So, I'm on another little jaunt to the Contemporary Arts Theatre in Nottingham, home to some of the greatest arts exhibits and galleries in the Midlands. What folk might not know is the building houses one of the best venues for music I've been in. We call it “The Cube”. If you come down the steps from the top floor entrance at the start of the famous Lace Market, you might bypass it as you make your way into the bar. It is a concrete square behind a studded wall with a large door in it, but the sound generated and the vantage points for the cameraman make this the ideal venue.

There is something a little different going on tonight though. There is an exciting buzz in the air. There are two support acts tonight, both local soul/R&B talent in the shape of Ady Sulliman and Harlieghblu. Both acts shine with Ady on first doing a mind-bendingly soulful set. I've seen Harlieghblu a few times, and she just keeps getting stronger and more soulful each time she sets foot on the stage. Her first record is out very soon.

At around ten o'clock it is time for the main act to take the stage. The crowd, which is all seated, erupts into cheers and applause as the small thin figure of George the Poet makes his way on to the stage after being introduced by the organiser Tommy Farmyard.

A very clean-cut and well-dressed black lad stands in front of us with a big cheesy grin, and declares that he doesn't know where to begin really, and that all the material he is doing tonight is brand new and has never before seen by anyone before. George the Poet is an up-and-coming act from North West London, and at twenty-one years old he offers politically conscious, humorous and at times hard-hitting poetry and song which often draws from the Politics, Psychology and Sociology course he is studying at Cambridge University.

He looks somewhat nervous and vulnerable as he gazes out into the well packed room. He starts slowly talking in to the microphone, and gesturing with his hands to confirm or qualify his words. Slowly the gaze and the words pick up pace, and his head wanders from side to side checking out all the folk in the venue as he carries on. He accelerates into the next verse, and just as you think it is the climax to the piece he sticks his foot on the brake, then on the clutch, checks the rear view mirror and is off in another direction. He still knows though where he is going because it is all still tied in with the rhyme of the last manouevre.

Drifting between all sorts of issues, George the Poet doesn't just talk to you. George the Poet doesn't just read you a few lines from a book that he had just written either. Amazingly George the Poet forms a picture in your head with every word, and he doesn't leave it there. He paints it too. Long after you've left the room, you've still got a picture of his Yo-Yo, and the pissed-off taxi driver that he described and his timely reminder to us that sometimes we are supposed to get it wrong ("And I could lose a brother that fell out with me/And that would bother the hell out of me"). He describes well too the burning issues of cashless people committed to bringing up their own but struggling to get by ("I told my dad keep your eyes on tomorrow/It’s hard but it’s only greasy for you today/He said,‘That's easy for you to say/When you live in a drought, you can't water the seed/I got a daughter to feed.’ I bet he's taught her to read.)"

From looking nervous, George the Poet grows and grows right in front of your eyes, and then you blink, and he's the humble guy that has been standing there right from the start. He isn't nervous at all. Just confident that he can get his point across in the slow-mo to rapid fire style he is accustomed to. He is backed in places by Emmanuel on piano which you think isn't going to work, but it does. It all works.

During his set not one person has left the room. Better still not one person has got off their chair. This is what George the poet can do. If this guy can keep a whole room transfixed with his vocal meanderings, surely he can go on further to make others higher up the food chain listen too. And the room isn't just full of adults. There are small folk in here too - babies and infants and school kids - and not one of them makes a noise.

If you get the chance, go and see this humble guy with plenty to say. George is a true to life poet, and, boy, do we know it!

Related Links:

Commenting On: Contemporary Arts Centre, Nottingham, 12/4/2013 - George the Poet

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last