nobody comments when it’s love love love

13Overland Overloaded’s Alec Patric has instructed me to refrain from certain prefaces to this review of the final event of Overload, the Surprise Showcase. ‘Just pretend worker bee Maxine doesn’t know slam Maxine’, he urged. So here the review is. No comment.

Glowing reviews aren’t my strong suit. It’s really difficult to find anything to write about the Show Case that doesn’t sound saccharine and sentimental.

Alright — there was the musical numbers performed by the Stubbs Sisters, the Stubbettes I think they called themselves. I mean they were good, but what’s the deal with bringing music to a poetry event? Because here’s the thing about music. It’s the chief reason why poetry is doing it so hard. The general person goes out to get there lyrical/poetic fix from music. We should be denying everyone music, not encouraging it. Think of the penniless poets is all I’m saying when you bring in the song and dance. How do you think it feels going on after all that commotion?

The second complaint I have is that they put Josephine Rowe on first, and I came late, so I missed her. Why not put the musical act on first for tardy bloggers like me? I was really looking forward to seeing Rowe perform. Organisers have to take these kinds of things into account when doing the programming. I mean, call me beforehand or something.

The show stopper was meant to be Felix Nobis, and everyone loved him… but not me. I’ll be the first to say the guy’s an incredible performer but for some reason that’s all I was seeing. The awesome performance skills. Perhaps his poems have been over-performed. I think that even Olivier might have been one small step removed from godlike when he performed Hamlet for the millionth time.

lewisscott-picAlright, that out of the way, it’s going to get sticky with love from this point forwards. Because Lewis Scott was even better the second time around. While we’re on the subject, did anyone notice my previous post on him? It was positively glowing but all anyone wants to read is the dirt. No-one comments when it’s love, love, love. Anyway, refer to that previous post and magnify by ten. Lewis Scott has the amazing ability to make the whole thing new. Like no-one’s ever really performed before he set foot on a stage.

Scott is the clearest example of a genius performer I’ve seen in… well, since I saw Maxine Clarke perform again last night. I could listen to her chant the word Jamaica all night long (and so could everyone else) but just as we’re getting comfy sipping our glasses of red wine, she brings out her poem Original Human Trade, which starts off with the kind of rhythmic momentum Maxine generates for all her poems, but goes overdrive with a vocalisation that defies pretty or superficial musicality to drill a message through the layers of your Overloaded mind.

Awards were handed out at the end of the night. Geoff Lemon was a worthy winner for Wordplay, Andy Jackson and his trio for the most innovative collaboration, Lewis Scott for his performance at the Northcote Social Club and Michael Reynolds for being the Living Saint of Melbourne Poetry. That’s his official title now, and it fits.

So for me, the highlight of the night was Maxine’s desolation-vocalisation of the refugee’s journey; this penetrating epiphany casting itself through that backroom at Dante’s, like magic in a place that’s never believed in such tricks before. I think that’s what genius sometimes does. Renews the whole world for an everlasting moment.




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  1. 4 stars from me, Maxine. I hope he’s not an egomaniac that demands five stars from everyone in every audience he performs for. Can I point out that the women in particular love Felix. Some even stalk him. But I just felt he was a little blokey-bloke, and I didn’t completely buy it. 4 stars is still pretty damn good.

  2. I’m surprised at you Alec. Seriously: Is that like people who say I win slams because I’m black and a woman? Maybe you need to read his works on a page?

  3. Aw, Alec, I think I remember some love being splashed around about your previous blog on Lewis? Or maybe it was just in my head. Lots of things are.
    My little microphones were singing with joy this night, capturing Lewis and Maxine and Felix in full flight (but if I ever find the guy whose mobile phone went off twice during Lewis’ set, well…..

  4. If Maxine and I had our own little Movie Show here, she’d be giving Felix 5 out of 5 and I’d give him 4, and everyone would go out and see the handsome Mr. Nobis do his thing. Mission accomplished.

  5. Oh, James. I haven’t heard Alec calling people c**ts just for effect …. though I haven’t read all these blogs so maybe I’ll stand corrected 🙂

    For the record I reckon the Overland bloggers have been pretty generous in these pages – thoughtful, insightful, even kind!

    Maybe poets are so unused to the whole concept of being reviewed that it’s all a shock?

  6. Bring on the controversy, I say!

    It is wonderful to have these reviews, especially to hear from a reviewer outside of the poetry scene.

    I think it was the American poet Charles Olsen who said FEEDBACK IS THE LAW.

    Poets need the feedback.

    Viva the Overload/Overland partnership!

  7. yes, for me tom joyce at wordplay, or maurice at his launch, or eric beach at the dan, or gabi everall at the dan, or ghostboy at blue velvet, or andy jackson at dante’s, or ahmed hashim at glitch, or maxine (D”YERMAKER!!!) at ncote social club, or..THAT was the best show in the festival! too hard basket alert! again, WHAT a festival! melb has been wanting one like this for years! hugehugehuge thanks!
    type the two words: $17.2-million comely ! no shit!

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