It is the irreverence of the Gob Almighty flyer that piques the interest: a lipsticked Larkin peering out of the zine style layout. ‘A new night of poetry’ with Peter Knaggs, Matt Nicholson, Mike Watts and Dean Wilson upstairs at the Brain Jar.
There’s a game of cushion roulette to be had before the fun begins with Peter Knaggs author of the long titled collection ‘You’re so vain you probably think this poem is about you’. He’s a quiet unassuming sort with a mind as sharp as a tack, left hand fingering top of jeans pocket as he shares three excerpts on the plight of the humble thimble hunter. Then a punter’s day at the races complete with race commentary – a knowing nod to Derek and Clive – amplified through a toy megaphone. Peter sits at the helm of the groups’ writing get-togethers dishing out the red wine, the criticism and praise.
Matt Nicholson enjoys a lot of success on the West Yorkshire circuit, spotted doing a bit in Harrogate by Matt Abbott he subsequently found himself supporting the Nationwide poet on a national tour. A set of poems sans book, some of which taken from the equally as long-titled Not everyone is blessed with a hat-shaped head… unfazed by the occasion despite this being a rare outing in Hull, we get the one about time shared in an anarchist’s allotment and the racy nature of the nighttime assassinete. There’s a new poem describing an inviting Isle of Mull, which contains a line that shimmers and tantalises ’the purpose of jellyfish under a dislocated moon.’ And in a love poem there’s a rare glimpse of sadness and vulnerability.
The break and a chance to revisit the bar; cocktails aplenty or local craft beers on offer and… another poem, by Chip Wilson via the hyperlocal poetry app @qrpoetry_hull formulated by Nick Conroy. I went for the rather fine Pale Ale from Bricknell Brewery, located no more than three miles away. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the setting intimate and I can hear every word, a rarity these days.
Mike Watts opens Part Two, described as a ‘colossus’ in the poetry scene increasingly famed for his small comedic parts – he is currently breaking into acting – it’s delivery and drama dialled up to ten throughout. Alternating between lines that land like stinging blows, and writing the dreams and aspirations of tonight’s appreciative audience, escaping the nine to five. There’s a familiar line up featuring Stacey and Cider Barry, and also a Debbie sequel, another confessional, that see’s the ‘fat lass at school’ years later sitting down to a fine-dining experience with her former tormentor.
Making the most of the walk-on music Suzi Quattro’s Devil Gate Drive an excellent choice if I might add, is the irrepressible, irreproachable Dean Wilson. ‘He’s the fourth best poet in Hull’ people will chime on hearing his name and latterly ‘the second best in With’.
If there is a better line than ’Sometimes I’m a grain of sand at the beach at Brid, only small-er’ I’m yet to find it. Last year Dean was idolised, his likeness fashioned into a bespectacled dark-suited doll. Tonight he is dressed down, sporting a Hull FC bobbly hat and exalting the virtues of club singer Phil May, his mind occupied by the librarian at the foot of his bed: and I don’t believe Nafferton has ever before been described in such a way. Dean used to be a bit of a secret in Hull, now the secret is well and truly out, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. I need another drink so if you’ll be so kind, Take me to the Whalebone please.
More Gob Almighty Thursday 11th April upstairs at The Brain Jar