As you all know, our most recent project was a series of eight ‘LIVEwire’ events. It was our biggest and most ambitious series of live events to date. And as with most things that we know and love, it unexpectedly ground to a halt and fell of the edge of the cliff when COVID-19 embarked on its world tour.

The fourth and final Leeds residency event and also the Colchester event took place online. We also hosted our fifth birthday party celebrations online, which saw all six Nymphs & Thugs artists on the same bill for the first time. And off the back of that, we started hosting weekly Insta sessions at the beginning of May, which we’re still doing.

But with physical events nowhere to be seen on the horizon, I had a think about how Nymphs & Thugs could respond to the pandemic in our own way. So, I took an idea for a project which I’d been working on since February, adapted it for COVID-19, submitted an application to Arts Council England crossed my fingers.

Towards the end of September, we received our National Lottery Project Grant funding and all systems were go. And today, finally, we’re announcing the culmination of our ‘LIVEwire x Lockdown’ project. I speak in more detail about the project in December’s column for The State of the Arts here.

The key headlines are that Nymphs & Thugs has signed four new artists: Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Saili Katebe, Kirsty Taylor and Sean Mahoney. These four artists have been delivering free poetry workshops to underrepresented communities of their choice. I’ve then commissioned them to create a piece in response, which sees them collaborating with an artist from a different discipline.

Suhaiymah delivered workshops for refugees and asylum seekers. Her poem will be accompanied with an illustrated video by artist Alaa Alsaraji. Saili delivered workshops for young black writers and has devised a piece in response with movement practitioner Deepraj Singh.

Kirsty delivered workshops for care experienced young people in Bradford and has teamed up with music producer SOULS. And Sean delivered workshops for boxers and boxing enthusiasts. His poem has been sound-scaped by Ize and is accompanied by an illustration from Sadie St. Hilaire.

All four of the singles will be released on Friday 11 December and are available to pre-order here. They’ll remain exclusively on our Bandcamp site until the new year, after which they’ll be available in all of the major digital stores and streaming platforms.

The online première event will take place from 8-9.15pm UK time on Thursday 10 December and will stream live on our Facebook page. I’ll interview each of the artists before giving each of their commissioned pieces a world exclusive share.

So…bloody exciting times for Nymphs & Thugs. I can’t wait for the commissioned pieces to be out there and also to develop a working relationship with four new artists. See you next week…

We’re immensely proud to have released ‘Birds‘ by Tongue Fu, which is a collaboration featuring Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule and Hollie McNish. This is a digital-only release, with 100% of the profits going to Black Minds Matter UK.

The track is part of a Tongue Fu project – produced by Chris Redmond – which was supported by Arts Council England’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds.

We commissioned Leeds-based artist Saifur Rehmaan Manzoor-Khan to create the illustration for the artwork, and Liz Counsell edited the video. If you’re interested in featuring us on a site or in a publication, the press release is here.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ official video

The single is priced at £5, with an option to pay more if you can afford to. It’ll remain exclusively on our Bandcamp site until the New Year, to maximise our revenue. The Bandcamp purchase includes a HD copy of the video and also a PDF booklet containing the lyrics and sleeve notes.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ on Nymphs & Thugs

Huge thank you to everybody that’s already supported the release. Black Minds Matter UK is an increasingly vital cause, so every retweet or share makes a difference and obviously every purchase means the world!

A group of artists and producers have come together to release a single supporting Black Minds Matter UK. ‘Birds’ is a collaboration between the renowned Tongue Fu collective and three leading poets: Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule, and Hollie McNish.

The single is available to purchase from our Bandcamp page and will remain exclusively on that site until the new year. 100% of all profits will be donated to Black Minds Matter UK.

Continue reading “Tongue Fu single release for Black Minds Matter UK”

Episode 11 was broadcast on Soho Radio a day before the one-year anniversary of Roaring 20s Radio being created. It’s been an incredible journey so far and we’re hugely grateful to everybody who’s listened, shared and supported so far.

Roaring 20s Radio | Episode 11: Sign o’ the Times

If you missed the broadcast, you can stream the episode back in full as a podcast. It should be available in your regular podcast provider, but if not, you can find it on our Anchor.fm page.

Stay tuned for details of Episode 12 towards the end of November…

The time has finally arrived! Salena Godden‘s brand new release ‘The Lockdown EP’ is available to stream and download, with 50% of the profits being donated to NHS Charities.

Obviously our strong preference is that you buy it direct from our Bandcamp site, but this page has handy shortcuts to the release in all of the major digital providers, as well as our Bandcamp.

