The Raid 2: Berandal Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations on April 13, 2014 by Adam Broome

The Raid: Redemption came out in 2012; a little Indonesian action film made by a welsh director that quickly became a cult hit with action and martial arts fans alike. Some critics called it the greatest action film of this century, so needless to say, the expectations for this film were so high God kept bumping his head on them. How does it fare?

R3

This film picks up immediately where the first film left off, tying off the stories of the survivors of the first installment within the first five minutes, and focusing the rest of the film entirely on central protagonist Rama. With his family placed into police protection, Rama’s identity is wiped, as the crooked police and mob bosses are actively hunting him in the aftermath of the first film. Forced to change his identity, Rama decides to go undercover and befriend the son of of one of the city’s most notorious kingpins, in the hopes of weeding out the corrupt policemen on his tail.

The first film was relatively low-budget and low-key, set almost entirely within the confines of an abandoned apartment block rife with criminals hiding from the law. This time around, the first thirty minutes are set in a police precinct, and the subsequent two hours are set all over Jakarta, allowing for much more variety in pacing and locations to keep things interesting. The cinematography is much more experimental in this film, and it is also longer, with much more going on this time around. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

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Character development is central this time around, attempting to provide context to the bone-breaking fight scenes that follow. Alas, as you often find with the best action films, the acting and scripting just isn’t that great. After a heart-stopping opening half hour, the following hour sags, with a few characters and sub-plots that weren’t really needed, and didn’t lead anywhere. I found myself thinking that the film was just killing time to the final denouement, bulking out a film with even more fighting that, in all fairness, it probably didn’t need.

Not that the fight scenes are bad – quite the contrary. Some have said the scenes this time are even better than the first (and I whole-heartedly agree). Comparisons have even been drawn to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films, with some citing one of the final brawls in a kitchen as one of the best fight scenes ever put to film. Like… ever.

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Personally, I relished the stylised gore and anime-esque characters of the much talked-about ‘hammer girl’ and ‘baseball-bat man’. Funnily enough, in a fight scene they share towards the end, I found myself caring and sympathizing more about these two mysterious characters, than I did about characters that the film had spent the entire duration trying to build up. Some scenes should have packed a real emotional bite, but just didn’t. Most of the emotion came from the wincing when a leg got broken, or an extra’s chin accidentally hit a concrete wall as he fell.

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Despite the characterisation being a bit flat (which is a big problem in a film with this many characters), everything else goes smooth as butter, with massive improvements from the first film in terms of black humour, imagination, and scope. Despite it’s failings, we all know it’s the action that people come for, and this is the best in show bar none, and rightfully puts the standard American action film to shame. It’s gritty, it’s violent, it’s funny, and it keeps you engaged just long enough to survive it’s rather long running time.

 

8/10

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A Free Write… ‘Slightly’ Edited

Posted in Part Time Poet on January 11, 2014 by Adam Broome

The themes for my upcoming Say Sum Thin 6 performance have changed quite a bit over this last festive break, but I thought I’d put this up as some of the Mouthy collective may have wanted to see it. The original theme I went for was rejection, and although that still plays a part in my newest work, a lot of it got ‘off-shored’ to this piece here. It certainly demonstrates how my writing has developed in the year since Say Sum Thin 4 – I merely place the audience at the heart of what I do, so there is a style I adopt for Nottingham crowds that doesn’t come into play here.

Free Flow

Rejection.

The projection of all social apprehension. A collection of all of the lies they despise, pointed in a single direction. An attempt at correcting all the neglecting collecting when they feel they just ain’t connecting. So they start rejecting, dissecting anyone they’re affecting, just so they can keep on selecting.

Hoping that something better will happen

You hit on a crush, but get rejected

And you apply for a job, but get rejected

Some ethereal force has you elected and protected as an in-balance uncorrected. You start to feel disconnected, like you’re the one person ejected from the normality that you once expected. Nothing seems whole – it all becomes cold. You start feeling like a penguin in the south pole, hustling about on an iceberg now in free flow.

