Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Looking Douglas Adams in the eye and Vogons at Open Mics in Hell
I attended an Open Mic session at my nearest live poetry venue last night, where people can lie back as if in an old Victorian opium den and drift away. On offer are thoughts threaded through with others words and imaginings, some good, some bad, some indifferent. Open Mic sessions can be an act of faith, throwing yourself off the cliff hoping something will be there to catch you. You trade in two hours of your life (three in my case if you count travel time) in the hope of hearing something that speaks to you, amuses you, angers you and enthuses you. Of course I also go to strut my own stuff and the price in time and energy I am prepared to pay to open my mouth in public plays havoc with the cost benefit analysis. However last night was a good night, some interesting poems to listen to and friends to see.
I have occasionally been trapped in rooms when an Open Mic is very long and tedious. Once I attended one when the naive but jolly organiser had magnanimously announced that everyone could have as long as they liked as the room was booked and free for hours. This was a huge mistake, waving what passed for an eternity under the nose of eager poets who took him at his word. I did start to meander off concentration wise during this marathon and decided that purgatory would be an endless open mike session without any poems of merit. Further into the session, by hour three, I upgraded that thought and knew for certain that hell would be an endless open mike session.
I was sure that the Vogon poetry session in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by the wonderful Douglas Adams, was inspired by the authors visit to a long open mic session in which the doors had been locked. I once met him at a party and he was much taken by the fact that I was the only woman he had ever met who could look him in the eye,this being a matter of height rather than shiftiness or embarrassment I hasten to point out. During this afore mentioned long session, Vogon poetry began to seem preferable at one point, almost as if given sufficient serious analysis of the, I have a degree in how to bullshit my way through an English degree sort, deep truths and the unfettered rhythmic pulse of the universe could be unleashed in its tumble of sound.
This sounds insulting, arrogant and up my own hind-quarters but you were not there dear reader, you were not there. I survived due to a strong bladder, the capacity to see interesting images such as Tin-Tin in floor tiles and mainlining on the prospect of eventually getting up there and reading myself. Of course the poetry organiser in hell would ensure that your name is never called and you would sit for eternity clutching your poems in your hot sticky hands until they weld and mesh into your skin and become a useless extension of your own body. Much like it felt at this session I refer to. I also decided at this session that The Hell Poetry Society would have a strong penchant for nature poems and heavily rhymed work without enjambment that assaulted the ear to the point of auditory torture. The poet who read excruciatingly slowly running at the end of the rhyming couplet with all the vigour of a used tea-bag would be given long and repeated stints at the mic of course. He would stare at the audience and have a doctorate in passive-aggressive eye contact that would defy you to so much as breathe during his long reading.
The devil loves an open mic but then sometimes so do the angels.