This was a very last-minute gig, as Malky only texted me at 6pm on the night asking me to do it. Specifically, he asked me to do some of the poetry I’d floated the idea of using, and since I was all packed up ready for an imminent flat flit I had to fire up the laptop and copy some down longhand. I decided on about eight or so, a couple of longer narrative poems, a few very short and silly ones, and a couple that had previously been lyrics for my ‘band’ AudioTwat. They were very different in style, so I figured there’d be something for everyone. I also had no clue what might work, or not.
The first obstacle was making the mic stay in position in its stand – this is the first gig where I haven’t immediately removed it and put the stand off to the side, preferring instead to have both hands free tonight in order to better read the poetry straight from the page. The mic kept drooping, so it was a very stuttering start. I opened by referring to Stu Who’s very kind words:
The last gig I did, the headliner is a guy who’s been doing comedy for thirty years, and he said my jokes have an 80% hit rate. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing any of them tonight, so nae luck.
The first poem was based on a title I came up with in fifth year, about 13 years ago, “S&M in M&S” – it seemed to go pretty well, and I then launched into a series of silly four-line jokes which all got laughs. A slightly longer, darker one got a gasp from one lassie, so I pointed out she was in for a treat with the AudioTwat stuff… The next poem, “High Maintenance One Night Stand”, was a lot longer but drew no laughs, just applause at the end. Since it wasn’t meant to be an evening of poetry reading I announced that’s that one chucked.
I introduced the next two by describing the background of AudioTwat – when I was at the RSAMD, the workshop was full of scratched CDs, so we listened to the same two all the time. I’d bring in my own CDs, but then (as now, as ever) nobody liked my music. About a year later, a fed-up tutor was heard to announce “Jordan’s music might be shite, but at least he brought some new stuff in.” When I started my ‘music project’ (in truth, I never managed to make the lyrics fit the music, or vice versa) the choice of name seemed to sum me up perfectly – AudioTwat. A guy who likes loads and loads of very different music, but still no-one else likes it too. Tonight I chose to read “True Romance” – the one I’d read to Will Setchell way back when the idea was first floated, which he’d laughed at – and another called “Sick Puppy”. The tone of these two is much darker, inspired by Alice Cooper, by Combichrist, and by the creepily-delivered Pantera lyric “I’d kill myself for you. I’ll kill you for myself.” Essentially, I endeavoured to write lyrics that were forthright, dark, sick, but witty with it. Since they’re already available online on my myspace blog, here are both in full.
She is as you made her/ You love having laid her/ She’s so slim and tender/ With her shining blue eyes,
Her touch like no other/ As she undoes your flies,/ Slowly reaches inside/ As you’re growing in size.
She opens her lips/ And around you she slips./ With a smooth flowing motion/ You’re soon spurting love potion.
Some use sexual toys,/ But instead you reflect/ On the exquisite joys/ You get from sock puppet sex.
This one got a laugh at the end, and on some of the more descriptive lines, and the next one got an even bigger reaction – laughs but also a great deal of disgust. Chris Henry said afterwards that I scare him 🙂
As the flesh decays upon your purloined corpse/ You slowly caress what used to be flesh/
Running a hand underneath, and under her skin/ The touch of her bone is calling your own
You feel it rising with the sexual tension/ It starts its ascension, and grabs your attention
And so you press into that decaying flesh/ Lusting, you’re thrusting, her body is bursting
Her skin breaks apart, her skin starts to weep,/ From under your nails her organs now seep.
Lubricating yourself with her puréed insides/ You may feel alone, you may be upset
But the accepted procedure is to BURY your pet!
Obviously it reads a bit flatter here, but I enjoyed reading this one. Partly because of the response it got. Almost immediately afterwards a couple of customers came in with their dog, who immediately made a beeline to me – so the jokes just kept coming, about the dog’s reaction to the poem she’d just missed.
Other notable things tonight: of the 17-strong audience there were at least four Australians in, so I used and elaborated on a new joke based in truth – “I wanted to move to Australia, but with my luck I’m moving to Anniesland not Queensland. On the plus side, at least the weather’s the same now…” – I would like to go out there, but right now half the country’s flooded while the other half’s on fire. It’s all a bit extreme. At least here in Scotland we know it’s always going to be wet, cold, or wet and cold.
The other notable thing was in the set of headliner Neil McFarlane, whom I’d met previously out drinking before New Year. Now based in London, and sick of hearing about their underground, he does a routine about Glasgow’s own subway system. It reminded me of a routine I wrote into the novelisation of Uberstardom, about the subway but a different take on it, and I plan to use that material for myself at my next gig. Which is, incidently, tonight, the 9th of February, at the Victoria Bar once more. Starts at 8pm, free entry, needs an audience – come on down 🙂