Maiden Speech
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Maiden Speech

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"Sisters’ Poetry-Pop Act Strikes a Chord"

VIBE cover story

TWO Rocklea sisters are creating a niche with musical poetic performances. Pascalle Burton and sister Almaryse Murphy have combined their talents to delight audiences with their comical poetrypop acts.
The duo is assisted by producer Ant Aggs and goes by the band name Maiden Speech.
Burton, 30, put her poetic skills to the test at the Woodford Folk Festival, taking out its Poetry Slam competition on New ear’s Eve. Up against 13 contestants, Burton produced a poem in two minutes.
She took home $1000, a season pass to next year’s festival to defend her title, and a fish-shaped metal platter/trophy, which she says is her ‘‘favourite part’’.
Burton also won the 2006 Queensland Poetry Festival Slam, and Maiden Speech will begin a monthly residency with Ghostboy for ouTsideRs at the Tongue and Groove in West End on Valentine’s Day.
Maiden Speech formed in 2005 and is influenced by 80s performers Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson and German opera punk artist Nina Hagen.
‘‘When I got back from the UK after living there for six years, I said to my sister, who has been a singer for decades, that we should do something together,’’ Burton said.
‘‘My trademark is a twoheaded Barbie doll fascinator and we do ribbon twirling and spill water all over each other – it’s a big, crazy and very 80s performance.’’
Their next big gig, Party Against Poverty, takes place at The Pavilion, West End, on February 3 from 7pm. Maiden Speech will help raise $4000 for Oxfam Australia. For tickets ($25 a person) contact Shantel Walker on 0424 670 591.
- Quest News Ltd


Pop is a playground to Pascalle and Almaryse from Maiden Speech. We caught up with them to see just what is going on with the 80’s fixation they seem to have.

Avant-garde poetry-pop! Just what is that?

Pascalle: We knew we wanted to do something together and we also knew it was going to be an act that would push a few boundaries. We incorporate all the arts we work in like music, poetry, theatre, making up dances, visual and performance art, and seek to bring back the sublime spoken word to the pop scene.

Almaryse: It's a sincere love of these artforms with a serious sense of humour!

Is it true that Leonard Cohen contacted you in regard to your cover of his ‘Gypsy’s Wife’?

Pascalle: Man alive, yeah! He saw our video, which also Incorporates Pat Benatar's ‘Love Is a Battlefield’, on youtube. A mutual poet friend that we met when we toured the UK last year, sent him the link. Leonard emailed us saying it was 'terrific' and he gave us a quote to use; 'I am still recovering from their stab of beauty'.

Almaryse: We're still recovering from that - we were Maiden Speechless for a while there!

It’s been said that you need to be seen not just heard, tell us about the Maiden Speech live experience.

Almaryse: While our songs stand alone as danceable and listenable tracks, the live show is where it all starts to click and people go 'Now I get it!'. It's the vibrancy and commitment to 80s fashions, the pathos in the dance moves, the props, the theatrical side of it. In any one show you could find a Maiden being wrapped up as a human canvas or saturating herself with water, a Dylanesque poetry performance, flamenco style usage of a Rubik's Cube, or fluorescent ribbon twirling.

So, launching your debut album! Straight from the Maiden’s mouth, tell us about the tunes.

Pascalle: We made the album with Ant Aggs from Afro Dizzi Act and then had it magically mixed by Magoo, who really put his mark on it.

Almaryse: From the opening prologue, with the legendary Lord Byron, to the community announcement anthem ‘Don't Be Afraid of the 80s’, the songs take you on a journey, much like the Luck Dragon from Neverending Story. There will be emotional nerves touched. There will be she-bopping and bedroom dancing. There will be room for contemplation. It will take you to that place where you truly believe anything can happen.
Pascalle: And there's a free shrinky!
Waylon Jones

The Maiden Speech CD Coming Out Party is at The Zoo February 7, also playing are Yeo, Hunz, Jacob Diefenbach and MC Ghostboy.


"Tsunami Artist Profile on Maiden Speech"

Member filling this out: Pascalle

From: Brisbane

Current release: Self-titled debut album

Sound like: Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson, Nina Hagen and a shot of Prince.

