Luke Wright is as close as you can get to a celebrity in the world of poetry, and when one sees him walk around, it can be easy to assume he is something of a moving statue of bravado and one-liners. He introduces Tim Clare as warm-up act and tells the audience he fears he will be up-staged by the support. Having seen Clare at Word of Mouth recently, he pretty much made the crowd fall in love with him; however this time he was noted as slightly less impressive so perhaps this was an attempt to place Wright on top.
After a break, Wright appeared again, heading over to a nearby laptop to fiddle with leads as his computerised introduction was soundless. He went on to describe this show as an exploration of ‘ego, ambition and humility.’ The statue was about to show his cracks. The show began with a familiar tale of his skinny jean days, number one of seven, kicking off the telling of his journey to success and wanting to be a ‘star.’
Mixing in comedic anecdotes with sympathetic story-telling and, of course, the poetry; he comments on MySpace fame culture with Thanx 4 the ad, the importance of Manchester mentor Mr. Blank, and his own failures and frustrations with self in Luke’s Got a Joke. There are enough jokes to keep you laughing, yet still poignant moments of beauty and vulnerability, for example, as he tells the audience of fellow performance poet David J asking him ‘what you trying to forget?’
The evening progresses like a scrap book with photographs on the backdrop, alongside comments found Googling himself; he reveals ‘under the chipped nail varnish of my life, were the same bitten fingernails.’ In an attempt to grow-up, with a wife and baby on board, we get Mondeo Man and a recital of a section of Philip Larkin’s Dockery &Son. Wright concludes that you can’t change who you are, but maybe you can dilute it, asking the audience to Raise a Glass with the final poem.
Perhaps the best way to judge a performance of poetry is whether, when lying in bed, about to close your eyes, you reach for the alarm-clock-cum-phone and type in lines of your own attempts at poetry. Whether that happens, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.