To balance out my last post (The Poet as Piñata) I really should put that one gig in context because it had been a terrific week up until then. This was because, not only did I play some lovely gigs (details below) but I had also been booked for a couple of really great events later in the year. On top of this, the launch of the Tongue in Chic anthology “Reflections from Mirror City” had gone well and the feedback from poets, librarians and other interested parties has been great. I’d also just come back from a brilliant little holiday so I started the week feeling particularly well chilled out.
On Thursday, I did a set at Jamboree in London, a stone’s throw from the Limehouse DLR station. It was at Cable Street Studios, an artistic community huddled together just off the A13. The space has a wonderful atmosphere of faded decadence and offered a unique method of recording a gig. An artist painted the gig! Swear to God! He painted on cantilevered glass sections which he folded away as each section was done. All the acts’ likeness are captured as they performed and at the end of the night, the glass is placed in front of a light box to give a church windows effect. This is officially the most bohemian gig I have ever played! The shame was I had to leave at 11pm to catch a train home and missed the headline act and the unveiling. I hope that photos were taken so I can see the finished work.
Jamboree is a comedy gig and I played alongside Tony Dunn, Rachel Parris, Gary Coleman, Ariadne the Greek WAG and Kate Smurthwaite. Because of train issues, I missed half of Gary’s set and all of Kate who was headlining so apologies to them. For me the revelation of the night was Rachel Parris, a jazz singer and pianist now turning her hand to comic songs and poetry. The reason her comedy is so effective is she plays and sings so well and is so at ease. The twists when they come are snappy and unanticipated. The fact I’ve been singing “My feelings for you are tepid, but tepid is better than hate” all week is testament to her work.
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of performing at a Fund Raising event for the Wenlock Poetry Festival as I was the winner of their inaugural Poetry Slam in April.This was held in the idyllic surroundings of the Dower House Gardens, Morville Hall. This was a day of sunshine, strawberries, chilled fizz and readings from poets and actors throughout the day.I had two readings. One concentrated on readings from Reflections from MirrorCity. This is a collection from contributors at Tongue in Chic, both professional and amateur. John Hegley, Paul Lyalls, Zena Edwards, AF Harrold and Niall O’Sullivan sit side by side with local poets from Milton Keynes (and a little further afield but they have all been part of the TiC events). I’ve been very pleased with how the book turned out and sales are steady so I’m hoping that it won’t be long before costs are covered. It’s been a pleasure to read work from some of my favourite poets and picking poems that suited so I read Fay Robert’s “I hope I’m in Clover” which was appropriate to the Garden setting and Paul Lyalls’ “Anatomy of a Bookshop” as the organiser (the wonderful Anna Dreda) owns a book shop.My second set was all my own work which featured mainly my Performance Pieces but with some page poems as well. All in all, it was a lovely day which supported the Poetry Festival and nourished the soul.
Next up I have the Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam on Saturday and Bang Said the Gun! in London next week when I’m doing a feature set. Then attention will turn to Buxton as we prepare to appear at the Fringe. More about that next time!