RIP: the legend that was Skorpio the Nemesis
It was with great sadness that I learnt my friend and brother, Skorpio the Nemesis, aka Viresh Arora, had passed away.
It’s impossible to overstate this man’s importance to our literary scene. A poet of the highest order, his ‘don’t talk about it be about it’ attitude to life was both humbling and admirable. I remember doing a reading with him and watching him produce a massive box file looking folder, which he opened to reveal literally hundreds of poems. A gifted beat boxer, Skorpio truly lived hip hop and Asian culture, melding the two in a uniquely Neo-British mix.
I was always waiting to see how he would shape the world with his talents. Now he has become a cherished memory that should never be lost.
SKORPIO THE NEMESIS
Having achieved seven O’levels at Secondary School, Skorpio went on to Sixth form College to study A levels. Although he was a good achiever academically he became otherwise influenced and left college to go to work. After several jobs he decided to find something a bit more stable. In October 1988 Skorpio began working for the London Borough of Harrow as a Payroll Officer whilst studying part time achieving an ONC and HNC in computer studies.
Alongside his main occupation he also served as a voluntary Youth Leader for Harrow Youth & Community Services, he soon realised that he had a real rapport with young people and found the work thoroughly rewarding. He engaged himself heavily in Trade Union activity and was also an active member of the Anti-Nazi League. It was here that he realised he had a talent for public speaking and crowd motivation. A Union colleague introduced Skorpio to a highly talented rap artist/performance poet and human beatbox, his son JCOO 1 who catapulted Skorpio into the world of performing arts. After eight years in a skilled but mundane job he had found a new lease of life.
In September 1998 he began working as a Technical Support Officer for the IT department of a High School. He continued to perform at gigs on tour with The Asian Equation and also became a well-recognised artist on the Performance Poetry circuit. Then in 1999 Skorpio came to a major junction in his life. Was he to follow the material path and commit himself to the world of computing? This offered security, enormous potential earnings and a solid career choice. Or was he to take the other path, the spiritual one, which meant going with his creative talents and taking destiny into his own hands. He has entered the new millennium earning his living as a workshop facilitator, a performance poet, a rap artist, a musician.
Skorpio learned the art of Human Beatbox in the early to mid eighties when the Hip-Hop scene was at its peak amongst the youth of the time. He began to write poetry/rap-orientated lyrics around 1989. His writings have always been bold, conscious, deep and thought provoking.
His music career began as a Rapper/Human Beatbox in several pubs and nightclubs in and around London. During the past few years many young British/Asians have been developing a new breed of music using both Eastern and Western influences. The scene, which has been termed Asian Underground, elevated Skorpio’s career as a rap artist and he began performing regularly at OUTCASTE’s club night in Notting Hill. He has been honoured to perform with various Asian talents including JCOO 1, EarthTribe, Ministry of Dhol, Khadir Durvesh, Aref Durvesh, DJ Badmarsh, DJ Ges-E, Kuljit Bhamra, Chandra Shekar and Nawazish Ali Khan.
In 1997 Skorpio joined a band formed by DJ Ritu, namely THE ASIAN EQUATION. He was the Rapper/Frontman for the band that included DJ Ritu herself and several contemporary and Indian classical musicians and dancers. They toured throughout Europe performing at several venues and festivals. Some major events include: The SFINISS festival in Belgium, The AFRICA festival in Germany, WOMAD in England, The DAMfest in Holland and the BAMFEST in Spain.
In November 1999 Skorpio worked for the Shape charity in Islington with people who have learning disabilities. A DJ trained some of the participants how to mix records and perform a set. A painter worked with others to create huge canvas backdrops and he trained the remaining individuals how to MC in a night club, mic techniques, how to write and perform rap and basic human beatbox. The training culminated in a club night where all the work came together creating a fantastic evening for those who would not usually participate in such an experience.
Skorpio is now a freelance solo artist and although most of his time is occupied by his work as a Poet.
As a performance poet Skorpio has been performing on the London circuit for sometime. He has a powerful stage presence and his work has been well received by a variety of audiences. He has ranked very highly in several locally organised slam competitions and also achieved 4th place in the Nu-Yorican Café when he visited New York in August 1998. Alongside JCOO1 he has hosted a monthly poetry night in East London, which was initiated to encourage more Asian poets onto the scene.
Skorpio has also worked with ‘Jayzik the Simple Poet’ and ‘Kyasher the Lightbearer’ to setup a fortnightly poetry night namely New Whirled Poets The Voysis’. This has been running since January 1998. The event received very favourable press reviews and the audience grew rapidly. NWP has also worked at schools and poetry events in Wales. Jayzik continues to run NWP into the new millennium.
On 27th January 2000 Skorpio received the FARRAQO Zoo Award for the Best Performance by a London poet during 1999. There were five nominees for this award who were voted for by the general public.
Skorpio is currently focusing his activities around facilitating workshops for children in primary and high schools alongside other community groups. During March, April and May 2000 he will be working on a major project with Apples & Snakes Poetry called ‘The Poetry Chorale’. This will involve working in collaboration with a music and theatre director as well as other poets to produce a performance that will be delivered over two weeks on London Transport buses. The latter half of the project will involve facilitating workshops for a varied range of community groups leading to a final performance on 5th May 2000.
This group is created so that close friends of Vee can share thoughts, and good times they had with him. He affected so many peoples lives and helped others in so many ways.
You will always be in our hearts and minds. We will miss you always.
Go to Tribute to Viresh Arora aka Skorpio the Nemesis (Skorps):