Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Bilston Voices

Although the fine weather seemed to have had an effect on the numbers attending this month's Bilston Voices it certainly didn't reduce the quality of the event at all. The performances were of the same high standard that we have come to expect and so we were treated to five more excellent sets in our evening's entertainment at the Cafe Metro.
It started with Ddotti Bluebell who gave a confident performance in a fast-paced, rhythmic, almost rapping style. Her opening poem was an odd piece about what Hitler would have been like if he had worn her bright orange boots. Other poems covered various aspects of her experience as a poet - how she became a poet, the stress of writing and so on but by far the oddest was a rapping villanelle about child slavery. Before I heard it I'd have sworn that a rapping villanelle was an impossibility and the subject matter added an extra level of improbability. Nevertheless it was a fine piece of work, both technically and as thoughtful entertainment.
By complete contrast Janet Smith gave a quieter, more structured set  of shorter poems. Her strength lies in the use of imagery from nature both straightforwardly and metaphorically. My favourite from her set was "The Fire In His Eyes"  about a childhood experience of creating a collage of a tiger but all of them were lyrical and delivered with a quiet intensity.
Things turned around again with the appearance of Andy Connor, literally with his appearance, as he strode  slowly and menacingly towards the performance area before delivering the most powerful piece of the evening, a startlingly dark and aggressive poem about being a bully at school and the lifelong aftermath of it. It was wonderfully and mesmerisingly done with intense flashes of anger contrasting sharply with almost prosaic descriptions of violence. He followed it with a brighter poem about an inspirational teacher and an extract from his new novel in which he convincingly described a visit to a rather dodgy car dealer. It was a varied set and all very well done.
The second half kicked off  with Hazel Malcolm. In homage to tomorrow's Royal Wedding, she started with a short poem about being a bridesmaid and followed up with a reprise of the piece that she had read a couple of weeks ago at Wolverhampton about  her mother acting as banker in an informal financial club. A diverse selection of pieces  including poems about a plastic bag, how time changes us and some short reflections about hairdressing rounded out her set.
Theo Theobald never disappoints. His sets are only peripherally about poetry as the introductions are often longer than the poems and both are laugh-out-loud funny. In among the banter we were treated to poems about why he hates the London Marathon, how men drive and Eastenders' script writing, as well as the more serious Harry's Stool which was an unusual and poignant reflection on death. He finished off with his ever popular slam piece riffing on the names of the areas from the Radio Four shipping forecast.
It was an excellent end to an excellent night that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone there.

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