Monday, 10 June 2013

NEWS - Hammer and Tongue Slam Finals

The Hammer and Tongue Grand Final happened on Saturday, and it was AMAZING!

The event was held in Wilton's Music Hall, which is the world's oldest surviving Music Hall (it was built in the eighteenth century and has been a music hall/theatre since 1859!) and just the most gorgeous venue!

The day kicked off with the team slams, with twenty four poets from six locations battling it out for the title of Champion Slam Poets.

I was part of Team Cambridge, and we were lucky enough to have three very strong poets on side, in the form of Fay Roberts, Patrick Widdess and Hollie McNish.

We were up against the teams from Bristol and Hackney in the first round:

First up, team captain Fay Roberts, with a lyrical bilingual piece that held the audience in rapt attention and got our team off to a fine start. Then, we had words from Cambridge's premier poetical polymath, Patrick Widdess. His idiosyncratic whimsy was really well-received by the crowd, and earned him one of the highest scores in the round.

My poem about pubic hair got lots of laughs, and even some cheers from the audience, despite a few shocked faces in the front row! Finally, Hollie's fantastic poem about the hypocrisy of breast feeding etiquette brought our collected performance to a triumphant close.

After a mix up with the scores, we came in a respectable third place overall, 0.6 points behind Hackney in second place. In the final, the witty and verbose Oxford team managed to secure the top spot, pushing the home team into silver medal territory. Hackney fought a good fight - with some great use of multiple voice - but this year's metaphorical trophy belongs to the dreaming spires, and more specifically to Steve Larkin, Tina Sederholm, Paul Askew, and Kate Walton.

Then, it was on to the main event: the individual slam.
Unfortunately, Kate Turner - the runner up at the Cambridge Hammer and Tongue final last year -  didn't manage to qualify for the grand final. Luckily, Kate's got the talent and the skills to go the distance, so watch out, because you definitely haven't seen the last of her!

Stephen Morrison-Burke - Birmingham Poet Laureate and winner of the Cambridge Hammer and Tongue Final 2012 - played a blinder! After a nail-biting semi-final and an edge-of-your-seat final, Stephen emerged victorious and was crowned Hammer and Tongue National Slam Champion 2013!

Congratulations to Stephen, to the Oxford team, and to everyone who took part. Roll on next year!

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