The Humber Mouth
Hull Literature
Festival 2003

{ Hull Literature Festival 2003 6th - 16th November 2003
 the humber mouth }


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Festival Critic

{ Festival Critic: Steven Hall }

Renegade Soundwave

Writers Day

Ibsen vs. Strindberg

Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army

An Audience with Joan Bakewell

Woza Albert!

Imetexture

Pooh Bear Reading Workshop

Readers Day

Theatre Test Tube

Renegade Soundwave
The Renegade Writers pack the George

Friday was a day of paranoia and of clutching a carrier bag with a blue folder in it. It was a day of post-it notes, stuck pretty much everywhere: on my desk on my computer, on the wall, on the carrier bag with the folder in it. All the notes were variations on a theme: “Don’t Forget M’s Work”, “Take This When You Leave” “Work” “Michelle’s Work” “Don’t forget The Work”. Something similar was written on the back of my left hand and something more aggressive running constantly like one of those scrolling signs through my head: RememberRememeberRemember, if you forget the folder, everything will be ruined, you will have ruined it. It will all be your fault…

I came into position of the blue folder at last orders the previous night, the bleary end of a alcoholically over-extended Humber Mouth launch party. Renegade Writer Michelle passed me the folder with a quick “You are coming tomorrow night aren’t you? Can you look after my writing? I’m going to a club.” Even in a fairly drunken state, sitting there with the thing on my knee, the thought-train still made its way home: Now I have to go to the Renegade Writers event, I thought. And that means I’ll be reviewing it, I thought. I sneaked a look at the folder in the bag. Across the front it said: “The world has been cancelled due to lack of interest.”
Clever, I thought.

The Renegade Writers are a ten-strong outfit of young poets, a sort of Hull-based Wu Tang Clan but more mild-mannered – with the swearing but without the prison sentences and ongoing legal wrangles (well, as far as I’m aware). And – as I suspected when I took possession of Michelle’s work – just like the Clan, they know how to self-promote. The top floor of the George was rammed - and this is poetry remember - standing room only at the back and a doorway stuffed with people who couldn’t quite get in.

In a smart marketing move, the Renegades chose to back up their own troops with some musical artillery in doing so and changed the mood of the evening from ‘extended poetry reading’ to ‘event’. Like I said, they’re clever.

The work itself (as with all collectives, the good ones – even the Clan) was a pick and mix with gems thrown in. “Frankenstein’s Fanny and Prickly Pussy” - probably the shiniest, funniest and most technically accomplished piece of the night, was delivered almost as an afterthought by a Renegade in basque and bunny ears who’s name I didn’t catch, while the ‘electronically unassisted’ Michelle went from the stage into the middle of the room to deliver a brave and heartfelt set which was a lesson both in guts and in crowd control. (I’m glad I remembered the folder).

Criticisms? Well, the Renegades can certainly pull an audience but perhaps they need to look at how they structure their shows. With seven readers all reading perhaps nine or ten pieces, plus their musical support, the show weighed in at over three hours, which is very demanding on a Friday night audience. With some pruning, more quick changes and a little more structure to keep energy levels up, they’ll be able manage and direct their big crowds more effectively. Like Yoda says – “You must learn control”

And they will. Because they’re clever.

Nov 7
Renegade Writers
The George, Land of Green Ginger


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