Poetman is a superhero in the making. He has only been doing spoken word for the past 18 months, but he’s already a staple of the local scene. A wonderful thing that differentiates Will Horspool from other poets — besides his use of cool pedals and musical gadgets — is that not only he wants to create and share, but he wants other people to create and share as well. “Spoken word is not dead”, was the name of his open mic in Glenfield. And to keep it alive, he knows it’s very important to constantly plant new seeds.
That’s what What You Saying? is about: a venue for people from all walks of life to share their words and incept new ideas. Rather than sticking to good ol’ reciting, What You Saying? is a poetry podcast and event aiming to inspire new ways to write and speak, perhaps connecting to other disciplines such as music and comedy.
For a start, it happens every month (or at least it’s meant to) in the basement at The Shed, the oldest alternative music venue in Leicester, mostly focused on rock and metal. Not your average theatre or jazz café, but what other people would call “a dive bar”. Not really a place to take your parents to (unless your parents are Lemmy Kilmister and Cherie Curie, in that case you’re fucking awesome), but certainly a place full of character and love.
The first What You Saying? happened last Wednesday 9 March, and started around 8pm. It was meant to be split in two halves, but the response was so overwhelming that it was arranged into three halves (?). All of them with the same gravitas, and mostly recorded for the poetry podcast afterwards.
Here is the list, or most of the list, of the performers that evening:
- Ruby Kelman, a young promise and regular at Find the Right Words. She recites in an adorably awkward manner, like she is confessing her love to you and fears you won’t reciprocate (of course you will, who wouldn’t). One of her love declarations was dedicated to Amy Winehouse, the doe deer blinded by the paparazzi flashlights, and not the fabricated product of said members of the press.
- Stefan Seniuk, a rock and roll poet and “The Devil’s Bard”. Clearly influenced by the Beat Generation, punk and rock icons and the teachings of Dr John Cooper Clarke, he invites people to join the chorus like they do with bands in the arena. “We’re All Whores”, he made us chant at some point, and it was actually kind of true.
- Tyga, again someone relatively green in public, but delivering words way beyond her years. A street image with street stories, taking us out to clean our own rubbish and mop our own vomit as members of society. Someone to definitely watch out for.
- Joe Doyle, mainly a musician, and compère of his own open night at Manhattan 34. One of his stories was about a fly-killing bully, a monster who uses all kinds of items to catch those (apparently) smaller than him, yet performed in a funny voice and poise to remind us that these bullies are nobodies in reality.
- Jodie Hannis. She likes fish tacos over sausage sandwiches, and is not afraid to say it. A recent tenant at the House of Verse, and someone we will certainly keep seeing around.
- Oscar Prince, who still relates the name “Fergie” to a certain Scottish duchess and not the lead singer of Black Eyed Peas.
- Trevor Glyne Locke, who has been writing for decades before we were a figment of our parents’ imagination. Surprisingly, this was the first time he read in public, and he took us back to a decade we didn’t live, riding his scooter all over the world.
- Some broad who talked about pepper spray, swimming, cutting your hair in the loo and paraphrasing R.E.M.
- Philip Petersen, roaring laughter and roaring voice. An impressive presence in and out of stage.
- Douglas Deans, reciter of truisms and complainer of the same things that annoy me in life. Quite a figure on the rise in local theatre. You can’t miss him.
- K12, who is only in college and yet he can demolish you with his turbo fast speech and his pulverising topics. A previous contender in Heard of Mouth, and someone who needs to come out and slam more often.
- Daniel Nicholas, the enfant terrible of East Midlands comedy. He was attacked by bears, yet he didn’t win an Oscar. You will see him around because of course, you will.
- Zeropence, also in charge of his own interdisciplinary open mic night: ANERKI, every last Thursday of the month at The Turkey Café. Excellent tempo and flow, whether a capella or in a musical collaboration.
- James Cull, a metal musician who hadn’t read poetry in public before and ended up sounding cuter than a lot of us. Appearances can betray those who don’t know that metal folks can actually be the nicest.
- Pavel Peytchev, another metal poet with a soft heart, worried about the woes of today, sensationalism, deceit and the way media manipulates the masses.
In between acts, Poetman performed both by himself and with Peter Prick, prick by name and prick by nature, rambling over funky guitars and making us question ourselves as he questions himself.
If you want to hear and download (because you do, right?), just click on this as you please. Also, visit Poetman’s website and follow him on all social media to stay in touch and know everything he does.
The next What You Sayin? live Poetry Podcast is on Thursday 21 April, again, at The Shed.