I recently got an email heads-up from Eco-Girl of the Super Poets that one of my poems was going to feature in the Out Loud schools’ poetry slam as part of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. The slam featured two categories: recycled, for interpretations of existing poems, and fresh, for brand new work written by the students themselves.
The recycled performances were varied and engaging, from yours truly to Shakespeare and The Beatles, covering everything from comedy to philosophy and tragedy. The fresh performances were even stronger, with some great performances and writing on display, both solo and collaborative, all easily achieving the same level of quality as any other slam competition I’ve ever seen.
I wasn’t surprised that “Kevin the Fucked Up Goldfish” was the one that the students picked to cover. Back when I was doing school tours for Not Quite the Man for the Job I would hand a couple of copies of the book out to the class for them to flip through while I was performing, in case they preferred to read instead of being read to (and also so that they could enjoy all of the swears that I wasn’t game to say out loud in front of their teachers) and “KTFUG” was the one that the kids routinely pointed out to me with a big cheeky grin and a half-whispered “do this one next”, which I would politely bat away with what I hoped was a conspiratorial grin of my own.
It was pretty cool seeing Kevin’s story – based on a true story by the way – acted out so theatrically, and gratifying to hear the audience laugh in the right places. So thanks blue-stockinged boy, whoever you are (I’ve forgotten your name AND the name of yoru school – mea culpa), and congratulations for netting the Best Performance award on the day too. You deserved it – pants or no pants.