Tomorrow night sees the event I was practising for. I wanted to get some practice before I stood up and performed my poetry at Tapas Tales at The Old Mariner in Woodbridge tomorrow.
So I got up on my hind legs at The Anchor, Woodbridge (5th January), DPs in Aldeburgh (17th), the Anchor again (19th) and a new venue, the Golden Key at Snape on 25th. I think I’ve had some practice now.
It’s been strange. I never do a poem if anyone in the audience could possibly recognise people or circumstances it could have been about. And almost every time All Of Your S**t gets the laughs it was supposed to, In Silence seems to shock, Back To Ourselves makes women look thoughtful and When The Phone Rings, which I’ve only done twice, silences the entire audience.
Men and women are coming up to me afterwards and touching my arm. Always my left arm, above the elbow. I don’t know why, except obviously it speaks to them. Which it was supposed to.
When The Phone Rings is from the heart. They all are, but that one, I think it’s the best I’ve ever done, from the first line onwards. I’m a bit dubious about the one-line stanza in the middle, but it seems to work.
And yes, obviously it’s about a real person. No, she’s never read it to my knowledge or heard it. Which is a pity, because it’s quite a moving poem.
If it or any of them are poems at all. I’m not sure what a poem should be. I know I’m not a good enough musician to play an instrument and sing at the same time. My guitar playing isn’t that good although my sax playing is a bit better, but I still can’t do that and sing at the same time. So I’m calling these pieces words without music. It makes sense to me. The thing that prompted When The Phone Rings still doesn’t.
Either way, this public catharsis is fun once I’ve got past the stage nerves and get behind the mic again. I had to bowdlerise AOYS for the Golden Key and it wasn’t the place to give Minimum Wage its first outing, given it looked and sounded like Conservative Central Office. Still. Might get paid one day. And it’s all good practice and exposure for something that would be so fabulous if it came off I can’t even write about it, here or anywhere else. Just fingers crossed.
And come and see me tomorrow night at The Old Mariner.