Bang Said the Gun grabs poetry by its shoulders and shakes it until dirty, funny words fall out. As our host Dan declares, ‘Yes, we didn’t mean to do it but we’ve made poetry fun.’
Of course some will assert that poetry’s always been ‘fun’. Those who’ve read the Earl of Rochester’s ‘Signor Dildo’ will know that filthy poetry isn’t new, but for anyone who finds poetry inaccessible and boring the night is a revelation.
Martin Galton kicks the night off with his rant ‘Rude Bastard’, a refrain which the audience soon shouts back. With the room covered in ‘Bang’ banners, and ‘Bang’ shakers the atmosphere is like a political rally. This is militant poetry.
Elvis McGonagall, the first billed performer, delivers a thundering set. ‘Call me Dave’ hilariously blends vacuous politic buzzwords with equally meaningless advertising slogans until they become one. His final poem about Devon at first appears to be serious, almost literary, however the last line ‘Thomas Hardy, miserable cunt’ changes all that.
Next is Ross Sutherland, displaying the absurdity and comedy of the simple word. His retelling of Red Riding Hood inventively replaces all its nouns and verbs with the corresponding word twenty three entries lower in the dictionary. It’s blisteringly funny and ingeniously clever. In another Ross dedicates his poem to a random member of the audience. It’s a declaration of love to Murray, a man he just met; a man who’s as beautiful as duck pond; we ‘have to warn children not to drown in your beauty.’
The night’s open mic competition maintains this incredibly high standard. Those delivering more serious poems are unfortunately at a disadvantage and the award goes to a confessional poem about a Freudian obsession with Margaret Thatcher.
Bang Said the Gun crosses poetry reading with stand up comedy to create a hilarious and rabid poetry mongrel. It’s a night as political as it is trivial, as serious as it is funny.
By Jon Davis
Bang Said the Gun is at the Roebuck, 50 Great Dover Street SE1 next Thursday 25 November and 2nd December at 8pm. Entry £5.