There were a lot of words flying about yesterday, one way and another: first I went to the inaugural session of Sound Cafe, a new project for the homeless in Leicester which combines tea and cake with words and music (‘let them eat cake and listen to folk’?) This was very interesting: it took place in St Martin’s House, next to the Cathedral and a whole host of volunteers assembled themselves and urns of tea plus boxes of cake, for the beginning. Predictably, volunteers outnumbered punters, but it’s only the first session and a good number of people turned up to listen to a guitarist and singer play in the first half. I did a quick blast of poetry and we talked about encouraging people to share their poetry in future sessions. Then I had to leave as I had to dash home, make pizza, dash back to Wilco’s to pick up a couple of floor-lamps (don’t ask)* before whizzing home to put pizza in the oven, eat it, assemble lamps, argue with son, get on bus and go to town where I was due to perform.
Well! The evening was called ‘Women’s Words’ – it was downstairs in the Crumblin’ Cookie, which is a good venue for these sorts of things, being secluded and intimate – and we kicked off around eight with a singer. My only beef was that the first act went on way too long: if you’ve got four people – two musicians, two poets – you’d expect the musicians to play for about half an hour and the poets to do about 15 – 20 minutes. But the first act went on for nearly an hour, so I was a bit pissed off with that. Plus, it kind of buggered up my intro, because the way I usually pull people in is by doing a couple of comic verses before heading into the more serious stuff: but she had finished (like Phoebe Buffay, now that I think about it) with a song about her Mum dying, so that I really should have reorganised my set list and started with something more serious.
Aaaanyway, I will get paid for that, so all’s well that ends well. I was followed by a high, breathy and reverberating Polish woman whose music I enjoyed, and the evening finished with Jess Green, a well-known local poet. She’s always good value and does stunningly long and fast poems from memory.
And so to bed.
*actually do ask – especially if you know a good electrician