Test your metal – test your creed. When you’re lost, take the lead, and sow the seeds your spirit needs. Do harder deeds at greater speeds, but prepare yourself to concede against those who’ll mislead, misread and ultimately impede you. Even those who once had you freed may now say you’re not a winning breed. I choose not to bite the hands that feed, so in these days of corporate greed, I must ask myself will I change myself purely in order to succeed?

These days I’m just a poet free-styling

Compiling lyrical hard-wiring, for myself and all the people who keep smiling

When they see me stand-up with my old-jokes piling, new-rhymes filing

Go-the-extra mile-ing for a new life-styling, because I’m sick of all this everyday nine-to-five tiling, and I know I want to change my life, but I’m just fed up of dialing

And not getting through

You see, some days the stars blaze; especially on Sundays

But my gaze is hazy nowadays; must I raise myself up now into this cash-crazed, self-praised society of lost ways? To do only whatever pays – your heart is where your home stays, do whatever mum says, regardless of your old age. And sit out in the sun’s rays, where all the lazy folk laze, and nurture all the road-rage in your mind-mazed work-cage with all the other graduated masterminds of great plays.

Will there be another page?

I already look to early graves

Dug for me before I’m due

To end my lust before it’s through

And I know I’m not the only one

You can’t pull a fit chick unless you’re a complete dick

You can’t complete your life goals, unless you are an arsehole

But you’re not

And so your soul pays the toll, and you sign back on the dole, and dig an even deeper hole. A social mole who lost control – enrolled for greatness, but not consoled.

Like a penguin in the south pole, on icebergs now in free flow.

Sometimes I struggle for that next line, convinced the words cannot not be mine. Maybe we’ll get cut down in our prime, and we can see that as a sign for us to moan and whine to all the folks we find. But perhaps, we just get too intertwined with looking to days when stage lights shine. So until then we should improve on our rhymes, keep performing, and strive to do better next time.

So, write with me.

Part Time Poet Is Changing

Posted in Part Time Poet on January 10, 2014 by Adam Broome

Memoirs From London

So, 2013 will always have a place in my heart as being one of the best years of my life – partly due to 2012 being generally considered a low-point; partly due to me doing an internship in Camden Town; and partly due to my return to the stage as my new alter-ego stage persona ‘Part Time Poet’.

Before my trip to London, my first steps back on the stage made for riveting life experiences – opening shows in Leicester, performing in small Nottingham cafes to crowded rooms, and the eventual near-highlight of the year: gigging in main auditorium of the Nottingham Playhouse at Say Sum Thin 5.

However, things got cut short when I was called off to London – my media career beckoned, and I lost my poetical momentum more or less overnight. During my six month period away, I performed on whatever evening I could, doing occasional gigs in Bermondsey, Camden Town, and even RADA. My most frequent place of visit was the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, where I gigged at ‘Poetry Unplugged’, run by my friend Niall O’Sullivan (who also did a great show at the Camden Fringe titled ‘Now Is Not The Time For Politics’ – be sure to catch that one if you can!)

Farrago

Slam Time – The Farrago Poetry Slam is the longest running poetry slam in London, held every month usually at RADA. My one visit to perform here bagged me three new contacts, although I didn’t perform my turn until near eleven o clock in the evening. Having had a full eight-hour day, needless to say, it was not one of my sharpest performances! 

Poetry Unplugged helped to guide my Say Sum Thin 5 performance, as I was unable to attend the workshops in Nottingham leading up to the event. I also penned ‘Faces From The Upwards Escalator’ during this period, along with ‘Funny Time Of Night’ – a few of the more serious pieces to be added to my resume.

Different City – Different Audience

One thing I found hard to get my head around at first was how different the crowds were. I normally play for laughs in Nottingham, as from experience I can say that ‘up norf’, all folks would really want to do is hit the town with their ‘better half’, get some drinks in and ‘ave a laugh. In my hometown, I feel obliged to cater to this need as a performer.

Don’t get me wrong – I love serious poetry when it’s done well. Time and time again I speak about how poetry has returned my confidence to me, and how it has helped others to develop themselves. It is one of the best art forms out there today – cheap to produce, easy to consume, and with virtually a hundred percent creative freedom within the art form itself.

