Open mic nights that rely on walk- up are always unpredictable events by their very nature. No-one has any idea who will turn up, or what they will perform, it is part of their charm. Tonight fate conspired positively, with a big turn-out, and an unusually diverse range of performance. Some twenty performers took advantage of the three slot format to perform different styles to showcase their talents, incorporating poetry, comedy sketches, and music and song with violin, guitar and melodeon.
What was it like? Check out the notes:
Pete Hubbard, art theme, final conflict, Austin Chamberlain, artefact/Rob Stevens, I grew through new, lead mining scab/Tom Wyre, our blue island, 111111, the fire of ire, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance/ Jayne Stanton, of questions and answers, allotments/Ray Jolland, the ghost of June 68/ Terri Jolland paint it black/Dwayne Read, Buxton fringe, wheelbarrow man, star and garter/ Phil Binding, railwaymen/ Terri and Ray Jolland, election of staffs poet laureate comedy sketch/
Sue Kendrick ,points of view/Ruth,fiddle, metal man/Ian Ward , music festival, sat in the kithchen/Phil Binding,wavy davy/Rob &Lesley Stevens, it should be harder than this to fall in love/ Dwayne Read, druggie on the roof/Margaret Tor accents/Jayne Stanton grandmothers tassiography/ Andy, john martin guitar/Tom Wyre, the boy atlas, autumn funeral, terramata/ Tony Keaton, the rules, scissors, paper, rock/ Semma Gill, war words, galloping seahorses
Gary Carr,fish, claymills pumping station/Sue, the slow, melodeon/Ian Ward, the preacher and the prayer,pockets have no sound/Tony Keaton, vegetarianism, donner und blitzen/ Jayne Stanton, clothes dryer, clothes horse, jukebox/Pete Hubbard, bird poems, the pheasant revolt/ Tom, excursion into the human psyche, the lucid door/Rob Stevens the visitors/Ruth travelling home fiddle.
Who caught my ear? Phil Binding’s railway poem stood out. Drawn from his years working on the railways his characterisation of Shanks ,“I don’t talk, it wastes time,” was memorable, his turn of phrase neat,” Swifts streak and quarrel”. Apparently Phil has a sequence of poetry based around the railways and railwaymen, and I would like to hear more. The care, patience, time and devotion in their writing was self-evident.
Tony Keaton later reflected that he was always fine-tuning his poems, echoing the truism that there is no such thing as a finished poem, just work in various stages of abandonment. I do enjoy his work. He has this knack of writing about the familiar from an unfamiliar perspective, as his surreal journey on The Rules demonstrated with a romp through some pretty dubious, but highly inventive interpretations of causality. Is paper, rock scissors what life is all about? Tony thinks it just might.
The three slot format is a boon to those with diverse bodies of work and Jayne Stanton benefitted considerably from being able to show more than one side of her work. Her satirical deconstruction of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven was a delight, with plenty to keep the cognoscenti happy, without outraging the Zeppelinistas.
Host Gary Carr relished the task of managing a packed night and executed the task with deftness and a lightness of touch. Spoken Worlds next meets on Friday 24th August at 7.30pm, free in, sign up on the night for a slot, and thereafter on 21/9, 19/10 and 16/11. Meanwhile there is much happening with Dig the Abbey, a combined poetry and archaeological project running across July and August (http://www.digtheabbey.co.uk/) and Fizz at Polesworth Abbey on Tuesday 24th July, 7.30pm.