I did a gig at The Birdcage. I tried to do my set off by heart. I’d practiced intermittently the last couple of weeks. I stumbled a few times but I did not reach for my paper (not concealed in my boots this time, I admitted that it was the poems that were peaking out of my cardigan pocket). Host, Andy Bennett, compared me to Dockers MC which was cool. It’s actually the second time that’s happened, so I’m thinking of starting to market myself as “a posh Laura Dockrill” or “a shy Laura Dockrill”.
Ben Smith eased us into the night with laughs that played on prediction and expectations, leaving me to be the filling in a comedy sandwich. It was a fine evening of entertainment, including comedian Alex Holland who I could really relate to with his tales of walking through groups of teenagers in fear. I was excited to see Lewis Buxton who I’d heard was similar to Luke Wright and I could see why people would say that; with his confident manner, his way of delivery and use of narrative and skillful use of rhythm and rhyme.
Adam Warne wove between poetry and comedy and appeared very naturally, taking away the microphone and telling us of Facebook anecdotes in between sonnets. John Osborne read us some lovely new poems about seaside towns and afterwards I got a nice message of compliments about my set which made me very happy. To round off night night, Cielo performed with a female violinist to add to the mix. It was a great set and my boyfriend loved it to so I’m glad he saw them, especially as they have some motivational songs, which he’s always on the look out for!
Since Tuesday I’ve been out every night. For the first time I was able to go to Norwich Poetry Club at The Bicycle Shop. I was wearing small heels but inside was so dimly lit I had to be careful down the stairs and it took Hannah Walker a while to recognise me. She was the only person I spoke to as I was feeling shy for some reason. I also spoke to a woman briefly who I’d asked to sit next too. I noticed she left before the last act and Luke Wright sat next to me. He was hosting the show and although hosting is not a job that goes hand-in-hand with performance poetry (I am not so good at it!) he does it well. He read a lot of new poems and they reminded me of old poems I’d read as a kid, a kind of naughty children’s poetry, and I mean this as a good thing (I’ve studied Children’s Literature after all).
Hattie Grunewald was the first feature for the evening, and although I already know and like her poetry I learnt about her successes so far – she has been taught by Caroline Bird after winning awarded withe the prestige of being a Foyle Young Poet, and had her poetry on the Underground, and as you can see on the link I’ve placed on her name, she has published books out there! Slightly jealous if I’m honest. I get annoyed at myself for not remembering details so I made a note of a couple of expressions I liked – the idea of someone tasting like a newsagents and eyes that rust.
John Osborne was next, promoting his new book. Now, I’m far too promiscuous to state as Luke did, that he is my favourite poet, but he is up there. He told a poem about a surprise party his girlfriend had organised and nobody turned up, which I related too… until he said it wasn’t true and “I don’t have a girlfriend, so the joke’s on you”. This blend of fact and fiction inspired a poem I wrote that night, called Circumstances, which was also influenced by a poet called Tao Lin who I’ve been reading and I hoped for a kind of dry humour combined with a bleakness. Anyway, back to John, and other favourites from the night include a poem about a guy that didn’t pay his pound into a syndicate at work the week they won, called ‘that money would have turned you into a bastard anyway’, and a heart-warming poem about a break-up.
The headline was Thick Richard, but if I’m honest, he wasn’t my favourite part of the evening. He had a bit of a death theme, and I do like a theme, but still, I wasn’t impressed. The crowd seemed to like it though, laughing where I couldn’t muster a chuckle. The poem I most liked was something like ‘why don’t girls who like men like that like me?’ about seemingly nice girls going for bad guys. He’s a chef though so maybe he could win my heart through my stomach.
It ended a bit past 9pm so I got to pop to The Birdcage for Lucy Day and The Knights’ EP release! Inlay flaked out of supporting but the other acts, Blanche Ellis and Drew McDonnell were really great. Before Lucy came on, I noticed the girl next to me put out some burning paper, and I was like fuck! I smelt it and wondered what it was but didn’t even realise it was right next to me. I think she only put it out because I turned my head and saw it, weird!
