Paul Stones - Performance Direction

Paul Stones helps poets act, writers perform, and the terrified speak.

Bite! Slam

biteslamIn Spring 2013 I was a ‘poet coach’ for the Bite! Youth Poets vs MCs slam. Been I while since I tried to ‘get down with the kids’ and quite frankly, my knees weren’t up to it. So I stayed upright and coached a very fine young poet to the final, where he successfully battled a bellyful of aspiring hiphop MCs.

It’s over a decade since the original Poets vs MCs idea was dreamt up between myself and the MCs Heinz and Brainiac (of Brighton’s long-running Slip Jam B hiphop night). The annual battle/slam (now taken over by Hammer and Tongue) outgrew venue after venue and now brings in a few hundred rowdy fans at the Concorde 2. It’s great how they always expect the poets to lose … and always end up cheering on the ‘underdogs’ until they win. The Bite! Youth Slam was no exception. Poets may not have freestyling, but they have a variety of other tricks up their sleeves. Not least being objects of pity.

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Howling At The Moon

howlingSometime between 2002 and 2004, I ran a night called ‘Howling At The Moon’, at the Full Moon pub in Boyces Street, Brighton. It was one of many Open Mic nights I’ve run over the years: an eclectic mix of spoken word, music and comedy, and random members of the audience getting up to play the spoons, perform the haka, demonstrate levitation, or anything else that took their fancy. A lot of fine performers tried out new work there: Simon Indelicate (before the Indelicates), Jo Neary (before the Perrier Award), Jonny Fluffypunk (before the moustache), Justin Coe (before the kids), Romany Diva of Magic (before the Magic Circle Stage Magician of The Year Award), the late lamented punk magician Great Shiraz (before an untimely death from methadone), MC Hines (before the beard), Ros Barber (before The Marlowe Papers), and Mark Chadwick (after The Levellers). Pre-dating social media, it hasn’t any kind of web presence, barring the occasional nostalgic mention, so I thought I’d mention it here, as the training ground of some very fine talent. It was also, incidentally, the birthplace of the now legendary annual MCs vs Poets Slam.

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