darren thomas

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The Morton Arms

The Morton Arms had its inaugural event last October - an event that suffered with those usual, albeit minor lumps so often associated with anything inaugural. Has it managed to iron out those crinkles and those bumps and gallop its way into the open air of an established poetry event - or is it still shuffling across the well worn carpets with its trousers around its ankles?

Well, laugh? I thought my pants would never dry. What a night we had. We had funny verse. Serious, almost profound, rhyme. Witty one-liners. Comedy guitar playing. Intimate soul searching verbalised in the most poignant way. We even had a raffle with free butties and pies.

Don’t talk to me about your fanciful inner-city pretentious gloop. This was a proper poetry night. Any event that showcases a singing Vicar deserves a good coat of looking at . A singing Vicar, I jest not. Not just any old Vicar but the ‘local Vicar’. At first I thought - how local? If he was from, say, Chorley? then he could have been introduced as the ‘Chorley Chaplain’ but alas no, he was much more local than that - and far too reverend. In fact, his moniker may have been Rev Ray? I’m not too sure - at this point I was too busy pinching myself. Either way, he would have been a hard a act to follow.

There was sentiment. Laughter. Passion. Even tears - although the tears were often born as a direct result of the laughter.

It didn’t begin like that. Initially, the mood was pretty sombre which lead to those great chunks of unfamiliar awkwardness threatening to sink a heaving poetic ship, but these slowly broke away as the evening began to warm with that welcoming glow of sincerity - with just the odd juvenile exception.

I didn’t hear the world’s best poetry - but then again, I never expected to. I heard some excellent, well delivered poetic prose. Some convoluted and skilful monologues. Some genuinely funny poetry. Some absolute linguistic drivel. Yet each poet delivered their work in a way that was heartfelt and deserving of an appreciative and supportive audience.

The highlights for me were Jason Thomas-Richardson. His appearance lightened the mood at just the right moment and reminded all of us that poetry, just like income tax, doesn’t have to be taxing.
John Gorman’s personal contribution, notwithstanding the poem he performed with his wife, was witty; delivered with an assurance you’d expect; and technically, it was exceptionally well crafted.

One of the showcased poets - ‘Ian’ delivered a series of intimate work where he’d obviously mined deep into his sensitivities to bring the words onto a page. His reading was both deliberate and emotive - and of all the poets of this particular ‘style’, on this particular night - I enjoyed his contribution the most. Although to be fair, Chris Co. ran him a close second - had it been a Slam, there wouldn’t have been a cigarette paper between them.

There were many other poets whose overall contributions made it an event worthy of a trip through Satan’s Tunnel. The musicians too - under normal circumstances they usually try to take over - but they were rightly shepherded toward the end of the evening, and in the general direction of the Gent’s toilets.

I’m sure I’ll be at The Morton Arms again - if only to try and redeem both myself and my inappropriate ‘sucked my dick’ poem. With hindsight, not the best choice with a Vicar present.

but then again…?




Tue, 30 Mar 2010 10:34 am
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A great review Darren. There were indeed lots of knicker wetting moments...
I was deeply disappointed to have missed half of Jason's spot, having chosen the wrong moment to go to the loo. I have heard him once before at Liver Poetry and his humour is brilliant. Every poetry night needs a Jason to lift it somewhere in the middle - rather like a wigwam needs a pole.
Chris Co's poem about 'Missing' did stand out to me. His stuff really does perform well - though he'd have to cut it down a bit for a slam.
I was also impressed by Steve Regan's 'Half A World and a Lifetime Away' poem about the emigration and loss of his beloved aunt. There was much to move me in that poem which stirred some difficult memories.

No review would be a review without suggestions for improvement - just look how the Tudor has been ripped into of late.... So here goes...

Whilst the singing vicar was a novelty and very talented at crooning to a cassette, I thought his 3 number spot was too long. At the end of the evening there were talented poets who weren't allowed to perform. Given a choice between poet and Frank Sinatra, my choice will be poet every time...

