I did a poetry performance over the weekend. And not just poetry but slam poetry, or performance poetry, if you prefer.
Whatever. It was a shouty and spontaneous piece of live poetry. I did one of those. At Glastonbirthday.
Glastonobirthday is an annual party hosted by my little brother, Rich, and his wife, Carla, to celebrate his birthday in the style of Glastonbury. And very impressive it is, too.
Their whole garden (which is not particularly big) is made to look a little like Glastonbury: they build a stage, put up signage all written in the Glastonbury font, have a Spinal Tap-esque stone circle; there’s a bar, everyone has wristbands, etc.
It’s quirky, fun and wonderfully well done, especially if you loved Glastonbury when you were younger. One particularly lovely touch is the main stage – well, the only stage, is the Trev Carter Stage. 🙂
Anyway, there are various acts on throughout the afternoon and evening, mostly music and DJs, with a sprinkling of Glasto-type things such as yoga. And then there was me, who volunteered, mostly for a laugh, to do some slam poetry.
I don’t like slam poetry, at least, I don’t like any slam poetry I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to witness. Rich & Carla were probably surprised at my offer to perform, too: the Glastonbirthday stage has mostly hosted musician friends in the past.
Fortunately, I had an ace up my sleeve, never for one moment intending to do actual and achingly sincere slam poetry.
Instead, only the Lovely Melanie was in on the secret it was going to be the lyrics of Wham! in a slam poet style – WHAM! POETRY!
Wearing a Choose Life! t-shirt and pinning a mask of Andrew Ridgeley to the side of the stage, I began with the classic Freedom. Bringing its surprisingly dark lyrical themes of devotion and betrayal to the surface, I faced down an initially mystified audience, performing the song as a bitter, spurned and angry former lover.
Next was Club Tropicana in a Bill Bailey/holiday rep stylee, followed by Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, channeling Stewart Lee‘s inscrutable comic timing to transform the song into a fragmented and confused soliloquy on the subject of loss.
Things were going so well I even went for a completely unrehearsed version of Faith in the style of West Country poet Pam Ayres (whom my mum was once mistaken for while on holiday abroad in the early ’80s).
It all seemed to go down quite well, so I quit while I was ahead and left the crowd…if not quite wanting more then at least not wishing there’d been less.
Less than two minutes of footage exist of this unique and probably-never-to-be-repeated theatrical experience, and here they are…