Last night I went out as Willis the Poet to slam-a-dingdong-a-doodle with some beautiful people in the 6th Audlem Poetry Slam Competition. Here’s what happened…
The slam is part of a weekend of cultural events run in Audlem, a sleepy hollow between Market Drayton and Nantwich in Cheshire. The Bridge pub nestles sweetly alongside the canal, with some lovely real ales and charming country pub vibes and then it’s invaded once a year by Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt with a clip-board and a duck whistle, getting all poetry slam on your arse and giving it large!
But the locals love it and why not! It’s a great little event, more about the fun of spoken word than serious competition, but where there’s a slam there’s an edge to proceedings and it wasn’t long before it got proper serious. But the seriousness was provided by the quality of the poets that turned out to compete, quality that was evident right from the get go.
Personally the lure of a bottle of wine and a box of chocs is enough to get my competitive juices flowing, but when there’s £50 up for grabs as well, then that’s a real incentive. Unfortunately, I got placed in the first round with Nick Degg who had come across from Stoke to share his work. Cripplingly funny, great topic choice and perfect timing left me dead in the water. But to go out to the eventual joint second placed poet was in some ways honourable.
The rounds flowed, the beer flowed, the audience got louder, the poetry more intense and by the time that Nick Degg, Nick Lovell and Gabriella Gay had propelled themselves to the final three slots, it was game on. All three were fabulous poets and performers, each one worthy of their place in the final and each a reflection of the different style, approach and connection with spoken word.
There can only be one winner though and that was Nick Lovell. Great in all three rounds Nick really knows his way round a slam event and people respond to his genuine nature and his obvious love of his artform. Well done Nick for taking the 1st place, the cash prize and the accolades.
Good work by MCs Purshouse and Pitt too, although slightly strange to see them out in public without Steve Pottinger in tow – like seeing a three-legged dog and knowing that something is missing!