Did someone mention a banner…?

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The 3 Ps popped up in Walsall last night for a new spoken word evening at the Pretty Bricks in John Street. Open mics, featured poets, poetry competition, upcoming event listing and their very own banner made it a night to remember…

The 3 Ps are Steve Pottinger, Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt who have started collaborating on some very entertaining spoken word events across the Black Country. Renowned poets in their own right, when you add them together, you get a collective powerhouse of creativity and that certainly showed at last night’s opener.

The format was fairly traditional in that there were open mic slots performed either side of a break with a featured poet ending the first half and a headline poet rounding off the event. What was different was the poetry competition – advertised prior to the evening, but also open on the night, where you had the opportunity to win a book and a scratch card with your go at an 8 line poem. Good fun to take part in and local legend Mogs came up with the winning poem. Also different was the ethos of spreading the word on up and coming events in the local area, or events further afield that are featuring local poets. It’s a great idea and showed the depth and breadth of poetry on offer in the region.

The featured poet at the end of the first half was Paul Francis. I had heard Paul read very briefly before at a poetry slam in Wolverhampton, but having the opportunity to hear a fuller set from him was a treat. As well as being an active performer on the Midlands poetry scene, Paul has written a collection of poems about migration, entitled “Breaking Point”. He performed most of his set from that collection and his insight into the topic and his beautifully crafted poetry reminded us all how poetry can be a very effective force in highlighting social and political issues. Paul examined the Brexit vote and the short-sighted damage it has done with regards to the plight of migrants in the UK and his poems were a moving and emotional examination of contemporary Britain. The sale of Paul’s collection supports the work of City of Sanctuary in Wolverhampton and listening to his work last night, we were reminded of the need to come together in communities to help those in need; a very timely call out for humanity to come to the fore.

Finishing off the evening as headliner was Jonny Fluffypunk, who stormed the building in true performance poet style. Jonny is a well established poet on the UK circuit and it’s easy to see why he draws a crowd whenever he performs. He is richly verbose, warmly endearing and very funny, combining poetry and prose in a Monty Pythonesque delivery that barely allows you to draw breath between the laughter. My jaw ached after his set from the sheer joyous workout it had been subjected to. Jonny’s work is part autobiographical, part escapism drawn together in a narrative that is uniquely imaginative and utterly compelling. He is one of those performers that can take a seemingly innocent topic and turn it inside out with acerbic detailing and the application of a ridiculous sense of humour – absolutely brilliant!

And it was an absolutely brilliant way to close the show. As Jonny pointed out, the purchase of a very expensive looking banner suggests that Yes We Cant is here to stay and I for one am very much looking forward to the next instalement…

 

 

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