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LIVER BARDS - a radical poetry night in Liverpool, 21 Nov

Modern telly output – I’m a Celebrity, X Factor, and the preposterously camp and narcissistic ‘Strictly’ – are so superficial, so infantile.

If those confections represent
mainstream culture now – then the berks who run TV can shove it up their arses, frankly.

What does give me a buzz, however, is running performance poetry clubs in Liverpool and Wirral. You get such a mix of oratorical talents and poetic moods at these events, plus some good singers too.

Now THAT’S entertainment!

Last night (21 November) I enjoyed MC-ing at the LIVER BARDS – the Liverpool poetry open mic I run with the award-winning poet Dave Costello in the elegant and spacious concert room of Liverpool’s best pub, the Ship & Mitre.

LIVER BARDS has a distinctively radical and raucous atmosphere – as you’d expect in the unique city that is Liverpool. Yes, I’m that rare beast – a Wiganer who ,loved Liverpool!

I don’t know all the poets’ full names but last night I was entertained by a poem about drinking by a new (to our nights) poet called GLEN. It included the phrase “intoxication station” and was followed by a rant about those retail brigands, the evil supermarket chains.

A guy called JIM performed two pieces which showed he had a profound understanding of the twin dynamics of the poetry scene – referencing “confidence and eloquence” in the first one and “tempers, tantrums and funny moods” in the second one. Hmmmm, maybe he attended last Monday’s very bad-tempered Bards of New Brighton.

The talented PETER WOODS offered several bejewelled pieces during the course of the evening, including one to inflame scatological sensitivities, and another that extolled linguistic lucidity in a rather paradoxical way.

A young lass called EMMA belted out a couple of blinding soul ballads – miles better than any of the Karaoke Kack you get on X Factor.

And DAVE GILBEY from Wirral stirred everyone’s blood with his basso profundo singing, including a negro spiritual.

The impressive CHRIS COEY from Crosby (who’s one of the organisers of another poetry night, Spoke in Liscard, Wallasey) did one of his forensic examinations of religious faith. It had more Catholic references than the average Jackson Browne song.

Chris also reminded everyone that “we are but a broken token” and there was a kind of tribute to people who … DRINK!!! Lots!

There was a moving monologue from ‘The Caretaker’, performed with eerie soul by a guy called PAUL. Later on in the evening I did a two-handed comedy drama scene with him, which seemed to go down well.

DAVE COSTELLO read a Simon Armitage poem then two of his own. Dave’s writing has a magical spiritual lilt to it which commands attention – and turns me green with envy. I had something of an epiphany moment when Dave referenced “orphaned vapour”. And no he wasn’t referring to farts.

GRAHAM ROBINSON, one of the organisers of Poets’ Corner in Hoylake (another performance night) did a thought-provoking poem about the hard times we are living though, including a neat mention of our life “without trimmings”.

Then he did a knickers-wetting ‘Cockerney’ rhyming slang piece that transported me back to my days living in Islington (London N1, not Liverpool!).

MARGI did an impressive poem about the rowdy bars of contemporary culture – including the phrase “hate coming out of their gobs”. Bloody hell, she really must have been at last Monday’s New Brighton Bards!

THOMAS gave us a memorable poem which led to a “moment of freedom and peace” and LIAM gave us a clever funny poem about, if I remember rightly, verb-type names given to pets.

A rollicking good night, and yes, much drink was taken. Hope I haven't missed anyone out.

And what did I perform? Well, among other things, my new poem about Southport, called “Tell Britain”. I was hoping PETER CROIMPTON and FRANKIE woluld be there to see what they, as local, Southport area residents, thought of it.

The next BARDS poetry night is at the Magazine pub in New Brighton, CH45 1HP, Monday 12 December, 8pm and there will be free butties and mince pies.

The next LIVER BARDS will be at the Ship @Mitre, Liverpool city centre, L2 2JH, Monday 19 December. Both nights run 8pm to 10.40pm.

I'll be at the launch of BOMP in Manchester on December 1. RACHEL McGLADDERY has promised to drink me under the table, so I promise to get in a bit of practice before then.


Also, I am planning to come to the Tudor night on Thu 8 December. But I will NOT be baring my arse or private parts – so if any glamorous gals or gorgeous gay guys are getting their hopes up ... DON’T.





Tue, 22 Nov 2011 03:43 pm
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darren thomas

Steve - you simply HAVE to give your 'old man' an airing at The Tudor - it's the Winter Widgey Fest' - remember? And that's no small thing in Wigan's social calendar - balls to all this poetry shat.
Tue, 22 Nov 2011 04:01 pm
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Hmmm, dunno, Darren, I'm coming with me friends Ivor Bigun and Phil McCracken so I don't want to show them up by bring out my MASSIVE Percy Filth. Besides, it takes a lot of struggling to uncoil the beast and get it out of my industrial gusset.

If there is a dark and shady corner of the Tudor smokey garden, where dark and shady people do dark and shady things ... as I've heard there is ... then maybe.
Tue, 22 Nov 2011 04:54 pm
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And there was me, hoping you and Chris Co might volunteer to be our naked guest poets for the Tudor Christmas special...

I'm glad you're coming you old rogue. Someone else who puts their arse where their mouth is...

I shall respond to that audacious comment on my review once other peeps have had a chance to have a go at it.

