The Power of Spoken Word

Kate Tempest in Brand New Ancients.

Kate Tempest will be performing her new work Brand New Ancients on Monday 16 December at Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s). In partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, the tour is fast selling out so if you haven’t managed to get tickets, we thought you might enjoy this excerpt of her latest work.

“In the old days,
the myths were the stories we used to explain ourselves

But how can we explain
the way we hate ourselves?

The things we’ve made ourselves into,
the way we break ourselves in two,
the way we overcomplicate ourselves?

But we are still mythical.

We are still permanently trapped
somewhere between the heroic and the pitiful.

We are still Godly,
that’s what’s made us so monstrous.
It just feels like we’ve forgotten
that we’re much more
than the sum of the things that belong to us.

Every single person has a purpose in them burning.
Look again.
Allow yourself to see them.

Millions of characters
Each with their own epic narratives
Singing, ‘it’s hard to be an angel
Until you’ve been a demon’.

We are perfect because of our imperfections,
We must stay hopeful,
We must be patient;

When they excavate the modern day
They’ll find us,
The Brand New Ancients.

All that we have here
Is all that we’ve always had.

We have jealousy,
curses and gifts.

But the plight of a people who have forgotten their myths
and imagine that somehow
now is all that there is –
is a sorry plight

All isolation and worry
but the life in your veins
it is Godly, heroic.
You were born for greatness.
Believe it,
know it –
take it from the tears of the poets.

There’s always been heroes,
There’s always been villains,
The stakes may have changed
but really there’s no difference.

There’s always been greed
and heartbreak and ambition.
jealousy, love,
trespass and contrition,

We’re the same beings that began,
still living,
in all of our fury and foulness and friction.
Everyday odysseys.
Dreams versus decisions.
The stories are there if you listen.

The stories are here.

The stories are you
and your fear and your hope is as old
as the language of smoke,
the language of blood,
the language of languishing love,

The Gods are all here.
Because the Gods are in us.”

Tickets to see Brand New Ancients at our Winter Festival are sold out. To add your name to the waiting list, please ring our box office on 020 7377 1362.

For details of the remaining tour dates, visit Battersea Arts Centre’s website.

Buy the book of Brand New Ancients from Picador.

brand new ancients


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