A new slam champion!

Monday, 3rd February 2014

On 1st February, in our usual home at Cellar 35 in Aberdeen, I hosted this year's North East Spoken Word Slam, always a key event in the local literary calendar. Despite treacherous weather, eight contestants and a decent-sized audience filed in to the underground venue and prepared for three rounds of literary sparring among the wildly-differing styled.

Vying for the title this year were returning competitors Neil C Young, Nathan Brown, Gordon Campbell and defending champion Patrick Crotty lining up alongside slam debutants Anna Lavigne, John Mackie, George Kay and Fiona Jane Brown.

I started the first round with a quick run through my 'A Budget for Beer Drinkers' poem which seems to get more laughs the more I do it (practice, lad, that's what that is) and tested out the infamous decibel counter that would be tracking, through the wonder of science, our winners and runners up on the night. The first round was very strong with Patrick Crotty clearly keen to build on last year's performance by reciting sans paper - I'm always impressed by poets who commit their work to memory, it's something I really need to be able to do - starting us off with something of a love letter to the Rolling Stones.

As I'm always at pains to point out, this competition, unlike your traditional slams, is not and has never been restricted to poetry and, in the early rounds, we heard some entertaining short stories from Anna Lavigne, Fiona Jane Brown and Nathan Brown alongside more traditional poetry from Neil Young, John Mackie and Gordon Campbell. The front-runner, however, was George Kay who truly embraced the slam style with a spitfire piece about cigarettes, again without a single crib-sheet to be seen.

Kay eventually triumphed in the final, despite a slight fumble, followed by Neil Young, Patrick Crotty and Gordon Campbell in fourth. The audience also heard another rendition of 'A Shaggy Dog' from me and their own best attempts at poetry in the audience poem - the best line award won yet again by Haworth Hodgkinson.

We are already looking for contestants for the 2015 North East Spoken Word Slam so, if you've got a few pieces in you, get in touch!

See photos from the event here