Sunday, 16 March 2014

A blur of words, laughter and good company

Poetry (plus one short story) and Chips
Words on Tap at the Chemic, Friday 14 March (partnership event)

Síle Moriarty writes:
Noel Whittle      Photo: Richard Wilcocks
A night at Words on Tap always starts with a visit to Arkwright’s the chippie - Friday night was no exception. I got my bag of chips - straight out of the fryer, stingingly hot and fresh - and headed next door to that gem of a pub, The Chemic, to eat them and settle in for a night of poetry, heckling - mostly of our host, Matthew Hedley-Stoppard - and  excellent beer. Terrific. Last night Words on Tap had teamed up with Headingley LitFest to present an open mic night and the evening passed in a blur of words, laughter and good company.  

Our readers encompassed: Cyborgs (Jane about her daughter), Cotton Grass (David who will have his own WoT spot in April), New Look (Michael shopping with his daughters), Wordsworth backwards (John saving the first verse of a Wordsworth poem until last to maintain poetic tension– what was it going to be about?), Long Distance Love (Hannah who knew it all by heart – I am insanely jealous of that), an old cornet bent on sweet revenge (Ruth) and Caroline sliding down the banisters.

We also had poems about: the First World War from John Darley and Howard Benn, cash points from Jonathan Eyre, and Decisions from an uncertain Terry Bridges. We heard a short story from Stuart Perreira about Christmas Day, and the evening was completed by two sonnets and other poems on love, ageing and lust from our master of iambic pentameter, Bill Fitzsimons. So an evening of poetry (oh and one short story) came to a close. We had another bag of chips, some more beer and went on our way.

Richard Wilcocks adds:
Hannah Robinson    Photo: Richard Wilcocks
I admired all the performers, which could indicate that the beer and the warm friendliness in the back room brought out the master diplomat in me, or it could just prove that I was once a teacher. I do feel able, however, to pick out a few who I think are worthy of special mentions.  Noel Whittle's brief spin-off from Coleridge's Kubla Khan, delivered with gentle wit, was impressive, Jane Kite's dream-poem about a three-ring circus, which ends with macabre scenes and clowns who have become maniacal, was refreshingly startling, and Hannah Robinson stole the show with her meticulously-learned, beautifully performed poem about love and yearning. The only thing missing was something more poetic from our excellent host. Just a little squib from him would have been welcome.

Audience thoughts:



Keep it up. Well organised and run. Good atmosphere.

An easy going evening with great variety of poems and poets. I would come again to the regular open mike sessions. Glad I came.

Always enjoy Words on Tap at The Chemic. Great room, great atmosphere and the poetry’s not bad too! Enjoy hearing new voices in open mic.

An excellent and very diverse blend of humorous and serious poetry. Very enjoyable

‘It was good to hear open-mic all evening, their work is often very entertaining, and there were one or two stars.


An excellent open-mic night – poetry and poets to add to the excellent beer and atmosphere



The poets:  
Howard Benn, Terry Bridges, Michael Brown, David Coldwell, John Darley, Max Dunbar, Jonathan Eyre, Bill Fitzsimons, John Hepworth, Jane Kite, Joe Nodus, Eloise Pearson, Stuart Perreira, Hannah Robinson, Noel Whittall, Caroline Wilkinson, Ruth Wynn.

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