But in London, performing ‘The King’ (which went down brilliantly at ‘Find The Right Words’) didn’t get the audience laughing (except when we filmed it, as you can hear below!). Actually, more often than not, it was met with the one expression besides boredom that you always want to avoid – confusion. My audience didn’t get why I was using an art form so stereotypically serious and having fun with it (or maybe they didn’t get the regency reference!) Either way, it got me thinking. I was jumping the gun being in London anyway (but hey – no time like the present), but I really needed to understand my persona better if I was ever going to perform in the capital effectively.

It was great meeting Lemn Sissay at Say Sum Thin 5 – there was a guy who could pull off both deep, complex poetry to sate the academics among us; and yet also perform a four-line poem about a magpie to a Nottingham audience, and make them howl with laughter. I knew I would need to up my game on both the academic and comedic fronts to develop myself professionally.

David Bowie Is… Inspiring!

I visited many museums during my weekends in London (partly to continue my education; partly because they were all free!), but I’ll have to give the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A a special mention here, for showing the importance of ‘stage character’. Bowie had loads of personas he adopted during his shows, and I thought long and hard for ages about how I could develop a style of my own.

BowieThe David Bowie Cafe – They even made the orange juice machine into an art sculpture!

I played about with the idea of an eyeliner-drawn star over one of my eyes, but I thought this would be a backward step towards my ‘awkward teen’ years. I thought about going full-blown hipster (with hooded top, dog-tag, and all), but that wasn’t exactly being original, was it? In the end, I realised I already had a costume of sorts – my suit. It made for relatively formal attire during my shows, but an acquisition from Camden Town blended the formality of my black clothes with a touch of ‘oddness’ that I’m sure will go down well at my next gigs. It never hurts to look smart, eh?

New Year – New Phase

Upon my return to Nottingham, I realised that the days of ‘Two Minutes’ and ‘The King’ were effectively over. They worked in the Midlands. They failed in London. Using that knowledge in this new year, it is time to start writing once more. ‘Faces From The Upwards Escalator’ and ‘Funny Time Of Night’ both have films that I’m currently creating for them. ‘The Night Jimmy Got Laid’ is one I am keen to perform at future shows in the new year, although it will likely be a rarity due to it’s length!

Say Sum Thin 6 has now started being prepared, where I have decided to stick to my comedic roots. Despite now acknowledging that my middle-class dry humour will never impress the academics out there, I still believe it is the audience that drives my writing. The theme of the next Playhouse event will be ‘transformation’, and in an ironic idea that only I could have come up with, I’ve done a poem about being stubborn and not transforming one’s own artistic integrity… even when you should!

Poetical TV got some films and interviews done with me – this was the longest poem I’d ever done in one go at the time. I’ll be seeing them again in the new year; before the next Say Sum Thin event, to be precise!

In the mean time, my more serious works are being developed behind closed doors. If I cannot distribute these works to the public en masse confidently, I will need to find distributors who can look on it with professional eyes. Competitions, publishers and editors are all on the cards in the new year, to allow my more complex works to be accessible to the correct audiences who can enjoy them.

Hopefully I’ll be revisiting London on and off in the new year to test some works out down there as well – ‘Bang Said The Gun’ and ‘Come Rhyme With Me’ are two nights that I never had time to perform at during my internship, and they are two pieces of ‘unfinished business’ that I’d like to clear up at some point during my performance career.

Gravity Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations with tags , on November 14, 2013 by Adam Broome

I’ll start by saying: This is going to become one of those films that everyone raves about at the time of it’s release, but five years down the line, after the special effects in it are featured in every single blockbuster going, people look back on and say “Actually… it wasn’t that great really, was it?”