Tour schedule: CD Coming Out Party at The Zoo, February 7 2008 with Yeo, Hunz, Jacob Diefenbach and MC Ghostboy.


Favourite film/book/album: Film: 'Purple Rain'. Book: 'If On A Winter's Night A Traveller' by Italo Calvino. Album: Currently loving Chromeo's 'Fancy Footwork'.

Can you tell us a bit about your Leonard Cohen/Pat Benatar cover? We filmed a very '80s music video to go with our cover of Cohen's 'Gypsy's Wife', which also incorporates Pat Benatar's 'Love is a Battlefield', and posted it on Youtube. Almaryse, my sister and the other half of Maiden Speech, directed and shot it in Brisbane with an ensemble of exquisite shoulder-shaking Dancer slash Models slash Actors. Leonard saw it and got in touch with us saying it was 'terrific' and gave us a quote to use: 'I am still recovering from their stab of beauty'. That's outrageous, and Maiden Speech is still recovering from hearing from the Man himself.

- Tsunami Magazine February 08

"Maiden Speech - My Maiden Voyage"

"Maiden Speech" - My maiden voyage (chuckle, chuckle) with a local must-see duo!
Current mood: Flashbacking.
Category: Flashbacking. Music

I don't think I've done this before, but I'm posting a blog to tell you about an amazingly hilarious, unique, and talented duo that I saw perform on Thursday night.

Let me qualify this by saying that this is not something I'm in the habit of doing. Let me also say that with the exception of a pre-show MySpace "howdy", I had never met/communicated/spoken with "Maiden Speech" in any way. So this isn't some shameless publicity spot for a friend or family member.

More than anything, I'm writing this because the Maidens had me laughing and smiling in a way that's been a long-time coming. I think "Maiden Speech" has something for anyone with even the minutest sense of fun and adventure.

"Maiden Speech" is the kind of act you never knew you had to see. I mean, who in their right mind would think of fusing spoken word with cheeky, self-referential 80s pop?

Decked out in fidoras, fishnets, leg warmers – and a mysterious lobster that I'm yet to quite get my head around - Pascalle Burton and Almaryse Murphy (sisters) are the front ladies of "Maiden Speech". Almaryse, the lead vocalist, sings with an exhilirating soulfulness and ease and Pascalle delivers punchy (and often humorous) passages of spoken word; all this atop original, authentic, and inescapably endearing 80s backing tracks.

Ant Aggs ("Izrae", as they call him) is responsible for the nostalgic, infectious backing tracks that the duo sing to. What really struck me about these backing tracks is their authenticity! It's a bit like being sucked into a kind of spunky time vortex – I'm six years and old and covertly rifling through my eldest sister's forbidden bright orange, Mushroom cassingles.

I'm also experimenting with her crimping irons. But that's a story for another day.

But "Maiden Speech" isn't a brainless piss take. Even with their cheeky smiles and quintessential 80s choreography, they're able to shoot thought-provoking prose ("My Sister") through comical sketches and a performance that just makes you want to get up and dance-magic-dance (that was a David Bowie "Labyrinth" reference for those among us who aren't in touch with their inner 80s child).

"Maiden Speech" is disarming, unforgettable. and more than a few 80s skips past refreshing. That being said, simply listening to "Maiden Speech" only gives you half the picture. They're the kind of group you need to SEE to come close to appreciating.

I watched their show with my sister, cousin (who's a bit of a stranger to live entertainment) and his English fiance. We had no idea what "Maiden Speech" were about or what Pascalle and Almaryse would be dishing up. And so it came to pass that we spent the entire show with grins from ear to ear, swigging beer between 5-minutely exclamations of, "I have NEVER seen anything like this before!"

"Maiden Speech" is the kind of tribute that's part taking the piss/part homage, but driven by a genuine love for the era (sort of like the way my friends called me "ribena berry" at High School, but actually loved me, deep down inside). As the Maidens themselves declare, anthem-like, in one of their infectious numbers: "Ask not what the 80s can do you for you, but what's it done for you already!"

"Maiden Speech", I love you. And so did everybody at my table.

Check out their MySpace at

Do that, but treat yourself to the full deal. See you on 14 February - Valentines Day - at Tongue'n'Groove in West End, 7 pm.
- Jacob Diefenbach

"Blood Sugar Sex Majik"

Local performance art mavens GHOSTBOY and MAIDEN SPEECH team-up to bring a whole new kind of live art to Brisbane – THE OUTSIDERS. BIANCA VALENTINO chats with the eccentrics.

