Last week I had the pleasure of performing at Drummonds 42, after taking a 4 day break after the book launch. This may not sound like much, I had 48 hours of that completely OFFLINE – it was wonderful, life used to be so simple… Sometimes nerves get the better of me when I have had a performance break, fortunately that didn’t happen this time.
It was good to see writers/poets I had not seen/heard for a while and we were even treated to a bit of Musical Theatre. Catherine Crosswell is currently rehearsing Sweeny Todd for a production in Ledbury and she performed one of the songs – with props and Andrew Owen (the host) as well as treating us to her poetry. It was fantastic.
Usually these nights are themed, but once a year they do an open theme, like on the 27th. I performed a poem called ‘Missing’ which I had only performed once before in Birmingham, back in the late Spring. I performed a couple of other poems too.
There was a good variety of story and poetry and some new performers, it good to see new people come back and others take to the stage for the first time. I cannot make 42 this month as I have tickets to go and see A Night With Elvis McGonagall perform his poetry at The Hive on the same night. Elvis McGonagall
On this same evening there were events which I would have also loved to have been able to make (still hate the clashes), notably ‘Spire & Dust’ – which is usually Fire and Dust (have been meaning to go all year), they re-named it as it was taking place in the Inspire Café where Antony Owens had his book launch.
Knowing that I had performances over the weekend, I wanted to take it a bit easy leading up to Worcester Music Festival. However, Joe and Chris delightfully booked me last month to perform this month. I wanted to go and see what the night was like, so went to watch performers at Naked Lungs (the people who run this are organising the artistic/performance collaboration for Birmingham Literature Festival in October).
Naked Lungs happens at Cherry Reds, a lovely, small, funky venue in a pedestrianized part of the city. Unfortunately my SatNav is currently on the blink and it is so I had my route scribbled on A4 paper. Birmingham is a nightmare to drive around at the best of times, they are working on the tunnels at the moment and a lot of central traffic is either diverted or at standstill. I think it took me longer to navigate the island (roundabout) that it did travelling into the city itself. I parked up and made the stupid mistake of asking a local – who helpfully google mapped on his phone and it looked like I was miles away. Keeping the route in my head I over shot a turning and basically by the time I got off the RING ROAD – I was on the other side of the city – fortunately an area I know well as it is where Writing West Midlands are based. A 30-40 minute journey turned into a frantic hour! BUT… I got there.
The lovely Andrea Smith (a.k.a Performance poet Swingerella) was there and we got to have a half decent natter in the numerous intervals. The crowd is fairly young – so that helps me decide on material for the set. Of course there were some people my age and possibly a bit older too. I was excited to find that both Ben Norris AND Ian Bowkett were performing sets.
The whole night was fantastic with great performances from; Ian Bowkett, Ben Norris, David Timothy, Heidi Murphy – during the evening a box was passed around for us to write ideas of topics of conversation for Benjamin Jones the resident philosopher who then pontificated on a range of subjects, a funny, quirky and cool addition to the evening and a master of improv!
A new experience was FATLiP, (Toby De Angeli, Dana Segal and Jak Stephens) although we only had 2 of them, they were mesmerising a spoken word (with heart, narrative, mixed styles and pace) prose poetry, along with music and a loud speaker. I truly could have listened to them all night. They are playing Bestival this September!
FATLiP will be performing their combination of spoken words, sounds and performance to tell unheard stories from unsuspecting places.
Sometimes it is just nice to watch and not have to sit with butterflies, nervously waiting for your turn! Although it is such a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere I doubt I will be too worried. Mainly it was FUN, laid back, well organised and FUN!
I managed to learn another new poem for Worcester Music Festival (only wrote it last week) so I am planning on being able to connect properly with the audience on at least some of the poems. It is much easier to work on the performance if you are not trying to balance a book…. another reason why my next poetry collection will be in an A5 notebook! I am looking forward to getting my set ready and returning to Cherry Reds on the 25th September