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The film is essentially a disaster flick. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock (both on good form) are astronaughts who are doing a little maintenance work on the ol’ Hubble Space telescope, when Houston Control warns them that they ‘have a problem’. The Russians destroy a spy satellite with a missile, but unfortunately due to the high satellite density in the immediate surrounding area, create a cloud of ‘space debris’ in the process. This debris starts to orbit the Earth at speeds faster than sniper bullets, and subsequently hits the Hubble Space Telescope, killing all but our two survivors, and leaving them without any satellites left to use to contact Earth (or for that matter, any shuttle to land back on Earth with).

The ninety minute run time is (pardon the pun) well-spaced out – the pacing is great, and the film rarely drags. A lot of people seem to have problems with knowing that Sandra Bullock carries at least half the film by herself, but to her credit, she does an amicable job in the shoes of a rookie space engineer who goes from ‘panicking newbie’ to ‘female Bear Grylls’ in the space of three hours. Whenever her character has the potential to annoy, the effects are there to back her up, and the two come together seamlessly, with ‘Gorgeous George’ around to keep everything on track.

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Be under no illusion – never before have I seen such unity between real life film clips and digital animation. If the green screen tricks of The Great Gatsby blew you away, you will flip out when you watch this. I don’t think there was a single person in the audience who wasn’t full-on bricking it for the first thirty minutes. What people don’t seem to mention is the brilliant use of point-of-view shots, putting us inside Bullock’s suit and allowing us to see the disorientating effects of zero-gravity first hand as she lashes out to hold onto anything at all with her two flailing arms. You’ll find yourself quickly starting to panic along with her.

Overall, I enjoyed this film. It’s an almost painfully simple plot about the need to survive, and the films Open Water and 127 Hours came to mind. With all due fairness, if it’s characterization and a solid script you’re looking for, they’re the better films to watch. What you have here is a better sense of special effects, and cinema taking it’s first steps into next-generation digital trickery. 3D is definitely recommended, if only for the awe-inspiring sense of travelling miles above the Earth (and you can throw in a few ‘flinch’ moments too for good measure). Disaster movie enthusiasts will have all their boxes ticked, and it was also nice to see a 12A film that didn’t feature a copious amount of violence.

Ridley Scott made space a terrifying place to be in 1979 by adding an alien. This film creates one of the best white-knuckle film experiences I’ve seen in a long time by simply taking one thing away.

Gravity.

7/10

My Top 5 Hans Zimmer Scores

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2013 by Adam Broome

So just recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hans Zimmer. He has scored some of my favourite films of all time (and, as it transpires, a pretty awesome game as well). Nothing quite adds to an action scene like a heart-pumping soundtrack – get the music wrong, and it all falls apart. The thing with Hans Zimmer is that even with movies that didn’t do so well financially, the music was undisputedly top-bar. Every time.

Currently undergoing a slight nostalgia trip with his music, I feel it best to write my own ‘ode’ to this amazing composer, and cover my top 5 Hans Zimmer scores from some of my favourite-ever films. Even if you’re not a fan of their genres, these films are worth checking out for the merit of the music alone:

5. Inception

Clocking in at number 5 is one of the most popular movies in recent years. Inception – ‘that film about dreams’ – tells of the story of one man who infiltrates the dreams of another to place an idea deep inside his subconscious. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that easy, and it’s not long before the man’s subconscious starts fighting back, and then we have all manner of mountain assaults, zero-gravity corridors and freight trains chugging down Manhatten high-streets.

Amidst all the fun, Zimmer delivers one of his most easily-recognizable scores – the deep bass became synonymous with the film, and the film are the score were both highly regarded. Rightly so – ‘tis a brilliant film!

4. Modern Warfare 2 – Whiskey Hotel

In one of his first game projects, Zimmer scores Modern Warfare 2, which continued on from where the first game left off. Due to a political mess-up, Russia has declared war on the US, and invaded. ‘The Battle For Washington DC’ kicks off, and although the US Army spend several days defending it, it eventually becomes apparent that the first wave of the invasion alone is enough to bring the American infrastructure to it’s knees.

