EdFringe Adventure Part 2: Poets
My last blog was about the theatre I saw at the EdFringe, and this one will mainly be about the poets. Not necessarily the ‘poetry’ I saw, because 1. You can’t see words and 2. I want to talk about the community up there.
On the 13th August I turned 30 years old, and there’s nowhere I’d rather have been than EdFringe. Well, the whole 5 days was a kaleidoscope of people and friends and spoken word shows.
I did the BBC Fringe Slam on Tuesday and found myself in a very heart-warming place surrounded by poets from Newcastle, Manchester, Hull, Birmingham, Nottingham and Reading. I felt truly part of a community, chatting about scenes, touring, gigging, writing and setting the world to rights. Everyone was so warm, receptive, supportive.
People say that slam culture puts too much emphasis on winning rather than the art, but a by-product of that competitive culture is a community of people willing on someone to win. But it becomes irrelevant who wins, as long as that energy swells up in the room (or indeed the open gardeny bit of the BBC Hub) it nourishes rather than saps.
I think the London bubble somewhat pops when the crowds go see a poet from Peterborough, one from Leicester and one from Newcastle do shows in Bourbon Bar. I am jealous that in the last week, a bunch of showcases start kicking off featuring a diverse range of voices. Loud Poets’ Fantastical Gameshow was genuinely one of my favourite and funnest gigs ever
If you want to examine a scene, visit EdFringe and don’t go to comedy or theatre, but hang around in Bar-Bados, Bourbon Bar and the Banshee Labyrinth. In manky rooms and caves and corners and above cafes and in dimly-lit back rooms poets are poetrying.
2015-2017 I took shows up for 7-10 days, each one Nerd Punk themed. 2018 I did a special ‘Best Of’ Nerd Punk show featuring a wide variety of poetry from across this ramshackle career. I had strangers and old and new friends in the audience who really clicked with it, gave generously to the room’s vibe and hugely cemented my faith in the Fringe.
May the God of Flyerers bless your shows, may your Pay-What-You-Decide buckets be bountiful and your late nights worth the mornings.