Last night I went to the Lady Fest poetry open mic event ‘So She Said’ at The Victoria in Mile End. I went after work and grabbed a burger and wedges from Cafe 1001 (and a sneaky Carlsberg). The features of the night were Chrissy Williams, Dzifa Benson and Liz Bentley. Chrissy Williams I thought was okay but perhaps more of a “page” poet, given by her numerous publications of which I can only dream of being in currently. If I remember correctly a lot of the poems involved dialogue, which I thought maybe was in order to fit in with the event title, which would have been a cool thing to do, if it was intentional.
My favourite feature was probably Dzifa Benson. I usually find it more difficult to concentrate on the poet prior to going up myself, but I really liked her set, especially one she read about skin. I was pleased with how my set went and the girl who went up after me (can’t remember her name, but she was good!) said she enjoyed my set. She also told me she’d only started doing poetry readings a week or so ago! Where have all these amazing poets come from that need like nooo practice to perform amazingly? (Like Vanessa Kisuule, whose name I wanted to mention in my last Farrago post but am not sure if I did). I also was compared to Brigitte Aphrodite by, Nikki Shaill, one of the event organisers who approached me about contributing to the Lady Fest Zine. I was really surprised by the comparison, but I don’t know maybe it’s the inflection in the voice when performing, expression of emotion or something. I don’t have music in my act (yet!) but if I were to sum up Brigitte’s act, I would describe it as of the cockney music hall variety. Maybe it was ’cause I was with my cockney-East-end-born&bred friend, Elliot Snook (soon to be happy-hardcore music producer, so he tells me). I told my mum this and she said I sound “more cockney” when I read my poetry. My own mother! I was not impressed, I shall have to “get my posh on” in future, all these comparisons unnerve me; flattering as they are, as my friends are saying a lot these days ‘I love it, but it kinda makes me sick’. I guess it’s because I like these people, but see myself as very different to them in so many ways… I guess I’ve always felt I can’t be put in a box (although I LOVE quizzes, you know the ones that try to put you in boxes).
OMG! Two embarrassing things happened to me related to this night as well:
1. I was on the tube and decided to watch the recording of my performance with my Ipod in, to see how long I was on for (which I found out after you can see without doing that). My camera’s at the repair shop, so I was borrowing my mum’s, so I also didn’t know that you could hear SOUND when you play it back (mine doesn’t do that). I even took my earphones out to check but didn’t seem to hear anything, but my mum told me you could after. So yeah, embarrassing! Especially as there was someone who performed there on the tube near me probably thinking what a weirdo loser I was!
2. My parents had their couple friends round for food and drinks, and I went to bed, leaving the camera with my mum as she wanted to take pictures. She told me the next day how great their friends thought my performance was (and compared me to Kate Nash, grrr – see above). I was soooo embarrassed! Mainly the content of my poems. I’ve performed in front of my parents before but carefully picked my poems! Poems about body hair and ex-boyfriends would not be top of the list! Argh! and I haven’t heard it myself yet, hopefully will be able to upload it tonight though!
Anyway, back to the event! Liz Bentley was the last feature and I was enjoying her performance and laughed at her reference to Rachel Pantechnicon, feeling a bit pleased with myself that I got it. So I enjoyed it, despite my personal aversion to people with her first name, UNTIL she did a poem about hating her sister and asked people in the audience to answer whether they hated their siblings. Elliot said he loved his, and he exclaimed “she’s only two!” Liz then engaged in banter, trying to amuse the audience by making out he was “weird” for loving his sister. I felt a wave of embarrassment come over me, like that feeling when you forget lines and everyone is looking at you. Aware it wasn’t me that should feel awkward, I told Elliot ‘I want the world to swallow you up’. I just thought it was an underhand thing to say, as he wasn’t heckling and I found it inappropriate and basically rude. *Sigh* Disappointing.
The next So She Said event is 7th September and I’ll hopefully be going along again.