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Ben and Jenn’s Excellent Adventure

So, as promised, the second part of March’s madness.

After the high of Woman Scream I was feeling a little bit deflated. How do you top such a brilliant night?

Apparently by supporting some of the biggest names in spoken word with ya’ mate.

So a few months ago, over many beers and a car ride to Bournemouth, Matt offered Ben and I a joint support for Dizraeli + Bellatrix and Mark Grist on 25th March. Obviously we said yes. Who wouldn’t say yes?! Ben and I had never done a joint performance before but we were clearly up to the challenge. After seeing  Raymond Antrobus and Adam Kammerling perform as a duo at SO:FEST back in September, Ben and I started sending each other bits we were working on. It’s been really helpful having someone to go back and forth with. Not only do you have someone to give you a second opinion;  you’re also helping yourself to become more critical in order to get to know another poet’s methods and thought patterns. I totally recommend this to anyone writing as it’s hugely reflective and opens up new challenges.

So we said yes, and then realised that we had better do some kind of organising. We decided to rehearse some banter, Matt had asked us to be funny but if you’ve ever heard any of our stuff, we’re not funny poets. So, obviously we picked on each other and kept to some of the things we had discussed. It went down really well nonetheless. For those in the audience who knew me and Ben, the set was comfortable and we had lots of fun. Our styles are very different but work well in a combined set – I think the inevitable next stage is for us to write collaboratively. Which I would love to do and see where it takes us. The set overall was no catastrophe and Ben’s Blood poem did not cause any fainting, hurray!

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The headliners were met with pure Art House love. Mark was here last year with his show Rogue Teacher which went down a treat at the Cellar and Dizraeli filled in at the last minute at January’s Archimedes Screw Showcase. It was awesome to have them back and in one night. Mark’s brought some old and some new with comedy and charm. He amazed me yet again at his being-a-poet skills. Including his next venture on Wrestlemania. (Yeah, I know. HOW COOL IS THAT?) Dizraeli was accompanied by beatbox sensation Bellatrix. Her vocal skill left my mum muttering ‘bloody hell…’ under her breath and by the end, the entire crowd was rubbing their aching jaws.They performed together and separately and even finished with a thrown-together version of ‘Never Mind’ which faired in a triumphant finale to the night.

The night ended with congratulations all round, sofa hugs and some beer I found left upstairs, couldn’t have asked for more!

Big love to everyone who came to support me and Ben in our first attempt at collaboration. We’ll be back 🙂

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