A note on: performing poems for Speak at Ink 84 Bookshop


OO I had the chance to give a performance for the opening night of a new series in London called Speak, curated by Martin Wakefield.

The event featured myself and Vanessa Onwuemezi, Valentine Carter and Martin himself presenting short new works, in 5 minute bursts, twice over, a format that I appreciate.

We were all together at Ink 84 bookshop on Blackstock Road. This is a remarkably beautiful place, a quintessential modern independent london bookshop. https://www.ink84bookshop.co.uk/ Betsy Tobin and Tessa Shaw run the place and were our very hospitable hosts.

I presented a new performance whereby I first told the audience that i don’t like reading poems anymore, because Ive catalogued all my readings and so know Im bored of them, which is true. I also mentioned how I love Blackstock road because of the Gunners Fishbar and the rival cat charity bookshops. Also true.

I played Hot Chocolate’s 70s hit everyone’s a winner (baby) while telling the audience that we were to make a new collection of my old collection, the guide to being bear aware. I had them rip pages from my book, then go to the front and pritt stick these ripped pages, with their names, and some edits, into the notebook I had brought with me. Pictured right.

Then in the second 5 minutes, I pretended this was an award winning collection, read in a posher voice and dedicated each poem to the person who had popped their name down, with an apocryphal story. Sounds good, but was it good? I don’t know.