The Poets are Coming: Harry Giles

Poet and performer Harry Giles, of former Guardian Best-of-the-Fringe fame, is bringing his new show Drone to Summerhall with the SHIFT/ collective this August.

I've written this show to make people cry

What do people need to know about you?

I grew up on a tiny island in the North Sea, and now I live in Edinburgh, where I do poems and theatre shows and games and digital things and try to get by. 2009 BBC Scotland Slam Champ, 2014 Edwin Morgan Award Shortlist, 2013 Guardian Best-of-the-Fringe Pick.

'Obnoxious' (The Telegraph).

'Vile' (The Daily Mail).

'But is it art?' (The Guardian).

'I've never heard of him.' (Blog commenter).

What are you up to this Fringe?

The big one's my show Drone, with SHIFT/ A Best of Spoken Word. It's about the life and anxieties of a military drone, and I made it with the sound artist Neil Simpson. I've written this show to make people cry, and feel scared and a bit twisted up. I want them to see humans as complicated machine-like vehicles of alienation and terror, and drones as the defining technology of our anxious age. I want them to be exhilarated by the flow of sound and words, to be caught up in my verse and my sparkly dress and my collaborator's virtuosic music. I want them to leave shaking.

I'm really proud of the whole SHIFT/ concept: seven of us, supporting each other and sharing the risk. It makes the Fringe accessible to spoken word artists in a new way: we've got a fantastic platform in a great venue at a grand time, but none of us could have taken that plunge individually. Collectivity makes the Fringe possible – fun, even!

I'm also doing a one-off performance of my audit of consumer horror Everything I Bought and How It Made Me Feel, at Bark, Woodland Creatures, on the 8th. I like performing little things in the back rooms of pubs during the Fringe: come along if you want to get wrapped up in till rolls and laugh at pie charts about how horrible shopping is. Lucy Neal, former Director of LIFT, said 'Sublime, hilarious, joyous, painful, sweaty and moving, by turns. With astute analysis, Giles has captured in a carrier bag of till receipts the story of our lives: shopping, and how the hell we survive it.'

What else are you going to see?

My festival home is Forest Fringe, the by-donation artist-led comfort space of astonishing art.

What is your favourite word?


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