Last night The Circus of illustration joined forces with Ouse Muse Poetry for their open mic spoken word night. We gathered in the über-cool cellar bar at Hapurs with it's pretty vaulted ceiling. Being illustrators, we were a bit shy, so we sat at the back, trying to look inconspicuous, but the poetry regulars made us feel really welcome.
Each performer had approximately a 3 or 4 minute slot each. I decided to speed draw any imagery that was evoked from the performances straight into my sketchbook, but other illustrators took different approaches. Here's what I drew. I wasn't sure if I properly captured the sentiment of the poems.
The first performance was designed to loosen up the audience's inhibitions! Everyone was encouraged to join in with making some crazy traffic noises. Then I think there was a poem about an old painting of a woodland track, and I caught a phrase from another poem about a man with a burning back, but I couldn't be sure. I think I missed information whilst I was colouring the trees and looking for pencils!
Next up was a funny poem likening busy toddlers to little piggies in a sty. Then a poem about the rise of the worker's unions. I got distracted with it's details though, as I was doodling a toff's profile.
I decided to quickly draw a lady who was in the audience, followed by a poem about the Norfolk landscape at night, a gardener who loved his plants but suffered from ill health, and a poem about yesterday's weather, which was incredibly windy for Bedford.
We had a poem about a seaside pier, a poem about working in a shop (it's not that boring), and a poem about the warm nostalgia of T.V. adverts from your childhood. There was a piece about wanting to telephone someone you really like, but your stomach gets so knotted you can't go through with it. One of my favourites was a poem called "Catechism", depicted here by the Pope eating a Yorkie bar!
Kristina from the Circus even took to the stage to perform some poetry from our new fanzine, which was really brave of her! My favourite sketch came about from a poem about Amy Winehouse. There was poetry inspired by Cyprus (or was it Greece?) It was like a verbal postcard. There were musings about meeting up with a girl you fancied (she sounded cute, even with her moustache) and a poem about how being a bit fat was preferable to being dependent on some worthless bloke. Oh, and someone had a brilliant rant about Margaret Thatcher. Nice to know that there are some socialists in Bedford!
On the left is a quick sketch of Sarah, one of the readers. Her poem was so short I didn't have much time to draw her! There's Hitler and Hitler's pet, called Hitler and the final poem was a very cheeky trap. It was about the vajazzle. I didn't really want to draw that, but "give your muff a buff" was one of my favourite lines of the night.
Ouse Muse poetry night was brilliant fun! There was a great mix of spoken word styles and deliveries. There was a lot of humour and heart in all the performances. I can't wait to go to the next one. I think some of these very loose, quick sketches I've made from the night could have the potential to be worked up and finished into some interesting paintings or embroideries, so it was a good exercise for me. I never seem to get enough time to do some personal development these days.