I didn’t think I’d get back into running an Open Mic again, and I hadn’t planned it, but here it is and I’m really enjoying it. We’ve now had our second night at the Paxton Centre and both nights have been very memorable !
The thing is – the combination is right. The timing feels right for Crystal Palace to have a night that is all about the performers – where they can perform away from a noisy pub environment and be truly listened to.
The venue feels right. The Paxton Centre has developed into a real hub where local people can come and be creative. I feel connected to it through the many community connections with Crystal Palace Transition Town, Crystal Palace Freelancers and more. And in terms of the art, one-woman-dynamo Beth Mander runs it like an Open Mic. Local artists are given slots on the wall and the art changes every month. Plus there’s a varied range of one-off and regular workshops, gigs and socials every month.
The audience feels right. Musicians, poets, and people who want to come along and enjoy a selection of new and established voices. My intention is to cultivate a space where the singers, poets, comedians and everyone else get a fair space to be heard. Nervous newbies feel able to have a go, and experienced performers can try out new material or just enjoy being listened to.
But most importantly of all – the mix of performers is more than right ! So far it has been brilliant ! I wonder can we keep this up ? On the first night we had everything from RnB from Taylor, rip-roaring soulful balladry from Longy, slightly close to the knuckle comedy from Adam and a really exciting and eclectic mix of writing and spoken word.
Second time round the singer-songwriters were out in force, plus rap from Kai, a great mix of spoken word and a great duet from Tomek and Simone a.k.a “m” to finish the night. It re-enforces my idea that there is a helluva lot of talent in Crystal Palace and in South London in general.
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