Monday, June 8, 2020

No Cold Fish

Shane Koyczan is a Canadian spoken word artist. My introduction to his work happened last evening when I watched Shut Up And Say Something, a 2017 documentary from filmmakers Stuart Gillies and Melanie Wood.

I've been accused of being a cold fish (yeah, I know, I get it, you're in pain; aren't we all?....we're human, right?) but my cellophane bubble was burst by Mr Koyczan's poetic and passionate readings. His tumultuous experiences growing up give him so much to say. And leaves me with the realization that my background hasn't been so bad, after all. (But complain I will, still.)

What impressed me every bit as much as his honesty was his flawless delivery. I can't even remember two consecutive lines, or stanzas. I'd need a teleprompter.

The documentary reveals his life behind the scenes: conflict, emptiness, and frustration -- all crucial to his success as an artist. Koyczan is loaded with self doubt even when it's clear he commands a given talent. Several times we see people coming up to him on the street and gushing.

Something occurred to me after the end credits rolled on Shut Up: there was no discussion about Koyczan having a "significant other" -- or the issue of an other. My good friend Jean-Denis Rouette cut the picture (and cut it well). I should ask him if such material was shot but left on the cutting room floor.

Watching Shut Up And Say Something was sobering, but uplifting: For all my small-potato problems, I know I'm not alone.


Originally posted as "Shut Off And Say Something" on June 3, 2018.

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