Valentines day seems to becoming more and more like Christmas year on year. The mentions of it start even earlier than last year and the heart shaped everythings get put up eagerly in what seems like December. So when you see anything anti Valentines or even just against the whole in your face selling of love then it makes a refreshing change. (Even though the anti guys are selling something too I guess).
Book Slam hit the sweet spot of getting away with being different and not being too obviously anti love this year. On 7 February in South London couples, singletons and rowdy friends all came together for their Love Bites show, which was a fine intertwining of comedy, theatre and literacy or what I like to call book stuff.
The event was full to the brim and made me feel not quite as much like an outcast as I thought the 'book stuff' would. The comedy element of the night along with my personal favourite Scottish poet/singer were too much to keep me and what seemed to be a lot of other newbies away.
The night started with MC Francesca Beard informing us of the house rules in what was a pretty scary and forceful tone. These were pretty much simple 'Shut the f*&k up'- when the acts were on. I'm not sure if they normally get hecklers, I thought book people would behave? Thankfully this advice was taken by the eager crowd and no trouble ensued.
The line up of Tim Key, Aidan Moffat (former Arab Straper), Dan Rhodes, Katie Bonna & Richard Marsh flowed really well across the night. And throw in some musical treats from Sam Smith then you have an all round boxes ticked corners covered night out. Tim Key was the main draw of the night and although his set was quite short it was served up with pin point accuracy.
His Freeze show, of last year fame was a solid basing of what he did for Love Bites. He interjected perfectly as only he could. He insulted the audience and less 'booky' others with a backhanded genius that only the cattiest of people could get away with. His short story of trying to find love, well sex in the same venue that we were in as a 'pissed customer' went down a storm and could be imagined in picture clear clarity by me and many others.
To close the show Aidan Moffat performed some short songs and a sweet wee story he wrote for his daughter. Moffat plays increasingly to crowds that are pure heads. By that I mean he can do anything he wants and they will unashamedly ask for more. That is nothing negative either this allows him to stretch his sonic and artistic boundaries again and again am always makes for an intriguing show.
But for me the surprise highlight was the pairing of Katie Bonna & Richard Marsh. Together they perform Dirty Great Love Story (which is about to start at The SoHo Theatre- do go I will be!) Their comic timing was well performed but not staged and their words were almost lyrics at times. Indeed whilst performing their sketches about a stag do and a hen party Marsh was actually using R&B lyrics to drive home the point. They won over the crowd within a few lines and although this set was as raw as it could be for the pair they absolutely nailed it. I think I wasn't the only one reciting their one liners days later to the girl I took on the night in a desperate attempt to impress.
So overall a great night out that surprised me and taught me. If you get the chance Book Slam's next show is on 28 February and is highly recommended. Go with an open one come home with a full one.
Click here for info:- http://www.bookslam.com/events/85/book-slam
I may also buy some tickets to Dirty Great Love Story at The Soho Theatre for my date as a late valentines present. Or is that not allowed? Booky people let me know what the house rules are on this!