There’s more information on the release here, and you can watch the brand new video to lead poem ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’ below. Wherever you get it, we hope you enjoy!

Salena Godden ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’

As you’ll know, Salena Godden is releasing ‘The Lockdown EP‘ on Friday 8 May, which is available to pre-order via our Bandcamp site. Yesterday, we premiered the video for the title track ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’, which is another collaboration with Idle Work Factory.

Salena Godden ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’
Continue reading “Salena Godden video for ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’”

This is already a familiar narrative. Society has imploded around us and the world has changed irreversibly, right before our eyes. So, who do we turn to…? Salena Godden, that’s who. A pioneer of the UK spoken word scene for a quarter of a century, she is perfectly placed to hold our hand and soundtrack the lockdown.

With apocalyptic poetry that already rallied against climate change and populist governments, she’s charging headfirst into the current crisis with poetry that’ll be firmly etched in the history books. In this carefully curated set of five timely pieces we explore a maze of other worlds; one where dutiful wives become unhinged; where we stockpile baked beans to swap for books; where nurses are angels, hospitals are churches and Goody Proctor has been seen jogging without a face mask.

The Lockdown EP will be released digitally by Nymphs & Thugs on Friday 8 May and is available to pre-order via their Bandcamp site here. 50% of profits will be donated to NHS Charities, with the hope that it’ll boost depleted PPE stock and also go towards providing mental health support for NHS staff.

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 were recorded live our ‘LIVEwire Leeds’ event at Hyde Park Book Club on Wednesday 2 October 2019. The lead track, ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’, includes a video produced by Idle Work Factory which will be premiered at 5pm on Monday 27 April. Tracks 4 and 5 are brand new poems, written and recorded during the lockdown April 2020. The closing track, ‘Pink Moon’ premiered on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb on Friday 24 April.

Salena’s first release with Nymphs & Thugs was her 2017 album ‘LIVEwire’. The album was shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s prestigious Ted Hughes Award and is available on 2LP gatefold vinyl, CD, zine and download. She also released the ‘Live at Byline Festival EP’ in October 2018, with lead track ‘Pessimism Is For Lightweights’ coming from her acclaimed pamphlet of the same name on Rough Trade Books. Her poem ‘Pessimism is for Lightweights’ is a public art piece: it was donated to The Peoples History Museum, Manchester, where it is now on permanent display. The poem was unveiled in February 2020 to mark the museum’s 10th birthday.


Salena Godden is a high-profile poet based in London. She is also an activist, broadcaster, essayist and memoirist whose work has been widely anthologised. She has had several volumes of poetry published including ‘Under The Pier’ (Nasty Little Press) ‘Fishing in the Aftermath: Poems 1994-2014’ (Burning Eye Books), Pessimism is for Lightweights’ (Rough Trade Books) and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road’ (Unbound). Canongate pre-empted world rights to her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death’. ‘Mrs Death Misses’ Death has been described by the publisher as an “electrifying genre- and form-defying firestarter.” It will be published in January 2021.

Nymphs & Thugs are the UK’s leading spoken word record label. They were formed in 2015 by poet and activist Matt Abbott and are based between Leeds and London. Current artists include Salena Godden, Luke Wright, Toria Garbutt, Louise Fazackerley and Kevin P. Gilday, as well as releases from Matt Abbott himself. They were due to conclude a national theatre tour of ‘LIVEwire’ events in April, which has so-far included sell-out shows in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds.

The label are celebrating their fifth birthday party with an online gig on Wednesday 29 April, which will feature all of their acts on the same bill for the first time. It’ll be broadcast live on their Facebook page and YouTube channel between 8-10pm BST.

As you may have seen, Part 1 of Matt Abbott‘s ‘A Life of Wearing White EP’ was released on Good Friday. You can buy it through our Bandcamp site and find shortcuts to the release in all of the major digital stores here.

This Friday, Part 2 followed and is available to stream or download here. We get a much bigger cut if you buy it directly through us, and 50% of the profits are being donated to the Leeds Fans Food Bank, so if it makes little difference to you either way then please use our Bandcamp.

Thanks to all of those who’ve bought Part 1 already!

Feast your eyes on that beauty. The limited edition white vinyl copies of the new Skint & Demoralised album ‘We Are Humans’ have arrived, and we think you’ll agree that they look pretty tasty. They’re available to buy through our online shop here.

Continue reading “Skint & Demoralised limited edition white vinyl”