Bang Said the Gun

Posted on April 20, 2012


Spoken word somehow knows how to reach deep into my soul, forage around for a bit, sling out any vapid debris I’ve picked up from crap TV, and replenish with spirit-nourishing, life-affirming verse.

So when our host Dan proclaimed last evening’s festivities as ‘the poetry night for people that don’t like poetry’, I was worried. I actually like the occasional rhyming couplet, a bit of alliteration and a simile or twelve. Was disappointment imminent?

Definitely not. If poetry, comedy and stand-up had a gin-fuelled night of passion, Bang Said the Gun would be the lovechild spawned. Currently in a weekly residence at the Roebuck, this spoken word night served up a hilarious string of sharply worded and passionately delivered performances, with a healthy dose of smut. There was serious milk bottle shaking, vagina puns a-plenty and, as promised, not a sniff of a rhyme about thwarted love, or daffodils.

Milk bottle rattling makes a welcome respite from hand clapping

Martin Galton’s infamous books of love and hate opened the show, regaling us with his passion for football and a surprisingly touching piece on autism.

Next up was last year’s BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam winner – Catherine Brogan. Her anti-capitalism inspired air safety skit was pant-wettingly good, but let’s be honest I just bloody love her for letting us witness a Northern Irish woman shriek POTATOES at the top of her lungs.

Now I know I wasn’t supposed to be focusing on ‘real’ poetry, but Anthony Anaxagorou almost blew the roof off the pub with his round of intense, honest and lyrically captivating poems. Clearly rooted in personal experience his words took on love, insecurity and hope as well as issues like propaganda, African history and politics – delivered in a mesmerising, rhythmic and soulful style.

Seeing yellow with Rob Auton's glasses

The night’s belly laughter award has to go to Rob Auton, whose offbeat yellow-themed humour damn near gave me a hernia. From yellow top trumps, to his sponge routine, to his yellow anorak…we were in stitches. And a bit confused.

Finally, Mel Jones proved it is possible to be THAT filthy solely using words beginning with ‘M’. Her poetry was a dirty, foul-mouthed, bad-mannered bullet between the eyes, and I loved it. Getting caught short on your way home is something that happens to the best of us ladies, but never before had I heard it expressed in such festering, poetic detail. Well played, madame.

One of the things I loved about Bang was the ‘Raw Meat Stew’ open mic section – inviting six wannabes to perform one two-minute piece in a bid to win a slot on the following week’s show. It sucked any ego out of the festivities, and topped off a truly interactive and intimate evening.

What’s more all proceeds from the night went to The National Deaf Children’s Society (NCDS) – a fantastic cause, if a slightly ironic choice after the soundsystem almost shattered our eardrums in the run-up to the show. We’ll let them off for warming us up with some fantastic tunes though.