Bang Said The Gun is a weekly stand up poetry event held on Thursdays at Roebuck (a pub on Great Dover Street). Originally based in Soho, Bang Said The Gun has been running for over fourteen years and is now a well established event on the poetry circuit. There is also a Bang Said The Gun in Manchester and soon to be one in Bath. It’s “coming soon to Channel 4”, according to their website and flyers.
After paying my £5 entry fee, I watched one poet after another give their performance. I say ‘performance’ because it came across as more than just poetry readings. Having recently been to my first stand up poetry event at The Southbank Centre on National Poetry Day, I was expecting it to be a similar experience, but I was wrong. The poetry readings I heard at The Southbank Centre were very much how I imagined they would be: a formal display of poetry. Bang Said The Gun, however, was much more relaxed with poets breaking off from their reading to make a joke or even respond to heckles from the first ever heckler Bang Said The Gun has had (who assured me in the interval he was ‘abiding by the laws of heckling’).
I was lucky enough to speak with Dan Cockrill (a co-founder of the event) who explained what the event is all about. The aim of Bang Said The Gun is to make you “laugh, cry, think and feel”. It’s “where poetry meets entertainment”: “we try to make poetry accessible”, he told me. “Everyone likes poetry”, he said, “it’s the way it’s presented” that is the key to selling it. Dan mentioned that the former poet laureate, Andrew Motion, is lined up to do a reading around mid-November.
…the poetry was very impressive…
The whole evening was a real success and the poets were all so talented that it would be difficult to choose a favourite. I was lucky enough to see well-known Jonny Fluffypunk and Bridget Minamore but even in the open mic slot (‘Raw Meat Stew’ as it is known in this event), in which members of the audience are allowed up on stage to read one of their poems, the poetry was very impressive. There was one I particularly enjoyed about a taxi driver who refused to go ‘south of the river’. In fact, as Dan told me, a few poets have been discovered through their open mic slot, including Harry Baker (2012 world slam champion). Maybe it’s worth giving it a shot if you consider yourself an an undiscovered poet! Poet or not though, I would highly recommend going to Bang Said The Gun: it’s a great way to spend a Thursday evening.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out their website.