Poetry, Existentialism at Tramshed Sitting and Laughing
A seated gig at the Tramshed a first for me and made the ambience of the evening different. There was still that excited hum of anticipation tonight for poetry rather than the poetry of song and music. The trio of poets stepped out on a stage shrouded in purple one of the very many places across the world recognising the untimely death of Prince and shades of purple reflected back from the audience’s choice of clothing.
Opening the gig tonight was Clare Ferguson-Walker the sculptor who sculpts words with precision and wit. Opening with a dedication to Prince and Victoria Wood this was about a celebration of words and the shared collective power of laughing. Her first poem was one which many in the audience could relate to Housewife Blues – Place is a mess stress building up in form odd socks locks hair matted in tumbleweed rolling around with an air of disapproval the lines about mugs. 1950’s housewife and so much more.
With a short warm up slot Clare achieved this with aplomb, a warm smile and charm conjuring a laugh from words closing with a poem about her father. This was life true, gritty and messy whilst entertaining. She was quickly followed by Mike Garry. What a fantastic poetic orator weaving in the pithy hard edge with honest phrase,s his Mancunian wit and power of observation. As captured in Penny for a Guy. Exploring, thought-provoking imagery of the tough life in Manchester with humour and a smile. Every poem was insightful, to the point descriptive words had a true purpose as in Pay as You Go and What Me Mam Taught Me which Mike wrote for his mam’s funeral. We all had a sight of the power and determination of Patricia Garry.
With a short break the minutes past until it was time for The Bard of Salford. Dr John Cooper Clarke. He is more than a poet, he comments on social and cultural subjects in his performance to make us laugh at ourselves. This is demonstrated when a crowd pleasing favourite Beesley Street is recited and then we re-visited the place with the make-over complete as we walk down the re-vamped Beesley Boulevard. The words are clever reflecting the change of time and people’s aspirations and how they shape their communities. I am skipping through the act he strode on to stage, notebook in hand and duly read out ‘The Guest List’. With his turn of phrase and the shaping of words he would make the telephone book funny. We heard about how he was an existentialist. He has freedom of existence and choice of how we define meaning of life. The world around us may be irrational but we can try to make rational choices. He then spoke for over an hour it wasn’t politically correct, it was sweary and it made you laugh. While you were laughing you realized many of the comments reflected your own thoughts and attitudes. He laughs at himself- remembers slights from the past when a heckler commented on weight gain after re-hab with Get Back On The Drugs You Fat ****. Some of the poems are long and wind around the subject others are short and sharp as a razor a two liner that still had him referring to the notebook with Necrophilia. We were treated to limericks and punk poetry classics She’s Got a Metal Plate In Her Head. Social commentary of “PC gone mad” and no it is not a computer running amok through PC World. As acerbic and irreverent as ever Dr John Cooper Clarke drew in a sell-out crowd that spanned the ages. The common thread that linked us all was Dr. JCC who will make us laugh and cry and look at life through a different prism.