The Cellar - 30/04/05 (with Niall O'Sullivan)
I really enjoyed this event. Niall O'Sullivan's contagious energy and the collection of 80s theme tunes, which he occasionally let loose from a ghetto blaster behind the microphone were enough to keep anyone going.
I arrived a little late, but just in time to catch the first featured reader, Donal Dempsey, who started his set by almost stripping to the waist! Scary as that may sound, he charmed the audience with a quick series of love poems; tales of how his heart was examined and found wanting, why a woman's nightgown was avoiding him (because he had been making love to it in her absence) etc. He followed with some twisted nursery rhymes noting how death ain't good for the sight and ended his set with a haiku that ended something like "you pull your bra from your sleeve/ you can tell i'm pleased".
In the second half of the evening a couple of people read on the open mike, Marcus Down, who revealed a political activism fantasy, and Akenna who read two poems - the first with the beautiful image of "the bittersweet tooth of youth" stuck somewhere in it.
James Byrne followed with an image filled set that spanned the magnificent hands of his father as they drove past the house he couldn't remember living in, a witch whose words were bullets and heads that nodded like loose buttons.
Niall McDevitt ended the night by breaking his guitar string in the middle of a set that included some dubious pidgin english segments, but was otherwise of good quality.
All the poets had a keen eye for observation and this made for a very sensory night. For my money, The Cellar is doing a great job.
* The Cellar is on every Staurday at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London (near Covent Garden). It starts at 8.00pm and costs £5/3. For information e-mail cellarinfo at gmail dot com