I think every effort should be made to allow all poets to perform on a night. Maybe that involves being a bit more assertive with the acts that come on. Poets could have been restricted to one long poem or two short ones. Or in Darren's case, two little ones and one super-sized whopper with relish on the side...
Tue, 30 Mar 2010 11:11 am
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Thank you both for your warm reviews, very much appreciated. We couldnt have such an enjoyable evening if it were not for the talented poets, such as yourselves, who turn up on a regular basis to all the poetry events throughout the Wirral. We do not opperate any closed sets at Moreton and will always endeavour to make room for all who turn up that want to read, or indeed, sing. We were made aware towards the end of the evening that a poet was upset because we did not have her on the set list. We were advised earlier on in the evening that this poet did not want to read, and we were not advised to the contrary at any stage throughout the remainder of the evening. We were dissapointed ourselves when we found out she did indeed want to read. We do try to ensure everyone gets to read, but, unfortunately, mistakes can be made, we will endeavour to learn from these mistakes. In respect to the singers, we do advertise a featured musician and poet every month and they get 10 minutes or so each, Ron, the singers, set was 12 minutes long. Saying that, we hope to continue in our mission of offering great Poetry, Music, Company, fun,free food and filth. Hope to see you again, Ian
Tue, 30 Mar 2010 06:06 pm
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<Deleted User> (7164)

Don't be deceived about perceptions of the tag of 'vicar' Darren, they have a life too, most i know are married and have had relationships before that. ;-)
Some of the best vicars are ones who have experienced the same kind of stuff as their parishioners, literally and emotionally too.
My only gripe with regards to the songs he chose was that in my opinion (and it is purely my own opinion) was that he was placed in the wrong slot at the wrong time. Had his spot been towards the end of the evening, then perhaps even more people would have got up to dance, rounding off an evening of poetry with a little jollity and 'perhaps' romance. Other than that, i would have appreciated his wonderful singing voice in one of the breaks. I just felt this kind of act was ill fitted to a night of poetry.
He does have a great voice though and would go down a storm in pubs and clubs i'm sure.

Anyway, enough about vicars, what about the poetry tarts? Well i was there!
I enjoyed it too for the most part. I too enjoyed listening to Chris Co. and Jason Thomas Richardson.
I thought Isobel did a great job of performing without the aid of her poem on paper. I loved the 'secretary'poem performed by a lady with a smooth, sexy voice too. Sorry, her name escapes me.
Steve Regan gave a strong and sentimental performance. The man who had a series of girl friends and reasons not to marry was a fun piece with a great twist at the end.
There were many great moments of poetry during the night and i'm glad we made the journey through a tunnel my dad would have preferred to have put a bomb in. For once i'm happy i didn't listen to all he said and advised me against during his lifetime.

The free raffle and the buffet which is provided by the landlord/lady is a really nice touch and shows appreciation for helping to fill a large room on a night when probably not many people turn out for a drink.
I can't give an honest comment though without mentioning what i considered was very rude and that was Guy, who insisted on walking across the path of poets while reading, actually stopped one poet to ask if it was his last one (and it was only his second short poem he was reading at the time) which i personally was thoroughly enjoying listening to, then further went on to loudly whisper to another poet in the audience, thus disturbing the atmosphere. Oh, and i nearly forgot. He inadvertently switched off the mic on one poet too. Sorry but it is the gospel truth and it did spoil the end of the evening for me, only serving to enhance my growing lethargy after a long day.
Maybe it's me who was too tired to concentrate any longer i don't know. When i do visit again, it will be on a night when i don't have to get up early the next day. I'd love to be able to appreciate all the poets fully next time. I was really quite perturbed by the fact i missed the whole of Dave Bradleys contribution and i didn't even leave the room. Apparently i was in some kind of other world as he went on immediately after me. I still can't get to grips with that but there you go. It just shows how much we all put into our poetry readings/performances and perhaps the buzz we all 'should' get from it, although it is nice when others can appreciate or connect with it too.
We were given a lovely warm welcome, particularly by Ieuan and i for one certainly felt welcome and hope my post doesn't come across as being a negative feedback. I try to be as honest with each one i attend no matter where it is, even my home town of Wigan.

Thanks for starting this thread Darren. I think your review is fair and actually quite tame from your usual style.
Thu, 1 Apr 2010 12:48 pm
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