This was the scariest run up to a gig I have had so far this year. On Thursday I checked and we had sold one online ticket, on Friday (day of the gig) we had sold five!!! One performer had made his way over from Spain and I was hoping it would be more than us performing to each other! On the evening I set up the door and prepared for possibly a dozen punters. By the time we closed the doors we had 45 in a 50 capacity room. Another four came in quietly after we started. This event that was making me panic mildly on Thursday had become the fourth sold out gig on the tour (following Manchester, Kendal and Newcastle)! Wow! Blackpool. You know how to keep me on my toes.
In the afternoon I became a feral poet with Joy France. We danced around the Comedy Carpet talking to strangers about poetry and performing pieces to them. I wore a pink wig as a disguise and to give me confidence and also so members of the public could tell I was a “poet” and might talk to them so they could make a wide diversion if they didn’t want me to.
Steve Gunnar Stroud: Kicked the event off with style. His poem Blackpool Transport Anthesis was at speed and he was masterful with rhythm and language. He talked of “chewing-gum constellations” and “using bass as a weapon to kill the gods of oppression, riding a slow pulsation all the way to gate-crash heaven … and reside in the colliding tides of everything.”
Reuben Woolley: I told us of “deep music” and ended a complex poem with the line: “I’m just dancing”. He took is somewhere serious and held us with powerful words: “We feed the screams of all the silent children.”. Then performed a lighter poem to finish including the line: “The growing is music and the dying is laughter.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrFiKB4suXs
Christopher James Heyworth: I loved the salamander poem. The line “Loneliness in crowded places is a seaside specialty” rang so true and has stayed with me.http://livepoetry.org/dates-venues/
Laura Alice Nation: Her poem about anorexia was raw and honest and I love the hope and control in the line “I am not the brittle one you last saw”.
Joy France: I always enjoy the Bic pen one and the audience were well up for it. She treated us to a penny arcade one: “when pennies were big enough to matter” “whispered wish-words” and the “Fruitless!”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqIKk6hDjjc
The Blackpool audience were well up-for-it and you could tell by the second half that some of the performers were possibly pushing some of their safer stuff to the back and taking risks. The audience were respectful and quiet when needed and loud and raucous as they felt the poetry deserved. Tonnes of fun!
Shaun Brookes: Listed the places someone was to him “You are Lancaster, Hebden Bridge, etc…”.This litany was strong and pulled us in.
David Riley: In his painting poem: “the furniture is made of lines, gestures, like my hands.” In a family history poem he is: “Knitting together her history – backwards”. Beautiful and visual.
Lara Clayton: The poem about her aunt was haunting. In Fortune’s kippers “the scent becomes our compass” echoing the scent of the sea and navigation.
Big Charlie Poet: I drank in the stillness of the audience listening for the “The little flat with rescued clocks – sound of childhood.” He performed a poem called it’s the grit that makes the pearl that was a masterpiece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKuD1CfyasQ
Colin Davies: I felt the sharing of our masturbation poems added to the raucousness of the second half!?! He says poetry is the new Rock and Roll! “SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO SHOUT VERY LOUD. and sometimes you have to whisper”. “they listen to the whispers of the economy, rather than the shouts of those on their knees.” https://www.youtube.com/user/Wordrabbit
Otley (the otter mascot) is very proud of his new rainbow scarf (presented by Joy France), but he says he is happy to share it with other mascots. We had our own illuminations a few days early as Joy has contacts, she wouldn’t tell us more than this and they were magically lit for the end of the event!
A poem about Poulton Clouds written on the train back
You offer me a thousand silver linings
You are cotton-wool
divided by nimble fingers,
Torn and ragged.
your tiny movements
as you pull yourself apart
to change my view
I rearrange my thoughts,
laced with vapour,
the light touch of the cirrus,
a cumulus bulk.
I can’t touch you
I can’t hold you
Yet you are part of me.