Bar Fresa was situated in tiny Colquitt Street, some 100 metres away from blitzed and bombed St. Luke´s. Agnes and I followed the flyer call for the rhyme´n´roll party Liverpool´s poetry-scene had organized. Dub reggae beats from the Senator Sound System bounced off the low fairy-light lit ceiling down upon us and made our feet swing in time, while two ragga-MCs toasted on di riddim, and a small crowd of artistic young people with their heads tilted and their arms crossed before their hearts or their hands feeling the warm wood of the tables in front of them were listening for wisdom, tea candles in glass ashtrays vaguely lighting up their faces.
Michelle Scally-Clarke, a beautiful black single-mom rhymed for us and made us accompany her in song. She gave us such an intimate insight into her life and her emotional landscape that you just immediately needed to feel part of it yourself. The audience hummed, the air filled with understanding. Agnes and I just nodded for each other. Good idea to have come here.
The main performer was introduced as “the leader of the black avant garde in Britain”, surrealism, Jazz and the rhythms of Trinidadian speech and music, afro-psychedelic, poetic metafiction, mythology and futurism. Anthony Joseph, a strong good-looking man, full beard, polo-shirt and beanie cap, an ever-flowing movement in his arms and a sparkling intellect in his small eyes.
It was English as I had not yet heard it, a seething stream of melted words, bubbling while it made its way from his whipping tongue into our shocked auditory canals. His language turned a somersault. He was acting and dancing, charming the ladies in the room with this pleasant voice of his, and even in delicate moments he remained a gentleman, apologizing for a line that said the rooms in the establishment the pimp-like grinning, cockroach-killer boots wearing Charlie was running smelled like dry pussy.
Needless to say, open-mouthed, I quickly developed a proper man-crush. And after the last sound system track had run out, I came up to Mr. Joseph and thanked him for the performance. Inspired I was.