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Blog: Poet Fight In Bloomsbury

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Every time we do TotallyAcoustic I always WORRY. We've only very rarely had troubles, like the time we got double booked and nearly had to cancel, but usually it's fine. "Don't worry!" I tell myself. "It'll be FINE!"

So at least I knew i wasn't worrying NEEDLESSLY when, yesterday afternoon, I did a PLUG for the gig on Twitter and someone asked me whether that was the SAME Lamb where the Poetry Night was happening. I looked it up and - OH BLIMEY - it WAS! Same place and also same START time. GRATE.

I spent a couple of hours trying to find out who was running it, to no avail, and managed to BOTHER a couple of people who'd advertised it but didn't know who was in charge. I also rang the pub to find that, yes, they DID have my name in the book for the night... but also had "Poetry night?" just underneath it. EXCELLENT. The Bar Manager reassured me that WE'D be OK as we'd definitely got in first, but STILL: while I was pretty sure we could TAKE a bunch of poets if need be, I'd rather not have to.

I arrived early at the pub to make sure I'd got my CA$H laid down, and was reassured AGANE that all was well. Mr Owen Tromans was already there, as was Mr S Hewitt, and when Mr V Vorton aka Tom arrived ten minutes later we had a WORLD RECORD for Performers Being There EARLY! We got the room upstairs set up and went and SAT there to be in SITU and waited for THE POETS.

We waited for AGES. Occasionally people who were Very Obviously There For The Poetry (including one man who gave me a pile of leaflets, featuring a picture of him looking a bit uncomfortable, apparently taken by CLAIRE GROGAN?!?) who left discreetly when they realised and/or were told that this WASN'T poetry. Eventually, at nearly twenty past seven (we BOTH had start times of half past) a young man STRODE in looking like someone who wanted the world to know He Was A Poet. "Are you here for the poetry?" i asked. "Yeah, it should be starting soon!" he said. "Er... no, it isn't" I replied and, after explaining, followed him downstairs and next door to where the organisers were still having their DINNER in the restaurant. I didn't say at the time but - goodness me! Still eating ten minutes before showtime when you're the promoter? Is that how they do it, in The World Of Poetry? Yet again, ROCK outshines other artforms in its DILIGENCE!

On the way round the Young Poet had said "There's 100, 120 people coming" and "There's going to be trouble." When I arrived at the restaurant the Poetry Chap was MOST annoyed. "I've got 20,30 people coming!" he said. Ah! "Me too" i replied, and we went back round to the pub... where Adrian The Bar Manager once more reassured that we'd have the room - and then went to sort it out with the poets. Which he did with APLOMB - they ended up doing their POEMS out in the beer garden, for which it was a LOVELY night. I felt a bit bad about it all, but hey! we DID have the room first and goodness knows we'd been in the room a heckload longer!

And let's be frank: POETS! I'd have a lot more respect for them if they could be BOTHERED to learn an instrument. Come on! It's EASY!

In comparison the rest of the evening went off CALMLY. Steve and I did the following for our set:
  • Totally Acoustic
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • The Battle Of Peterborough
  • Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates
  • Moon Horse
  • That Was Margaret Thatcher
  • We're The Mars Men Of Jupiter
  • We've Done Something Evil
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was the full Comedy Gig SET, which seems to be falling into shape. The revised version of We've Done Something Evil (now a pastoral WALTZ) especially seems to work well. It was still a BIT wobbly - we really need to sort out what we're saying between songs and, indeed, IN songs - but i think it's going to be FINE.

    Then it was the turn of Vom Vorton who, as ever, was ACE. Earlier we'd all been discussing GIG CRAFT and the difficult job of managing an audience when you're SOLO rather than with a band. Tom was thinking about going back to having a band and I think this ended up with Owen and (mostly) ME giving him HOT TIPS FROM VETERANS about how to FORCE people to pay attention. "SWEAR MORE!" i said, but really he doesn't need much in the way of advice, he was ACE. So many songs! So many IDEAS! So many TUNES!

    As well as his own GRATE songs this also saw the live debut of Brokeback Workbench, our co-composition for the GeekPop festival. We'd had a quick practice beforehand and I think we managed to perform it pretty much RIGHT, if a bit nervously, much to the relief of us both!

    Tom's set finished with an impromptu Q&A Session (an EXCELLENT idea which I may well make into a Regular Feature in future SEASONS) and then, once we'd all managed to waid through the SEA OF POETS at the bar, it was time for the final act, Mr Owen Tromans. I'm Listening Again (hem hem) as I type to the recording of last night for the podcast, and GOODNESS ME but he's good. He's a bloody lovely chap who's always DELIGHTFUL when we've chatted before and after gigs, and so it's always takes me back a bit when he goes on stage and is SO imposing and SO GRATE. It's like "Whoa!There appears to be a ROCK STAR in the room!" It was bloody GRATE from start to finish, tho I feel i may never stop singing "Why don't you levitate me Judith", and the end, when he did an acapella song - GOLLY! It was FAB!

    And that was that, except for, five minutes post-show, a quick BURST of I'm Saying Yes, which a couple of people had requested. Inspired by Owen's acapella performance and aware of the presence of poets in the building i delivered this as a SPOKEN WORD BEAT PEACE, a decision which had almost NOTHING to do with the fact that I'd forgotten the chords. At all.

    And so we left, drifting out into a surprisingly summery night, full of the joys of ROCK. ROCK! It's totally the BEST!

    posted 20/4/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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    Wish I could have come to this. Sound slike a great gig. Owen is always on top form.
    posted 23/4/2011 by Dan Lock

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