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Poetry in the Tiki Garden @ The Salty Dog, Northwich.

A little late with this review due to that daft virus but better late than never, and believe me it will be worth the wait. 

Promoter and all round nice guy Steve Noon decided to put on Spoken Word event (socially distanced of course) that coincided with yet another another at of rules from this ‘goverment’ dropping on the toes of both promoters and punters alike, he day after the show. Life today is a surreal mix of idiocy and a mix of a sort of ‘shall we have a guess?’ what’s going to happen next. Like a jigsaw of no straight pieces and no picture on the lid.

On the way over from my Bunker in Manchester, the mere thought of an intimate collection of thereof Manchesters finest wordsmiths and gobshites (in a positive way of course) ona Sunday afternoon to a small crowd filled me with a sense of excitement and of positivity that i thought I’d lost forever during lockdown. I’ve always found poetry cathartic, both In its written and spoken/shouted form, and it helps keep my head straight.

Settle down, settle in. Here it comes…

First up was a local Folk poet and singer, Anthony ‘kit’ Kitchen, reciting his verse of the way Northwich used to be. A time of surprise and trust. His use of his native dialect/accent added to the realism of the prose. A nice starter for the mayhem to follow.

The first of the Manchester lot was a Spoken Word artist that I have followed over the last few years, Karl ‘Gemanc’ Hildebrandt. Prolific amount of gigs last year, a lot of them raising funds for various charities. His style can swing from dark to light in a single piece. I like the way Karl always provides a brief preamble before his pieces. It gives the audience time to digest what comes spilling out of his mouth. Poignant and vicious sit side by side, a sort and light. My particular faves are ‘Will It Be Forever’ (about his his fiancé Ness) and his ‘semi-epic’ ‘Another Bastard List Poem About Manchester’, which is a list of characters observed and described in prose. You know the sort. Should you get the chance to see him perform if lockdown allows, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up to the mic is Leon The Pig Farmer. A stacatto blast of barely controlled anger that grips you by the throat and makes you think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ Leon has a back story that bleeds into the mic and into the ears of the audience, animated and articulate, Leon is an ambassador for the shit people have/have to endure. I’m not going to spoil the mystique, because you need to experience the rawness yourself. He’ll fill in the blanks for you. Particular faves of mine are ‘Peer Hat’ and ‘Toy Soldiers’, tales so perfectly crafted that they slide into your head and you ponder where you have heard anything as succinct before. Another must see live artist.

One thing that binds the Manchester trio is the use of expression and punctuation, in the form of shall we say, a touch of the Anglo Saxon expletives. All to excellent effect. I lost count at around 80. Being a Manc, ‘ doing a swear’ is as likely as it raining, or a Tory lying.

Which brings me to the last act on this delightfully dangerous poetic afternoon. Patrick T Davis. Not enough words to describe this tornado. The poet becomes a conduit to a backing track of slick, messy and dusty beats pummelling the ears, as Patrick tells his tales of the mess he sees and endures. Patrick spits and batters his own take on ‘now’. Again, I’ve seen him perform and he’s on target and the words stay with you. Ponder the chaotic splendour of his ode to our gloriously shite Prime Minister in ‘Never Mind That, isn’t He Charming?’ and my particular favourite ‘Terrible Twenties’. Believe me, an amazing talent.

I’ll conclude with giving thanks to Steve Noon for putting on four excellent wordsmiths in suchnan intimate afternoon session. I doubt anyone, myself included, left without some kind of question answered by the spirit of Mancunian ryhme.

The Salty Dog Northwich 11th October by Seeward Jones.

📸 Credit – Helen Millington