London Performance Now: Milly Miller-Adams on Performance Live: Kae Tempest

Performance Live – Kae Tempest | BBC Two

Having previously read Let Them Eat Chaos by Kae Tempest before watching this performance I arrived already appreciating their skill and talent. However watching them perform this live in front of a receptive audience with music to accompany gave new life to these words. Kae explores many contemporary issues in this 60 minute set through a continuous spoken word poem which weaves the lives of 6 strangers living on the same street.

Kae’s passion is tangible. They observe the world so astutely and are able to convey the feelings, worries and routine that we have become too used to living through. It would be an honour to watch Kae perform live however this filmed performance did well to capture the electricity they produced in the room.

Some excerpts below:

“The people are dead in their lifetimes
Dazed in the shine of the streets
But look how the traffic’s still moving
System’s too slick to stop working
Business is good, and there’s bands every night in the pubs
And there’s two for one drinks in the clubs
And we scrubbed up well
Washed off the work and the stress
And now all we want’s some excess
Better yet, a night to remember that we’ll soon forget
All of the blood that was bled for these cities to grow
All of the bodies that fell
The roots that were dug from the earth
So these games could be played
I see it tonight in the stains on my hands


In glamourous magazines, who’s dating who?
Politico cash in an envelope
Caught sniffing lines off a prostitutes prosthetic tits
Now it’s back to the House of Lords with slapped wrists
They abduct kids who fuck the heads of dead pigs
But him in a hoodie with a couple of spliffs
Jail him, he’s the criminal”[1]

[1] Kae Tempest, Europe is Lost, Let Them Eat Chaos

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

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All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website ( and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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