Sunday, 15 August 2010

'What goes up must come down, all that swims can also drown...'

And so to the Trent House, Newcastle, for my second appearance at Jibba Jabba, that bar's new spoken word night. Jibba Jabba is shaping up to be a good venue, attracting a decent crowd and striking a nice balance between newcomers and regular performers. I'm not sure which of those categories I fall into at the moment: I wasn't sure if  I was going to perform last night - having planned to go just to discuss dropping some books off for a charity regular JJ attendee Amina Marix Evans works with - but planned a set anyway just in case.

In the event this turned out to be a good strategy as I wound up performing third in the set. I like performing fairly early (for one thing it gives you the chance to relax with a couple of post-performance beverages instead of spending the whole night sober, jittery, and waiting to go on) but I worry about going on first - I'm not the most cheerful of poets, and I worry that sending me on to plough through my tragic tales of gender-incongruity might kill off the room. Equally, the last spot is tough, because you need to provide the exclamation mark to the evening. Inadvertently I wound up doing just that last week at Cellar Door in Durham, and, given that I was in a rage after the cisfail that had been waved in our faces earlier in the evening, it was a weird kind of ending. So it was nice to nestle comfortably in among everyone else's performances, where I could do my thing without too much worry.

I was still kind of worried though. Not only was I doing 'Criminally Fragile' for the second time ever, I also decided to challenge myself by reading 'NSFW' a sort of sister poem to Fragile which is about...well, it's about sex, and desire, and particularly the experience of having desires that are kind of kinky. I figure if I'm going to start performing stuff about my gender identity more openly, I may as well come out and admit to being a bit of a pervy little bitch as well.

Or at least that's what I told myself. I was still bricking it when I got up. Why not junk the planned set? Just do some funny, silly stuff, set people at their ease, don't take risks. On the other hand I'd pretty much outed myself, gig-wise, a week ago, so...

Reader, I read the kinky sex poem. I did the set exactly as planned. And I wasn't shunned or stoned or anathemised by papal decree. In fact, the poems seemed to go over quite well. It still took a while to decompress after coming off-stage (those post-gig drinks came in very handy) and making it back from the gig through the stag-and-hen apocalypse that is Newcastle on a Saturday night was the usual exercise in pure fucking terror, but overall it turned out to be a good night. Particularly because - once I was over my nerves - there were fine sets from Jake Campbell, Jeff Potts, Radikal Queen and many other excellent local poets to enjoy, plus excellent material from co-hosts Karl Thompson and especially Jenni Pascoe, who actually performed and compered in spite of having a bad attack of labyrinthitis.

So Jibba Jabba is shaping up to be a rather excellent night, even when I'm not airing my dirty lingerie in public. Do get along to the next event if you can. As to moi, it's looking like the next time I'm going to be getting my words out will be at the next of Steve Urwin's poetry slams at the Lamplight Arts Centre in Stanley, which won't be until the 21st of September. So in the meantime, fans of the pissed-off ranting which results from the usual blend of boredom and sheer teeth-grinding frustration with the kyriarchy which powers this  blog will, doubtless, have much to look forward to. As to what I have to look forward to...well, I'm wondering about that more and more. But that's another entry, for another day.

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