Hear me roar!

Last weekend was, well, busy to say the least. I was at the Nine Worlds Geekfest in Heathrow (don’t look so shocked, yes I am not merely an international man of mystery but also a bit of a geek… on occasion… ok, a lot of a geek, a lot of the time).

Amongst the sessions that ranged from the fascinating (gender and sexuality in fan fiction) to the ridiculous (writing circular Gallifreyan) was something I particularly enjoyed. You see Zak Kier and Kristina Lloyd were running an erotic open mic… I think you can see where this is going.

I enjoy spoken word events, I’ve done a few and I like to think I’m better than I used to be at standing in front of a room full of people and not dissolving into a cowering ball of mush. Along the way I’ve learnt a couple of things.

1) Don’t read. This is a quite high bar and certainly isn’t applicable to everyone, but it’s something that’s worked really well for me. I could stand with a few sheets of paper or a book between me and the audience, but there’s something invigorating about performing from memory that makes the words really yours.

2) Silence is good. If there’s silence it means everyone is listening and that can’t be a bad thing right? It’s very easy to see the gaps as something terrible to be avoided, but filling the void by reading non stop and quickly can make it hard for the audience to follow. Pause, pause frequently, and look folks in the eye.

3) Apologise for nothing. You are not there to seek approval, you are not there to present something to be critiqued or judged. You are not a meek and obedient child. Look the audience in the eye and leave them in no doubt; you are the very devil come amongst them!