22nd Apr, 2018
“LETS DO IT” - CAM BROWN AND GREAT OPEN MIC AT APRIL WRITE ANGLE
Faces were beaming at Write Angle's April gig at The Townhouse in Petersfield. Every one of Cam's songs - from a Jake Thackray bawdy farmyard song like The Ram of Derbyshire or The Bantam Cock, or Tom Lehrer's Poisoning the Pigeons in the Park, to Trout Fishing in America's lightning fast A Proper Cup of Coffee, where the audience was asked to sing the chorus but no-one could keep up with him
– was a success. It was performed at express train speed! Only Jezz, singer/guitarist, managed to stay on rail!
Cam is an accomplished performer; versatile, switching from guitar to guitar; from slow to fast to lightning; from Mighty Panther's Bedbug Song, in a West Indies accent, to Tommy Steele's What a Mouth in cockney. His repertoire ranges from old favourites like Jake Thackray's Sister Josephine to his own Tights in White Satin, with apologies to the Moody Blues. He finished with Victoria Wood's hilarious Let's Do It, rounding off a true tour de force. The man is amazing, and a great guy too, announcing he'd be donating his performance fee to the charity, 'Compassion in Dying'.
Write Angle is used to a high quality of performances at the open mike but where we'd like to encourage more poets and musicians to come along, April brought in a crowd – Cam's fans followed him from as far as Surrey – and there were 12 open mikers including three wonderful guitarists and several poets!
Mike Peach, guitarist/singer, who runs a weekly folk evening in Byfleet, performed Richard Thompson's Johnny's Far Away: “Johnny's cruising out to sea and he believes in chastity - for some”! Gillian Warren gave us her relationship with The Scarecrow, who loved the birds and hated the fact that “his cruel face scared away those he held most dear” and was so pleased when a “storm had blown away the scary features of his face”. Vivi sang and played Violetta Parra's Gracias a la vida: “Thanks to the life that has given me so much. It gave the laughter and the crying...”
Richard Hawtree, as ever, brought humour along with his clever and endless talents as performer and poet. This time it was A Better Lever about Elizabeth Iliffe, mistress and then wife of the third Earl of Egremont, having borne six children and being bored, decided to invent “an improved crossbar lever...for which she won a silver medal”. This was followed by Collider, a spring poem or maybe an anti-spring poem, inspired by the Hadron Collider! Switching from the scholastic to the whimsical – he gave us The Night I Spoke Irish in Surrey: “It was pure unadulterated Surrey Irish...I used the vocative in all the right places and the dative with archaic precision”.
Leah's Jesus the Boy talked about his youth. Did his mother spend days at the gym?” , then, No-one Understands Me - “...they say I talk too fast” - following with a quirky take-off on Jack and Jill: what was she to do when “she couldn't find any water”. Your reviewer provided The Heath Pond, about some of the strange goings on in Petersfield while Bruce Parry, nostalgic as ever, read Dream Palaces, about the cinemas of long ago: “Once there was silence with words that we read, the orchestra played and the Wurlitzer raised out of the floor”. Then a short story about a walk-in clinic waiting room. And he won the raffle prize (again!): a meal for two at Tai Tong, the superb Chinese restaurant in Petersfield.
Denys Whitley's astronomical poem, Kepler 87b, was about a planet which may have life, orbiting a distant star: “A whisper across immense time, five thousand years of light.” He brought us down to earth with Climbing on Moorne Granite, describing the rugged Irish mountains. Colin Eveleigh had everyone laughing with his Unfinished Sentences, full of unfinished lines, demonstrating how he and his wife communicate (not uncommon). In his Fly the Flume he braves the flume at the swimming pool - “Oh Boy. I'm young again!” Sue Spiers' Swans told of the competition between pen and cob for scattered bread, with her “wings arched like an angel.” Seasonally, in Ode to April, visiting the Museum of Hoaxes, Sue “learnt through time to suspend disbelief”.
In Writing, the talented Dick Senior shared memories of time spent with his granddad, telling him of the fighting in the Great War, “...and all the while above, a skylark singing, hanging on the air like memories of love.” Continuing his nostalgia, in Memory Box, he told how he and a friend ventured into the awesome Stockwood, a suburb of Bristol with a bad reputation: “...eyes snaking side to side, slinking through the pale teeth of the estate..”. Returning to the theme of spring, A Seasonal Poem Written on Valentines Day told how “Heat and light invite all living things to stretch, fire up, ignite”.
Jezz capped off the evening with virtuoso renderings of Radiohead's Don't Leave Me High and David Bowie's The Port of Amsterdam – the latter having become Jezz's signature tune.