Rumor has it that Nik Beat is a vampire. Easy to believe, as in the decade or so that I’ve know him he hasn’t aged visibly, and he talks about Poe as if he had just left Edgar having a few at Grossman’s. He turned the reins over to guest host, Jennifer Hosein, who did a great job with the April live HOWL show. Her job made easier by a dynamic line-up.
First feature Stedmond Pardy performed pieces from his chapbook ‘Drugs’ (I bought a copy, first time I’ve bought Drugs outside of a pharmacy in decades). His pieces are long cascades of pop, religious, and class images that convey the harried lives we live in with tenderness and frustration. ‘there is no chosen race in nature’ ‘the air reeked of a dolphin stampede.’ Moving and literate work that held us wanting more.
Next up was Nik Beat himself. He read pieces from ‘Amazing Secret Dreams.’ These are emotional, well-crafted crafty pieces that take you where you least expect with sonic puns and association: The World Is A Page starts ‘we are the pliers that twist and shape it.’ In Hurt Co-Pain he tells us ‘I mistook this mirror for me/ I mistook that girl for love.’ Strong stuff.
After the break was Laura L’Rock. I co-featured with Laura L’Rock last October and was eager to hear her again. With Nik on guitar she did a set that was barely contained by the Q Space stage, some of the songs are arena rockers scaled down to intimate size. She has a strong, direct voice that is emotionally sincere without resorting to big moment notes. Her lyrics are sharp, sweet and true ‘why lie when the truth is so much easier,’ ‘attract what you wanna be, not what you are.’
Final feature was the equally ageless Norman Allan, who put his sketch pad down long enough to treat us to his thoughtful writing. ‘Just because you think it so/ don’t make it true.’ He ended his set with Nik once again on guitar ‘you don’t bow down to love/ you just open your heart.’ Norman organizes the Renaissance Revival poetry workshop at Q Space on the 2nd Monday of the month.