Its been a while, a year or more, perhaps since i’ve felt i had the time and energy to stand up in public and deliver my creative wit and wisdom to a live audience. Not a confidence thing, so much as events, looming large over my life and the lives of those around me, which meant performance was,for a while, put on the back burner.
Well, i’m back.
Not a big gig. Just the erotic poetry/creative reading slam at Sh! women’s store in Hoxton.
Lovely to see so many missed faces…erotic writers Zak and KD Grace. Feminist comedian, Ali Brumfitt. Lovely, too, to meet up with some new ones. A special welcome to short storyist, KayJaybee.
And yes: of course i loved it. Just disappointed that – my failure to understand instructions – meant i had too much material with me to perform.
Outside of news and comment writing, i seem to have evolved three additional styles, tones of voice, whatever. The first, a sort of prose/poetry fusion is what i chose to deliver. Because we were, in the end, limited to just five minutes each and, in rehearsing it, i timed it at seconds ove the five minute mark.
Then there’s a sort of modernist, abstract poetry style, which i am never, myself, altogether sure of. It feels a tad pretentious – even to me – and it doesn’t ever work too well on the page. But it does seem to perform OK, so maybe its an explicitly spoken style. And last up is what i think is technically called a ballad metre – four-line stanzas, alternating four/three iambic rhythm – which i tend to use for comic stuff.
Well, it is used in such classics (!) as “Delaney’s donkey”, from which i borrowed a single line for last night’s effort – but is also favoured by the likes of Emily Dickinson. So it can’t be all bad.
Sadly, time meant i didn’t get to perform either the short modern poem (probably just as well!) or the longer comedic one (shame!). But Sh! liked it enough to suggest i let them blog it, so i probably will.
This style thing, though: its a rum old beast. After i’d done my reading, Ali said they thought they’d heard it before. Er, no. Last night was its first outing. But it does suggest – for good or ill – that my performance prose has a recognisable style of its own.
Fascinating, too, to read between the lines of how others perform. Joanna recited two poems that i liked greatly…touching, poignant, dealing with her own life experience. After, i chatted to her: “Catholic?”
Er, yes, she said: how did i know? Trust me…there are aspects of imagery, of approach, that are pretty hard to miss, if one shares that upbringing.
And so we ended on a high note. Drinks (well, diet coke for me!), conversation, and looking forward to doing a lot more on the open mic circuit over the next 12 months.