This weekend my oldest friend, Hannah, came to visit me in Norwich and I made her come with me to celebrate 10 years of Aisle16 at The York Tavern, a pub on the end of my road. Luke Wright hosted the evening, tying up the loose ends with poems about the poetry collective.
I was familiar with most of the performers individually, but not the first two. Joel Stickley was on first and I remember enjoying his set but looking back the poem that really sticks out in my mind is the one about fish: clever and witty – both boxes that need to be ticked to be a member of the group. Archie Macjoyce was next and although I feel like I should like everyone who performed, I have to be honest, and I could either leave his name out, or admit I was less keen. I think I may have preferred his act without the music background, maybe that was it. Anyway, then there was Tim Clare who I’ve seen perform a lot recently and am quite frankly sick of him… just kidding! He was obviously enjoyable as always.
In the break, me and Hannah began to turn into teenagers, and Aisle16 were simultaneously morphed into a poetry boyband. We admitted over our fourth drinks that we actually both fancy Tim a bit. And later face the dilemma of who’s hotter – Ross Sutherland or Chris Hicks? Sure, Ross has amazing hair, but look at the arms on Chris! If only they did posters we wouldn’t have to choose.
The feminist in me is a bit begrudged the group doesn’t have any girls in it. Then again, maybe that’s why I turned into a starstruck teenager in their presence. There was an a’cappella performance from a token female so that’s good enough for me.
Chris Hicks was up next, with a voice that would be sure to seduce my Words & Music lecturer. Oh, and his poetry was good too. Jason Raper and John Osborne carried on a good show through to the next break.
During this interval, Luke Wright came up to thank me for the review I did of his live show. I was still a teenager. Well and truly starstruck. I didn’t know where exactly he saw it as it’s not out in Concrete yet, and I post this blog in three other places than here. Anyway, that was really nice but I was such a loser and shy despite my drinking. Straight afterward Tim Clare said “hello Carmina” and I had no idea he knew my name so I had a double whammy of starstruckness and pretty much acted the same way. I’m really going to have to work at being a normal human being.
Anyway, next up was Joe Dunthorne, who I met at an event I was working at for Penned in the Margins in the summer. Again, I really liked it, but the highlight of the night was when Ross and Chris joined him for a poem together and it was AMAZING! Proper boyband stylee haha. Ross was last up, another favourite after constantly reading over his latest book prior to publishing whilst on my internship. Luke then finished off the night to the sound of party poppers and me and Hannah rushed off to try to get the bus to go from one birthday party to another. We had to wait an hour, but that’s another story.
I did notice Ross was wearing what I only assume are my lost trainers. If they are a size 8, then they are most definitely mine. I post the following poem as a plea: give them back!
Two sizes too big,
cosy and warm,
bought in Camden
at a second-hand stall.
You walked away from me in the night
and I don’t know where to look.
you were dragged from place to place,
having to call each one home.
You have been trapped in wardrobes,
only to be taken out occasionally,
mostly on rainy days;
you did not enjoy the puddles.
So you left me.
You left me to look for something.
A truth and reality
amongst the confusion.
You went outside without me,
you went outside alone,
perhaps you’ve gone
to find your first home.