A great night at Wax Lyrical in Colchester last night. In fact it’s been a great week on the Poetry Link. Veteran poet, song-writer and Essex raconteur Martin Newell has been a worthy headliner, with many of the people I spoke to in Peterborough on Tuesday saying he’s their favourite PL headliner thus far. He was certainly on the money in Norwich and Peterborough where I saw his set, and again last night on home turf in Colchester.
It was a really special evening. Ross Sutherland was our host with the toast, Steph Leal performed a solid opening set and then Martin Figura won the hearts of the Colchester massive with a storming twenty minutes which included poetry ‘covers’ “Miss Joan Cooper Clarke” (Miss Joan Hunter Dunn) and “They fuck you up your kids” (This Be The Verse). John Cooper Clarke’s daughter was in the crowd and got on the phone to her dad who came down to join the party. “A honour to be put to that tune,” he crooned to Martin in the bogs as the three of us adjusted our barnets before Martin Newell took to the stage.
However, before all that could happen we were treated to the debut performance by a young lad called Jack Stannard. Jack sent me some of his work via MySpace a few months ago and I was impressed. I knew that if he had any ounce of stage craft he could really have something. Last night he didn’t disappoint. Sixteen years old and already looking every inch the professional, if this was F1 he’d be Lewis Hamilton. So you heard it here first folks – Jack Stannard – a name to watch. He was so good I immediately offered him a New Voices slot at Latitude.
Martin was on cracking form and ended with his song Stella and Charlie got married. Ross and I bopped away (if one is still able to do such things) in the wings and then went on together to read out the exquisite corpse poem, which was rather imaginatively hi-jacked by the Newell’s and Clarke’s daughters.
In Colchester this year we have brought them Jude Simpson, Chris Hicks, Salena Godden and Martin Newell. Over the next three months we have Francesca Beard, Aoife Mannix and Byron Vincent. I have been involved in poetry for ten years and can safely say it is very very rare that you get quality like that for only a fiver. And with Ross compering and a steady flow of top support acts there is no reason to stay away. Colchester come and support this excellent club.
I’m off to London tonight to road test more Petty Concerns stuff in support of Mr Sutherland as he runs his first ever solo show for the first ever time. Eek! I have a few guestlist spaces for poetry keen beans. Let me know if you want one. It’s at SHUNT which is open till 3am and has loads of other stuff going on as well. I’m on at 8pm, Ross around 9.
Tomorrow I’m at Cambridge Wordfest. It’s the start of my Poet’s Work Is Never Done tour. I’m on at the ADC theatre, deatils on the gigs page. If you’re around come down, it’ll be mega-mega-cool-pants.