Something very interesting and exciting is brewing in Brisbane. In the depths of West End’s Tongue ‘n’ Groove Café QLD’s unofficial Slam Master Shaman, Ghostboy – winner of the Performance Poetry World Cup 2005 – and poetry-pop act Maiden Speech – sisters Almaryse Murphy and Pascalle Burton – have been hard at work cooking up an intriguing art project, The Outsiders.

“Outsiders currently top the World Health Organisation’s list of most dangerous spoken word & performance art tropical diseases,” informs Murphy the Maiden who more-often-than-not sports a tool belt equipped with maracas and a rubik’s cube on stage.

According to the Maidens, the first outbreak of the ‘Outsiders’ disease occurred early 2005 on the Sunshine Coast with Ghostboy – the source – setting up a monthly performance art clinic to treat ‘outsiders’ of the coast. Soundscape artist Nefarius later joined and a crew of lost souls that preached beats, poetry, street art, slam and surrealist vaudeville soon followed. Beware! A new sister infection is set to hit Brisbane.

“Outsiders is a disease for the underachiever in all of us,” explains Ghostboy whose recent performance at Woodford Folk Festival had the editor of ISM magazine proclaiming, ‘A performance so powerful I psychosomatically smelt his cum on my head’.

“Once infected by this, you will never watch daytime TV in the same way again,” the Slam Master laughs.

“We’re looking for all the kooks and edgy folk in Brisbane to come ‘outside’ and play!” adds Burton winner of Qld Poetry Festival Slam 2006 and Woodford Folk Festival Slam 2006/2007.

The said event is being held downstairs at Tongue ‘n’ Groove every second Wednesday. Asked who can be a part of the festivities, the trio reply, “Poets, burlesque & performance artists, musicians, hip hop refugees, ‘80s tragics, ‘90s romantics and 2007 cynics. The audience is Outsiders, they decide if the feature artists get encores. They can enter, dress to theme and judge the slams and judge the judges.”

Upcoming themes include, Mad ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ month, April is a celebration of ‘He Died For Our Sins You Know’ – The Life And Times Of JC, and a special February 14th St Valentine’s Day show.

What should we expect of the Valentines show? “Blood. Condoms. Joy. Mysticism. Insight. Imperfect Match. Electro highs,” starts Ghostboy.

“Slam. Big Hair. No Hair. Burt Bacharach sing-a-longs with St Valentine the Wedding Singer. Random acts,” Burton adds.

“Love poetry. Water-cooler conversation. Horny Warnie. The Sisters Three. Free films. Classy giveaways from our lovely sponsor, Trash Video,” rounds out Murphy.

Ghostboy and Maiden Speech appear Feb 14 at Tongue ‘n’ Groove West End with guests Horny Warnie, St Valentine the Wedding Singer and Troubadour O Love! Entry $5, which includes a full tonsil check by Ghostboy and finger food. For more info and for anyone interested in taking part in the madness check out or A free audition clinic for features is being held Wednesday April 11 from 3pm at Tongue ‘n’ Groove.

- Rave Magazine

"Timeoff Sixpack - Maiden Speech"

FOLK ELECTRONIC duo Maiden Speech have been working hard of late on their upcoming EP, which they’ve dubbed a ‘Taster CD’.


“We actually call it Taster CD,” Almaryse Murphy says. “We’ve been collaborating with Ant Aggs [Afro Dizzi Act], which has been a blast, [and] we recorded our vocals with Paulie B. Both Ant and Paulie really get where we’re coming from; our rehearsals and production sessions are a riot, lots of dancing and laughing-induced toilet breaks!”

The record - available soon - even comes with its own zine! Well, okay - it’s the booklet that comes with most CDs, but it’s so much more!

“It’s just a fancy term!” Pascalle Burton laughs. “But it is a 12-page mini-zine that includes our artwork and poetry, rather than your run-of-the-mill lyrics and liner notes.

“We wanted to do something special because in this digital age, you have to give the CD buyer a reason to want to hold it in their hot little hands! The Taster CD should function as giving you a nice little bite of Maiden Speech and things to come!”

