6th June at L'Ogre

So. The Spear Danes in days gone by and the kings that ruled them had courage and greatness. The Ogre, that mead hall held in high esteem, a fine house wherein to hear the tale of Grendel told on Woden's day.

But aside from a fragment of Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, the oldest surviving English poem, what did we have? Forty plus people at the bottom of the stairs, stories, poetry and song. Neil and Alexa's stuff I really liked, Alexa's Cinderella and the big bad wolf is posted below somewhere. A fair number of dirty limericks, such as:

There once was a man from Kanass
Whose bollocks were made out of brass
in stormy weather
he'd clack them together
and lightning shot out of his ass

There was a young girl from Hanoi
Much hornier than any boy
She went to the florist
and met a sex tourist
whose butt she explored with a toy

Erica, Alexandra and Stephanos broke into song & music depsite Erica's cold.
Stephanos had us passing the mic around and improvising verse to a song about Georgie Boy, who I think came to a bad end. And a good time was had by all.

If you've not seen it check out this clip from a film about George Whitman & Shakespeare & Co.
Full film:

Photos from the night follow.
Cheers, all.

Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, and hang on for the ride.

Neil Uzzell discovered at the bottom of the stairs

The calm before the songs..

Light breaks through the sole window in Stephanos' cell.

Maxime doing an intense bit of Aleister Crowley which unfortunately lost me in a tangle of obscure gods. Very intense though.

Once upon a time.../Cinderella and the big bad wolf (by Alexa)

You beautiful tattooed bastard
The moment we met --bam!-- couldn't stop thinking of you
Damned if I did, damned if I didn't...round and round it went in my head
Couldn't decide better--with or without?
Going that extra mile
To your house
In the snow

This Cinderella's coach was a big shiny Harley
Prince Charming and me rode all night
Up and down the long wet highway
Going "oui... oui... OUI!!!"
all the way home

Cinderella turned big bad wolf when the fences went down
I blew and I blew--but I couldn't make your house come
when all the fences came down new fences came up
the longer I stayed the more your ego filled the room
suffocating me
I killed a fantasy

(Shoulda stayed home...)

Interesting Times for Generation Zed by David Barnes

These are interesting times for generation Z
Descending to the Underground
You pick up what is said
There’s a tension in the news today
That’ll tear your nerves to shreds
As the suicides all take their seats
Seven bullets to the head

These are interesting times for generation Z
The skies are full of aeroplanes
Screaming overhead
Scattering plutonium
More poisonous than lead
I know they’re bombing someone
Terrorists, they said

These are interesting times for generation Z
This spaceship Earth is ticking
Like a timebomb in my head
We’re dictated to by autocue
And we take it all as read
We’re eating glass and anthrax
Like we eat the lies we’re fed

These are interesting times for generation Z
Four horsemen were approaching
And this is what they said:
"It only costs indifference
So despair and turn your head
Distract yourself with toys and games
While the sun sets bloody red
And if what you see offends you,
Put out your eyes instead."

These are interesting times for generation Z
So dream on televisionaries
And follow where you’re led
Stuff yourself with prozac
Til you can’t climb out of bed
Buy yourself an alibi
And join the walking dead

This poem was partly inspired by the climate of fear parts of the press and the UK government seemed keen to promote after the London bombs two years ago, as well as the Iraq war. The seven bullets to the head is a reference to the shooting of the entirely innocent Jean Charles de Menezes by police, while being restrained so that he couldn't move. At the time the police authorities put out a lot of lies to excuse his shooting, which have since proven to be entirely false. (Such as that he ran away from police.)
It's a bitter, angry poem.
"May you live in interesting times" is - as all Terry Pratchett fans know - supposed to be an ancient curse.
"Generation Z" is Hunter S. Thompson's label for the current generation of Americans growing up in the shadow of 9/11, the first generation predicted to have a lower standard of living than their parents - but let's broaden it to all of us - it has a good apocalyptic air of finality to it.
The poem is also heavily inspired by Adrian Mitchell's To Whom It May Concern (Tell me lies about Vietnam.) http://www.geocities.com/marxist_lb/Adrian_Mitchell.htm
I would hope though that this is not a despairing poem. It's an intensely sarcastic call to action - these remain interesting times. A damn sight more interesting than computer games or prozac.