The gig was amazing and I’m so glad I went along! I’ve listened to the collection of songs from Lucy a few times and had a few running around in my head. I loved Forsaken and the lyrics have made me think about my own pursuits. Sometimes I feel like I agree with the song, something does have to be forsaken. For me, I’m so sucky at relationships, at times I think it’s just not meant for me – the happily, or not-so-happily married with kids life. I could deal with the current patterns of my love life if only it meant I could be a success in other areas, namely my career. We get told we can have it all, but maybe we can’t always. I have this need and desire for love and for faithfulness and matrimony but I know the reality of this is near impossible, and that even if I did get married, it just may be a more serious example of how things end in tears. It can be frustrating to have this desire but I guess it’s as much a part of living, to go through those kinds of ups and downs, as all the other elements of life, and should be embraced as such. I think that since finishing my university work I feel a bit weird, like there’s so much I want to do that I don’t know where to start or if I have enough time.
Anyway, Wednesday I had a gig at The Birdcage myself. I wore this dress with birdcages on it from Topshop, and an hourglass necklace from Urban Outfitters. Oh! And these cute bird earrings from UO as well. I teamed it with green tights and my vintage Charles shoes.
My friends Helen and Laura came to watch and we went for a half-pint at spoons afterwards. I knew all of the performers so I didn’t much feel nervous or anything, though I was a little unprepared as I kept switching my mind about which poems to read, and I did the new one, ‘Circumstances’ though it probably needs a lot of work, and I don’t know if people got the humour, or if I delivered it right. The rest was okay, and I did a few by heart.
So, the list of performers… Bethan Williams, Jennifer Grey, Imogen Steinberg, Andy Bennet, Catherine Woodward, me and, headlining, John Osborne. Jenny said she was nervous… in fact, so did Catherine and Andy! Jenny always gives a confident reading though and was fine once she was up there. Andy’s was really interesting and amazing considering he’d written them in the past 48 hours! I knew why Catherine was nervous once she was up there, she gave a very different performance – all by heart and even including a cheeky lip-licking and winking! After that, I was scared to follow her but think it went okay.
Last night I was a volunteer at Hannah Rose Jone’s Independently Fashioned. I was on the door so met everyone and sorted out tickets (which turned out to be inking people’s hands) and all the stuff like that. It was stressful at times, but I got used to it and it was actually really refreshing how lovely everyone was. The only embarrassing thing was when one of the designers gave me £40 and I counted on my fingers to work out 40-25 to get her change. I get so stressed when doing the simplest mental maths that my mind just goes blank. I was to say ‘I’m not stupid, I got a B for GCSE maths, it’s just the pressure or something’ but I just end up looking a bit silly, oh well. I should have done my research about the designers because it was a bit embarrassing not knowing know they were.
I didn’t get to see much but it did look like a great show, plus there were musicians Jordan Jackson and Cielo – most people at the end were asking about the band! It was funny because one of the members asked to put some flyers on the table and said Jordan was good but that Cielo were a bit pretentious haha. I had a good night, and Hannah even gave me a free headband for it, which I put on straight away and shall be wearing properly tonight!
Last night I read a whole collection of new poems from my creative writing coursework. One I named after a Henry Holland patishe t-shirt I have called ‘Blow Bubbles Not Bombs’ and the whole set was based around love but that poem was probably the most personal and it wasn’t about relationships, and less moaning about guys is defos a good thing! I was really pleased with the collection so I hope I get a good mark. My housemate Kirstie, and my friend Laura came to support me, which was cool as the crowd wasn’t as packed as usual! Laura said even though I did a lot of ‘page’ poems I did them well and I seemed really professional, so yay!
I ended the set with a sneak preview of what me and my frex Will are gonna be doing at the Late Shift next Wednesday (20th April) at the Sainsbury’s Centre in Norwich. It’s basically him on guitar as an “assisstant” as Hasina, the event organiser, called him haha! I will be singing and doing poetry and luckily Laura said she’d come so that’ll be cool. Anyway, we did ‘Drama’ and people thought it was cool!
Omg! It’s suprising how much “poetry beef” (as The Ruby Kid has referred to it!) there is on the scene. One of the poets who I know from uni did a poem about another one of my friend’s and even though it was funny and spot on and a brilliant poem, I feel a bit bad because I imagine he won’t take it so well. She’s going to email it to him but I think if he was there when she read it, it may have provoked debate so may have a more negative consequence now.
Gossip gossip! I was excited a while back to find out that Time Clare is going out with a girl from Bearsuit. Most amazing couple or what?!