Just when all hope is lost (with the second and third Russian invasion waves flying over the skies), the British SAS save the day by launching a nuke directly at Washington, and detonating it in the upper hemisphere. The EMP triggered by the bomb sends the aerial invasion forces crashing down to Earth, and after dodging all manner of falling planes, jets and helicopters, an eerie walk around the ruins of Washington with the survivors follows. Soldiers run around lost – some looking for their units, some carrying messages. Amidst all the chaos, the surviving marines eventually get their final assignment – congregate at ‘Whiskey Hotel’. When you eventually get there and find out what the code-name is for, you realise ‘The Battle for Washington DC’ will be decided then and there. It makes for a very tense (and memorable) moment in gaming with a soundtrack all too fitting for it’s epic conclusion.

3. The Peacemaker – The Chase


This overlooked film made a fair impact upon release due to a highly-tense final act, where a middle-Eastern terrorist tries to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York. Back in ’97, that was just fiction, but subsequent real-life events rather pushed this film aside.

‘Gorgeous George’ Clooney and Nicole Kidman team up in two stereotypical roles as a solider and a government analyst trying to find a nuke and secure it before it goes off, chasing the theft of the device all over Europe, until the inevitable showdown in the US of A.

It did, for a long time, feature one of my all-time favourite car chases of any film (until I watched Ronin, that is). In that scene – to this soundtrack I might add – Clooney and Kidman are ambushed, and so drive into a town square, but find themselves surrounded by bad guys. At this point, amidst the erupting bullet storm, a hydrogen pump bursts, and turns the cobbled floors into an ice-rink. The cars slide and smash into each other like dogems, machine guns blazing. It’s very fun to watch, and very epic!

2. The Rock

One score that frequents many ‘Zimmer’ lists, The Rock tells the story of an American army officer’s attempt to bring government compensation to the families of his fallen comrades by hijacking chemical missiles and aiming them at San Francisco. Whilst we see the film through the viewpoint of the ‘good guys’ working for a corrupt American government, it isn’t until the closing ten minutes that the real bad guys are finally revealed. In one of Micheal Bay’s more complex and sensitive films (dare I say, ‘intelligent’) Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage storm the island prison of the title to save the city.

This particular part of the score plays at the opening, when we see the crazed army general steal the chemical weapons without killing anyone – yet losing one of his own men in the process. The scenes opens with the general standing over the grave of his deceased beloved, asking for forgiveness before the events of the films. It is a very unusual way to start an action film of this calibre, but is all the better for it!

1. Broken Arrow

One of my favourite all-time films, Broken Arrow is one of John Woo’s earlier American credentials. After ‘Hard Target’, Woo dropped Van-Damme, and invested a bigger-budget to tell a story of two American air-force pilots fighting in the Utah desert for custody of two nuclear missiles (again…) hijacked during a test flight.

The by-play between the two leads (Christian Slater and John Travolta) keeps things suitably theatric – with Travolta in particular reveling the role. A shoot-out in a collapsing mine, and a hand-to-hand fight on a train about to explode are featured to this soundtrack. When the music kicks in, you feel it, and I doubt that I would not have so much love for this movie were it not for Zimmer’s score. They complement Woo’s direction perfectly, and two come together famously for one of the best action films of all time, and my all-time number one guilty pleasure! (Listen hard, and you might even be able to hear the future ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ score coming through!)

Kick Ass 2 Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations on August 19, 2013 by Adam Broome

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Kick Ass, but Jim Carrey’s much-talked-about performance, and the fact this film was getting a mixed reception, convinced me to trade in my coins for my second London cinema experience. I sat in the Vue theatre on Leicester Square on a rainy Sunday afternoon, with the room pretty much to myself. I’ve not had a screen this much to myself since ‘Reign Of Fire’, and that wasn’t great (though I liked it more than my mum did). So we got bad signs from the start. But they quickly disappeared.

ImageThe story generally follows every superhero story sequel myth-arc: Kick Ass and Hit Girl are now trying to hang up their costumes and live normal lives, but are finding it difficult. However, the antics of the first film have inspired people all over America to copy them, and now a plethora of costumed ‘average-Joes’ walk the streets. Enter Colonel Stars And Stripes (played by Carrey), who unites all the vigilantes under the guise ‘Justice Forever’.