Coming together upon Burton’s return from the UK (where she was heavily involved in theatre), they bonded over a mutual creative vision that blends poetry-pop with “a sharp 80s edge”.

“Maiden Speech is an audio-visual treat, incorporating excellent songs with provocative poems and high theatrics,” Murphy boasts.

“To hear us is one thing; to experience Maiden Speech live takes it to another level. Are you a rebel? Have you ever danced with the devil? We have been likened to a female cross between Tenacious D and Salt-N-Pepa.”

Maiden Speech play The Globe, Saturday Nov 25 as part of Ladyfest with Kate Bradley, Mean Streaks, Brindle and more. They also play Tongue & Groove Wednesday Dec 13.

- Timeoff

"Maiden Speech"

With more leotards in their wardrobe than German sensation Peaches, Brisbane poetry-pop duo Maiden Speech are preparing to set sail on the campaign trail; promoting the arrival of their new CD. BROOKE MCMASTER chats to ALMARYSE MURPHY and PASCALLE BURTON about all things ‘80s, shrinkies and their unique fashion sense.

BROOKE: So where did the name come from?
PASCALLE: I love the political aspect of a maiden speech. It is full of promise and is in some ways aligned with the avant-garde. Something you’ve not heard before.
ALMARYSE: It’s also pretty cool being known as ‘The Maidens’ – very ladylike! B: How do you describe the Maiden Speech sound?
A: We call it Poetry-Pop, with a heavy ‘80s influence.
P: Kind of Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson, Prince and Nina Hagen!
B: What can we expect to see at the CD launch?
A: There’s a line-up 2Die4! You’ll see Yeo rockin’ on his keytar, Jacob’s cabaret stylings, Hunz’s electro magic, a taste of Brisbane’s own glam rocker, The Screaming Lord Byron, a super posse of Models-slash-Dancers-slash-Actors, all under the enigmatic hand of our MC Ghostboy.
P: We made an album late last year, produced by Ant Aggs from Afro Dizzi Act, and mixed by Magoo, who incidentally, is a hero to us. We released it on Limited Edition Dolby Cassette, and then had the CDs pressed over in the UK when we were touring. That means we’ve never celebrated the CD over here. And that’s what this gig is all about.
B: Explain to me the ‘free shrinky’ poster you receive with every copy of your new CD?
P: Shrinkies were an ‘80s phenomenon. You put the shrinky in the oven and it does just that – it shrinks!
A: You might have found one in a corn flakes box and people made their own with chip packets. We used to put them on key rings and I wear the Maiden Speech shrinky as an earring.
B: What are the major sounds influencing the act?
P: How much time have you got? Groundbreakers of the ‘80s like Talking Heads, Grace Jones, Eurythmics, Prince…
A: We love the pop of Bros, The Pointer Sisters, Hall & Oates and WHAM! We’re also really inspired by Bjork, Le Tigre, iOTA, Chromeo and Peaches. Pas’ poetry adds another dimension to our act.
P: I love the Beat poets and Laurie Anderson, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Dorothy Parker… And anything to do with cultural theory. I’m a bit of a nerd.
B: Pascalle, I understand you went into the Woodford Folk poetry competition and won?
P: Yeah, they call me the most decorated Slam Poet in Qld, and I do a mean performance piece about poets high jacking a plane. That was 2006/7. This year at Woodford, I took out the title of Miss Woodford Tonite, and wear the sash and tiara proudly!
B: From all the promo pictures you guys have a unique sense of style! What’s some of your fashion tips?
A: The bigger the hair the better! And you can never go wrong with leg-warmers and a bit of leopard print.
P: I feel naked without a fascinator. And if you need a lift, try shoulder pads!
B: I heard you got a great rap from Leonard Cohen about your cover of his song Gypsy’s Wife, how was that?
A: It blew us away! An excellent poet, A F Harrold, who did a show with us over in London, knows Mr Cohen and forwarded him the YouTube.
P: Leonard emailed us and said it was ‘terrific’. He even gave us a quote: ‘I am still recovering from their stab of beauty’. Legend!

