Tag Archives: open mic

Cowardly Courage


Further to an old post called “Facing Fears” where I blatantly admitted to a few scaredy cat moments, this is an update on one of the fears I am doing my utmost to overcome – public speaking, or, in my case performance.

Writers, poets, there are so  many avenues out there to help us get our words out infront of other people and I love that localities in every region have embraced the growing number of platforms where people like me can share their writing.  From Slams to Open Mic opportunities and the chance to share the floor with established writers, there’s a movement of appreciative societies, listening, encouraging, enjoying and thinking upon every word that forms an individual’s perception of the spoken word.

Anything seems to go, comedy, romance, erotica, social angst; the movement reveals a freedom to explore word smithery in what I could describe as an “underground” manner.  I have found too that it is the older readers who are far more smutty and intent on getting their audience’s knickers wet with their words than I would dare to try!

So, I’ve made myself get up there in front of the mic now on a few recent occasions.  I would recommend checking out the events at The Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden, London, that shares it’s address with The Poetry Society.  I joined Platform1, hosted by Ernie Burns and Amy Neilson Smith with an audience of around twenty five to whom I delivered a couple of my poems that will shortly feature in my new publication out next month.  I got laughs in the right places which meant everything to me then, believe me!

I would also recommend finding out more about the work of Rrrants and the events they run hosted by The Anti Poet, a dynamic and entertaining duo who complete their set with cocksure ease, comical expertise, a double bass to keep the beats in time and, er, well, a cow bell.  I’ve been to a couple of Rrrants evenings now, the first time as a onlooker, trying to persuade myself that sweaty palms and thumping heart was not an excuse to curl up and die and therefore, the second time, I put my name down, refused to let my sweaty palms and thumping heart result in a blackout and conquered my tiny set leaving me wishing I had time to do more.

I’ll get there in the end, I know, but it’s practice that I need and crave.  My increasingly indelible life motto, “Nothing Left To Loose”, (also a rocking great song by Heaven’s Basement!), also rings in my ears every time I wonder: should I?

Thanks for reading.

Long Live The Fans!


Facing Fears

pointe shoes

Last week I took part in my first open mic evening of spoken word.  This is something I have avoided until now through my own fear of public speaking.

To an audience of twenty or so people I read some of my poems, a couple of which can be found on this blog: The Launch and Pavement Cafe.

Sitting behind a neatly placed plant at the back of the room, I compared myself to the other participants, who all read their material so cleanly and so calmly.  When my  turn came, my shaking hands and dry throat must have given away my wretched nerves.   I begged my vocal chords to hold out until the very end.  They did and even secured the correct expression required to deliver the feelings I wanted to convey; hell, I even got a few laughs in the right places!  But, did I enjoy this excruciating act of exhibitionism?

Well, yes!  I did it.  I delivered.  It was recieved.  I achieved.

Would I do it again?

Yes.  I faced a fear; over-rode it and would put myself in that position again, even if I had to be scrapped of the floor like an up-turned jelly afterwards.

But, that’s me and has been for a few years now.  Facing a fear has been a ritual; a masochistic form of entertainment as well as a confirmed sense of achievement for me.

Would I recommend it?  Well, I have come to rule out embarrassment and believe in the phrase “nothing left to loose”.  I make myself do these things.  They are only little things but are “big” for me.

It started with job interviews.  I allowed myself to enjoy them.  In the end I applied for jobs, just so that I could get to the interview process and find out if I was a good candidate with a chance of securing the position.  Weird?  Maybe.

Since then I have abseiled down one of the tallest buildings in the City of London (I now, subsequently, cannot tolerate heights easily and hold my breath at the top of every escalator on the Underground);  three years ago I danced en pointe with my ballet school infront of an audience of over 800 people (I probably won’t do that again, although I still dance en pointe and at least a childhood dream was fulfilled); I interview bands and artists when given the opportunity (but my hand still shakes when holding the voice recorder) and, I published a saucy story (which my mum has just discovered, read (to my horror) and reviewed (but that’s another post which I may divulge at a later date)!

So, to sum up, I enjoy facing fears; the taste of adrenalin, the achievement of over-coming blind panic.  Nothing left to loose.  You don’t know until you try, etc, etc.

The next fear to face?  Well, I’m going on a seven hour flight to New York next week…..and I absolutely hate flying.  I’ll send a postcard if I get there.