In addition to writing poetry, I occasionally perform it too. Generally speaking the thought of standing up in front of people and performing fills me with dread, hence my extremely short-lived singing career. These days my vocal talents (and I use the word loosely) are largely put to use doing slightly hysterical karaoke, usually after a few drinks. Although let’s face it, who doesn’t love the soundtrack to Grease?!
However, after the Lipschtick project was filmed, I was persuaded by (I assume) well-meaning friends to get back on the stage and share some work live. It was frankly a steep learning curve, and if I told you how much wine I had to drink to get up there that first time, we’d both be embarrassed. But Read Your Words at the Java Bean is a lovely, friendly event, full of support and great if you feel like dipping your toe in the world of performing. I survived it.
Moving onto the Forum was much worse. It’s, like, a proper performance venue. And I was sober. The Word Up! evenings combine performances from guest poets and a poetry slam (competitive poetry performing). Nervous, I opened with a joke about tequila and oral sex. It was a varied crowd, and it would be fair to say it went down (apologies) with a somewhat mixed reception. But despite the stomach-clenching nerves and anxiety about exposing one’s innermost thoughts to a bunch of strangers before going on, the feeling after was amazing.
So now I perform on a reasonably regular basis at local venues and as part of a poetry collective at festivals like unfest. The following pieces are not necessarily to everyone’s taste but are ones I enjoy performing and they usually get a reasonably positive reception. Which I’ll take.
The Trouble With Me
The trouble with me is I’m reckless, impatient.
I’m selfish and inconsiderate, and just don’t know how good I’ve got it.
I don’t make the bed or give enough head and can’t see how lucky I am.
I’m always too busy to make time for you and am just so bloody ungrateful, you see.
I don’t know my place and haven’t a trace of the notion of what you have to put up with.
The trouble with me is I think for myself and I know you say that’s bad for my health,
But I’m not sure that’s really true.
Because the trouble with me is I’ve a mind of my own.
You’ve stagnated but my brain’s blown by the endless possibilities in this world.
I want to reach right out and grab them with both hands
And I’m sorry if that messes up your well-laid plans,
But what do you expect from someone as thoughtless as me?
The trouble with me is I say what I think, I choose my own friends and I wear what I please,
And if you’re waiting for me to get down on my knees, you’ll be sorely disappointed my dear.
Because as I think on it here, it’s becoming quite clear
That the trouble with me is you.
When I said I didn’t know how that headlight got smashed
It’s possible you were misled.
I didn’t see that low wall but I knew you’d be mad
So I blamed a twat in Asda car park instead.
When you asked if I knew where your jeans had gone
I may have indulged in the tiniest lie.
I was just so sick of picking them up off the floor
They’ve gone to the Great Laundry Basket in the Sky.
When I said I’d worked out really hard at the gym
That wasn’t exactly the case.
I sat in Costa for hours with coffee and cake
Because I just needed a bit of head space.
It’s not great to tell lies, I know that
So just one more, then I’ll try to speak true.
‘Cos when I said that he and I had been just good friends?
Yeah, that was bollocks too.