the itch season 1 episode 8: Ellie Ford-Elliott

In the final episode of our new live series showcasing Bristol’s best talent, check out the incomparable Ellie Ford-Elliott with ‘Ode To Adulthood’.

the itch is a collaborative film project between Rife Magazine and the cheeky cactuses at Clockwise. We come across some of the most exciting talent in Bristol, working here at the magazine, and we want to celebrate everything the city has to offer. So, working with Clockwise, we will be shooting and uploading intimate performances, brash outlandish artistic pieces, stand-up, poetry, music, dance, whatever, in the coming months.

An Interview With Ellie

Describe Your Poetry.

My poetry is kinda the culmination of a lot of late-teenage angst I had, growing up in a small town, listening to ‘Say Anything’ on repeat and staying up until dawn talking about Kerouac with my friends. I like to think I write a little better now, but it’s still heavily influenced by the Beat Poets and more recently, various people in Bristol’s spoken word scene like Tom Dewey, Rebecca Tantony and Malaika Kegode. Some of it’s happy, some of it’s really depressing. Some of it’s like that moment where you go to sip your tea and it’s just a little bit too cold. That probably isn’t selling it.

Where Was Your First Gig?

My first gig was at The Birdcage (sadly shut down now) for Hammer and Tongue. I can’t remember if I even knew it was competitive but regardless – it was, and somehow I got the highest score. I performed a poem about a recent ex just after he broke my heart whilst he sat in the front row and watched. Was awkward.

What Makes Bristol Special For Spoken Word?

I haven’t experienced the spoken word scenes of many other places but Bristol as a city has this open, accepting kind of identity to it and that is 100% fostered by its artistic community – including us poets. I saw a video during the last general election where a guy said ‘Bristol’s been long known for not taking any s***’ which I thought was a good way of summing it up. Bristol’s spoken word scene is wide awake and breathing fire into the lungs of this wonderful city.

Which Poets Have Inspired You?

As well as the three poets I’ve already mentioned, my biggest inspirations are probably Allen Ginsberg, because his long rambling style lit up my teenage years; Buddy Wakefield, because his combination of humour, melancholy and wide-eyed-dreamer passion fills me with feelings and a sudden urge to write; Danny Pandolfi, for the multis (and incredible skill); Melanie Branton, for the raw honesty and pure versatility – and her excellent musings on the poetry scene itself which have helped me massively; and finally Lana Del Rey for providing the soundtrack to my entire life, and for the ‘Ride’ music video. That whole video is just magic.

What Inspired Your Piece For the itch?

I’ve been struggling with the idea of adulthood for a while and this year I studied coming-of-age stories, which often have a nice tied-up little ending. Real life isn’t like that. I have no idea where my journey is going to end, and it certainly won’t end with adulthood. Identity is so mixed up in all sorts of different labels and age is one that is so often obscured. I wanted to express my confusion and my dissatisfaction with simply going from one label to another without any kind of understanding of what they both mean. What is childhood? What is adulthood? That’s what I want to know.

Where Can We Find More Of Your Work?

Sometimes I tweet tiny poems. I have a poetry blog, too, and a Facebook page. I’m hoping to have a YouTube channel soon, but until then I’m also featured on Raise the Bar’s channel where I performed at an Open Mic they put on.


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