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Please do not put me on after 9.30pm

Stephen Plaice

The autumn poetry scene has swung into action. On Wednesday evening Clare Best hosted an evening of readings at the Needlemakers – something enjoyable from all the readers, a good mix including Jackie Wills, John Davies and Clare herself.

I enjoyed it all but I do tend to very suddenly have a concentration crash at 9.40pm – nothing to do with excess alcohol, I can assure you (I came out with very little cash, and although Charlotte was looking after a basket of fivers – entrance money – for part of the evening, she kept me well away from it. Thanks for buying me a drink though, C!) Sitting with us was a non-poet neighbour-friend who asked us poetry questions which of course got us going. It was all very fine and civilised but I left making a mental note that I hope NEVER to have to read last at an event, and certainly not beyond 10pm.

Then last night was Lewes Poetry, the evening at the Lewes Arms run by Oli Gozzard, famous for its raucous interval limerick competition and near punch-ups during the judging process. I haven’t been to the last couple of events so was looking forward to it. Unfortunately we were late – I dragged Nick along, promising him it wouldn’t even have got going by 9pm, but when we arrived we were just in time for a long interval. Oh good, I thought, the limerick comp! But alas, it has been DROPPED due to ‘public demand’ – what? I miss a couple of sessions and my favourite bit has been ditched because someone got offended. This was Lewes Poetry’s USP, so a big mistake IMHO. Thankfully, Oli read a very rude poem involving ‘coalitions’ and ‘positions’ so managed to slip some welcome hilarity under the radar. I should also mention how fine it was to see Stephen Plaice there (pictured above) – back on the poetry scene, he tells me, so watch out for more from him.

But anyway, I just happened to have a short ditty in my back pocket (!) so when Oli asked if I wanted to read I said ‘yes’ – not thinking of course that being a latecomer I’d be on LAST.

So there I was reading at almost ten pm – so much for my resolve.


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Robin Houghton 2021
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