– Reviewed by Lettie McKie –
Why you should celebrate Sage and Time …
Three years ago I wrote a review (here) of the first time I ever when to London performance poetry event Sage and Time at the Charterhouse Bar next to Smithfield market. Masters of the warm welcome hosts Amy Acre and Anna Le put everybody at their ease. At the time of my first visit I remember being amazed that such an open friendly atmosphere could be found in a faceless city bar and ever since I’ve been a regular open mic performer at this monthly night.
After a hiatus of three months since their last show Anna and Amy hosted Sage and Time’s 3rd Birthday with a specially extended night of open mic performances and featured slots. With a generously low £3 entry fee this night is extremely accessible and this time there was also birthday cake and whisky shots on offer!
As performance poetry veteran John Paul O’Neil pointed out on the night, anybody who can set up and sustain an event for this amount of time has done extremely well. Through their dedication Anna and Amy have developed a poetic community, where poets can share their work, swap stories of their various attempts to get noticed and generally chat about their favourite subject into the small hours!
The hosting that makes it such a warm event …
The team were joined by fellow performance poet Richard Marsh in their hosting efforts, and together they worked (as they always do) tirelessly and efficiently to make sure everybody has a good time.
Richard Marsh hosted the first third of this evening and kicked off with his own poem celebrating performance poetry in general as well as Sage and Time in particular! The night got off to a hilarious start with Richard cajoling us into “Shaking that Assonance” and reminding us that “Spoken word by definition is not dumb, so we come”.
Constantly welcoming to newcomers the open mic (which was generously dispersed throughout the evening) included several Sage and Time ‘Virgins’ as well as more regular performers. With approximately 20 poets performing there was an enormous mix of styles and experience levels. As a listener this eclectic hodgepodge means there is something for everybody to enjoy even though there are inevitably some poets whose work is not to your taste.
My open mic highlights …
Wizard of Skill: a passionate and heartfelt performer who has a unique perspective on pretty much everything. He combines a softly spoken delivery style with wild poetic streams of consciousness.
Richard Watkins: His considered and thought provoking poem about the human heart (asserting “the human heart is not a bone”) was a delight to listen to, taking a common metaphor and focusing in on its inadequacy explaining “the words we use to describe things are important”. His second poem about growing apart from somebody was my favourite of the night, the line “these days we aren’t together, we’re adjacent” was particularly touching.
James Bunting: Delivered another thought-provoking poem, which was an exploration into how human life tries to understand itself. Although I felt it was slightly condescending in parts, in general I found its searching tone and imagery compelling.
Chris Kraken: Announced that he had found the perfect metaphor for love “it’s like being captured by aliens”. Although the pedant in me longed to shout out ‘I’ll think you’ll find that’s technically a simile’, the poem itself was nicely delivered, light hearted and tongue in cheek.
Mark “Mr T” Thompson: A great performer and crowd pleaser, experienced poet Mark showed us how it is done with a hilarious poem about learning how to dance just for the fun of it, even if you’re shit!
And the special guests at this birthday party …
Paula is a consummate performer with charismatic stage presence. I found her poems powerful and hilarious. My favourite of her pieces was ‘His Perfect Ex-Girlfriend’ in which she described a sickeningly beautiful, intelligent and successful girl in great detail, wittily playing on her own sense of inadequacy and jealousy. Her excerpt from the Edinburgh piece was also brilliant describing the awkward moment of bumping into somebody in the street who she slept with three years before.
Singer Maddy Carty’s performance was the perfect end to the evening. Her soulful voice and down to earth lyrics were upbeat, heartfelt and charming. She quickly developed a rapport with the audience with a chilled out style and absolutely beautiful music.
Sage and Time is not an ordinary poetry event. It’s uniquely friendly with a buzzing and creative atmosphere. Roll on 3 more fantastic years!