Park Bench poetry: North vs South London

Madam Miaow with Park Bench genii Stephen and Charlotte

Noel not reading his short story

South London victory

Last night saw the North versus South slam-dunk poetry playoff between Norf and Sarf London at the ingenious Park Bench installation in an empty shop in Camden Town.

Inspired by Anthony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square which is proving wrist-slittingly boring (surely we can do better that this, people!), Camden’s Park Bench is an inspiring chance to get up and do something. Anything! Express yourself and make it amusing. Or not. Hey, it’s Art.

Madam Miaow held up North London’s end in her mistressful hands by reading her epic Wreath Lecture nice and early when she was fresh as a daisy, and later reciting a slurry Anna May Wong Must Die! following Becks, Dunkerton’s Perry, and K cider (8.5%!!!).

South London deserved their easy win by producing several spoken word talents for the occasion. Award-winning Clarissa Pabi (18) and Raphael Blake excelled in their delivery and sharp poetry. I’ll be remembering Clarissa’s eensy-weensy spiders that, being American, were obese and not so fleet-footed when climbing drains, for a long time to come.

There was also a cheeky put-down of all things Camden, based on John Cooper-Clarke’s Chicken Town, by another of their compadres, Anthony Shuster, who was hilarious.

So much talent in such a tiny space.

Only two more days to go. it comes down tomorrow so hurry-up!

C22, 22 Chalk Farm Road opposite the Stables Market. More pix and info here

Thanks to Stephen and Charlotte. More like this, please.

Madam Miaow and Charles Shaar Murray

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

2 thoughts on “Park Bench poetry: North vs South London”

  1. i know this is kind of off topic, but have you ever seen the show "Lockup"? im kind of mad for it because it gives such an intimate look at the toughest prisons in America and the occupants that live there. We're talking the world's most hardened criminals. Anyway most of them all have heavy burdens to hold mostly because of either their crimes or their upbringings (or both), thus have all these amazing stories to tell. A lot of them have taken to expressing their emotions in an artistic way, largely through either music or poetry. Last night one of the inmates shared this beautiful, emotional mural that he made on his cell wall of the journey of his life past, present and future. And because he has no acces to art tools uses ink from pens, toilet paper and his own hair to make paint and brushes. Anyway my point is i really wish they would develop more programs in which these inmates could share their art. i know that seems like such an obvious thing to say, but isnt the best work often made by those who have been through the most? i mean ok, they are serving their time for unacceptable crimes and i am by no means trying to make excuses for their bad behavior, but when i see any man or woman making themselves emotionally available and publicizing their wounds in an attempt to free themselves from their personal demons and to show others that they are not alone in feeling a certain way, it makes me think what a shame that the world is being robbed of precious art.
    and on a lighter note i am loving your outfit in those pictures.
    Sorry about the lengthy response. They should really start teaching shorthand in schools again.

  2. Thanks, Mrs M. Just slung on some leggings and an old frock. But I do love that leather jacket.

    I think the issue of art as a means to rehabilitate criminals and help young people find themselves is an important one. Without art we get ill.

    There have been so many examples of creative writing, music and theatre revealing the best aspects of people to themselves while they're in prison that you'd assume this would be the first thing the authorities would reach for way before the cosh, solitary and sedatives.

    Instead, they get banged up in their cells sometimes 23 hours a day. That is inhumane and would drive anyone to madness.

    It must be cheaper in the short, mdium and long term as well if people are being changed for the better.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top