Saturday, 23 May 2009

New Project

Lately I've been a regular at a new monthly spoken word night in Sheffield - Speak Easy. It's run By John Turner, a local legend whose alter ego, the Saga Lout*, causes affray at a variety of venues in the region.
John is largely responsible for me winning contests in that he bullies me into entering them in the first place, so I'm trying to return the favour - and do my bit to keep the momentum of the well intentioned but sporadic spoken word scene in Sheffield on the up, I'm helping organise and promote it.
So, fully equipped with the knowledge that the two of my three followers who aren't me are on different landmasses to me, I say to you: Come to Speak Easy! 25th of June, Sheffield Hallam Union, 7:30. Be there. In spirit at least!

*Translation for non-brits: Saga: Holiday Company who cater to the over 50s, encouraging them to blow the kids' inheritance on cruises
Lager Lout: British phrase referring to a young man who drinks beer and causes trouble.
Saga Lout: John.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


One of the competitions I entered has come up trumps. I didn't win, but I did make the top ten and I get to be in an anthology with Earlyworks Press. I also win the grand total of £5 (my entry fee) and a free copy of the book. And the right to call myself a published poet. Booyah.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Props in performance poetry. Yes or no?

I'm getting more involved in the performance scene again, thnaks in part to the new Sheffield based open mic night Speakeasy, which I'm hoping to get involved with promoting and organising. As mentioned in my last post, I also got involved in a benefit for Sheffield's annual Peace in the Park festival, and performed a set. Despite trepidation on my behalf from some of the other performers, poems about periods, lesbians and asylum seekers went down a storm. The bill was a mixture of spoken word and music and really did range from the sublime to the ridiculous. High points included a lovely duo called the Finch Charmers and an awesome band called Ubiq, whose percussion section was a beatboxing ex youth theatre comrade of mine. Low points included a solo singer songwriter who did a song which seemed to last for hours, made Coldplay look like Mika in terms of over-earnest self importance, and had the misfortune of a voice reminicsent of an angry John Major. Oh yes.
And then, there was mouse man.
I've seen him at a couple of gigs, this guy, and the sad thing is he's not a bad poet. His use of form is interesting and skilled. But he is lacking any concept of appropriateness (do I mean propriety?). Last time I saw him he read a poem in memorial for a drowned friend, which had a chirpy rhythm, jaunty rhyme scheme and graphic description the last moments of a drowning person. It just made me cringe. This time, he outdid himself. Again, the piece wasn't bad. It was a funny account of trying to capture and rescue a mouse from his 3 cats in the middle of the night, while said rodent eluded both him and its predators. Cats, comedy and a tale of the underdog triumphing? He had me at hello.
And then, as the act drew to a close, he looked at us and asked "...or did he?" Escape, that is. The mouse. Which he pulled from his pocket, dead, in rigor mortis. An actual dead mouse. Is this avante garde? Am I a fuddy duddy for thinking this was disturbing and unnecessary? I've been known to flash my red knickers at audiences when reading menstrual poems, but never actual bloodstained ones. Similarly, a toy or puppet mouse would have been cheesy but cute. But a dead one? Live, as it were, on stage?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Encouraged by my success in Poetstars last year and, more recently, on the Feminist Review competition, I have bitten the bullet and entered some real live poetry comps. It may all come to nothing but hey, at least I can say I tried. In other news, being cheeky has garnered me a spot reading poems at a benefit for the annual Peace in the Park festival. with any luck, this might lead to a spot reading at the festival proper. I have a dilemma, though - I know the cause is worthy, but I also know that the target audience is debauched. Question: How should I pitch my set?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

tips for spoken word nights.

People at spoken word nights who shouldn't get roaring drunk include (but are not limited to)... The emcee.
Things that shouldn't happen at spoken word nights include (but are not limited to).... enforced singalongs with corny actions.

sorry, just letting off steam.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Worse Than Global Warming

Pope Benedict has gone on record as saying that homosexuality is a bigger threat to humanity than climate change. Add this to the Southern Baptist types who start pointing the finger at the local gay village any time a disaster hits ANYwhere, and you have to assume the gay community is full of supervllains...

I've known for a while that I have certain powers.
It's the way I was born: I can make you all cower.

I can't vanish, read minds, stop a bullet or fly
But just by existing I make Jesus cry.

The Tsunami, the Earthquake, Katrina, the war:
I've taken the credit for all these and more.

And according to what certain faith leaders say,
I'm destroying the planet by just being gay.

Yes, his Holiness Benedict staunchly insists
The four horsepersons sport Birkenstocks and limp wrists.

But if gays have this apocalyptic effect,
Maybe he should treat us with a bit more respect.

I'm feeling quite restless. My muscles I'll flex.
So, your Holiness, tremble: THE VATICAN'S NEXT!


Check it out!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

This Be The Jabberwock In The Trees

Just for fun, a mash-up of three of my favourite poems, as suggensted by the wife. Can you identify?

They may not mean to, but they do.
(Did) gyre and gimble in the wabe
And the mome raths, just for you,
Add some extra outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son”!
They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch,
They fill you with the faults they had

He took his vorpal kind of grief:
In old style hats and coats he sought --
The trees, by fools, up in their turn
And stood a while in thought

And as in uffish thought he stood
Like something almost being said
Yet still the unresting Jabberwock
With eyes of flame, relaxed and spread.

At one another’s throats, one two!
The soppy-stern went snickersnack
He left it dead, no, they die too,
And, last year, went galumphing back.

“Come to my arms, my beamish boy!”
Man hands on misery to man
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh!
Get out as early as you can.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

I'm back

OK so it's been a while.
I haven't written or performed much in the last few months, so there wasn't much to blog about. it's been a disappointing few months, with an awesome job and the opportunity to host a radio show both coming very close and then vanishing into the ether. I'm still hoping that either one or both will come through, but have decided to move on.
I've started writing again, inspired by the fact that I received a bumper crop of lovely notebooks for Christmas (hooray for stationery!) and will be putting some new stuff up soon.
Happy new year and lots of love