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The Rife Team

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the itch season 1 episode 5: Tom Denbigh

Check out Tom Denbigh performing ‘Touch Me – You Won’t Believe What Happens Next…’

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 Tom

Describe Your Poetry

I think asking a poet to describe their style is like asking a mirror to show you its reflection (awful imagery – I’m sorry), but my writing has been described by others as ‘beautiful and insightful’ and ‘charming, funny and humane’ which makes it sound like I am nice to animals, so let’s go with that.

Where was your first gig?

My first open mic was an under 25s night in the basement of cafe in Bristol. It went… embarrassingly as many first nights do, but I was received warmly. It said a lot about the welcoming nature of the Bristol scene because at the time I was crap and kindly no-one let on.

What Makes Bristol Special For Spoken Word?

Bristol is special because of its diversity; there are a lot of styles here and there is a great culture of encouraging people to grow into their own thing instead of apeing others’ styles. The Bristol scene is also incredibly welcoming, especially to new poets; we are always looking for new voices and enthusiasm. Many people, including myself, wouldn’t be here today without the support from other poets and particularly those who organise all the great Bristol spoken word/poetry nights.

Which Poets Inspire You?:

That’s such a difficult question. I’ve got to say Hillaire Belloc, Spike Milligan, Lewis Carroll for their nonsense genius. And I’ll have to stick Auden, Imtiaz Dharker, Gillian Clarke and Holly McNish in there for their insight and prose. Right now however I am inspired most by my immediate peer group in Bristol (and a few people in London). There are too many to list but they know who they are.

What Inspired Your Piece For the itch?

I am fascinated by the internet. It has its own language and culture and is generally full of newness but can also feel a bit like screaming into the void.

Internet adverts are particularly interesting – they make even less sense than normal adverts but are universally recognisable. Sometime you notice the same ones will following you around all day. This got me thinking about being an advert and how lonely it must be; all you want is love and some attention, but all you get is anger and shut downs. In that way maybe adverts are more human then we think.

Where Can We Find More Of Your Work?

Here’s my site, my Facebook and my Twitter or find me at one of the many great nights in Bristol: Milk Poetry, Raise the Bar, and Hammer and Tongue to name a few.

If you still want more, try patrolling the streets of the city with a bagful of glitter and a butterfly net and you might just be able to catch me, preserve me and add me to your poet collection.

Want more of the itch? Check out all the episodes here