Before we get to the interview, you need to know that PolarBear will be at the Garrick Theatre in Lichfield on 9 July – details after the interview.Â Anyway, I’ll leave Frankie to get on with things…
When Frankie Met Poet/MC PolarBearâ€¦ or didnâ€™t! Due to being immensely popular an arranged meeting never materialized and instead the two conversed via email:
Frankie: So firstly, the new show “If I cover my nose you can’t see me” is described as a story about what happens to what we used to want.Â So what does that mean and what should audiences expect?
PolarBear: The story is about the idea that what we plan as kids often gets completely lost. Some part of us is always a kid and that somewhere those plans stay with us, itâ€™s just that grown up stuff covers over them.
Audiences can expect a story about a 10 year-old boy and a man of 28 as their lives intertwine and they both make decisions that will completely change their lives.
You’re starting off in London too. When and where will Birmingham audiences get to see the show?
Yeah gonna do a couple nights at Purcell Room, Southbank centre which is exciting with Goonism doing live art work and a music event after. Will be doing some one offs here and there and come to Birmingham REP in October this year, I think around the 17th/18th. Goonism will be there too so be good to show the finished article to brummies.
On your Myspace page you call it ‘The best thing I’ve ever performed’ and praise the team who you worked with, including director Yael Shavit. A lot of people who write and perform their own pieces also choose to direct it. What made you get a separate director involved and how was the experience of working with her?
I honestly believe that you canâ€™t direct yourself. Not properly. Just like you canâ€™t edit yourself. Not properly. Itâ€™s important to get someone elseâ€™s eyes involved. With Yael (Shavit) it was a matter of me liking her work and her appreciation of a story and realistic characters and trusting that she could get the best out of me.
Working with her has honestly been the best thing ever for my performance. We understand each other and trust each other, which feels like it is the basis for a good creative relationship.
The production also features music by Foy Vance. I’ve always had him down as the acoustic/folk type. How did that collaboration come about?
I met Foy a couple of years ago on a TV thing and we became friends. I like what he does and he likes what I do and we started working together when we got chance and I asked him to create some sounds very early on in the process.
Moving onto Afrobear… is that a musical partnership? Is the recorded music on your myspace page part of Afrobear or is that part of an individual project?
Afrobear is a long-standing relationship between myself and my friend Len who produces under the moniker Afrosaxon. Basically he is my favourite beat maker ever and I get to write rhymes and make tunes with him as AFROBEAR. Itâ€™s our version of what hip-hop should be today.
There is, at any one time, maybe one or a couple AFROBEAR tracks on my myspace and these will be credited clearly. Other stuff is work with other producers or just me on my own.
Why have you called the album ‘Not Shit’? Are you expecting backlash!? What can we expect from it?
Not too fussed about backlash to tell you the truth. â€˜Not Shitâ€™ is a term we use to describe stuff we like, a lot. Itâ€™s a Brummie trait of not being that impressed by much so the norm is â€˜shitâ€™ and good stuff is â€˜Not Shitâ€™.
You’ve called Brighton your favourite place to perform. Why?
Iâ€™ve been lucky enough to perform in lots of places in the last three years and had some great experiences and to date, no terrible ones. Some ones Iâ€™ve not particularly enjoyed but none that have gone really badly. With Brighton, I performed at a place called the Komedia and the crowd were the warmest most respectful audience to every single performer. It was pretty inspiring and Iâ€™m quite a cynical person really. Amazing.
Good people down there.
Do you think it is important to remain in Birmingham or are you planning to move to London? Is Brum part of your ‘creative process.’
Iâ€™m actually based in London now due to my family. My girlfriend works in theatre and her work meant she couldnâ€™t leave London and we had a little boy and being free-lance I could be based anywhere so I went down. Iâ€™m up in Brum at least two days a week for workshop work and so it feels like I live in two places, but itâ€™s working. Itâ€™s important to me to be from Birmingham.
It will always be home. The people I grew up with here and know now are the inspiration for everything I have written so far.
And finally… after Colin Murray played ‘Jessica’ on his show you must have got a lot more interest. What was the inspiration for ‘Jessica’ and is Jessica real?
Nice one Colin Murray. I mean itâ€™s nice to reach more peopleâ€™s ears I guess and I didnâ€™t even know it was gonna happen. Heâ€™s played it a few times now which is nuts but good exposure.
Jessica is based on reality and was inspired by a few experiences in my life as well as things that havenâ€™t happened yet.
Jessica is very real. But maybe I changed her name.
PolarBear will be appearing at the Garrick Theatre at 10pm on Wed 9 July.Â Tickets are only Â£6.50 – which is an absolute bargain.