Without stopping to catch breath it seemed, it was off immediately after the 'Activity Report Form' to the Arts Council was finished and sent, to London catch up with various folks and do slots at the Poetry Society's Poetry Cafe night in Covent Garden, 'Poetry Unplugged' hosted by Niall O'Sullivan. Neither I nor the Stand Up Philosopher had been before, nor our friend who lectures in Politics at Royal Holloway and lives in Soho either. The place was packed and it was a warm August night, so rather steamy as well in the basement below the Cafe where the event takes place. We were glad to have signed up not long after 6, as at 7.20 we were lucky to get seats, as latecomers were standing in front of doors. 35 poets had signed up to deliver work, so the usual five minutes had to be cut. The quality of work was pretty high, and the styles diverse - from the literary to the comic, free verse to rhyming, moving and quirky, some slightly intellectual. The poet who ended the first half (a host of another London night) a physical poet too, although I was behind so many people I could hardly see the 'stage' most of the time!
The Stand Up Philosopher went down really well - people coming up to him afterwards to say things like 'the star turn of the night', 'you should have an agent', and 'incredible intensity' - which was excellent. I didn't bother with new work, but (knowing the difficulty of tight schedules), simply did an old piece I knew very well and delivered with speed (as it suits the poem/rhythm), which came in at under two minutes.
A quality night with lots of folks who had never performed there before - big thanks to all the other poets and audience - a pity there wasn't a board with everyone's names! and to Niall O'Sullivan for hosting it with finesse, especially having to shoehorn in so many in both time and space, and to our friend Nathan who was such a rock!
2 weeks ago