I am back in Berlin after a couple of splendid weeks of Italing. And the night after returning, it was onto the BeatStreet stage at Joe’s Bar for the 3rd and final launch of SAND journal, which is truly splendid and should be on all your bookshelves, coffee tables and/or bedsides, if not in your hands. And I protest that this is an honest opinion, not swayed at all by my being in it. A simple glance at MC Jabber‘s contribution, for one, should be ample to seal the deal. Here ends the sales pitch.
The gig was great fun, even if I did feel a little rusty, and I was chuffed with both Eric Eckhart‘s guitar accompaniment and the great vibe from the large audience. The other performers, Alistair Noon, Ryan T. Jacobs, Linden Horvath and host, Rob Grant, were all in top form. Seek them out if you’ve not heard them yet. (The easiest way to do this, of course, is to pick yourself up a copy of SAND, which you can get from St George’s bookshop, or soon, also from Dialogue.)
To celebrate last night’s public premiere of my newish words and music piece, The Happy Plant, I’ve posted a version of it on my electric MySpace page. It was recorded by the multitalented and marvellous Ms Sam Wareing at what I would argue is Berlin’s 2nd-finest accoustic space (Sam will understand what it’s trailing, and that this is no insult). It also so happens that this piece will be performed in selfsame space at the first of the Moabit Kulturtage Sofa Sessions gigs on 18 June. Check my events page here or on The Sofa Sessions Blog for details. The series also features the delicious talents of host, Wasp Summer, Eric Eckhart and the globe-spanning Mesalina Trio.
I’ll be performing on 27 May at the 3rd launch gig for SAND journal – this one at Beat Street, which will be at Joe’s Bar on Schönhauser Allee. That fine manipulator of stringed instrument, Mr Eckhart, will be joining me, so that’s already double the incentive right there. And you might as well quadruple that (at least), for the splendid journal itself will also be available there, and there be more poetics and musics to fill your head exquisitely.
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.