Who Killed Cupid? – Blogging the Slam

Here’s another guest blog from Rachel McCrum, reviewing the DFAP Slam!

The very first Inky Fingers-organised slam was, if we can say so ourselves, a bloody anti-Valentine triumph. Brilliant, foul, funny, filthy, sexy, touching performances, a hot hot hot (in every sense) venue, and a whooping, happy crowd made for a fantastic energy and a top notch evening of words, with interpretations of the topic ranging from an incest medley to Internet porn to the exploits of serial killers set to popular song.

Magnificiently MC’d by Harlequinade of The Chemical Poets who offered up some staggering sacrificial poetry to keep the energy skyrocket high, 16 contestants offered up two minutes of their poems and stories to be scored by randomly selected audience judges. The numbers were whittled down through the rounds until closely-run semi-finals between Robin Cairns (who had me with his take on nudity at the Edinburgh Fringe and crusading councillor Moira Knox) and Keith Mackie (leading a singsong on the activities of Jeffrey Dahmer and Denis Nilsen to tunes by Kenny Rodgers and the Beach Boys), and between the blistering rhymes from Texture of Chemical Poets and the elegantly filthy verse of Caitlynn Cummings.

Chaos nearly reigned as the first attempt at the final between Texture and Caitlynn was declared a tie, and the promised haiku-off became a limerick-off became a rhyming couplet-off became a ‘get- back-up-here-and-give-it-your-best-shot’ off. A tight call, but Caitlynn rightfully took the final prize, and will be heading off to Glasgow at the start of March for the Scottish Poetry Slam Championship Final.

(Totally unrelated to Caitlynn’s gorgeous writing – a love affair between a crow and a corpse on a gibbet in ‘Skeletal Down’ was a personal favourite of the evening – but she also managed to rock a 21st century version of Dorothy’s ruby slippers onstage. For anyone taking notes, they were fluorescent yellow stilettos and yes, I want a pair.)

To all the performers, a massive thanks for giving us your heart and soul and for making it what it
was. Mentions to:

Chris Young for introducing us to Poetry’s Lamb; Tickle McNicholl for making us wince with ‘An Incest Medley’; Alec Beattie’s ode of woe to a Kindle, Kindle…; Rose Fraser for leading us down to ‘The Bar of Glamour & Sleaze’; Rory Woodruffe for a reworking of Howl (and special mention for telling us he didn’t mind coming first); Morgan Halvorsen for a delicate story of a 14 year old ghost; Sophia Walker for the pounding dread of waiting for the thin blue line; Alex Williams for a dreamy Cormac McCarthy-esque prose walk through the desert; Folini Zeniou for the strength of when a lover leaves; Hugh Mann for a tour through computer porn; and Sam Birchall for telling us why, never mind poets, don’t fuck a magician. And for whoever left the black heart on the Wall of Love & Hate telling us ‘I faked it. Every time.’

So that’s that.

Thank you to everyone who was so generous to our donation buckets: it was hugely appreciated. We’ re having a think about how to best use the money – we’d like to be able to support writers from around the country and bring them to Edinburgh, to develop workshops and masterclasses, and run future events as exciting as this one. And if you’ve got any suggestions, feedback , or anything you’d like to see, email us at inkyfingersedinburgh@gmail.com

It’s all open. The possibilities for spoken word performance, for seeing fabulous writers, for supporting and developing new talent… we’re still working it out. But it’s going to be good. Watch this space.