Hammer and Tongue (March)

Monday 6th of March marked my first Hammer and Tongue slam as co-host. I had organised a photographer for the evening, but they had called in sick, so I packed up my camera and set off for The Art House Café. I got there nice and early, meeting Dave and Matt for the set up.

The evening was great fun! A small crowd, mostly made up of performers, but they made up for their size with their enthusiasm. This made a great atmosphere to bounce off as a host, allowing for a lot of audience participation and for all of my nerves to melt away.

The opening act for the night was Hannah Teasdale, one of the Hammer and Tongue Bristol hosts. who had an intense, thought-provoking set, which she ended with a funny, dark poem about love.

Hannah Teasdale performing.

This was followed by a sacrificial poem by Matt, and the slam itself.

Matt West

Once Matt had performed his poem, a quirky piece about peas, I started some pretty intense multi-tasking: timing each poet, photographing their performance, and working out their overall score (as determined by 5 judges).

First up to the mark was Fletcher Jenkins. A new face on the Southampton poetry scene.


They performed a brilliantly funny piece about the Conservative party. They were followed by Matt Miles:Hammer&Tongue-28.jpg

Then went the Art House’s own Duncan Green, who performed an autobiographical piece about body image.


Then was Dae Fletcher, another younger poet, who previously won the Wessex Schools Literary Festival Poetry Slam.


Number 5 saw the return of Matt Smith, who ranked second place in the February H&T.


And then up to the mic was Dave Hubble, who was working the sound desk for the evening.


Then Eva Lee, who also performed at last month’s H&T:


Next was Lagan Purdy, who recited a great piece about the different approaches to performance poetry. Unfortunately, Lagan had a staggering time of 4 minutes and 8 seconds, taking him 58 seconds over the maximum time. If it wasn’t for the penalties, Lagan would have actually won the evening.


And finally, number 9 was Stewart Taylor. Stewart, thanks to Lagan’s penalties, won the slam! His piece even involved some singing.


And then the evening was wrapped up by our headline act, Chris Parkinson. His final poem about seals got a fantastic response from the audience, as he recited the poem in superhuman speed in an attempt to not be late for his train.

What a fantastic evening! But all good things must come to an end. But don’t worry, only for a month! Because on April 12th we will be returning to Mettricks Old Town for more mischief.

In the meantime, I met up with Matt on Wednesday to get some more bits done. I went through the photos from Monday with him, discussing how we were going to publish them online. I also went over some case studies with him, as I’m going to be interviewing Dae Fletcher in the near future, as well as some other poets who have worked for ArtfulScribe.

I have started putting together some posters for the SO:Write Showcase in May, and so spent most of my time on Wednesday working on these. At the moment, I am doing a three-piece set, one for each of the headline poets. I had previously contacted all three poets for bios and photos.

However, more pressing was the Fat Girls Don’t Dance event happening this Saturday. Matt and I made a visit to God’s House Tower to try and sort out the seating and stage area for Maria’s performance. We were told the capacity for GHT would be around forty, and had sold out of as many tickets, but after setting out the chairs, found we could fit at least twenty more people in. So Matt released some more last minute tickets and tried to sort out some heating.

Matt also asked me to set up a public Google Calendar for all of the literary events in Southampton, which I set to right away. This involved collating information from all over to add to the calendar, and manually inputting it. I also went to the liberty of adding all of the upcoming productions from The Mayflower and Nuffield theatres.

So this week’s been a bit of a busy one, and on Saturday I’ll be hosting Fat Girls Don’t Dance as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations. I’ll also be attending the Writing the Body workshop that Maria is holding before hand (permitting that work let me leave an hour early!) I’m really looking forward to the celebrations and there will even be free cake. So why not pop along yourself and see what all the fuss is about?

To get involved with Hammer and Tongue Southampton, and get all of our updates about future slams, please follow us on social media!

Website – Facebook – Twitter

Entry to all Hammer and Tongue events is £7.50 per person. There is no extra fee for performing, but arrive early to sign up!

Not from Southampton? No problem! Find out where your local Hammer and Tongue is being held.


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