Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

A masterclass in pleasing poetry

Performance poets are coming in from the cold these days, what with John Cooper Clarke on Mastermind. So did the capacity Black Box audience yesterday afternoon, escaping apocalyptic weather forecasts and that post Christmas ennui to see John Hegley.

Hegley's shtick remains that of a slightly hacked-off geography teacher in front of an unruly class. A welcome smattering of children meant that the first half became a pleasing exercise in call and response, relying on his keynote theme of glasses, which are to Hegley what crows are to Ted Hughes. "What are we going to do with grandad's glasses?" dared to broach the subject of death, but we were too busy trying not to miss our cues to worry.

After the interval, Hegley's work became more directly autobiographical, opening with his grandfather's proposal to his French grandmother sung to the tune of the Can Can. He followed it with another welcome musical stretch, singing a dedication to his mother over a baroque Neil Hannon-esque backing track. These family poems show an advance in style and technique beyond the merely comic.

But soon we were all frugging along to the tight rhyming scheme of Guillemot, leaving the audience with the feeling of a euphoric classroom on a Friday afternoon. Which for a wet Sunday, was quite an achievement.

MICHAEL CONAGHAN

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Cancer:

There's no such thing as an ideal partner. If you're going to fall in love, you have to accept a person's positive and negative qualities. Are you in a toxic relationship? Take a break from this union. Spending time with family can be therapeutic. Your loved ones want the best for you. Many of your relatives have been trying to get you to break up with your partner for a long time. Maybe it's time to heed their advice.More