March is a month of birthdays for me which has me doing my ritual cake baking. This year I made my son a Totoro cake and I made a Bee cake for my daughter.
Keeping in the spirit of birthdays last night I went to another birthday event this time The Other Room’s 9th Birthday event in Manchester. Juxtavoices, Ekrkembode and William Roe read. These were all firsts for me, as far as live performances are concerned. Juxtavoices is of particular interest as Geraldine Monk, one of the poets whose work I’m studying, is part of this ‘anti-choir’ but I've only watched videos and listened to audio recordings until last night. I came across Martin Archer at the bar before the performance and he promised that listening to Juxtavoices would be a life changing experience!
Juxtavoices started the evening off by performing a Derek Beaulieu piece, Helvetica, a text which which had been displayed on a wall at the Bury text festival. It was fascinating to watch and listen to the range of sounds Juxtavoices made and how they coordinated with each other - I could feel vibrations from their voices in the bones of my chest! Just wonderful - and I'm listening to their latest CD, Warning: May Contain Notes as I write this. Erkembode came next, channeling mimih spirits, as a duet, taking the audience through a range of emotions from humour to anger to poignancy. Erkembode has a brilliant website here.
In the second half small plastic bottles were handed out and we were asked to blow bubbles to the roll call of poets in The Other Room anthology who had read during the past year -- I just managed to keep a stream of bubbles going! Juxtavoices performed again, interestingly arranged in different groupings than they were for the first performance. And then came Will Rowe. I have encountered Will Rowe’s critical work via The Salt Companion to Bill Griffiths which he edited. Will read from his Collected Poems, work with a distinct political edge and a poem for Bill Griffiths, 'Bill knocked out' -- his style of reading was very engaging to watch and listen to.
A brilliant night with booty shown in pic below - thanks to all, and Happy 9th Birthday! to The Other Room.