November’s Beat Street was great fun and the new home – Arch Angel, under the S-Bahn near Alexander Platz – works a treat. The room had an warm and enthusiastic vibe and good accoustics, and if a performer had some impeccable timing, the rumble of the trains overhead could add some magnificent drama.
My set was a mixture of tested pre-Berlin poems, including one of the first I ever performed (A Fantasy in F), and stuff from the last year or so. I opened with To the Edge, which, being an embarking poem, seemed as fitting a place as any to start.
After a sea voyage or two, we travelled through a sinister world below, the romance of a new life in an old world, the unsavoury spectre of Evil Pink Day, inspirations and transformations, obsession via creepy cliché, the desolation of good-bye, and time loss.
It was the first time I’d performed a full set without reading, and I’d recommend it heartily. Not having your hands and eyes occupied with the paper lets you connect so much better with the audience and, I think, put a lot more energy into the performance. Curiously, it’s also a lot less stressful, because you don’t seem as inclined to over-correct. And learning the poems is a good way to pick up anything that isn’t quite working.
Thanks to organiser Rob Grant for the gentle prodding to take the stage, and huge electric thanks to a fantastic audience: it’s beautiful to perform to an audience whose energy you can feel coming back at you. Thanks also to the steady hand of Ash Ilott for the photos here presented.