Tuesday, 19 February 2013

451 @ The Nuffield, Southampton

Last night was a starry one, unexplained flying objects whirling around the sky in a disconcerting manner. The moon, also, made an overbright & unsettling appearance.
   In the hot-chocolate-serving confines of the very peopled Nuffield Theatre, last night, however, there were no such things (thank heavens), only so many poets there was a substantial reserve list of open-mic-ers from 19:04 (when I put my name down) onwards (the list having opened at 19:00).

I was up first (which was splendid, as I had only just typed the thing, & wanted to get its debut over with). It was (having wandered through The Guardian online that morning) a political poem (crossed with the terribly foody Salome by Oscar Wilde). & it went something like this:

The Electorate has a strange look to-night.
Said the Prime Minister.
Has she not a strange look?
She is like an thirsty woman who is seeking everywhere for fizzy drinks.
She is obese too.
She is quite obese.
The nutritionists are seeking to cure her obesity,
but she will not let them.
She shows herself obese in the supermarkets.
She reels through fizzy drinks aisles like a thirsty woman. . . .
I am sure she is looking for fizzy drinks.
Does she not reel like a thirsty woman?
She is like a thirsty woman,
is she not?
Ah! I have slipped!
I have slipped in Coke!
It is an ill omen.
Wherefore is there Coke here?
There be some who slay themselves.
They are The Poor.
The Poor are people of no cultivation.
They are ridiculous people.
I myself regard them as being perfectly ridiculous.
The Daily Mail has written a satire against them.
I hear in the air something that is like the bursting of bubbles,
like the bursting of vast bubbles. Do you not hear it?
It is just like the bursting of bubbles.
The Poor are sick to death
Pour me forth fluoridated water.
come drink a little fluoridated water with me.
I have here fluoridated water that is exquisite.
Dip into it thy little red lips, that I may drain the cup.
I am not thirsty, Prime Minister.
I have drunk Coke.
Bring me horses
come and eat horses with me.
I love to see in a horse the mark of thy little teeth.
Bite but a little of this horse that I may eat what is left.
I am not hungry, Prime Minister.
I have eaten ketamine.
Bid him be silent.
 Do not listen to his voice.
 This man is for ever hurling insults against you.
Carbonation is terrible;
It breaketh in pieces the strong and the weak as a man breaks corn in a mortar.
The Prime Minister worketh true miracles.
at a  coalition which took place in a little town of London,
a town of some importance,
He changed wine into water.
He was seen on a council estate talking with chavs.
Chavs do not exist.
see Owen Jones.
Chavs exist, but I do not believe that this Prime Minister has talked with them.
I will tax fizzy drinks.
It is thus that I will wipe out all obesity from the country,
and that all approvably BMI-ed  shall learn not to imitate their abominations.
. . . but I cannot suffer the sound of the Prime Minister’s voice.
I hate his voice.
Command him to be silent.
She speaks like an obese woman.
It may be she is with child  with Coke.
What child is that,
The child of Coke?
Wherefore should I not drink Coke?
The Prime Minister,
who is lord of the world,
The Prime Minister,
who is lord of all things,
loves me well.
He has just sent me fluoridated water.
Also he has promised me to tax the dolescum,
who are my enemy.
It may be that the taxes crucify them
He shall be seated on this throne.
He shall be clothed in scarlet and purple.
In his hand he shall bear a golden cup full of fluorinated water.
And the glorious revolution shall smite him.
He shall be eaten of worms

Peculiar enough. &, indeed, I spied a sense of the intended bewilderment in the titters interspersing the politically-motivated ones.
   I was, however, shaking in my shoes. I'm not sure why. I haven't open-mic-ed for some time. Only been a headliner/interviewed-person/compere/etc/etc/etc. So I suppose I was a little out of practice at having one (just one!) thing to wow people with. (Not that my remit is, necessarily  to wow people. But you know what I mean. To make some sort of an impression. Of some sort. Sort of thing.)
   I had hoped to have a photograph or two, but the camera was forgotten - so no photographs. Unless the photographs I saw a professional-looking-person taking surface.

Apart from me, there were a volley of subsequent open mic-ers, my favorite (to be horribly partisan) performance emanating from the beautifully-voiced (& hatted) Issa Farrah. Issa is that rare thing: a poet with the style AND the substance. "Mellifluous" is the word that comes it mind. His intonation sort of straddles poetry and musicality in a really quite ... unearthly? ... sort of a way. Look him up, y'all.

There was an unusual interlude of (very) young poets, who had been doing poetry with one of the headliners, Joelle Taylor. They were applauded. Quite loudly. Good on them.

Michael James Parker was the first headliner - & very splendiferous he was too: quite simply the best PERFORMANCE of poetry I've ever seen. EVER. (&, thank heavens, or I would feel terribly torn about my consideration of his performance, his poetry was top-notch - though who on earth am I to assess the ... notch ... of anyone else's poetry? - too.)

After that, unfortunately, I had to leave - my co-audiancer wasn't feeling terribly well. I felt like a terrible turncoat, but I'm sure everyone got on well enough without me.


  1. Hi I was the photographer type person at the 451 event. Happy to send you copies of the photographs I took. Just drop me a line to info@boywithabeard.co.uk and I will email you them.

    All the best
    David White