Overland 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.
Alright, 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.