Went to London last weekend and caught a monthly night called The Cellar (photo above) at The Poetry Cafe, Betterton Rd, Covent Garden… Real high quality poetry – I mean the artistic level of it was something else – and an older crowd.
The weekly open mic here is supposed to be the way into the heart of the London spoken word scene. Very friendly place too. Pity it looks like a museum cafe or a classroom.
Went drinking afterwards with some of the poets and thought about how different the London scene is from Paris. They have all these magazines and stuff going on. They know all these poetry & spoken word minor celebrities. They drink more than us. (Except that night I was falling off my chair.) But they don’t have the intimacy and closeness of the Paris scene.
One of the most amazing things was talking to this bloke who stuttered then seeing him go up on stage – he lost his stutter completely when he performed his stuff and was brilliant.
Sunday I went to One Taste, a kind of cabaret night. 5 different acts who do 2 short sessions each. Mostly music including the weirdly beautiful songs of The Moulettes. (Little mussels??) who would feel right at home in Paris’ post punk cabaret scene. Or Brighton. www.myspace.com/moulettes The reason I went though was to catch my Reading friend a.f.harrold who performed at Spoken Word nearly 2 years ago and is a kind of rising star of performance poetry. He’s the very tall guy with the long ginger beard. Very effective. A bath is a boat with the water on the inside…
Hmmm. Do I wish I lived in London and was part of the poetry scene there? I’m certainly tempted. That could be me on those stages! Me I tell ya! But the lifestyle is just so much better here…