The extra Leap Day in February meant we had to wait an extra six days for the first Monday in March at the Keystone Open mic, but it turned out to be really worth waiting for. Our favourite Farnham performance poet, Daniel Smith, was in grand form, despite a gruelling day at the chalk face, and we were blessed with nineteen open mic readers. They included several new adult faces and a charming little girl called Isabelle, who delivered her poem at the mic to start us all off. I read a poem,too.
“I wanna be a Dictionary when I grow up”, is the other side of the coin. Dan tells us that it’s inspired by a piece written by one of his little pupils, who are, he says, “mint”. He uses all his proven talent for rhythm and rhyme in the new poems.
Daniel's set was lively, stimulating and deceptively spontaneous and casual. He'd memorised almost all his poems, including most of his new material, and delivered them with a sure feeling for pace. His performances are anything but naive but have a freshness and enthusiasm that never fails to appeal as he expresses frustrations and searches for satisfaction in torrents of well-chosen words.
And he’s still the lad from Hereford, expressing his love-hate relationship with that beautiful town and its sleepy provincial atmosphere in a poem that demonstrates much more love than hate. It was great to see him again on the 1000 Monkeys’ platform.
It was Mothering Sunday yesterday. Dónall Dempsey led us off with W H Auden's "The More Loving One" and then delivered his moving set of poems about his mother, ranging from the touching “My Mother’s Hands” to poems and stories about their relationship: the time he teased her into believing she’d unconsciously shredded his pair of yellow Versace jeans that she’d always wanted to destroy, for instance (he'd done it himself). Her last comment on being serenaded on her deathbed by Dónall’s rendition of “Autumn Leaves” in Japanese, (“Sure, ye always were a terrible old eejit!”) says much about their playful relationship.
Andy B J Low, back from a break away from Guildford to deal with family matters, argued a good case against the Kindle’s creeping threat to print. He followed up with some of those surreal torrents of words and images that bounce directly from his amazing mind on to the page and off it into our amazed ears!
Next event at the Keystone is on 23rd March, when we gatecrash Neil Willis's music open mic with six of the members of the Paris Lit Up group of writers and performers. Neil has kindly agreed to help us to help them to launch their latest beautiful magazine, PLU#3. So we'll have three compére/performers, Neil, Dónall and Emily Ruck-Keene, open mic readers and musicians, and readings from the PLU magazine by our visitors. There will be music and poetry from 8pm till late, and all are welcome to perform or read in the open mic. And it's 2-for-1 Burger Night at the Keystone! This will be a night to remember!
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Janice & Dónall Dempsey
We are poets, writers, spoken word performers, editors and organisers of spoken word events, based in the United Kingdom.