“Free the Poetry” at the Boileroom was The 1000 Monkeys’ first poetry gig at this lovely venue close to the centre of Guildford. Excellent lighting, Elliott the engineer to tweak the sound system to optimum effect, Duncan and Lydia also giving up their Sunday evening on the bar - we were privileged to be able to introduce some of our favourite local performers and as many poets from the audience who wanted to read at the open mic.
The Dirty Carols (Louise Etheridge, Elizabeth Molineux, Rachel Broughton and Lorna Bannister) were their usual lovely selves, singing the irreverent and naughty words they write to well-loved tunes, sounding like angels. Their á cappella harmonies were as always faultless. They sang a dozen of their compositions, including three “world premiers”! We loved “Sweet Violets” (an adaptation of a traditional music hall song) and that perennial “In an English Country Garden”. Their ever-popular version of “Chitty-chitty-bang-bang” was a big hit of course (I won’t be a spoiler by giving it their revised title here). Their encore, “Little Eye” (an instrumental, said Louise) reduced the audience to tears of laughter.
Alex Twyman read three poems, as usual managing to surprise us with his detailed observations of his own behaviour! They were strong poems.
It was great to see Roya back after several months. She gave a virtuoso performance – first a minimalist poem worthy of John Cage (a few minutes of silence) followed by a hilarious and fearless set about boobs (her own) and relatives! Roya’s silence alone was enough to set us all laughing with her!
Andy V Frost had biked down the A3 to us with only the contents of his head to share, which he did successfully – three love poems followed by fireworks! The third love poem was to his motorbike, of course.
I took my courage in both hands and read a new poem and some old ones, which descended rapidly into facetiousness and ended with my own old favourite, “The Sad Story of Michael.”
Dónall’s poems as host of the night included his old favourites, “Preserve”, “When They Made You They Broke the Mould”, “Clothes have no Memory” and “Crazy Loneliness Hijacks Memory of a Beautiful Woman”. To finish, he read “As Gaelige”, a poem that makes me cry.
We all had a great time, and we want to thank the Boileroom for making it possible. We hope to be back in the soonish future.
9th November 2015
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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.