Not many people know this, but I actually met Beck about a year ago in a nightclub in Sydney.* the night i met beck tells the story of that fateful encounter, and was first published in the 2001 edition of Going Down Swinging, a kewl Melbourne-based rag. Some of the tracks on the spoken word CD are very funny indeed, treading that very fine line between poetry and stand-up comedy.
You may laugh, but more often than not a performance poet is called upon to change the colour of her spots, and enter the wu-tang of the comedian. It’s been argued that people who can perform their poetry well have an inherent advantage over stage-shy, closet-dwelling, tongue-tied amateurs … Well, having experienced a poetry gig that I could only have carried off had I resorted to cracking jokes, I can say that you need at least a little bit of pizazz if you’re expecting to get anywhere in this game. That’s not to say you have to play the show-off all the time.
There are limits to all things, including charisma. It’s a hard thing to manage in front of an audience! Especially an audience that’s there to see four singer-songwriters, as happened to me one unfortunate night in Revolver! But that’s another story. I’ve never performed the night i met beck live because I feel nervous about talking in a Leeds accent in front of a group of strangers, some of whom may or may not be Britons. The irony is, if I was doing stand-up, I probably wouldn’t give a shit.
* irony alert.