Chips and Beans Botticelli
this Council Pop Pollock
this UB40 Klee
only got an E
in GCSE Art.

(c) 2020 Dave Pitt.

Boundary Way Poems

Can you see the photo on the right? can you see the little painted shed? Well that was my first view of the painted shed when myself and the other Pandemonialists went to Boundary Way allotments. We’d been tasked with writing poems about an allotment. Poems… about an allotment.

Sometimes you get these commissions and think, “Can I do this?” and more importantly, “Can I do a good job at this?” When I looked down the path and saw that shed my brain immediately said, “You’ve got this Dave. No problem.”

We had a lovely few hours walking around the allotment and meeting some of the people there. In the midst of a global pandemic it was nice to make connections again.

Then we all scurried away to our own writing dens and wrote our poems. Then the amazing Rachel Gillies took them and turned them into films.

And let’s not be in any doubt the amazing job Rachel did. Her shot selection and editing are top notch and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

So without further ado, click the image below to go to Vimeo and see all three poems in their audio/visual glory.