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 🙂