The crazy world of my email account
17 Feb 2012
It's been a couple of weeks since my rap battle with Blizzard became some kind of relentless viral behemoth. Since then I've been stopped in nightclubs, schools and at bus stops and my days are mainly spent trying to respond to a huge amount of email and twitter messages, while trying not to let my head get too bloated. I thought I'd let you know about some of the nicest/most unusual emails I've had since then.
Oh, and if I haven't replied to you about something, I'm very sorry. I'm trying to whenever I can - this is all quite surreal and I'm hugely disorganized.
I loved your Don’t Flop appearance vs. Blizzard. It’s been playing on my mind and I came up with the bones of this while I was doing the dishes (I’m so gangsta). It’s an imaginary response from the next MC you battle and is therefore written in quite an aggressive style but is not meant as a pop at you (you understand how it works!) - let me know what you think:
I’d like to give you full marks, Mark
But your rhymes just didn’t spark
And your suit’s so shit I wouldn’t wear it in the dark
Can I remark before we embark
You’re about as welcome as a skid mark
It’s a pretty sick teacher who likes to play with kids, Mark
The self-styled c(o)unt of Montygristo
With your posh boy, weak-as-piss flow
Just a Guardian journalists’ ho
You’d better give those pies a miss though
Definitely a heavyweight at school but here your rhymes don’t pack a punch
Bet you confiscate kids’ Mars Bars and scoff them for your lunch
Did you wear a special corset For your appearance on Don’t Flop?
Because the way it’s creaking, I think the seams are gonna pop
Are you feeling out of breath? You look like you’re done in
McDonalds’ most valued customer for 15 years running
Bet the waist is elasticated on all of your jeans
Ah, now I see what “wide of the mark” really means
You can tell that Ideologically, I’m no Marxist
Though I do love to get my dick sucked by Mark’s sis
It’s catharsis, yeah, now you tell me who is the smartest?
You need both hands just to find out where your arse is
I fell across your rap battle on facebook, it was incredibly witty and stunningly hilarious. Though I think I loved your clip on your website even more though "Girls who read". If you ever find yourself at a gig in ***** I will certainly be popping along to see it (we have Europe's biggest second hand bookshop don't ya know, if that's not worth visiting us well I don't know what is!)
all the best
I saw the poem The Fens are not your Friend on your website. I have lived in the fens for a little over 5 years, and I thought it captured that weighty atmosphere perfectly. I loved it.
As a hobby I am a musician and recording engineer, and I wrote a song today around this poem. I write quite a lot of songs, but I have only ever been inspired to do this once before, to a Shelley poem.
So, I attach it as an MP3. Sorry if you think this is a liberty, and just ignore it. And sorry if you don't like it, and equally ignore it if so. It was just for the pleasure, I don't do this commercially.
I recently saw your YouTube clip (battle against Blizzard) and was hugely impressed with you, Blizzard and the creative performance energy of underground rap battles - it's explosive and an incredible arena for lyrical craftsmanship. I note you're aiming to take on Zain Azrai without recourse to misogyny, homophobia or racism. Having watched your clip a few times, it struck me that I would love to take you on, along the same lines, though working a theme of editor (that's what I do) versus writer/poet. You're probably very busy, but if you're interested, please let me know. I haven't done this before, but I've done a lot of public speaking to big audiences (mostly teachers), and I'd love the challenge. And, um ... Mark, mate, I think I could take you apart.
My name is Jack and I am currently doing GCSE English. I came across your stuff from a link my cousin had on Facebook when you had that battle with that guy called Blizzard/Bradley. I just wanted to say that I am doing poetry at the moment and I find it difficult to focus on it, but the way you do it makes it so much more interesting and easier to understand. Basically I just wanted to say I think you are wicked at what you do :-)
Hi mark just saw your rap battle and wanted to tell you you're awesome! And super cute ;) x
Dear Mr. Grist,
I would like to say from those of us in Long Beach, California, that was pretty fucking badass. Thank you.
I even got a link emailed to me from a girl called Rachael, who performed her own take on 'A Girl who Reads' at The Poetry Cafe in London the other day. Check it out, if you like.
Needless to say, thanks so much to everyone for the support. I'm in The Independent on Sunday as their 'Face to Watch,' which is really cool and I've agreed to do an interview with The Guardian, which will be out next week. There's also a chance that I'll be appearing on Channel 4 news on Tuesday evening. None of this would have happened without social media, or without everyone watching/liking/posting the vid. Thank you.
Right. I'm off to the pub.
Welcome to the new website
18 Jan 2012
Hi. This is my first blog on my new website. Many, many thanks to Bonacia Ltd
. for helping me put it together.
I’m guessing that you’ve stumbled on this because you’ve seen me competing in a rap battle whilst wearing a suit. It’s only a small part of what I do, but it’s also the most well known. As such, I figured I’d write my first blog about my recent battle with Blizzard.
First off, despite what you may have seen written online, Bradley is NOT my student. I live in Peterborough and he lives in Manchester. I left teaching full time in 2010 to work as a poet, although I still do the odd bit of supply work. We went with a teacher/student angle as we thought it'd be funny and it hadn't been done before.
And that leads on to the next thing I want to say about the reaction to the video. I’m not doing this to teach Bradley any kind of lesson. He clearly doesn’t need one. He came with really intelligent bars. He also used less offensive language – choosing to be the more sophisticated of the two of us, whilst I was the one who ended up trawling the gutter. There aren’t many 17 year olds who would go into a rap battle and insult their opponent by referencing Germany changing their national currency.
Finally, this isn’t my first rap battle. I first battled as ‘The Count of Monte Gristo’, back when I was still teaching full time. My first battle was against a guy called Omen in Peterborough (another emcee you should check out). I won that battle as well – probably with my best line being
‘I went to university? Is that the best that you’ve got?
I’ll take your mother to the opera, and destroy her private box.’
Other than that, I’d like to say thanks to everyone that watched the video or reposted it. I'd also like to say thanks to everyone I've met within the battle rap community. I’m doing this as part of a poetry show I’m writing called ‘The Geek shall inherit the Earth’. I’ll be taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer to see whether anyone finds the experiment as much fun as I do.
The next battle to come up online is against Zain Azrai, a really decent guy from Malaysia. You can find out more about him here
. The challenge I set myself was to take him on without any misogyny, homophobia or racism in my bars. We’ll see what people make of it when it comes out!