Okay, this isn’t going to a normal review (wow...I can hear the collective sigh of relief from here) because this wasn’t a normal night. The aim was...and still is...to raise dosh to help one of the UK’s most talented young spoken word artists, Jodi Anne Bickely, who was struck down by a stroke a while back and is now suffering from some pretty crappy side effects that regular doctors are struggling to sort out. I’ll let Jodi fill you in:
“Basically I don't have the money to go to a head neuro and although I have the most wicked family - we aren't rolling in dollar. The blood tests I need to get are extremely difficult to get on the NHS due to technicalities with the test - a negative result can be a positive and therefore what’s going on with my brain is pretty hard to diagnose. (P.S I know I'm spelling a lot of stuff wrong, I'm trying to touch type because the computer screen is making me want to be a little sick on my lap). This all started with a tick bite back in last September, before then I had two jobs - performed a lot and just y'know did stuff. Because that's what you can do when you aren't ill. I can no longer work, otherwise I would man and I really wouldn't be asking any of you to dive into your pockets but like - I seizure and fit and pass out a shit load these days. I'm getting an EEG and having a scan of my neck, head and spine to see if anything nasty is hiding. Currently I can't sleep alone, leave the house alone, go down stairs alone - my fits are often violent which is mad because I've never been in a fight but apparently I'm like the hulk when I'm fitting”.
It warmed the cockles of my cynical old heart to see so many people turning out to support the cause and, in no particular order, the following performers all deserve a huge shout out and mucho respect...not only for donating their time but also for being a bunch of talented mofos: Polarbear and John Berkavitch, Frank Thomas, Rachel Rose Reid, Tom Peel, Dub Mafias Eva & Matt w/ Mr Woodnote, Bridget Minamore, Musa Okwonga, Sean Mahoney and Nichol Keene...who also produced a darn fine handmade compilation of poems from some of tonight's performers and a host of other wonderful wordsters (is wordsters a word...hmmm...well, it is now...ain't language great eh?). I believe the entire run sold out on the night but more are being produced and should be up for sale soon at www.antlerpress.com! That's a few Christmas presents sorted eh?
Each and every performer is well worth checking out, some lovely stuff there. The Dub Mafias set was...as the cool kids say...off the hook, some wonderful poems too from opener Frank Thomas’ emotive ode to his home town (well, village) through to Rachel Rose Reid’s time travelling Woody Guthrie tribute, Bridget Minamore’s house party nightmare and Tom Peel’s gloriously bonkers set. I had to dash off at 11.30 to catch the bus of the damned (aka the last number 11 of the night) and the thing was still in full flow, hell, it might still be going on now for all I know. If you’ve never been to a spoken word show, get along to one...ideally Jodi’s very one Speak Up (the next one’s on Wednesday 21st November at the Hare & Hounds). They’re wonderful, life affirming nights full of passion, humour, fun, sadness...all human emotion in fact, condensed into some of the best poetry and delivered by some of the best poets around.
Anyway, back to the main thrust of all this waffle (I’d never make a poet) if you want to help fix Jodi’s brain...and it’s a brain worth fixing...you can donate here http://jodisbrain.bandcamp.com/
And, finally, here’s another taste of what you’ll be saving...
Beautiful stuff eh?