What were you doing on National Poetry day?
I was at the 100 Club based at 100 Oxford Street– the legendary music club, particularly for it’s jazz – and formally known as the Feldman Swing Club. Black and white photographs of great musicians cover the walls of this club – The Horrors, the Sex Pistols and Paul McCartney to name a few. The club looks as though it probably hasn’t changed since the 1970s – not that I was around then, but it has that feel of being steeped in the past, bathed in its glorious musical history.
An evening of poetry and jazz run by torchbearer of Poetry Olympics, Michael Horovitz included a eclectic mix of acts. One of the most impressive events of the evening was the thirty-one ensemble on (a very small) stage led by the female conductress playing the trombone – Annie Whitehead.
There was a real sense of spontaneity to the evening, including the fact that the lead pianist, Pete Lemer was late and how he just climbed on stage and picked up from the others, but it was well worth waiting for, as was the blues singing from Pete Brown.
Being National Poetry Day, it was only right that poets graced the stage and the highlights were listening to Leicester-based poet Lydia Towsey, whose words with ease rhythmically carried themselves around the room, under the seats, over the tables and back again. You can read one of Lydia’s poems that she read on the evening also on our blog here.
Michael Horovitz, who is a genius of sound poetry, performed his ‘Achoo’ poem, which I first saw him perform at the Art Workers Guild in April this year and it bowled me over as much as it did the first time for its simplistic, planetary subject matter yet it has a strange profound effect when you dissect the sounds of a sneeze in performance.
Vanessa Vie, an extremely talented and charming singer (I also first met at the Art Workers Guild) sang jointly with Michael towards the end of the evening and their union on stage is a wonderful sight to both the eyes and ears.
Finally, I was very intrigued to meet Adam Horovitz, Michael’s son. He has a brilliant voice for performance poetry and it came at no surprise to me to learn that he is a keen actor performer. It was clear to see the talent that has passed down from father to son.
Overall, there was so much talent, musically and poetically going on that I felt privileged to be part of such a creative gathering as this, particularly on National Poetry Day!