Hammer and Tongue Slam Final, November 1st 2011
1. Harry Baker (winner February): Came to Hammer and Tongue as a 19 year old with little experience, now had a successful Edinburgh show and made a name for himself very quickly with his rap-influenced poetry. Amazingly, given how young she is herself, Kate Tempest now has a ‘school’ of poets!
2. Adam Cammerling (March): A hybrid of the best of rap and poetry, his work celebrates the finer, and grimier, points of everyday life, questioning our attitudes towards love, violence, the police state and cake.
Adam has been making documented appearances in the UK Battle scene since 2009, winning a number of battles in the Don’t Flop Battle League. He is the Brighton Hammer and Tongue Slam Champion 2010, and the Valentines Anti-Slam winner 2011. He has performed with the London Sound Painting Orchestra, an improvisational group of musicians who are conducted with a sign language developed solely for music, and the Afro/Ska/Rock band, Animal Circus, although not at the same time.
3. Rob Auton (April): Yorkshire born, deadpan comic poet of the strange and the ordinary. Bang Said The Gun organiser. In typical fashion, he explains his method: “I have ideas and see if other people like those ideas by writing them down, standing up on stage, and saying them out loud.”
4. David Lee Morgan (May): U.S. born poet, street musician and political activist. David Lee Morgan is a provocative, witty and intelligent poet with an impressive technical ability. A scholar of language, form and structure, David has a PhD in Creative Writing & Philosophy but his work is powerful and accessible. Asked to explain, he told me “I studied the rules of my art so I could figure out which rules I could break”.
5. Amy McAllister (June): Irish born actor who has starred in productions of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and various BBC TV things. She is also, in my opinion, an emerging star of the poetry scene.
6. Peter Hayhoe (July): Peter is one of the founding members of the Dirty Hands collective. He is a resident Poet at Bang Said the Gun and has performed at many nights around London and the South East. His crazy style and impassioned delivery have made him a popular poet on the London scene, telling tales of love – crushed or successful or just plain odd – and ranting about whatever issues amuse or irritate or stimulate his amusingly creative mind.
7. Tina Fasciglione (September): Canadian born poet, new to performance and unnecessarily (in my opinion) modest, though charmingly so. No one was more astonished than Tina when she won the Hammer and Tongue slam – “I didn’t know I was I poet. I just like talking.” However, the honesty and the feel for words were enough to convince the judges!
8. Gary from Leeds(October): You won’t be surprised to learn that he is a) called Gary and b) was born and raised in Leeds. However, Gary From Leeds is currently holed up in London. He’s a trained journalist and failed stand-up comedian. He mostly says his stuff out loud but surprisingly was commended in the 2011 South Bank Poetry Competition for a poem about using umbrellas to protect yourself from flying spunk. His work has been described as “short, snappy aggressive punches” and as having “mischievous energy…contempt and joy find strange union in Gary’s performance.”
So that’s who’s competing. The rest is down to the judges! See you there on the 1st.