I Follow the 13 Commandments of the Tempest


I Follow the 13 Commandments of the Tempest

28-year-old Kate Tempest is an English poet, playwright and rapper.

No, that’s not enough.

Tempest is a breathtakingly passionate poetess, her energy illuminates the “everyday” people and circumstances that plague the world.

My words don’t do justice; here bask yourselves:

This is only the first in a series of four parts that tells the dramatic story of everyday gods. Brand New Ancients won Tempest the Ted Hughes award in 2013, and my heart, as this was the first introduction I had to Tempest’s work. Her performance stirred and soothed my soul all at once. (I should clarify that I have only seen the videos, as provided, and was not actually in her audience, though I dream.)

References to us as gods, to gods being stuck in traffic jams and getting less than they are owed, force us to see the world as Tempest does, resurrects us to remind us that we are powerful beings in a world that make can make us feel low and helpless.

“Bubble, Muzzle” is one of my personal favorites. I love this video because we get to see a flustered and almost shy Tempest, which on-stage is rare with all that burning passion overcoming her.

Through “Bubble, Muzzle” Tempest shows us the recipe for a frustrated generation, people that want so badly to BECOME something that they begin to resent those that have succeeded and settle instead for ‘small victories’, material things to make them feel like their life isn’t wasted.

Sound of Rum, if ya didn’t catch that, is her musical group. (Tempest notes Wu Tang as one of her influences.) It’s pretty rad, definitely worth checking out, but, for me, I find her spoken word performances enthralling. I appreciate the way she moves her hands, her facial expressions (2:31, example) and her wild hair and fresh face. Watching her perform makes her passion that much more undeniable, because you see that while it may have touched the depths of your soul, it was borne in hers. Tempest bares her soul each time she sets foot on stage, and likely, sidewalk, bus, pub; any and everywhere else she steps, as well.

In this piece Tempest brilliantly personifies ambition, envy, pride and talent, weaving it into a whimsical, yet candid, modern-day fable. Tempest’s ability to show us that we need all four of these virtues working at once to be complete is similar in context to William Blake’s “Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” which comes as no surprise, since Blake is one of Tempest’s greatest idols.

Tempest’s vision of and for the world is one to be admired and we can only hope it to become a universal pandemic.


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