Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Paradise Anthology Launch

Paradise Anthology #3
St Kilda Library
Sunday 7th February, 2010.

It was no surprise to be greeted by the pink-shirted, Cheshire-cat-grinned Brian Nankervis (aka Raymond J. Bartholomew) at the Paradise Anthology launch last Sunday. In fact, I probably would have been disappointed had he not been emceeing –he’s making quite a habit of these sorts of occasions. And as usual he did not fail to deliver.

But it was not all plain sailing at this particular launch.

This was a free, yet fully ticketed event. So there was no excuse not to have enough seats on hand to accommodate the audience of generous numbers. The effort to bring in extra seats was appreciated by everyone but me. The destination of these added seats was directly in front of the vantage point I had selected – primarily to spare those around me the stench of the previous night’s absinthe evaporating acridly from my every pore.

First on the bill was Monique Brumby. Monique is adorable, and her voice so sweet I would enjoy listening to her read the street directory. In fact, I probably would have preferred that to the songs she chose to share with us. What is it about poetry launches that makes musicians feel the need to trot out their most lyrical and literal material? Sadly Monique’s repertoire this day left me filled with inertia.

We then had the convenor of Poetry Idol and co-editor of the Paradise Anthology, the revered Michael Crane (accompanied by Trish Anderson on guitar) deliver a couple of poms set to music. Michael, I’m afraid, just doesn’t do it for me. His laboured speech and inarticulate delivery makes me uncomfortable and, sadly, I think this event was more the worse for his contribution.

But we weren’t there for a musical indulgence; we had come for the poets. Amongst the first five readings (all, I’m pleased to report, of an exceptionally high standard) was our own Carolyn Hirst. Her poem entitled “Murder In The Nursing Home” – a reflection of an incident that made headline news last year – was particularly well received and one of the highlights of the afternoon.

After the obligatory red wine (or two), and an impressive cheese platter that was whisked away prematurely – almost completely intact and untouched by yours truly, Stephen Cummings regaled us with charming anecdotes as only he can. One of St Kilda’s pre-eminent raconteurs, Stephen is perpetually awkwardly at home behind the microphone. A few tunes from him and it’s back to another six poets, delivering their own work on a public stage without fear. Again, each poem was of a particularly high standard, and I was left to reflect that each of these budding stars could possibly have been granted the indulgence of two poems each at the expense of some of the other entertainment we had been provided.

A generally enjoyable afternoon was topped off with a random encounter with a girl I inexplicably remembered from high school (she hadn’t changed a bit) and a free copy of the Paradise Anthology in return for an impromptu performance of a love poem about Coburg* that this writer concocted on the spot.

Free wine + Free music + Free poetry + Free book = Four stars from me.

Craig Ising
Monday February 8, 2010.

Coburg Lovestory

You invite me back to your place
To indulge in carnal sin

I’d rather catch the tram to Coburg
And get my face kicked in

No comments: