The Front Room

Poetry is often seen as something abstract, something you have to be smart enough to ‘get’. And that just isn’t true. As a form of art it deserves recognition of the beauty, rhythm and passion carried in the words; essentially a song with no music. Here in Southsea we’re lucky to have people from The Front Room that bring art to us on a regular basis, making magic happen in the cosy and relaxed atmosphere of Albert Road’s coffee shops.

As a kind of a ‘travelling’ concept, The Front Room guys stick around just long enough before they hit the road and a different place becomes their stage for the night. The whole idea is a piece of the mosaic that creates the oh-so-often-talked-about Southsea community spirit that makes people settle in a creative environment, soundtracked by the sea. The Front Room recognises the need for balance – while it’s important to have the opportunity to enjoy art in all its forms, the circle is only complete once there’s also a possibility for creative outlet. They provide this outlet.

The doors and the mike are open for everyone and there’s always the opportunity for new writers to come and perform their work in the comfort of a relatively small and familiar audience. People get to challenge themselves doing something they are passionate about whilst being welcomed in with open arms. The organisers put the event together every month and my time at Hunter Gatherer was yet another opportunity to get a glimpse of the different perceptions of life through spoken word.

Even though the evening mostly revolved around poetry there was also music. First as a subtle background for a travel poem which painted a lively and colourful picture of Bangkok’s streets. A bit later on the gently lit back room of Hunter Gatherer was filled with the pure sounds of acoustic guitar and the soft, dreamy voice of Eilis Phillips. With DarkFest approaching on the 19th October – 11th November, there is more to come from both her and The Front Room, making Portsmouth just the place to be.

Another treat of the night was the slam poetry showcase. Three poets, three topics and three minutes to be filled with words – you can tell it’s the magic number!

One of the poets taking part in the slam was Jayne Ede, a Southampton based Phd student with a love for bears. Her piece went down really well! Snappy and very particular with her choice of words, she talks about seemingly everyday things and tells stories with a refreshing angle. 

The Front Room provides an interesting mix of familiar and new faces, words of inspiration and last but not least – local ales. The open mic nights are sure to leave you with some food for thought. Find them on Facebook for more details of upcoming events and don’t be afraid to stand up and share your words.

Photo Credit – The Front Room

By Barbora Vaclavova