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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Miles Merrill is from Chicago and the other guy, too, who was an organiser of this event, was North American. Of course, the concept of a 'slam' comes from Chicago (1986) and is, essentially, a competition where showmanship counts for more than honesty and truth.

The big issue here, however, is not the poor quality of many entries, but, rather, the fact that you do not know, in advance, that only the first 15 arrivals are guaranteed a spot. In addition, five late-comers are drawn from a hat. Thus 20 people get to read.

This seems somewhat unfair, as no such detail is provided in the advance publicity. If you went to the previous event you will know these things. An uninitiated prospective participant, however, is in the dark and hence unheard.

Only one performer touched me and I do not remember her name. I do remember that she was nervous. Her first item, read shyly, was overtly sexual, explicit even. The second I don't recall. By the third item, though, she was in her stride and confident. When she left, I congratulated her. Her delight was delightful.

I spent the third session talking with a woman met in the street outside the pub. We chatted for ages and shared cigarettes. There was a guy I know from the Internet. There was a Turkish guy I thought was a Maori. And there was an Iraqi who was so happy to have the opportunity to tell us that there are forests in his country, his hands shook.

Who knew?

I mean, have you ever seen a forest in any news coverage of the hostilities? In addition, we discussed the allusive nature of Arabic, how you can say three things with one sentence. It was fun.

The next event is on Thursday 15 November and, I tell you, I shall be early!!

The competition is sponsored by the NSW State Library. The finals will take place at their location on 30 November. The national grand slam is on 7 December, also at their location.

So if you want to hear two love sonnets, come to the Tap Gallery, 278 Palmer Street Darlinghurst next Thursday. I mean: who the f**k writes f**king sonnets?

But tonight I had no dinner.

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