On Tuesday night I went down to the Amersham Arms in New Cross to take part in the last ever Utter! Spoken Word event in London.
While the Utter! banner lives on, with regular events in Luton and in Gravesend, London promoter Richard Tyrone Jones is hanging up his poetry promoting boots after ten years, in order to have a little more time for other projects. Tuesday's grand finale was a fantastic send-off, with all previous Paid Gig Contest winners battling it out for a massive helping of poetry kudos (and a big cash prize).
There were so many great performances on the night. I particularly enjoyed Daisy Thurston-Gent's wonderful space-themed poem, Laurence O'Reilly's heart-wrenching tribute to introverts, and Frog Morris' puppet poetry - complete with stuffed badger! I also really loved Rose Drew's political poetry and Laurie Bolger's ode to Shoreditch - which always makes me smile.
Mancunian poet Tom Gill stormed through two heats, winning his place in the final where he was up against previous winners George Edward Chopping and Ali Brumfitt. Chopping's brittle persona and witty, surrealist poetry went down well with the audience, and Gill's poem about becoming estranged from his old school friends hit all the right notes, but in the end Ali Brumfitt came out on top with a cheeky piece about the pleasures of chocolate over sex.
It was a fantastic show, and I was really pleased to be a part of it.
On Wednesday, we had our last Fen Speak open mic night of the year, at the Babylon Gallery in Ely. As usual, we had an great mix of styles and themes, including a beautiful poem about bereavement, a fab piece about Ely in the early morning, a wonderful story about rabbit pies, and a poem generated by predictive text! One of our regular contributors also wrote a poem about Fen Speak, which was really nice to hear!
I'm always so delighted at how enthusiastic people are about Fen Speak - we have a really good group of regulars, many of whom are beginning to be recognised for their talents through publishing deals and other projects too. I'm incredibly proud of all of them, and although we can't take any credit for their successes, I hope that Fen Speak has helped, in some small way, to boost their confidence in their abilities.
Then, on Friday, I went along to Relevant Records in Cambridge, for Spark the Word: Letters to Winter, an event organised by local poet and promoter Nikki Marrone to help raise money for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.
It was a fantastic show, with music from local band Mouth, artwork by Sensibly Insane, and poetry sets from the Skinny Poet (Jody Lee), Tim Knight, and Daisy Thurston-Gent. I also did a few poems to kick things off, doing a few pieces that I don't usually perform.
The shop was full to bursting, and we made loads of money for the charity too! Hoorah!
Now, I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, so expect and influx of blogposts over Christmas and the New Year! I'm really looking forward to having some time to write some new poems - so keep an eye out for them too!