National Poetry Day etc.

Last Tuesday I went back to Hammer & Tongue at The Victoria in Dalston Junction.  I had just been to Nando’s with my friend Hannah and went to the slam on my own.  I ordered a tap water, as I am on the “cabbage budget” as my course leader, Ian Chance, calls it.  I settled into a comfy sofa at the front and watched the likes of Keith Jarrett and Henry Bowers, competing in the slam in between.  I was the only woman competing and there were only a couple of women even at the event. And I came second place! Representing!! Only missed the top spot by 0.2 marks, so I’m progressing. After all these years, thank God.  I spoke to a couple of people, including the host of the night, Steve Larkin, and even gave out a business card, though the guy hasn’t been in contact, I hope he will do because I wanted to tell him about my own Jack & Jill poem (though not nearly as good as the one he performed).

On National Poetry Day I went to Southbank and listened to loads of poets from 1pm-6pm.  There were so many, but my favourites were Michael Rosen, Laura Dockrill, Richard O’Brien, Catherine Labiran, Lemn Sissay, and Simon Armitage.  The Foyles Young Poets winners were there as well, which made me feel very inadequate and old.  At only 22.  I feel I am behind and trying to catch up with these youngsters.

I went to another slam and got a good score but was beaten by a couple of people.  I was feeling a bit messed about by the host beforehand and it rang true that artists are taken advantage of by event runners etc.  I calculated that with around 50 people showing up, charging a fiver-a-head, the artists themselves should really getting paid more than £10 for “travel”.  There are plenty of venues that are free to hire, so it is something that really needs changing.  I was asked… or rather, just told, that I would be the sacrificial poet and then as I accepted this and made my way towards the stage, I was made to look a fool by the host announcing into the microphone that I was actually going to compete in the slam after all and someone else was going up.  I was also told that if I got one of the prizes that cost £5, to put it back… I thought wait a minute, why am I not entitled to get the prize?  Because I asked to be on the guest list?! Come on, poets that compete in the slam shouldn’t even be paying anyway.  I spoke to a couple of men, one of which I had met a couple of times before, and he has expressed the event is ‘for poets’ rather than ‘for everyone’ so maybe that’s part of the problem as to why the slammers also have to pay.  Also!  Some of the features hardly had five minutes!  It should be 10 minutes minimum really, I reckon.

Anyway, this irritation made me reluctant to want to go back, which is why I’m leaving the event unnamed.  I felt aggravated before I went on stage, and that’s just not how it should be.  There were plenty of events to choose from that night, so I could have gone elsewhere but I didn’t.  Maybe next time I will think about it harder.

Anyway, overall, it was a good week.  I am getting used to working at Sainsbury’s (although I had a nightmare about uniform and turning up late and clocking in, last night) and my nerves are getting lesser.  I am loving my MA course, although I stayed up doing work until 1am the night before it was due, only to find out half of it was actually due the week after, silly me!  Things are looking up and I’m thinking of making this WordPress site into my website (part of my coursework) but there are things I need to think about.  Life is busy, but it is good 🙂

xxx

Hammer & Tongue

Before I get onto my first experience of Hammer & Tongue, I have some exciting neeeewss!!  Me and Matty D are offishhh, like Facebook official, you get meee?!!  We had an amazing weekend, and after posting this picture, I’ll try to remain focused and professional and just write about poetry and shizzle like that.

Pouting Competition at Pride, London

I’ve been applying for loads of jobs and funding and stuff today, so am going to try to be as quick as possible about this and see if I can finish in under half an hour!  Friday, me and Matt when to Future Vintage, with a jazz band and poet, Tiffany Anne Tondut.  Matt had a bit of trouble working his way from Victoria to Waterloo, so we missed a bit, but it was good.  Bumped into Tim Wells, who told me about this event, it’s gonna be snazzy. My Gran’s visiting from France for her birthday, so I can’t make it.

We went to the Tate Modern for a bit and chilled on the grass near Udderbelly, before going to Poejazzi’s Festival Tonic.  Joshua Idehen was hosting and four amazing acts took the stage.  First, Harry Baker, who I am hoping will be hosting my gig at The Tea Box this Friday (8th July).  Next was Fiona Bevan, a singer who was probably my favourite performer of the day – a bit like Regina Spektor meets Shingai Shoniwa (The Noisettes) with a pinch of Ellie Golding.  Next was Ray Antrobus, who I’ve now probably mentioned a few times – Matt could particularly relate to the sober-guy-at-the-party poem after his sober months.  Lastly, another musical act Belle Moore-Benham with an incredibly powerful voice.

Oh yeah, and we saw this fox. Urban Fox. Pretty cool… if slightly scary.

Saturday, we went to see Sexing The Cherry, again, around Southbank.  It sounded cool, as it combined spoken word, animation and music.  At first I felt pretty tired and unimpressed, but towards the middle it picked up and there were some really good lines and ideas expressed, a great musical section, and beautiful acrobatics.

We went to Soho to check out Pride festivities… I was a terrible Londoner and couldn’t find Trafalgar Square so we missed some reality TV stars, but it was fun just walking around and I’m cracked open a couple of cans and we had a little dance and listened to some live music where we could find it.  We didn’t see the parade so I defos wanna check it out next year.  I saw Romy from The XX passing by in the opposite direction but it was pretty packed and we’re both pretty shy people, I guess, so we just moved with the crowd.  I think it was the first time I’ve seen her since the band got all big as well, so it’s pretty weird after seeing loads of pictures everywhere and music everywhere.

Anyway, Monday, Matt went back to Norwich (long distance gaaah) and I went to Hammer & Tongue with my mate Elliot Snook… he’s putting on a clubnight, which I hope to go to, so YOU should defos go as well.

Angry Sam was hosting but he didn’t seem to remember me from Glam Slam – I guess he’s a busy man.  Chester P and Mungo were the feature and they were on for about an hour.  It was really interesting and very different form when I saw CP support Jamie T in Norwich.  Some of it went a bit over my head, and then some of it made me unsure if it was bullshit or genius… there were probably a few too many drug references but ah well, do what you know and all that.  The Slam was afterwards and I was on penultimatly which had my nerves going a bit, but I was pleased with how it went and I came third place, which I didn’t expect and it’s pretty  cool to get a position even without winning.  I can always try again.  What was amazing was that, amongst a couple of compliments, one guy said I was his favourite of the night, and said the rhythm and delivery were particularly good.  In hindsight, I should have given him my business card, but I feel a bit cringe doing it without actually being asked… a bit too pushy? Or am I being silly?

Peter Hayhoe won, who I saw at Tooting Market, and he was cool. Ahhh. Gonna have to wrap up, I’ve gone way overboard.

xxx