Liverbards sounds like a lorra fun. Sorry I missed it - my life is just too hectic at times. I can't see 19th December being any better either. I'm gonna really make an effort in the New Year though. xx
Tue, 22 Nov 2011 05:59 pm
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Did I really read that Isobel? Chris and Steve in the nip? And that Steve gets so excited! Anyways - Liver Bards has now settled into its new venue and is building & Bards of New Brighton goes from strength to strength. Hopefully even more of our northern soulmates will venture west to that land of milk and honey which is Merseyside. There is great poetry with our friends at Wirral Ode Show in Birkenhead, Spoke Poetry in Liscard, Wallasey, and Poets Corner in Hoylake in addition to the two Bards venues Steve and I run. There isn't a week without a thriving open mic somewhere on or around the Wirral. And next year the return of the Bards of New Brighton open competition with all sorts of prizes, including cash for the top two on the night. Full details will be published on WoL in due course. Long may all our venues thrive.
Thu, 24 Nov 2011 11:00 am
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Indeed! You are a rowdy rumbustious bunch over there on the Wirral but your venues all seem to be thriving despite the recession.

Look forward to seeing some of you naked or otherwise at the one that leads the way.... Wigan of course! If it's not a crime I'll give it a plug on the Liver thread!

Thursday 8th December - be there in your party hat! Anything else optional...
Thu, 24 Nov 2011 01:35 pm
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grahamrobinson

I would like to say that as an event organiser who has recently attended many WOL listed open-mic 'Poetry Reading' venues..which have been and are 'great events' I must say that they all offer their own 'special' atmosphere ..which is both down to several main factors ie, location,location,location (as somebody once said)... plus vibrancy of venue, warm and welcoming , inviting and informed, plus charm and competency of the host! Whilst All event organisers are obviously biased towards their own particular event and venue..but as organiser and co-host of 'Poets Corner' at the modern Rock Bar that is - 'Glassfire' in Hoylake I think that we have managed to both learn from the experience of other venues that have been going for years and to captivate and innovate a great event and venue unique for 2012 and beyond with an ambiance and atmosphere all of it's own, whilst complementing existing gigs-
at 'Poets Corner' CH47 2AG where everybody is given a warm welcome by both Graham Robinson and Stella Jones. A Big 'Thank You' to everybody and to all Wigan Poets inc..Isobel,Elaine,John,Joy etc for visiting us in Hoylake! and for giving myself and Stella a warm friendly welcome at The Tudor recently!! Thank You - Graham
Sun, 27 Nov 2011 04:28 pm
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Tee hee - I'm loving the way everyone is getting a plug in for their own venues on this Liver page. I missed the post code off ours.

The Tudor house is on New Market St, Wigan, WN1 1SE.When are you going to upload a photo Graham? Those black silhouettes look so impersonal.
Sun, 27 Nov 2011 05:08 pm
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Yeah, Graham, stop trying to piggy-back. I like you Graham, but I wish you'd ease up on all all this excessively breezy, whoop-it-up promo-style bull-shitting PR tartery. It's not cool; it's not poetic.

See you at Hoylake soon. Please let me know if there is a reserved corner of the 'Glassfire' bar where one doesn't have to dress and act like a Hoylake pseud or middle class beige cardigan wearer.
Mon, 28 Nov 2011 02:37 pm
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grahamrobinson

Dear WOL and all...Please accept my apologies as I believed this to be the gig -feedback section of WOL.
Sorry Isobel as you know I am relatively new to this gig-blogging roll..apparently I should have started a 'new thread'?
Which I shall now endeavour to do....
Graham Robinson - Poets Corner.
(to err is human to forgive is devine)
Mon, 28 Nov 2011 09:07 pm
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Don't apologise Graham - you were only doing what I did earlier in the thread - hijacking Steve's poxy thread. I found it quite amusing! I love watching Steve blow off hot air - nobody does it quite like him - there's just no taking it seriously...

xxx kisses all round xxx am looking forward to all our Christmas venues!
Mon, 28 Nov 2011 09:39 pm
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Isobel, you are a norty gurl who needs tutoring in the ways of righteousness.

You shall feel the rough edge of my tongue when I pay a State visit to Wigan on December 8.

Graham, your transgressions can be forgiven...
You are, after all (and sorry if this 'outs' you), an authentic PEARLY KING.
Mon, 28 Nov 2011 10:59 pm
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stella jones


Looking forward to the Tudor on the 8th Izz...lovely people, great venue!!
Fri, 2 Dec 2011 12:54 am
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steve - glassfires as i remember had not one biege cardigan wearer in attendance, i dont know what a hoylake pseud is?? a would be what? cold...theres a sea breeze. id wear a duffle coat and jumper if i were you. maybe a nice brown one, suits you sir.
Sun, 4 Dec 2011 04:53 pm
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The beige cardigans don't go in there on poetry nights, Rachel Lad, though I'm suprised you didn't spot any pseuds ... especially as Hoylake has been officially designated by Wirral Council (known locally as "the Death Star") as a psueds' reservation.

Some pals told me you were at Glassfire, mind, and that certain past events in Liverpool and Wirral were mentioned....

See you at Wigan Thursday, hopefully, Lovely.
Mon, 5 Dec 2011 03:01 pm
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not the old liverpool wirral chestnuts, oh hey stevie ree im looking forward to pseud - bashing. a phenomena Wirral council have recognised as an urban scourge coming Hoylake way....just as long as these rebels dont do too long a preamble, or read about the welsh, all should be fine :)

see you on thursday chickken xx
Mon, 5 Dec 2011 05:31 pm
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