This week I’m working with… Beyoncé
Every Friday night – unless she is on tour – Beyoncé pops into my place for a wee chat. Usually she comes alone, although occasionally the hubby comes, too. I have to say I prefer when she comes alone. Not that I have a problem with her other (and most certainly not ‘better’) half. Not at all. In fact, I find the gangster turned rap superstar/uber successful entrepreneur to be more than amenable. But I do prefer being alone with Beyoncé.
Now, before you load that sentence with innuendo (and you know you want to!), let me clearly state Beyoncé and I are just friends, and that she has called to my place almost every Friday night for the past five years for purely conversational purposes.
You may be surprised, shocked and/or stunned to learn a lady of Beyoncé’s stature has dropped into a residential area of the Rebel County over such an extended period. And, to be honest, I’m surprised myself – but only because each of her visits has ended with Beyoncé being a tad disgruntled.
Now, before you go screaming ‘Why in the name of all that’s hood and golly would you upset Beyoncé.’ I need to place something on the record.
For most of my life I have been obsessed with music. The words, the feelings it generates, the industry, the art work, the fame/infamy, the money, the creativity, the media attention, the live experiences – have all fascinated me. And throughout that time one question has remained a constant: What do the biggest music stars do when fame disappears?
But for the past half a century a lack of connection to any famous musician rendered that question unanswerable. Until Beyoncé started popping in, that is.
Needless to say (and yes, I saw this coming) the first time I asked this question Beyoncé was a tad needled. I was, after all, asking an artist at the peak of their powers to consider the magic carpet being pulled from beneath them.
But, and this is an important point, I have an overactive (some would say borderline OCD) mind. So, despite Beyoncé’s obvious discomfort on her first visit, I haven’t been able to resist asking the question every time she has dropped in.
You may now be wondering if this tale will end with a superstar utilising a baseball bat to reshape my head. To be honest, I can’t blame you for considering such a possibility. After all, baseball bats were not invented for sporting purposes (I’ll tell you that true tale at a later date), and my repetitive questioning could easily lead even the sanest of individuals to resort to violence.
Happily, I can categorically state that violent use of any sort of bat has (as yet) not occurred.
Far more importantly, I can also categorically state that, on her last visit, Beyoncé FINALLY answered my question.
Man, there are no words to describe the joy that coursed through my being when her reply landed in my ears.
There are, however, words to describe Beyoncé’s demeanour whilst speaking. They would be exasperation, and more than a hint of a diva like attitude.
There are also words that describe the actions I took once she had stormed out my front door.
They would be punching the air with satisfaction, a swift, reel like, dance of delight and a lurch toward the drawer of my writing desk.
The last of those actions occurred so I could transcribe Beyoncé’s response onto paper before the excitement welling inside me erased every syllable she had spoken. And I’m delighted to say I was successful in that mission (and no, that is not an overstatement!), and I captured Beyoncé’s narrative word for word.
With mission complete I basked in the glory of my achievement with a cup (not a mug – this was an auspicious occasion, after all) of Barry’s Tea before retiring, with bliss imbuing my brain and body, to bed.
I awoke on Saturday morning still deliciously decorated by Beyoncé’s words. My mood was as chirpy as the morning chorus supplied by winged creatures seeking worms in my garden. I felt as light as a butterfly (that’s .27 grams if you want to know). And the world felt even lighter. It was, I knew, going to be a good day.
Any creative reading this will know those conditions are uniquely conducive to the flourishing of imagination. So you will not be surprised to learn that, just as I reached for another Barry’s Tea bag, an idea crashed (with the force of an aforementioned baseball bat in the hands of an irate Bruce Banner) into my mind.
‘And what,’ I hear you cry, ‘was the idea?’
Well, put succinctly, I was instructed (a word I don’t use lightly) by the Universe to call Beyoncé’s words a poem, and to create artwork to house said poem. ‘Furthermore’, the Universe then whispered, ‘a second piece of art will also be required.’
And so my friends, I present to you the results of a weekend spent following the instructions of the Universe, aided, in no small way, by my overactive (some would say borderline OCD) mind.
I hope you enjoy them.
Oh, I forgot to mention I also recorded the poem. So, you have the option of hearing the piece as well. I would, however, suggest it would be a good idea to utilise your own imagination if you decide to listen to the audio version.
I say that because the piece translates far more favourably when read in the manner in which Beyoncé uttered these words.
So please consider imagining the following when reading.
1. That I am American.
2. That I am a woman.
3. That I am black.
4. And that I am shaking my booty with frustration, and a tad of diva like attitude.
PS you may think there is a typo in this article. I assure you there is not. Far more excitingly there is a spoonerism, and spoonerisms are sooooo amazing that, in my view, every story/book/article/conversation should contain one. So maybe this is the start of a tradition.
Stanley Notte is a diverse artist who writes prose and poetry, is a well known performance poet and creates visual art in a number of mediums.
His work has appeared in a number of print outlets (Writer’s Magazine, The Galway Review, and more), on radio (RedFM, Cork, Soho Radio London) and Lagan Online’s Poetry Day Ireland MixTape.
As a spoken word artist Stanley often works with music created by The Lost Gecko. Together they have appeared at a variety of festivals, provided support for Stephen James Smith on his UK and Ireland Tour, and supported Linton Kwesi Johnson to a packed house at Cork’s Live At St Lukes.
2019 saw Stanley write and perform (with The Lost Gecko) ‘The Truth Is…’ , an hour long poetry performance dealing with his journey through depression at the First Fortnight Festival and the Limerick Fringe Festival. Stanley also performed the show solo at a number of other venues including the Psoken Rwod in De Barra’s of Clonakilty, and Tra Tales in Waterford.
As a mental health advocate Stanley has appeared in the RTE documentary series ‘How To Be Happy’, and was a guest on the Ray Darcy radio show. He has also performed in Cork Prison, at corporate health awareness events, and was a featured speaker at ‘The Changing Man’ Tedx event in Jan 2017.
Stanley is passionate about raising awareness of mental health in teenagers, and offers workshops to this age group.
His poetry film Peter and the Wolf – Aladdin Sane? (After David Bowie) was shortlisted at the Cork Indie Film Festival in 2016, screened at the Dublin Bowie Festival in January 2017, and long listed at the Rabbit Heart Festival 2018.
Mrs Xavier (after The Frank and Walters), his most recent poetry film, placed 3rd at the Doolin Writers Festival in 2019.
In 2017 Stanley was chosen to perform in the UK as part of the Twin Cities cultural exchange between Ó Bhéal (Cork) and Fire and Dust (Coventry).
For the past four years Stanley has been a key organiser for the Regional and All Ireland Slam Poetry Competitions.
Currently Stanley is working on a kids book, a poetry collection and an exhibition of his visual art.
And because he has so little to do he recently launched a podcast, too. The Poetry Of Music revolves around poems Stanley has written using song titles, and is great fun. You can find it on soundcloud.