BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! @ The Phoenix, Canberra (18/05/10)


In a rather memorable episode of Blackadder, Edmund states that the proper order in wooing a lady is ‘poetry first, sausage later’. However, it was clear at this month’s BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!, last Tuesday night at The Phoenix, that both sausage and poetry were out in equal force, with references to the male anatomy and rhapsodes abundant and heated, fanning amorous flames throughout the audience.

A room, a microphone and a gaggle of creative, arty types with ample wine are the only ingredients one needs for excitement and mayhem, and these are the ingredients that Bad!Slam! cooks with.

It’s a special kind of slam – heckling is encouraged, the judging is dubious and what constitutes a poem is sketchy at best. Organised by poetic mavericks Andrew Galan and Adam Hadley, the slam is a monthly event, bringing together artists, wannabe poets and people who just have something to say. They are encouraged to stand up, sprout whatever words they wish, and get booed off the stage by a rowdy mob of drunken bohemians and occasional public servants.

Anything – and everything – goes at Bad!Slam, where the audience is often told that ‘anything is a poem, even a grocery list’. At other slams, you might have to suffer twenty minutes of a god-awful, angst-ridden poem. If you don’t like what you’re hearing then you damn well say so, making each night’s poets a bit like sacrificial lambs, offering up their words to a rambunctious audience, who may or may not turn on them after thirty seconds.

On this particular Tuesday, there was poems about sex, about love and insanity, a musical interlude, a spontaneous balancing-on-a-table act and input from those good ol’ boys, Josef Stalin and William S. Burrows. This isn’t your pretty, shall-I-compare-thee poetry: Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! brings the chaos, the grind and the vitality of words to smoky, heavy-headed life. Mayhem runs rampant! At previous slams we have bore witness to flying lettuce, an amazing burlesque routine (with balloons!) and glass-crunching, nail-biting performances.

lambs and dithyrambs might sound like made-up words to these poets; Wordsworth and Keats might faint at the thought of it, and Edmund Blackadder might say that they’re getting the order wrong, but Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit! brings the poetry and the sausage in a heady mix of fun, words and wine.


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