Spoken Worlds 18/3

Spoken Worlds, Rangemore House,Burton-on-Trent 

THIS was a valedictory occasion for the last “Spoken Worlds” to be held at this venue. The unavailability of Rangemore House going forwards has prompted a move to the Old Cottage Tavern, just a few hundred metres away down Byrkley St, for future meetings.

Rangemore house itself has proved to be a good host, a drama studio with modern toilet and refreshment facilities, wholly self contained and private, a sympathetic place for Spoken Word. But poetry and pubs have been easy bedfellows since the time of Chaucer. A private room, a bar, and free entry, close to their old home, strikes me as being a winning move which will only serve to build on the success of the existing event. 

Poetry/Spoken Word evenings are quite difficult to get right. Straight page poetry  can be hard work, performance poetry only can seem lightweight and ranty, multiple monologues boring, and music and sketches “off message”. The trick is in getting the alchemy right, and that is what organiser ,and MC , Gary Carr gets right at “Spoken Worlds”. On Friday we were treated to a mix of all of the aforementioned- and it worked well. 

Mal Dewhirst is a distinguished presence on the Midlands poetry scene. His economic ,evocative poetry, particularly a memorable description of a waterfall scene in Yorkshire was a treat. Performance poet Fergus McGonigal had endured a two hour journey up the M5 on a Friday night to make  his  debut performance at “Spoken Worlds”.


But his arduous journey was not apparent in a sparkling , humorous, rehearsed set ,including pieces about the tell-tale signs of middle age and the delight that we take in seeing other people’s children misbehaving. 

Janet Jenkins , leader of Lichfield poets also made her SW debut including a delightful nature poem and a cautionary tale about the perils frogs face when copulating from falling mobile phones ( you had to be there).

Rob Robson from Buxton, combining the physique of a Manchester cocaine dealer with the finesse of a Saville Row tailor, delivered wry humour that was consistently a delight, Dea Costelloe enthralled with her monologue, and Andy Biddulph used his flamenco guitar skills  to atmospheric effect during “Condor”. Jeannie Jordan performed the second part of her drama with Jo imagining the fate of Shirley Valentine’s husband, and Margaret Torr read a poignant piece on deafness. All that provides a by no means comprehensive flavour of what was on offer on another  very enjoyable evening. 

Next meeting Friday April 22, at The Old Cottage Tavern, 3b Byrkley St, Burton-on-Trent, DE14 2BG, free entry, 7.30pm, open mic and thereafter May 20, June 17, July 22 and August 19.


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