Spotlight Slam

Review by Carla Scarano. Video footage by Norman Hadley.

Open Mic Slam, Spotlight, Storey Institute, Lancaster 19.02.10

An exciting night at the Storey Institute in Lancaster. Spotlight Open Mic Slam had nineteen slots booked and we expected a fierce competition. Simon Baker introduced the evening with his usual brilliance, making us feel at ease and in accord. People kept on coming in filling all the places at the tables and also the stools along the walls, a thrilling night.

The names of the contestants were in a hat waiting to be drawn out. We performers held our breath each time Simon or someone from the audience drew out a name. There were mainly poets but also five comedians and two singers. The themes went from fun to commitment to pure entertainment and the enchantment of words and melodies kept our attention to the end. The passionate love poems of David Tait, where love and irony mix, ended in hilarious climax. Then, clear and tight, Tick Tock by Rebecca Willmott, a sweet Short and Sweet by Bernard Alvarez, Kevin Coughlan serious and composed this time and an impetuous Peter Crompton.

Norman Hadley performed Lamb & Stag from his last collection, Stinging the Sepia. A touching, impressive poem which made us wish to be the Secret People. Then a range of styles, from lightly humorous to powerfully dramatic, with Joy Ahmed’s Villanelle, Carla Scarano’s Greed, Mark Edmondson’s Retired, Peter Edge, Jamie Field and Nigel Jay.

The comedians were formidable and convincing, especially Heena Patel: gay, bisexual or straight, she made us crack up. More fun with Sue Seddon’s miserable old git droning on about t’South, the blue humour of Sid Sidlo, Mark Ellis’s jokes and Alan Strong’s impressions.

Finally the musicians.  The fantastic Mollie Baxter mixed acting, singing and humour in Crazy Granny, an intriguing second sight piece. And Domonic Halladay with a special Technology Class where everybody had a good time.  Except perhaps the teacher.

We all had our favourites and hoped they would win the cash prizes: £ 50, 1st prize, £25, 2nd prize, £15, 3rd prize. But John Freeman and the other judges kept things on the straight and  narrow with gong and calculators at the ready.

To give the judges time for scoring we had twenty minutes of tremendous music. Ottersgear –  Mikey Kenney, voice and violin, Andrew Raven and Dan Haywood, guitar and mandola, gave us a most pleasant break.  English Traditional music with Celtic Ceilidh and Islamic influences, their songs Sunflowers in my head, Top of the Stairs and Eye of Eyes made us relax. A fresh approach to the north west countryside, describing a boy’s life, dreams and hopes. Inspiring lyrics: ‘just keep the river flowing’, engaging melodies and powerful voice. See www.myspace.com/ottersgear to listen to their tracks and know more about their gigs.

More videos can be seen here

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