chronicle: July 2008

The month’s adventures began in the West End, for a change, in the cellar of CafĂ© Koha, where Twisted Lounge presented Cunding Fut. The gig started with a small contingent of the group, Cast Of Twelve, i.e. Elaine the MC singing a cappella. She was followed by a trombone poetry set with freely-improvised music. A Cast of Two then appeared: including the fluent flute of Neil Metcalfe in a finely-wrought improvised set, joined at the end by a nearby trombonist. The stupendous improvisations of John Butcher on tenor and soprano saxes and John Edwards on what became a three-stringed double bass, closed the evening.

Having been put out to pasture for a while, trombone poetry returned to the verbaceous borders of Mark Aitken’s sonic horticulture show, I Can Hear The Grass Grow, on Resonance FM. There was a threat of ukuleles, but they failed to sprout, so we shared the show with The London Foraging Society. Fuelled by a glass of their elderflower champagne, a couple of bursts of foraging music were improvised.

Out East once more, trombone poetry pitched in at the ungenerously-named Don’t Feed The Poets at the Whitechapel Gallery, trying out brand new poems called foundlings, inspired by all that foraging. In the unfortunate absence of John Citizen, the ebullient Richard Tyrone Jones presided.

On a broiling Saturday afternoon, trombone poetry did a short set at the St Aloysius Social Club, near Euston, for a event called Afternoon Mutiny promoted by 14 Hour, who tell lies: “1974 prices behind the bar”? A pint could not be had for 20p. Tim Clare sweated over a ukulele and jollied the crowd.

In a rare expedition into the cultural wasteland of West London, trombone poetry fanfared a poetical cabaret in Hammersmith: Mesoteric, in the basement of Chez Kristof. Barry Yourgrau recounted a brilliantly heartless story, Agnes Poitevin-Navarre sprinted through Crystal Palace in about 10 minutes, MC Betsy De Lotbiniere read poems, and a loud, large lad called Johnny explained why he likes high heels for more than 10 minutes. The spectacle was followed by “dinner with the artists”, where, yet again at a social gathering, the mention of Darwin seemed to cause bewilderment, if not consternation. Some people never learn.

Two days later a less refined event commenced with half an hour of relentless obscenities, followed by somebody reading poems about music and playing the trombone. Better that than the reverse. This was Utter at the Salisbury Hotel in Green Lanes, presented by Mr Tyrone Jones again. Climax of the evening was a set by the wonderful Zena Edwards, reading, singing, and, at one point, simultaneously playing the mbira. Art!

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