I didn’t know what to expect when Miko Berry asked me to do a ‘scary story or two’ at a ‘secret gig’ a few days ago. Curious, nervous and excited, I trekked all the way down to the bottom of Leith Walk, where a trail of glitter lead me to a flight of stairs… and at the top I found myself in one of the fanciest and most strangely-decorated studio flats I’ve ever seen. Top hats hung from the ceiling. A statue lurked in a purple-lit corner. Fancy cocktail menus and sushi were arranged on tables. I had no idea what was about to happen.
The venue was almost empty at first, but I recognised familiar face – painter and fellow poet Suky Goodfellow, who told me she had been booked to do ‘live painting’ for the event. We hid together in the corner for a bit, her setting up her paints and me frantically practicing a poem, and people slowly began to arrive. Some of them were wearing masks, two of them were wearing crowns, and one person even had what looked like a ringmaster’s coat. At this point, my thoughts were something along the lines of ‘shit, this party is too cool for me’ and ‘what have I gotten myself into?’
But I needn’t have worried.
As it turned out, the evening was to be the experimental premier of a new artistic showcase night called Curiouser and Curiouser, hosted by Jody Bowen and curated by Miko. As the guests arrived – and it really did feel that we were less like audience members and more like guests at a live art exhibition/swanky party – funky live music began to fill the room, followed by some exquisite singing backed by the same band. After that it was my turn – I stood up and performed the Tall Man’s Coat and after that something new, with more music and Miko belting out some of his killer performance pieces in-between, backed by the band. After that I could finally relax because my part was over, and the music struck up again as the night began to draw to a close.
It certainly felt like no other gig I had performed at or attended – partly because of the unique venue, partly because of the atmosphere, but especially because of the unique mix of artists. Curiouser and Curiouser wasn’t the first night I’ve been to that combined live music and spoken word in interesting ways, but it certainly did it very well. The thing that impressed and interested me the most, though, was the inclusion of live artists. Not only was there face-painting, but Suky and sketch-artist Ekaterina Sedykh (Kat) were sat throughout the night, painting and drawing the faces and groups of people around them. It was intriguing to watch them, and they put their work on sale at the end of the night – I even picked up this awesome portrait of me, courtesy of Suky!
All in all, it was a great first night! I wholeheartedly hope that Curiouser and Curiouser takes off and gets the attention it deserves. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it, and any other similar events that come my way. Over and out (-:
Photo credit to Yelp Edinburgh, painting by Suky Goodfellow.