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The world’s biggest gay and lesbian short film festival, The Iris Prize, returns to
Cardiff for its second year this October, and as Robin Grossmann finds out, it’s
time to lay your preconceptions to one side.
Married and mortgaged at the age of 25, Luke
Wright, ‘comic poet’, tells Buzz that stand-up
poetry isn’t always a barrel of laughs
lot of poets are dead. when Wright’s conjuring up his radio performances. “At the moment I’m working
To call oneself a ‘live poet’ would surely act merely as a comparison on creating a show out of the tour I’ve just done based on the book (I wrote last
to the deceased. To be called a stand-up comedian would just detract year) Who Writes This Crap? . It involves lectures – but to comic effect – and
from the poetry. Luke Wright, therefore, is a stand up-poet – and he’s parodies of everyday texts. For example, one of things I do is make a bit of fun of
on his way to Cardiff. the Innocent Smoothie labels in my live show – but for a radio show I’d have to
“It’s a mix of poetry and stand-up,” he muses when asked about his performances. get permission to do that, which I probably wouldn’t be able to. Also if you want to
“My stand up’s quite anecdotal, and the poems are pretty fast, loud – and quite quote anything, even an advert or a slogan, you have to get permission. If I was to
rude in places. They rhyme and they’re funny and energetic. They’re enjoyable.” say ‘I think Tony Blair is a twat’, that could be fine, but if I was to say ‘I think Tony
Well, he would say that. So, however, would Radio 4 – where he’s a resident poet, Blair is a war criminal’ then that probably wouldn’t be.” Quite. So where Wright
and so would the Latitude Festival, 4Talent, and the reviewers who gave him five really comes into his own is on the stage?
stars at Edinburgh. Impressive. “The best way of working is live,” he confirms. “Completely unscripted. You can
“It started when I was about 16 and saw John Cooper Clarke,” he recalls. “I was re- actually communicate with people, pass a message – and I do like touring. It does
ally inspired by him – it was like seeing a band fronted by a comedian. I was writing take me away from my home and my wife and stuff – so in moderation, but it’s
poems anyway back then, so I started to try and get more comedy into my work.” definitely got better.” Is that because now he gets to visit the land of the free?
This, he says, is where the hard part is – the writing process. “I will write a little “I’ve never been to Cardiff before,” he reveals – somewhat curiously. “I’m really
note down when I get a good idea for some material – a good idea is priceless. I’ve looking forward to it and have no idea what the audiences are going to be like.”
lost count of the amount of good ideas I’ve let slip just because I’ve been too lazy Not a fan of unresponsive crowds who “just sit there”, Wright admits that audi-
to write them down,” Wright confesses. “The ideas just come from looking at the ences will “get the best out of me if they’re laughing and clapping along – but you
state of the world. I won’t sit down and try and think of ideas, I’ll tend to have one, do get the occasional crowd that will just sit there and be quiet.”
make a note, and then when I get a chance sit down and write it up. I’ve got a list He’d better brace himself then, as the Cardiff Sherman are surely able to squeeze
of about 15 ideas on a little sticky thing on my computer at the moment.” the best out of him. KATE LUCEY
But being a stand-up poet isn’t all funny limericks, witty banter and sticky things
on your computer – it’s surprisingly regulated, which is of particular annoyance Thurs 2 Oct. Admission: £8/10. Info: 029 2064 6900 /
OCTOBER2008.indd 10 25/9/08 3:15:21 pm
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