Needle&Thread open mic

This is just a quick update about the last open mic night I went to, last Tuesday at the Half Moon pub in Herne Hill.  I used to live in the area, but it was before I was five so I don’t remember much, it was my parent’s first place though so I have like one vague memory in a park as well as those confused with photographs and home videos.  So, the event was Needle&Thread and although I was there an hour before to sign up, after one glass of wine, my friend Amy came along, as she lives five minutes walk away.

It was good to see Amy, and although the other acts were all men with acoustic guitars, it was fun and relaxing.  It was weird at first because the lights were so bright I couldn’t see the audience – I used to like that when I was dancing but it felt like reading to an empty room, although the crowd were really nice with clapping and cheering.

It has to be said, the bar staff were really nice and friendly, and it seemed an all-round cool pub.  I was gutted I had to leave so early to get my last train.  If I didn’t have work the next day I would have bussed it back.  There was one guy that was going to do poetry that talked to me and my friend at the bar, and he interrupted our conversation and then said “don’t beat me up” so I would have loved to see what he did!

Next up, tonight, The Queen’s Speech and The Queen’s Head in Brixton.  So far, going it alone.  I’ve become soooo skint over the summer as well – thank God for my travel expenses from Penned in the Margins!

On another note, I had my last day at my internship and it’s easily the best bit of work I’ve ever had, such a great experience, and let me tell you, there’s some exciting stuff coming up in the next year!  I had a goodbye lunch at Juno  which was delish!  I pretty much could have eaten anything on the menu, except the fish… not a fan – very unEnglish of me!  I’ve no idea why there’s bad reviews online, I really liked it, my perfect menu and nice atmopshere, with a cool space invaders table.

Anyway, I’ll update soon about tonight, as I’ve got my own camera back… well, it says it’s repaired but I swear it’s a new camera! Not bad for £23!


Lady Fest Ten

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.


Rhythm & Muse

Last night I went to Rhythm & Muse, in Teddington for the first time to check out the open mic there., having signed up via email.  It had a really chilled vibe and was nice to relax with a glass of Rosé.  I’d arrived early so I got to sit right at the front, which I like because it means I don’t have to rumage my way through the crowd to get on stage.

 The Flying Blueberries were on first, doing mostly Bob Dylan songs, and having seen Bob Dylan at Hop Farm Festival earlier, this was possibly more enjoyable as the real McCoy’s set was long and disappointing, as he avoided the classics that all the fans wanted to hear.  Anyway, of the open mic I recognised Peter Francis from The Tea Box open mic who provided a witty rapport with the audience in between poems.  I also enjoyed a girl called Laura’s set, who studies at Kingston uni, though felt she did something I tend to do, which is to try and squeeze as many poems as possible into the set.

I loved the headline poetry act, Racker Donnelly, as I find that it’s always impressive when poets know their material by heart, and also felt there was a good mix of the comedic and the tragic… as I think he pointed out himself with reference to Shakespeare before performing a piece on King Lear.  I also felt like I was learning something about Ireland, and it’s always good to learn new things.  I’ve also been wanting to have a trip to Ireland after my friend Kim suggested it as a place to celebrate the new year (although it hasn’t happened yet).  I have to confess that part of the reason is a false hope for Gerard Butler look-a-likes after seeing P.S. I Love You… even though he’s actually Scottish.

Back to the poetry… I was on my own again, so was feeling a bit nervous… and it was coming out of my shaking legs once again – I hope that stops, it’s really annoying!  I picked a couple of poems I thought I knew off by heart and folded up the text a million times to squeeze it in my pocket for safety, and annoyingly I needed it!  I forgot a bloody line for Cinderella, of all poems, the bane of my life!  However, after that it was fine, and I got a really positive reaction from the audience.

The compère, Nick Poole said it gave him goosebumps, and came to chat for a bit afterwards, and even offered me a drink which was very nice of him, but I refused as I thought I should be sensible… the wine was really nice though so it was tempting!  I also overheard someone say ‘amazing’ after I came off stage and I don’t care, I’m going to assume it was about me because it makes me feel good haha!

I stayed for the second half but shot off when the first band returned to the stage as I wanted to be home as early as possible; my parents were going away on holiday in the early hours the next day and I wanted to say goodbye.  Before going to bed, I decided to try to put a scarf on my head to experiment to see if it would prevent my hair from getting frizzy and I thought what I came up with looked kind of cool in a 1940s way, so I took some pictures and posted one below.  It didn’t work though and had fallen off by the time I woke up. xxx

PoetryJam at The Tea Box, Richmond

Okay… the two videos I did (the one above and my new video blog) makes me sound like Emily from Skins… I think… well, I sound like I have a bit of a lisp.  I don’t have a lisp so that’s quite strange… maybe it’s cos after Hop Farm my camera got a bit fucked whilst listening to The Ruskins.

I really enjoyed this night anyway! I went with a guy I met earlier that day, called Greg, and he made me drink more than I wanted to, so I was probably a bit drunk.  I got a laugh at the right point – yaaay!!  And a woman told me she could listen to me all night which is majorly flattering! One of the hosts, Alan Wolfson, let me do another one as well and came up and said he loved my set 😀

My personal life is a bit out of control at the moment, so at least I have my poetry.  I’ve just been practicing my set for my feature next week in the bath, whispering so my parents don’t hear me haha… I can’t believe how close it is! Looks like I’ll be under-rehearsed yet again, grrr!

I did actually practice the other day and knew most of the set off by heart, but it’s unlikely in reality. I hope some of my friends come to see me.