Whilst all this is going on, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s character Chris D’Amico is still smarting from the events of the first film (which, if you’ve seen any of the promotion material for Kick Ass 2, has probably been spoilt for you). Angered that Kick Ass has joined the first team of superheroes, D’Amico turns himself into the world’s first super-villain, aptly titled ‘The Motherf*cker’, and starts a super-villain group of his own.

To say the story is relatively cliche-city, this is probably the best I’ve ever seen it done. Opening with ten minutes of awkward exposition, you may be convinced the script is going to be bad throughout. But once we actually get on with telling the story of ‘Kick Ass 2’, the pace never lets up.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson keeps his lead character in check, narrating the events and generally just trying to keep alive amidst the action all around him. He basically does what he did in the first film.

Chloe Grace Moretz reprises her role as Mindy, but her alter-ego takes a back seat for much of the two-hour running time. Actually, Moretz’s character spends most of the film trying to fit in at high school, which although sounds mawkish, actually gives her character room to develop, and for Moretz to show her acting talents on a much greater scale than the first film. She responds accordingly, and carries half the weight of the film easily.

Carrey steals every scene he’s in, and although Mintz-Plasse basically reprises his ‘Mclovin’ persona (he’ll never live that name down), it fits perfectly with the script and comedy of the charade. D’Amico gets all the best laughs, and scenes such as his attempt at raping a woman are laugh-out-loud.

I was also surprised to see several cameos from some of my favourite actors of the moment, which added some extra gravitas to proceedings.

The special effects are better handled than the first, although that’s probably to do with it being less of an independent production this time around. I’m pleased to say, however, with the absence of Hit Girl, a greater sense of realism is achieved, with much more emphasis on the ‘normal guys trying to be Batman’, and less on the jet packs and bullet-dodging.

For me, this was the key to the film’s success – it keeps itself well within the boundaries of reality, with people running away from fights, and generally acting like complete wussies when confronted with any real danger. When Hit Girl does make her inevitable return, the laws of physics are pushed, but this film gets away with it more than the first, as she is saved in the background as the ‘only real superhero’, only revealing herself to take on Mother Russia – D’Amico’s only real super villain. Because of this, you accept the Matrix-style fight scenes much more easily when the film reaches it’s climax.

Some critics say this film has no ‘memorable scenes’, but for me that’s nonsense – Mother Russia taking on five police cars full of officers on a suburban street, and the final battle (which was everything the finale of X-Men 3 wished it was) were awesome to watch.

I think your enjoyment of this film is down to how much violence you can take – Carrey has already spoken out against it. For me, there was no problem, as it bears a 15 certificate (thus, it fares better than ‘The Dark Knight’ in my books). My generation are generally de-sensitized. I don’t speak for everyone. But if cops getting hacked up with lawnmowers, or a villain attempting to rape someone sounds like it could be a laugh, then this is a great film. It’s tongue-in-cheek, and if you get offended, you’ve simply taken the film too seriously (a hard thing to do, considering it’s a comedy for the most part).Image

Overall, this is probably one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. I went in with a list of boxes, and it ticked every single one. It didn’t try to go the extra mile, and it didn’t need to. It is what it is – a comedy summer blockbuster, with a lot of gore and violence. It didn’t attempt to change the formula, but rather got a tighter grasp of what it tried to do the first time around, and improved itself.

I also noted, this has all the best parts of everything that’s gone before; the philosophy of Spider Man, the grittiness of Batman, the violence of Watchmen – and where those films all had flaws, this film seems to have learned from their mistakes, and compensated by filling in with good parts of other franchises. So it has talking and character-development alongside violent action scenes at a perfect ratio, and with great pacing.

So yes, to me this is the best superhero flick since Batman Begins. The Dark Knight is the film to counter the argument, but I never really recognised that as a superhero film anyway. I came out of Kick Ass 2 sated, happy, and with closure. And I couldn’t ask for more than that.

10/10

The Part Time Poet Learns To Speak

Posted in Part Time Poet on April 5, 2013 by Adam Broome

Say Sum Thin 4 – Musings Of Sarcasm

In February I did my first performance in over eight years. Unlike theatre productions where you all act in character, the delivery of poetry is something a lot more personal, and a lot of the time people deliver it as themselves.

