Life lessons from performing spoken word 

Life lessons from performing spoken word
1. If at first you don’t succeed, act as if you’ve never failed.
2. Image is everything. If you arrive straight from work wearing a shirt and tie, then this will become your look and people will always see you as a performer who wears shirt and a tie.
3. If a poem isn’t working, give it a third verse freak-out. Then take out the first two verses.
4. Watch out for light fittings when using props.
5. The audience wants you to do well and will be on your side but try not to balls it up in the first place.
6. The whole world is an audience even if you’re not performing.
7. You never stop performing, even when you’re not performing.
8. If you need to ask the host if you’ve got time for ‘one more poem, a short one’, it means you haven’t rehearsed. In any case the host will always say yes, because they’re just being polite.
9. When you’re rehearsing, stand at the bottom of your bed and rehearse to the pillows. They will stare back kind of blankly. 
10. Like sex, there’s no wrong way of doing it.
11. Like sex, you can get a lot of laughter from just one look.
12. Everyone has a voice. Authenticity is everything. Every stage character is just an exaggerated version of yourself.
13. If humour’s your thing, the obvious joke can often be the most effective. Sadly.
14. If it’s a high concept poem which needs a lot of explanation, then it’s probably not going to work very well. But don’t stop experimenting.
15. Music stands to hold your book allow you to make extravagant hand gestures if you haven’t learned the poem by heart.
16. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t learned the poem by heart. Just make sure you don’t hide behind a huuuuuuge folder.
17. You can imagine the audience naked if that helps, but the audience might be imagining you naked too. In fact they probably are. How else to explain the amazing amount of people who upchuck during my gigs?
18. Everything becomes subject material for your poetry. Emotional turmoil, break-ups, losing your car keys. The last time I had a break up I thought, oh good, I’m going to get some poems out of this.
19. It was going to happen eventually, the bastard.
20. By all means copy the mannerisms and style of your heroes, but for goodness sake, innovate.
21. I mean I thought it was going ok but then one day I suddenly thought, hmmm, we’re just going through the motions.
22. Spoken word artists get their points across, they draw attention to injustice and prejudice, they make you laugh, they make you cry. They play with language and dance on grammar, they play with rhythm and rhyme. It’s always sickening when this is all done by one genius youthful bright-eyed performer. I remember the Bristol Poetry Slam. I was up against someone performing an excellent poem about the death of their grandmother linked in with the entire history of the British black experience from slavery to the present day, and then I went up and did a poem about liking beards.
23. Don’t worry about anything.
24. Just a small planet in deep dark space and our time on it is incredibly small in the general scheme of things, everything is relative.
25. You can take the mic off the stand if you like, but move the stand out the way. Take down that barrier!
26. If you enjoy it and have fun, then so does the audience. And so does everyone. Even the people you see on the bus on the way home. Enjoy it. The world becomes a better place.
27. There’s no subtle way to plug a book. 
28. My book is available here. https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/new-nice-by-robert-garnham/

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