Once Upon A Mic is the reason I discovered The Castle and brought Clash of the Tight Tens there. Previous nights run by the passionately artsy combo Marine and Horatio had always had the acts but lacked the audience but there was no such issue tonight with a busy room and a supportive atmosphere.
Ian Lane (pictured) was on MC duties for the evening and guided the crowd from poetry to music to comedy with stories, quips and the occasional heckler put-down. Though the band weren't to my taste the rest of the acts were pretty decent. Ariane Sherine debuted her new song about relationship orientated blowjobs and the poets were a cut above the usual self indulgent open mic fodder fuelled by painful couplets.
I was on relatively early and had to follow the band. With twenty minutes I had exactly the right amount of time to road-test one of several narratives I'm preparing for Edinburgh. Linking tracks with a story is borderline musical theatre, though if I'm treading the boards it's more panto than West Side Story thanks to all the crowd interaction. The approach worked well and the shouts and claps I directed the assembled to do were taken enthusiastically. Granted, during Tales of the Unexpected I saw one girl looking utterly puzzled by my "c-r-i, s-i-s, t-f-l, need to guess" line but I guess spelling isn't for everyone.
The night ran late and it was nearly midnight when Dread Fury had finished his loop pedal powered set so Horatio got in the drinks and we chatted for an hour or so before we thought it might be time to go home. This is now my second weekend spent partially in The Castle. Next week Clash of the Tight Tens makes it three!