Monday nights are usually quiet in town, but that wasn’t the case at the Everyman Bistro this week, where a rather large crowd had gathered for A Lovely Word, an open mic night which is held there once a month.
It’s an evening specifically designed for poets who want to read their work out in front of an audience. Anyone can participate, they don’t necessarily have to be professional and the general public are also invited to come along and watch.
For someone new to such an event, it was a little daunting at first and felt a bit like a folk club. All the regulars knew each other, but they were all friendly enough and any strangers were soon welcomed into the fold with open arms.
It kicked off at 8 o’clock with some announcements, then each artist was given five minutes to entertain an excitable audience, some read from their notebooks, Ipads or mobile phones, whilst others had learned their poetry by heart.
There were performers of all ages who covered a wide variety of styles. Topics ranged from politics to women’s issues and although some poems were serious, there were others which were extremely humorous.
Those gathered in the Bistro watched silently, listening to each artist, heartily applauding and wolf whistling them once they had finished their piece. Sometimes there was a little heckling, but it was all taken in good faith.
After about an hour or so there was a ten-minute interval before the second half began and we were introduced to the evening’s special guest, Mark Mace Smith, a poet from Manchester, who had volunteered to stand in for the original headliner, Mark Grist, who couldn’t make the night due to unforeseen circumstances.
Over the next ten or fifteen minutes, he read about five or six lengthy, racially and politically motivated poems, which seemed to go down well with the attentive throng. He was well-received by all, with even the bar staff seeming to be listening intently.
The night then commenced as before, with each person doing a five-minute spot and one woman read out a composition which had been voted the worst poem in a competition she had entered, which wasn’t any better or any worse than those that had been presented before.
Towards the end of the night, the crowd became much thinner as people left to get their trains or buses home, but those who stayed still showed their appreciation towards those entertaining them in a vivacious manner which made the place seem a lot busier than it was to anyone on the outside listening in.
Once the show was over, I reflected with my companion on what I had seen over a pint in a nearby pub. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but I had still found the evening very interesting.
A Lovely Word is a must for poetry lovers who will find that it’s a lively, entertaining night where they can unleash their hidden talents on an unsuspecting public and won’t be judged too harshly.
The Everyman Bistro host A Lovely Word every month. Be sure to check out the next one!