It doesn’t feel like two years. Two years since we decided, as a dare, to go to an open mic night and all get up and do a poem, once. It felt terrifying. We were a group of colleagues and friends who all wrote together once a week and once we set ourselves this goal, there was no backing out. Together, we spurred each other on. We wrote for it, we got nervous. We invited friends to come. The one thing we hadn’t planned for was that not a single one of us would get on the open mic list, as it was already full. We were all dressed up with nowhere to go…but the back row. Someone (I think this was my brother, but I’d already had quite a few glasses of wine by this point) said “There’s five of you – why don’t you put on your own night?” and less than a month later – on Wednesday 13 June 2012 – Rhymes was born, in a sweaty room above a pub in King’s Cross.
Since then, we’ve grown so much. There are more of us. We’re more confident performers. As we write new material to a new theme every time, we’re all looking back at quite a pile of poems since we began. We’ve brought our mates along, and they’ve brought their mates. And they’ve all come back.
We celebrated our second birthday on 19th June, in Shoreditch this time, and we pulled a big crowd despite it being a) a summer’s evening and b) the night of an England World Cup game. Our theme was Dirt, and Kim opened her set with the very same poem she opened Rhymes with two years ago, about needing a wee at school. Ellie terrified us with her creepy torch-lit poem of The Grimlig Goblin. (We won’t be forgetting that in a hurry – when I went to the loo afterwards there were two girls hiding in there, terrified, who I had to coax out with the promise of a chocolate orange if only they took part in our limerick challenge. I hope they’ve recovered since.)
There are many immortal lines featuring Hannibal Lecter but Stevie added a new one with her lusty take on dirt. Thomas worked his brilliant compering magic and even got his Dad to do a limerick. Our Open Mic winner was Thom Hoffman, who walked away with the coveted Chocolate Orange. As usual the Orange Crush Open Mic was a hotbed of talent – we’ll never think of Adrian Chiles in the same way EVER AGAIN following Rhymes regular Jon Hoggard’s poem.
I love that all this is still going after two years. That we dared ourselves to do this, that one time, and we dared to keep it going, not wanting to stop. We’re still here. And not just that, but our friends come, and come back, and decide they’ll get up and do a limerick, and maybe one day the open mic….
Come. Laugh. Rhyme. I dare you.
The next Rhymes with Orange is Thursday 14 August at the Bedroom Bar, Shoreditch. Book your tickets now at https://bookwhen.com/rhymeswithorange