Bangor, Wales

Coming in on the train to Bangor, you get this deliciously precarious sense of teetering on the edge of the world. With the Menai Straits on one side and the looming, mist-weathed Bangor Mountain and its foothills on the other, the UK’s fourth smallest city feels particularly wee, a temporary resident in a bold and … Read more

Death Of An Open Mic

As I’ve intimated before, open mic nights are rare, transient things. Not quite a century flower, more a colleague’s fart that topples a polystyrene cup. In Shepherd’s Bush, I went to the Knock 2 New night at Bar FM, a weirdly clandestine cocktail bar full of leather sofas and disco lights that rolls up its … Read more

Ren’s Bitter Half

There’s an episode of Ren & Stimpy where Stimpy creates a formula that physically splits psychotic chihuahua Ren into the two sides of his personality – ‘Evil Ren’ and ‘Indifferent Ren’. As my open gigs aggregate like silt, I’m finding I’m not growing more confident, just more indifferent. At my last stand-up gig in Shepherd’s … Read more

The Performance Poet Interviews – #9: Scroobius Pip

Coo. It’s all go here, isn’t it? We’ve already heard from eight very different performance poets, spraying their opinions everywhere, making jokes, being all arty. This week, pray doff your cap and stroke your beard for Scroobius Pip. How did you get into performance poetry?It was a strange one really. I had been in various … Read more

Knowle, Sunday

After bailing out on Dublin, the only flight I could get that didn’t cost a pillion pounds was back to Bristol, so I thought hey, brill – I’ll go off piste. Having fallen victim to the parlous nature of open mics, it seemed fitting to take advantage of their ad hoc nature, and find one … Read more

Dining and Cultural Diversity in Dublin

On Friday in Dublin, I was all geed up to go to another stand-up open mic, slur an adequate routine then do the rounds of the night, harvesting real human beings who I could twist and compress into grotesque caricatures before installing them in a barbarous freak gallery known only as ‘The Project’. I checked … Read more

Off To A Bad Shart – Dublin

I am a good man. A good, clean, nice man. I deserve your respect just like anyone else. Please remember that as you read on. I sat on a metal bench on the platform in Cambridge, waiting for my train to Stansted. With my huge rucksack strapped to my back, there was barely any room … Read more

The Performance Poet Interviews – #8: Salena Godden

After a week off due to me fannying about the UK feeling all whimsical and introspective, flipping off beggars then getting poorly, pray doff your hats for the triumphant return of The Performance Poet Interviews. At least it’s not me having opinions for once, thank whatever interventionist deity presides over blogging (probably some sort of … Read more

Open Bleugh

So, if you’ve been following this blog, you may have wondered about the distinct lack of open mic related updates. Am I keeping them secret? What’s going on? The fact is, for the past few days, I’ve been laid up in bed, at home, with a heavy cold. My head’s been pounding, I’ve felt groggy … Read more

Belfast, Friday 10th April

So, after a Facebook invite from Marcus Keeley, I flew over to Belfast to join in with the Make Yourself Heard open mic at the Safehouse Arts Centre. When I got into my taxi from the airport, the cab driver said: ‘It’s been a strange day. First it was sunny, then it was raining, now … Read more

Bleugh Deux

So, it turns out that getting sod all sleep while eating badly and subjecting oneself to repeated major stressors isn’t that good for the old immune system. My sore throat has snowballed into a hacking cough and headache. But will I surrender? No! At least, not quite yet. Chatting with my dad on the phone … Read more

Wigan, April 9th – Write Out Loud

I woke up in Liverpool with a hangover, crammed all my stuff back into my massive Sherpa rucksack, then staggered out to catch a bus to Lime Street station, where I caught the train to Wigan. I was in such a rush that I didn’t bother booking a hotel, thinking that Wigan would be overflowing … Read more

Happy Happy Joy Joy

It’s odd how different an experience can feel from the inside than the outside. I’m less than a week into my Open Mic pilgrimage and already I’ve lost all objectivity and feel thoroughly baffled and sorry for myself. As anybody who has known me for a while will know, I’ve periodically suffered from bouts of … Read more

Monday 6th April

On Monday, I went to Spoonful Of Poison at The Legion in Shoreditch. The night’s compered by ‘Vis the Spoon’ – he’s got a frenetic, noisy, funny compering style that suits the night perfectly, and an awesome quiff. The acts are put on an egg timer that rings when their time’s up. Most people I … Read more

Glasgow, Saturday 4th April

This is Derek, in the Winter Gardens at Bards in the Park, playing an improvised recorder piece to start the readings: And this is an arena for pillow-fighting in my wonderful, genial hosts’ – Colin, Irene and Paul – back garden: That was the kind of ‘supportive with a sense of humour’ atmosphere they had … Read more

Manchester, Friday Apr 3rd

This is me upstairs at Mother Mac’s, the pub hosting the second of the two stand-up open mics I performed at on Friday. And this is the heaving throng dutifully watching me as I took the previous shot. Look at them grinning. Their low entertainment threshold shall be the ruin of us all. If you … Read more

The Start Of Open Season

Score: 0 out of 250Photographer Status: Helen KellerJob Classes –Lv25 Performance PoetLv1 Stand-upLv1 Music So, I started off on Thursday 2nd April in my current hometown of Cambridge, at Upbeat Open Mic at The Hopbine. Up until a fortnight before, it had been held in The Zebra, but when the landlady decided she could draw … Read more

Dear Angel Lady

I read this letter in the March issue of Chat – it’s fate, on ‘Angel Lady’ Jacky Newcomb’s advice page: DEAR ANGEL LADYI’ve recently become interested in angels and began exploring various books and magazines to learn as much as I could. I was excited to discover that our angels each have a name, and … Read more