Hastings Battleaxe freezes on the Pier and goes to poetry Slam Dunk

Battleaxe had a busy day yesterday, a WI Coffee morning, a chilly stroll on the Pier with old friends Bob and Alison from Horsham, and a first vist to the regular Hastings Slam Dunk poetry night.

Beautiful, and very cold

     Our friends had never visited the Pier, so we went for a cuppa in the Pavilion Cafe and a stroll. Crikey was it cold. It was looking bleakly beautiful, with a bit of watery sun leaking through the dank grey. We were the only people out except for a couple of hardy fishermen.
     The cafe was too cold to sit in comfort. But what heating system could have coped with the outside temperature?  I guess we were lucky to have found it open at all.
     Poor Philosopher has been laid low with the bug that caught me over Christmas and the New Year. It is a devilish thing, last for ages. Some days you think you are better, do too much and then are struck down again the next day. Yesterday he felt quite lively – today, not, and is currently in bed.
     Last night we had a Stanza Group outing for the Hastings Slam Dunk poetry event, as our group leader, the excellent Antony Mair, was one of the headline acts.
     What is Slam Dunk? Well, a load of poets get together and compete. Each person gets up and reads for about 3 minutes, and then the audience gives them marks out of 10. The two with the highest marks go through to a final, and then the winner gets to come back the next month as one of the headline acts, together with one or two guest poets. It is held in the Printworks – a somewhat cool post-industrial place tucked away up a rather intimidating alley round the back of the Hastings Library.
     I’d really thought of wimping out. It was such a cold night, plus I expected to be shivering and yawning in a dark and draughty venue while over-excited youths read rants off their phones full of  f*****g shit twat stuff about Trump. In the end I dragged myself down there. Antony is always so supportive to us.
     Had a struggle to find a parking place. In the end I lost patience and just rammed the wretched car into a disabled space that had, what’s more, a big notice saying that parking was suspended due to building works. However, I’m very glad I went. It was a good night with some interesting poetry, and the Stanza gang were out in force, including Robin H, who has also written a blog post about the event. Robin is an accomplished poet, and her very good blog appears in the Favourites list on the left of Battleaxe posts, but here is the link anyway.

Nice fire effect in the background. That is Lucas, the compere.

    The place was warm, I had a good seat, nobody read off their phones, and there was only one Trump piece. Fair bit of f*****g shitty twattery though. Call Battleaxe boring, but I don’t find that the repetition of tired old rude words makes a poem more interesting or exciting.
     Another Stanza first-time attender, Roz, read a very funny poem and got an excellent reception and good marks. Much braver than me, but she treads the boards, dears, and is more used to facing audiences.  I’ll maybe have a go now I know what the form is.
     People of all ages, shapes and sizes participated, the youngest a girl aged 15 who read a piece about sex education.  A lot of wooly-jumpered, beardy, bespectacled geezers – a remarkable number of whom seemed to resemble my first husband. Perhaps, as one of my friends remarked, I have forgotten what he looked like.
    Getting good marks is clearly a bit of a lottery. It depends on what grabs the crowd on the night and the quirkiness of the performance as much as the quality of the poetry. The audience were enthusiastic, warm-hearted, and also generous – most of the marks were comfortably high…
     Antony read in the second half – he is an excellent, serious poet and a class act, and the audience clearly appreciated his material. Without over-bigging-up our mate, I’d say his selection of poems were the best we heard. Then came Sally Jenkinson, a young woman from Brighton who is an up-and-coming star of the poetry world.  She was good, but for my taste talked a little too much and read a bit too little.  Here’s an image off her web site.

   So, I will have a go, honest. Watch this space…..
   Here are a couple more views from the Pier to finish off the post.


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