Another guest blog from Louise Boyd, reviewing our April Open Mic.
Our April open mic proved to be a right royal knees up, just the remedy to combat all that sickly wedding nonsense, and was another night packed full of mind-blowingly talented performers. It just keeps getting better… But I should also mention what a lovely crowd we pack in every time. In fact, I managed to grab a wee chat with our feature writers Eliza Langland and Colin Donati, who both mentioned that the warm, receptive audience are what keep them coming back to Inky Fingers, as performers and spectators.
Harry Giles, our wonderfully enthusiastic MC who apparently played the caterpillar in a school production of Alice in Wonderland (perhaps we could have a reenactment of this next time….?), bounded on stage and announced that the answer to all the world’s problems is to eat the rich. I think they might taste like champagne and caramel, but possibly a little too chewy. Could give it a try, mind.
Opening the night was the multi-talented Colin Donati who treated us to a rendition of his poem recently published in By Grand Central Station We Sat Down and Wept anthology. It was brilliant to hear some Scots, how my heart did swell with patriotic pride, and I particularly liked Banes, a poem concerning life cycles and the afterlife.
Second up was sassy lady Lindsay Ure (amazing shoes) who painted a story of a writer searching for their voice through Van Gogh in dazzling brushstrokes. Editor of Duality, Alec Beattie, read The Conspiracy Theorist; a hilarious conversation about the inevitable demise of Kate Middleton, mostly likely by spontaneous combustion. The lovely Becky Balfourth, whom I had the pleasure to meet at our READeasy, stuck it to the man with her poem addressed For the Attention of the Manager, yeah. Tickle, or should I say Edward Fuckington Wallsley Smythe, 7th Earl of Shitminster (that’s his real name don’t you know) destroyed the microphone (both literally and metaphorically) and treated us to some bluesy, breezy summertime beats, that brought the Edinburgh summer right into the Forest Cafe.
Steve Welsh intrigued everyone with his fascinating approach to found poetry; he is writing a poem every day for a year using newspapers and a black marker, and his page three girl haiku was actually rather beautiful. One of the Inky Crew, Matt McDonald, shared that fleeting moment when you find yourself locked in the gaze of a stranger through a bus window. In her debut to the Inky stage Catherine Kwella, did a wonderful job and captivated the audience with some poignant words. Neil Hargreaves gave us a Tam O’Shanter inspired story, evoking some terrifying imagery and the spirits of naked old ladies.
The second half was to be filed with the most unexpected, not least the arrival of two nutjobs who were trying to flog a pile of meat to the cafe. What vegetarian restaurant could possibly turn down the offer of a plastic bag full of unidentified meat after all…
Eliza Langland is not only a lovely lady but her performance was epic. Joined by Colin Donati on guitar she wove a humorous and sad tale of unrequited love told from both sides, then showed us an example of how to write ‘spell-checker proof’ Scots.
Mairi Campbell-Jack’s sad but powerful poetry was beautiful to hear, and I don’t think I have ever heard the Inky audience so quiet, we were mesmerised. Neil Clark told a hilarious coming of age tale, featuring some magical penis enhancing water — if only we could bottle the stuff! We then welcomed another Inky first-timer Jake Lawy to the stage, who offered up some political words and a scathing, yet clearly necessary, attack on a literary festival which shall not be named… Roddy Shippin tackled the wedding malarkey head on, and made us chortle, as did Mark Haw who channelled Nicholas Witchell in all his ginger glory. Katherine McMahon read some poetry, and I particularly enjoyed one about blackberries, just lovely. Colin McGuire cast some beautiful imagery into the minds of the audience, and hilariously managed to juxtapose hot, sweaty, beasty love with the night time song of flatulence. Jack Ryan Smith read a story that shone with such finesse I could hardly believe he had written it at 3am that morning (how do people do that??). Finally, Danny Mullins closed the night with a little acoustic guitar given a comic slant.
What a rather splendid way to spend a Tuesday evening! First-timers – I hope you come back for more. Regulars – you continue to astound us, looking forward to the next time…