Harry Baker, Inua Ellams and the poetry polaroid

I am completely unable to remember the title of Harry Baker‘s show in anything like the right order, so having looked it up, I can say it’s Proper Pop-up Purple Paper People (12 noon at the Royal Oak). The poem of the same name is astoundingly tongue-twisterly but unhesitatingly delivered, like all of his work.

I quite like downstairs at the Royal Oak – it’s a venue where 12 people doesn’t seem sparse (I’m expecting the numbers to go up now he finally has flyers). Harry works well with an audience and his poems are a sweet reflection on a first year of university – particularly the one about being the only man at pole-dancing soc. The one that absolutely cracked me up was him doing his German presentation as hip-hop. Especially as he totally lied about his family to make the piece rhyme! I’d never thought that lying was allowed in language presentations, it was a revelation!

Go to see it for the dinosaur love poem and the German poem.  Oh, and the dessert poem. If it’s the bee poem and the maths poem that you’re after (I am kind of obsessed with both of those) his other show is running at 2:30 in Ryan’s Cellar Bar from next week.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon doing a bunch of historical research because of a misapprehension. When I got my poetry polaroid from Inky Fingers, marked ’13. Broughton St’ I thought I had to write about 13 Broughton Street and was quite perturbed when the odd side of Broughton Street turned out to start at number 19! So I went off to Edinburgh Central Library where the lovely librarians helped me out with maps, press cuttings, voters’ rolls and valuation rolls – fantastic! Really interesting.  Turned out it had been pulled down in the 1960s during the extended St James development – basically that whole block is under that roundabout. And I learned that they’d originally planned to pull down the Catholic cathedral on the other side of the road and make a new concrete pointy one.

Anyway, I then went into Pulp Fiction to write my final piece and discovered it was polaroid number 13, write about Broughton Street. Oops! My literal-mindedness had led me astray again! I had no time to change course, so I used the texts I’d found to make a wee historical account. I have a feeling a more crafted poem about my quest may emerge in the next few weeks. There were some wonderful words in the archive which are very tempting.

I shot out of Pulp Fiction to head to the Talbot Rice gallery for another Art Festival Detour, a touching urban short story by Inua Ellams. Having seen so much spoken word recently, it’s a novelty to see someone actually read a story off a page on a lectern, but a pleasure to see it done so fluently and with excellent audience engagement as the story unfolded. Beautifully crafted.  I’d never actually been in the Talbot Rice before and it’s an amazing space – I loved what I saw of the Tim Rollins/K.O.S. exhibition as well and I’ll definitely be back to give it a longer look.

Upcoming: I’m off walking with the Tourist in Residence today! Very excited about that. From Sunday, I’ll be writing about the book festival for Clicket, plus more of the DanceBase fringe shows.

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2 Responses to Harry Baker, Inua Ellams and the poetry polaroid

  1. Pingback: Tourist in Residence: Walking Beauty | blurofwoodsmoke

  2. Pingback: Further blog reviews of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2012 « Notes from edinburgh art festival 2012

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