Last month I took my first trip to the famous Troubadour cellar club on London’s Old Brompton Road. Troubadour was founded in the 1950;s as part of the second great London coffee revolution, as a cafe and music venue. It soon became known as a writers and artists cafe. It has been a venue for the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and more recently Adele, and Laura Marling. Apart from music, poetry has been a hugely significant part of its creative past and present, and it was poetry that took me this West London Institution.
Coffee-house poetry has been part of the life of Troubadour for 19 years and is still going strong. It meets throughout the year with with three seasonal programmes on with fortnightly Monday-evening poetry readings. The readings take place in the cellar beneath the cafe and have become a regular haunt for London’s poetry enthusiasts.
I hadn’t really known what to expect but what I got was a stimulating two hours of fun, stirred emotions, words, music and creative energy. There is an underground feel to the venue. The atmosphere is smoky but without cigarettes, seductive and edgy. Being unfamiliar with the poets didn’t take away from the experience, in fact it made it more exciting because I didn’t know what to expect and had no preconceptions
Each poet was unique in their style, delivery and content. With a glass of wine in hand, dimmed lighting and a tiny stage, Coffee house poetry is a brilliant way to discover poetry and experience words on a page being ignited and formed by the poets that wrote them. Its also an excellent way to support poetry and the written word. The highlight for me was hearing Heidi read from her latest collection ‘The Print Museum”. Careful, considered delivery, of poetry rich in language and meaning. Joyous!
I didn’t eat on this occasion although obviously partook in a drop of vino; on another occasion I certainly will. I’m all for making Coffee house poetry a regular feature in my literary and social calendar.