MAIDEN SPEECH celebrate their ‘CD coming out party’ on Thursday Feb 7 at The Zoo, alongside special guests Yeo, Hunz, Jacob Diefenbach and MC Ghostboy.
- Rave Magazine - Brooke McMaster

"5 minutes..."

... with Brisbane's 2 80's-flavoured eccentric poetry-popsters ALMARYSE & PASCALLE of MAIDEN SPEECH.

Our themes come from all over the shop - we've got songs about being young, being strange, being politically aware, and being Leisha - but you could say the 80's flavour ties it all togeter.

The 80's was the era of individuality - people strived to be unique. There were true groundbreakers who have given us innovations that some take for granted. That's good scary if anything.

PASCALLE: Maiden Speech don't succumb to the whole image pressure women can be under. Physically, we are defined as men or women and we respond to each other from that point onwards; it's a paradox no gender can escape. Generally speaking, men have been the ones to formulate what goes on in the music industry - I always wonder how different it would be if women played a bigger part from the get go. Projects like Ladyfest highlight the talents of women and we can revel in their gifts.
ALMARYSE: For me, it's making sure I don't burn the chicken chippies when I'm on tuckshop duty at my son's school.

Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Nina Hagen, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson... and Shelley Long! All powerful 80's icons.

We have a Taster CD with a booklet of our art and poetry. We recorded with Ant Aggs and Paulie B who are certified marvels. Ant is working with us on an album too - it's a very exciting process. You can get our Taster at our gigs or be emailing


"Maiden Speech UK & Cyprus Tour"

FUNKY LOCAL experimental pop girls Maiden Speech are about to embark on their first UK tour, which will be highlighted by an appearance at Suffolk’s Latitude Festival alongside the likes of Arcade Fire and Wilco.

“London has so much happening at the moment that’s down our alley,” Almaryse Murphy, one half of the group, enthuses. “Not only do we get to do these shows, but the [festival] lineups mean we will see some of our favourite artists as well.

“With our own mash-up of poetry, music and theatre, we’ll appear at a wide array of shows - festivals, poetry nights and club nights. Every show will be completely different. We have a UK filmmaker traveling with us while we’re touring, so we’ll have lots of exciting footage of Maiden Speech exploits.”

The invite to play the Latitude Festival came as a welcome surprise for the self-managed band.

“We’re really just beginning,” Murphy explains. “We’ve been performing as Maiden Speech for around eight months, so all this activity has taken us by storm. But we’re ready for it.”

“It’s meant a lot to us to be warmly received in Brisbane, where there is so much happening artistically,” Pascalle Burton, the group’s other half, adds. “There is much more in store for Maiden Speech - we’re excited to see it unfold.”

Maiden Speech’s farewell show before they head off to Europe is this weekend, and those who front up at the gig will be able to grab the band’s soon-to-be-released self-titled, debut album.

“We’re very excited to announce a limited edition collector’s release on Dolby Cassette,” Burton reveals.

“Don’t worry if your tape player doesn’t work anymore - the CD run is being pressed in the UK,” Murphy explains. “We’ll be holding a launch on our return. CDs come with a free shrinky; the first 100 have the chance to win a personal Maiden Speech gig. Stay tuned.”

Maiden Speech play a farewell show at Tongue & Groove this Saturday Jun 30.

- Timeoff

"Maiden Speech CD Review"

3.5 / 5
“Don’t be afraid of the 80s” is the concluding message of this album, and rightly so. Maiden Speech are anything but afraid of the 80s – in fact, they look like they’ve jumped in a big puddle of it and rolled around for a while. This is retro synthesised pop that is both kitschy and cool. ‘Leopard Print Gloves’ wouldn’t sound at all out of place on a Kate Bush album, ‘My Sister’ gambols with groove and energy and ‘Who Invented This?’ glides serenely by contrast. The best track, however, is ‘Strange Girl’, which alternates between appalling dialogue from Plan 9 From Outer Space and atrocious public statements given by Donald Rumsfeld.
Hugh Milligan

- REVERB Magazine - Hugh Milligan


* Self-Titled Debut Album (2007): 10 tracks; produced by Ant Aggs and mixed by Magoo; released on Limited Edition Dolby Cassette and CD.

* Taster CD (2006): 3 tracks; produced by Ant Aggs and Pauly Bromley; includes a 12 page mini-zine of art and poetry by Maiden Speech; sold to fanbase and used as demo.





