Podcast 88, WILSON ORYEMA, POETRY AND CONSUMERISM
EPISODE 88 FEATURES WILSON ORYEMA
Twenty-five-old British poet, filmmaker and activist Wilson Oryema describes himself as “a semi-retired model”. He was scouted on his lunch break when he was working a London office job, and walked his first Paris show for Margiela in 2015. He went on to appear in ads for Calvin Klein Underwear and Hugo Boss .
His first book of poetry, titled Wait, explores consumerism, contemporary culture and waste. It sprang from an art show he held in a London gallery, after he interned for his photographer friend Harley Weir.
Now, as well as writing, he’s making short films about the fashion industry’s impacts on the environment. Wilson says poetry is just another way to communicate his ideas to his audience, and that when he began it didn’t worry him one bit that he hadn’t read loads of poetry - he just gave it a go and it worked. This interview is about how we reach different people, how we story-tell, and - ultimately - how we change the world.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT…
POETRY is back. British Vogue reports that fashion designers are looking to poetry for inspiration. Some reckon the medium is back on top thanks to Instagram. Quatrzy reports that poetry readings are growing in popularity in the US for the first time in two decades. The Guardian says poetry books sales are “soaring”. Here’s a VOGUE roundup of the best Instagram poets. Read more of Wilson’s poems here and here.
REFERENCES. In the intro Clare mentions Cleo Wade. Beyonce worked with Warsan Shire on Lemonade. Find Danez Smith’s poem about the shooting of Mike Brown here. Watch Patience Carter read her poem about surviving the Orlando shooting here (bring tissues). Here, Poems for the Planet is a new poetry book about climate change. The “shirt poet” Clare mention is Rosie LaJaguara.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud” is the title of the William Wordsworth’s poem commonly known as Daffodils. Walt Whitman wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes,” in Song of Myself (1892). “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,” is the first line of Allen Ginsberg’s seminal Howl.
Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
The books, poets and poems Wilson mentions are Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, Salt by Nayyirah Waheed andThe Sun and the Flowers by Rupi Kaur.
ASMR Autonomous sensory meridian response is an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia and may overlap with frisson.
MUKBANKING is (muk-bang or meokbang) is a live online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats messily.
RAP & FASHION “In rap music it’s a common trait to show off about things [other] people don’t have,” says Wilson. “So I’ve got this a suit from this brand, or a stayed in this hotel on the other side of the world, that you won’t ever be able to get a room for. Growing up, you’re like, what’s this [brand] name someone’s talking about?”
1980s MARTIN MARGIELA used repurposed clothes to make his collections - he was upcycling before it was a word. He once turned a butcher's apron into an evening gown, and used pairs of black leather gloves to make a corset dress. He liked the idea that these items “could be deconstructed and rethought again and again”.
MODERN SLAVERY In Episode 53 Lola Young identifies fashion and football as two key industries that used by people traffickers to lure kids. Listen here.
WHAT, INSTAGRAM TAKING AWAY THE LIKES??! Yep, they’re considering hiding the like count on photos, so audiences can't see how many people have liked an individual post. ... Only the person who posted a photo will be able to see the number of likes it's received. It’s being trialled in Canada. Are you coping?
“My whole approach is to make a spectacle out of the mundane, the things we would typically ignore. I want to bring more attention to the different ways we consume. For diff audiences, you have to try and challenge them in new ways. Truth be told there’s too much information. There’s information about anything we could ever need to know, you can find it from 5-10 seconds of a Google ways. But most people will not look for it; they just want to be entertained.” - Wilson Oryema
“At this point I feel like I’m semi-retired from modelling,” says the 25-year-old. “I enjoyed modelling when I started because you’ve got these amazing photos who kind of pull you into their world.”
A NOTE ON OUR MUSIC: IT IS BY OUR FRIEND MONTAIGNE, WHO SANG A SPECIAL ACOUSTIC VERSION OF "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" JUST FOR US. IT'S FROM HER ALBUM GLORIOUS HEIGHTS.
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