So I shouldn't have been surprised when I found myself coming out of my retirement as a poetry slammer and performing in very bad german to incredibly large audiences who show up to see a bunch of the oddest people in the universe spout about anything at all for seven minutes. In Ireland it's three minutes, but that would be an Irish three minutes so it works out around the same.
But it's not just the time that's different, it's all a bit German over here. Last night I was invited to participate in a slam that took place in the castle at Karlsruhe. I mean, hello, the actual big huge castle, in a proper posh room with big chandeliers and about 200 people in the audience. A proper audience, with seats and tickets, it was even sold out. Not a room upstairs in a pub with a handful of people who have wandered in off the street because of the rain. And ah yes, rain. It was raining last night so I presumed that nobody would actually turn up. But they did. It was planned, they had tickets, they showed up.
|I told them not to smile|
But I didn't. I silently reminded myself that I was not their mother, I was their co-slammer, and probably if anyone in that back room with the free drink that nobody wanted (they were laying into the chocolate and pretzels though) needed an overhaul, it was my good self.
The Slam itself was judged on the loudness of the clapping from the audience, so although they only used it to pick who went into round two and who was the overall winner, I would make a rough estimate that I came about last. Last is good. Last means you are an eccentric nutter. Second or third place is the worst you can get, it means that you almost made it but just didn't have the edge. So lets, for arguments sake, say I came last. Very last. Straggling in last way behind anyone else.
Then all of a sudden the room was empty and I had that anti climax feeling that you get after you have gone through the mad nervous adrenalin rush of fear, followed by the buzz of performing and getting a reaction out of the audience. Now they were all gone home. But I had 15 euro, and there was a pub up the road, and my friend Ollie who was only too willing to go there with me.
|In the end you're on your own|
Yes, you do strange things when you move to a new country, but cycling home drunk at 3am, I couldn't help thinking that really, the world is the same everywhere. At least my world.