The second edition of Uncorked took place last night in Bottles Wine bar in Worcester. It was an evening mixing spoken word and poetry with a real feeling of excitement instilled by the 3 headline acts. Here’s how the night unfolded…
Holly Duffurn’s approach to Uncorked is to tease her audience into wanting more. More headline action, more open mic action and more wine! It’s a clever approach that sees the evening open with each headliner giving us a glimpse of things to come, as they each take to the mic for a 5 minute taster.
Then each time Holly comes to the mic, she has a glass of wine in hand. It’s a bit like watching the file Sideways and realising about a third of the way into the film that you need to open a bottle of Rioja and reach for the cheese plate! But as well as wine, Holly brings infectious enthusiasm that welcomes each open mic performer on and off and makes the evening flow.
The other thing I like about Uncorked is that the headliners come on right at the end of two sets of open mic performances. So you get a range of talent on display throughout the evening, but you finish an an absolute high, which works perfectly.
The headliners last night were Charley Barnes, Hannah Teasdale and Spoz. 3 wildly different poets, bringing different styles, different topics and unique perspectives.
Charley Barnes started by offering us a reading from her recently published book “The Women You Were Warned About”, which tells a series of stories, through one sided interviews, about the most disreputable, low-life, nasty women that you could think of. They are however, all remarkably recognisable and this is the point of Charley’s book, in that we see these women every day, but somehow their behaviour is seen as acceptable. It’s a great read and I would highly recommend it. Charley finished her extended set with poetry and it’s poetry of the highest quality. Having seen her read just the night before, the imagery and narrative from her work was still fresh in my mind, but I was still moved by the sheer weight of emotion and fragility that Charley commands in her writing. Her “Peanut” series of poems are perhaps the best three poems in a linked sequence that I have ever heard and her engaging style and honesty really are something worth experiencing.
Hannah Teasdale bought raw emotion to the stage as well. Different subject matter, but still drawing on her personal experiences of separation, coping, and relationships, Hannah was really able to take the audience on the narrative journey she was weaving. Hannah mixed her set in part reaction to the material that had gone before and this was well done, despite her uncertainty that it was working. But it absolutely did and I love it when an artist uses that flexibility to work on the spur of the moment. Hannah’s poetry wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve and you can relate instantly to her positioning of feelings, desires and emotions as she takes you through each poem. Again, well worth seeing and listening to if you can.
Spoz is a local legend and is a real tour de force when it comes to stand up performance poetry. He is funny, engaging, utterly filthy and not afraid to call it as he sees it and all of that makes up a very entertaining set of spoken word. I’ll not even try to describe Spoz’s topic list, but when it finishes on a poem about bowel movements, you know you have been through the proverbial mill with his material! I loved his poem, at first spoken in Italian and then translated to English, which I assume is equally as funny in both tongues! I also enjoyed his John Cooper Clarkesque rant through the political shit-storm of Tory government, which left us in no doubt on Spoz’s opinion of one Michael Gove – brilliant satirical writing.
And Spoz rounded things off nicely. The hat was passed round, the wine glasses drained and we all wandered off into the warm Worcester evening with a glow of vino, verse and jour de vivre.