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Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring Louis Armand, Thor Garcia and Scott Batty

Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring Louis Armand, Thor Garcia and Scott Batty

We love when we’re lucky enough to get a guest writer at Paris Lit Up’s Open Mic. Sometimes there are even a couple of published poets lurking in the shadows. But last Thursday saw us almost drowning in VIWs (Very Important Writers)!

Doing Equus Press proud were the boys from Prague, Louis Armand and Thor Garcia. And to remind us of the quality on our doorsteps Paris-based artist, singer and poet Scott Batty brought the VIW number up to a perfect three.

So as not to scare our special guests, we decided to throw our very own published poet Kate Noakes under the bus/onto the stage to kick things off. She treated us to some new Messengerpieces, full of pigeons and wendy houses.

Favourite regular James Bird was up next, continuing the avian thread – only that his pigeons were doing the salsa with crisp packets, “cars lipsing the full-bladdered tarmac”. Oh, and Hi, ho, Wolverhampton, you happy wanderers.

It was time to let the VIWs onto the stage, and Louis Armand went first, reading from his haunting 2012 novel Breakfast at Midnight where the “fog turns everything into contradiction” and the narrator is fixated with memories of the mysterious red-headed Regen. Probing into the dark recesses of the human psyche, Louis left us feeling distinctly uneasy – just what we were hoping for from this Kafka-inspired noir.

Evan was the brave soul who dispersed Louis’ whispering shadows with his Nightingale poem, and managed to recite the last part by heart. Perhaps we should do that more often, as paper, mobile phones and tablets tend to inhibit the audience-reader connection.

Our second Equus Press writer Thor Garcia was called to the stage with an excerpt from The Apocalypse of St Cleo part 4, found in his collection of short stories Only Fools Die of Heartbreak. We were entranced by the “severely bearded artist Romero Mario Tuttle Grippenswoggle “Steve” Vander Buttle”. Described on the Equus website as “hellraising, nightmarish genius”, I was wondering how to capture Thor’s style. Until he did it for me:

“The arse is the true window of the soul”.

Fellow Paris Lit Up co-host Jason Mc Gimsey announced that he had found his balls. Hurrah! The result was his translation of Ghérasim Luca’s Passionnément with the energy of a hundred men, and saliva soaring past the back seats. Despite the spitting, Jason was brilliant, and the students who had turned up to watch him read were suitably stunned.

We had just enough time for a nicotine break, and then we were back up and running, with super-tanned Max and another of his true stories, this time the excellently-titled When I accidently did heroin. We’ve all been there, right?

Regular James L read his Dark Part in both English and Korean, dedicating it to Jason’s students, before Emily shared two pieces on mice and marketing.

Local poet Scott Batty, the third and final VIW of the evening, treated us to a piece from The art of skinlessness, where Paris is a bitter “city of mirrors”. Thumping up the volume with his performance skills, we could hear the intensity of the music behind the words.

There’s nothing nicer than being accosted by a handsome young man in the middle of hosting an open mic night, because he really really wants to read. Jason wiped away a tear of pride as Tito stood up and read for us. Determined not to let his student take the glory, Jason insisted on reading one last piece at the end. Oh, go on then, but only because we know we’ll love it. And try not to spit so much.

See you Thursday!

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