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Guest Blog – Kristian Baines

A fresh pair of eyes on the Performance Poetry Scene #justsaying

The event I attended was a spoken word event, #JustSaying, by Reform Radio, hosted by Young Identity.  Reform Radio is a shared digital arts platform, born and bred by young, creative Manchester working predominately with 18-30-year-olds who are not in work, education or training.  The event was hosted to help raise money for their crowdfunding campaign for new studio equipment – www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reformradio.

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I have very little experience when it comes to the artistic production of the spoken word, the only time I have come across it has been in television or films. What I ended up learning from the event is that it is a scene that encourages others to develop and wants everyone to take part in it.

The performances were all astonishing. One aspect I came to really admire is that every performer had their own singular style that really showed them as a character. There were some performances that were colored and came from a challenging past. Whilst others had a more comedic aspect to it. There was also an inclusion of props and references that fit into some acts tremendously well.

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I came in with an open mind, however, there was a pretense that that the event would be as a whole, doom and gloom, as it is portrayed in media. That I would not enjoy the evening and would leave in a rather depressed mood. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly mistaken, there was a real energy and buzz throughout the event that kept and upbeat and positive arc as the evening progressed.

This is not to take away from the more serious and harder hitting poetry. These were amazing performances that conveyed real emotion and clearly came from a time in their lives that were not safe for them. Even so, they have learned to cope, change them for the better and channel their emotions into a healthy creative aspect which gives them joy. This is a great thing to see as young people do sometimes have a tendency to not be able to control their emotions well and showing there is another creative outlet that they may not have had thought of or seen that can really help them.

I’d say that the evening was a massive success in my opinion, it was a cracking night. Filled with good food, drink and people. Everyone there was so friendly and approachable and I could tell by speaking with some of the performers they truly loved what they do. I would whole heartily recommend attending something like this if you are looking for something a little bit different. I would very much like to attend a similar event in the near future.

Maybe even take part!