Alan Cunningham headed along to the launch of The High Flight’s Issue 9 magazine on the 22nd of April. Here’s his thoughts on the performances that night:
The High Flight show immediately gives off more of a gig-like atmosphere than Sub Hub did, being in the darkened Nice ‘n’ Sleazy and all. I feel more at home.
The set-up tonight is in three parts: there’s an acoustic act, a storyteller and a full band. Preceding each act are the same four poets, who read one poem during every part .
Sam Small hosts the night, reading what he describes as his “weird” poems. Two of them are narrated by someone who is dead.
The first poet is Adam V. Cheshire. After an unfortunate false start where he forgets his poem on stage, he returns with his dark, impenetrable poems scrawled in a journal. His poems go well with his demeanour, which is also dark and impenetrable. He jokes at one point that he doesn’t tell the audience the names of his poems to remain mysterious.
Cat Hepburn offers a touching tribute to Glasgow, as well as great wordplay in a poem where she compares different men she’s gone out with to different breakfast cereals. But she peaks on her last piece – a transparently angry tirade against the nastiness and superficiality of women’s magazines. The poem opens with “I’m pissed off” – she’s getting right to the point.
Miko Berry again proves why he’s the European Slam Champion, wearing his heart on his sleeve for the duration of his emotive poems. He shares experiences of a failed relationship, and bares all about being bullied in school for his weight.
Carly Brown gives us a feminist critique of 50 Shades of Gray, tells us why she isn’t a poet, and is conflicted about her home state of Texas. She loves Texas, but “can’t take it to parties anymore”.
The Flying Penguins are a bombastic acoustic folk group, who pull it out of the bag despite some sound issues. Their secret weapon is their talented violinist, who adds an extra layer to their music.
The highlight of the night by far is comedian Richard Brown. His offbeat anti-humour includes some “off-the-cuff” banter that he’d written down, tricking someone into high-fiving gender inequality, and heavy drinking. He includes a poem in his set, “Drink Coke or Else” wherein he threatens anyone disobeying corporate slogans with increasingly macabre punishments.
The last act are Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab, a ridiculous psychedelic hard rock group who appear on stage wearing lab coats. Part of their act is an interpretive dancer who at various points wears a bird mask and pole dances on one of the pillars. Thankfully, the ridiculousness of their set is justified in their fun-time music that gets everyone dancing.
Overall, the mix of poetry, music and comedy works well, as it did in Sub Hub, and I continue to be amazed by the talent on display.