Off to East London Thursday with Patsy to see Tongue Fu a wonderful evening of remarkable performance poetry at Rich Mix, a lounge bar just off Brick Lane. It's a bi-monthly slam organised by Chris Redmond and features some real talent.
The premise is simple - a three piece band improvise a background soundtrack and the poets do their stuff. The bill was brilliantly varied from the stressed street intensity of Kate Tempest and the more soulful deconstructions of Indigo Williams to the wry humour from Simon Mole and a hysterical improvised on the spot set from the unlikely looking Irish rap duo Abandoman (who we're going to try and bring in to run some workshops.)
Apart from it being hugely entertaining I loved the commitment of the poets to their words, to their rhythms, to being heard. At times they were ludic, at times profound but nothing was thrown and nothing was wasted as trancelike they went deeper and deeper into their own work, only to pull it back at the last minute with a self deprecating comment or line of pathos.
In the slimmed down times to come I can't help thinking that we should encourage our students to write more original material. Apart from the sheer pleasure of being able to play with words it's the cheapest way to develop ideas, to find a way through and to create new work. As the cuts bite in it's the smart graduates who'll survive to make a living and those who can carry us away with them on a new train of thought have a better chance than most.