Charvas, The Crown Posada, a conversation with a buttercup and smoke-soaked poetry

Jibba Jabba: Thanks so much for letting me use the space and the night and silencing Jenni for a couple of hours. Ettrick Scott’s love poem to dry shampoo is genius. Ettrick owned the stage and usually performs as one half of PiPE RiOT: Sky Hawkins: I don’t often laugh out loud at poetry. Sky, gladly, caught me off-guard a couple of times. That is craft. I loved her piece to the charva and especially the response piece to the hippie. Her domestic abuse series is taking shape and is stunning. Scott Tyrrell: “Fortune’s pervert” was hilarious. Alix Alixandra: her gentle lyricism and mandolin-playing were a perfect way to finish the night after Ettrick’s total owning of the stage she managed it in a more subtle, gentle, but just as total way. Steve Urwin: I loved the way he had taken the “in my box” type poem and added all kinds of abstract things and mixed them with the everyday and the “clutter hidden behind a screen/leaving silent space/in which to dream.” Chrissie Petrie: Chrissie offered us dirty pantomime or death, then told us we were getting death! Yey! for the pony that didn’t die in 1914, but probably has since! (Chrissie’s aside). Audience participation for a sausages/war poem. A first for the tour. Jenni Pascoe: let me take over Jibba Jabba and locked away her non-quiet style for one night (only to explode at the end). What control! I loved her line about “magicians or children lacking an understanding of consequences”. The sadness of “fingers that had never held pencils” holding guns with skill. Then the seamless change in tone for the Real Noah to leave us on a less solemn note. Harry Gallagher: I was struck by how honest and raw “This is how I fell…” poem was and his volume poem was well-realised and disturbing. Valerie Laws:Valerie’s pathology poems were detailed and well-crafted. Love the five-year old’s question “Will she be stuffed and displayed in a glass case”!. She treated us to a ‘first lines of jokes’ poem. “Celebrating small penises” went down well, not sure what that says about the audience. Sally Evans: Sally conversed with a buttercup. In a later poem: “the audience walks away after Carol-Ann Duffy and doesn’t come back”. A feeling well-recognised by any poet who has performed more than a dozen times. Other highlights of my first visit to Newcastle: Thanks to Sky, I now know what a “charva” is and (thanks to Ettrick) how to spell it Was great to hang out with Alix and Jon after. We ran flat-out for a tram (in insuitable shoes – Leeds, I blame you!) and waited for a taxi with me. That was the most amusing bit of the night to me as we swapped lines from films and speculated about the two guys staring at us (as we stared at them) plotting our deaths! I hope to make it back Newcastle way soon. The Quayside Seaside, after a swift pint in The Crown Posada I would highly recommend it. I am always surprised by ale prices outside Manchester (or Chorlton). I then met up with a dozen performers, “52” poets and others in The Cluny where we sampled pie and pints. Was excellent to meet so many people I have built virtual relationships with in the reality and find them very like I’d have expected from their poems. A horribly smoky B+B resulted in this poem: Weaving a home Your house was spun from cigarette swirls, angry words and a lack of nourishment that reeked of stale bacon. We rebelled in the smallest ways: left the school-gate evading dinner-lady gaze to watch INXS videos and weave teenage laughter into the foundations. Next: Blackpool 22nd August. The Imperial.

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