Thursday, July 11, 2013

Roar Poets - Tour Diary 3 - Melbourne

So we got to Melbourne with a blue sky waiting and bicycles dinging and the trams all a-bustle and I made my way to The Dan O'Connell for my first performance of the week.
It was great, fantastic, largely spectacular you know?
Well... It was The Dan, which means a casual open mic with a feature in a pub where the Guiness flows freely. Local poet John McKelvie shouted me a number of rounds so I had fun.
It was the first of a number of events I performed at in Melbourne where people were just... cool.
Those who know me know I was trepedatious about Melbourne.
I'd been burnt the year before by some toxic interactions and gig handling, only to be saved by the few people that attended my workshops.
So this year I was afraid to be honest.
See Melbourne is so big and so packed with events that there is no knowing what you should go to or not. It's too full. Too many chefs. Everyone screaming for attention.
And what is actually touted as a good event could just be people blowing their own horn.
And what is supposed to be just a chilled evening could be something amazing.
But that is true of art in general and not just limited to Melbourne of course. It's just very pronounced in Australia's art capital, especially when you're trying to organise and promote a gig yourself.

So I just tagged along to things that were happening and got invited to perform a lot and it was overall a great experience because the people were great. I met great people. I stayed with Randall Stephens and we talked geek, watched the new Superman (review below) and generally just hung out coz it was nice.
One night we went to an event called "The awards" - a celebration and gathering of those people and poets in the community who have "Oppositional Defiant Disorder".
I'd heard there would be poetry and wrestling.
I was even invited to read my piece "Bennalong's Ghost" and present an award.
What a trip.
Randall was painted green like the hulk.
Benjamin Solah was dressed in tight tight tight wreslemania tights and the rest of the poets and crowd were like extras from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It was a mad house.
And there was wrestling. After all the poetry, nearly three hours of it, they wrestled. Yep. Benjamin Solah and James Jackson got their WWE on in a club in Victoria.
It was fucking excellent.
It was something anyway.

Later that night we caught the train home and decided Randall should chase us on to the train and we would scream "AHHH HE'S COMING FOR US!!"

We thought it was funny anyway
The train passengers? Not so much...
The Roar Poets gig itself was great. We missed Angela's presence, but Jacky T more than made up for it with his beautiful words. And a kick ass zine that has since spread because I'm showing everyone how good it is... Bastard.
It was definitely the most confusing gig in organisational terms. The House Of Bricks crew were super supportive of The Roar Poets Tour, but it seemed a clash between whether it was a feature event or an open mic with guests. A natural hiccup on a first tour.
My favourite part of the night was Matt Hetherington, local poet and beautiful person grabbing me and giving me an inspirational speech courtesy of The Joker from Batman (the Jack Nicholson version)
(2:01 - And remember Bob, you... are my number one... guyyeeeee)

I'm really stoked that my Melbourne experience was a positive one.
People like Benjamin Solah from Melbourne Spoken Word, Matt Hetherington, John McKelvie, Steve Smart, Tim Train, Jacky T, Amy Bodossian, the HOB crew, Michael Reynolds and a great many more people showed me that the people you interact with effect your ideology around a space or place. By being involved with them and their adventures I was given a positive shot of beauty and art and love. So thanks.
But especially thanks to the man Randall Stephens. A great host and person I admire in poetry. He's a beast. He's a man who's always supported me and I cannot thank him enough for that. Every Melbourne experience has at least been blessed with his presence and DVD collection.

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