I, on the other hand, decided to cheat the system and create an on-stage persona who goes by the title of the ‘Part Time Poet’, by which I could use dry wit and working-class sarcasm to convey a relatable message.

The performance running time was over three hours long – The Mouthy Poets’ biggest show to date. My debut was roughly forty minutes in, and the title of my piece was ‘The King’. Since the theme of the event was ‘Love, Lace and Revolution’, I’m sure a lot of people were sat, preparing to hear about the monarchy or some such. Boy, were they in for a big surprise.

Before the event itself, I did a vague warm-up of sorts at an open mic in the Jam Cafe, down in the Lace Market sector, one Wednesday night. My delivery was rather off-timing and the crowd was extremely neutral (let’s face it, they were expecting music). However, neutral was better than completely negative, and I did hear some ‘randomer’ shout out some support half way through my act.

So evidently, after that whisky-tinted experience, I managed to perform to an audience of our mums and dads on the Friday just fine. Some left some very nice comments about my performance, which was lovely to read. I knew my poem was one of the few comedy acts in the show – perhaps the only one in the first half. The fact that the reception was so warm on all of my performances suggests to me that my strategy was correct – humour gets you browny points straight away, even if your poetry is not really that deep or complex.

On the final night, we had the better and more engaged audience, and we also coupled our acts with music, which added to the experience. I apparently delivered my best performance yet and the crowd loved it. Feedback has been positive and everyone has been really supportive.

First Steps On The Road

In the wake of SST4, I did (most notably) a set at Blackdrop, and a double set at the Leicester event Find The Right Words. Blackdrop was an evening devoted to International Women’s Day, where I dropped an unedited version of ‘The King’, and lost them at the c-word roughly ten seconds in (didn’t think about that – whoops!) That was the night I decided that EVERY performance of The King from then on would be a coughing version. As Tshaka Campbell told me – that c-word is just a little too darn offensive for most! It was also, however, the first time performing ‘Two Minutes’, and that has become a staple of my set now, despite having written it roughly two years ago!

Find The Right Words, on the other hand, was probably my best performance to date. Coupled with an awesome night out afterwards, and a really professional venue in which to perform, I did both my poems to a great response, both from professional artists and poetry enthusiasts alike. Going out and partying in Leicester that Tuesday night showed a lighter side to all the rather formal poetic-ness, and as the weather gets warmer there’ll hopefully be a few more socials alongside the performing as well!

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Fellow poets Jess Green and Sean Mahoney front-row the audience at Find The Right Words as I do the first bit of my two-part act.

My poem ‘Maurice’ got published in the Nottingham University Anthology, which means I can now call myself an official ‘published poet’ (which is always nice). Can’t wait to get a copy. I met a guy called Nick Makoha, who always carries his first-ever published work around with him wherever he goes. I might just end up doing the same!

Although I have seen a lot of shows recently, looking for inspiration or just witnessing how other people use words and the microphone, two particularly have stood out for me: Niall O’Sullivan, who did a free performance at a Mouthy session one Friday, and Mark Grist, who I saw only last night, and only cost me £3. Funnily enough, both of their sets were life stories, and so epic were they in their scope, they covered all parts surrealism, humour, tragedy and inspiration. Put it all together, you get modern-day poetry! Hell-to-the-yes.

On the road ahead, I’ll be performing in Nottingham at the Jam Cafe and Blackdrop again in the upcoming months. I’ll no doubt also be scheduled for Say Sum Thin 5 which is on June 15th (only this time we’ll have the main auditorium for just one night only!) I plan to hit Birmingham soon, as I’ve met some really cool poets from there who inform me that the place is buzzing with open mics and poetry slams. I am currently developing much more hardcore poems for such events, and once they’re perfected, I’ll be right on over! I’ve developed a social media network in the last few weeks, so you can find me by my alias ‘Part Time Poet’ on Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter!

~X~

P.S: At least I have my closing act ready!