8 weeks and counting, Maiden Speech is in the Top 20 of Radio Play with their debut album!

The Maidens will host and perform for the opening night alongside Scissor Sisters DJ Sammy Jo!

Maiden Speech featured in this issue of Yen Magazine in 'Albums We Heart'!

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Leonard Cohen has seen The Maidens' clip on youtube, which is a cover of his 'Gypsy's Wife' with a nod to Pat Benatar's 'Love is a Battlefield'.
What does he say about it?
'Terrific... I have yet to recover from their stab of beauty.'

Search for The Maidens Do Leonard Cohen.


The Album, mixed by Aria- Award winner Magoo, comes with a free shrinky and pocket poster! Also available on Limited Edition Dolby Cassette!

The Maidens celebrate the Australian release at their CD Coming Out Party at The Zoo on 7th Feb.

The 'Strange Girl' video was filmed in Dungeness while on tour in the UK - it is a tribute to Derek Jarman and Ed Wood Jr.

Maiden Speech performed throughout the week at The Empire to rave reviews!


Maiden Speech inspired an entire morning show to be called 'Don't Be Afraid of the 80's', featuring such visionaries as Visage, Bananarama, Talk Talk and The Maidens, including the full-length interview they did at Woodford Folk Festival.

15 dates in all, including Latitude Festival in Suffolk, Summer Arts Festival in Limassol and playing London gigs at The Vibe Bar, Madame Jo Jo's, Club 333 and headlining at The Fly!

~ Magoo Mixes Magic for the Maidens' Debut! ~
Legendary ARIA award winning producer, Magoo, gets his hands on The Maidens!



Maiden Speech is Australian avant-garde Poetry-Pop act Almaryse Murphy and Pascalle Burton, busting open genres, incorporating spoken word poetry and 80’s inspired songs with a sophisticated funk twist. Think Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson and a dash of Nina Hagen for good measure.

To hear them is one thing – to experience Maiden Speech live takes it to another level. Are you a rebel? Have you ever danced with the devil? The seasoned performers and musicians bring elements of Talking Heads, Chicks on Speed, Cabaret and Performance Art. They have been likened to a female cross between Tenacious D and Salt-N-Pepa.

Maiden Speech currently represents themselves through their independent label, Maiden Speech Portal, formed less than a year ago. In this short time, they have been regularly gigging with over 50 local and international gigs combined. This year, Maiden Speech Portal orchestrated a 2007 UK/Cyprus tour, performing to ecstatic and diverse crowds.

The duo recently launched their debut album (produced by Ant Aggs and mixed by Magoo). Dave Graney says:
“The songs sounded excellent, you have the chops and the ideas. Brilliant... You are certainly playing in a wide open area there, no one else for miles around!”

Maiden Speech releases, including the new album on CD and Limited Edition Dolby Cassette, sell well at gigs and via the internet, including a contract with IODA Digital Distribution. The tracks have been featured on Triple J Unearthed and reside in the Pop and overall charts. Radio play includes Triple J, ABC (where they performed live), and other community stations around Australia.

Maiden Speech gains regular press in publications and online music sites such as Timeoff, Rave, Sunday Mail, Quest, MX,,, The UK and Cyprus Tour has garnered press, radio and television spots also.

The Myspace page connects with a solid and growing fanbase. Through the Sonic Bids EPK, a Live Show Montage video (recorded by Browndog Productions and edited by Almaryse) hosted by Youtube and viewable on the Myspace page, Maiden Speech networks with programmers and other artists and manages a busy live schedule, locally and internationally.

The UK and Cyprus Tour has met with rave responses from the crowds, venue managers and other artists, resulting in return and new invitations for UK Summer 2008. The Maidens' itinerary held 15 dates over eight weeks, including:
• Festivals: –Latitude Festival (scheduled to play the Truck Festival; however it was rained out), Summer Arts Festival in Limassol, Cyprus
• London Music Venues: Madame Jo Jo’s (Glitz club night), The Vibe Bar (Feedback club night), Club 333 (The Dollhouse club night), The Fly
• UK Poetry Venues: Y Tuesday Poetry Club @ The Three Kings, Farrago SLAM @ RADA, Poetry Café, Cov