Den Of Voice

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Last Wednesday afternoon I met my friend Jude in Guildford. She then came along with me to Frog’s cottage, as I was going to give Frog a lift into town in my car. 

When we met Frog in his cottage, he had changed into one of his unusual outfits, which was a mix of Western and Indian, complete with a wizard style hat, like the picture below. 


He was looking and feeling a bit nervous, as he was doing a live performance that night. 

Frog had been invited to perform at the ‘Den Of Voice’ event in the Boileroom, by a mutual friend called Elizabetta. We both know her from the Buddhist meditation group, which we sometimes visit together on a Sunday. 

The event included a stage and a microphone for anyone to read poetry, stories, comedy, or anything else interesting to say. The Boileroom is a pub, which has been converted to host bands and other acts. 

I have included the advert for the ‘Den Of Voice’ event taken from the Boileroom MySpace webpage, so you get the idea of what it was all about. 

"Poets, stand-up comedians, madmen, philosophers with something interesting to say are all warmly invited and encouraged to stand up and inundate the mic with the power of voice. Say what you’re dying to shout from the rooftops, whisper the secret you’ve been dying to share, scream what you feel passionately about. This is your chance. Bring stories, poems, monologues. Bring your voice and your soul, be prepared to lay it bare and be fearless: you’ll be in the good company of fellow speakers. Or you can, of course, choose to sit back, enjoy the acts and be the judge of all that we lay before you" 

I drove Frog and Jude from Frog’s cottage to park at a nearby multi-storey car park, close to the Boileroom. 

As we left the car park and walked towards the venue, the heavens opened. The rain was very heavy, as we both didn’t have umbrellas, we all got a bit soaked! 

I tried to open the door to the Boileroom, but it was locked. We had arrived a little early, as the place was not due to open until 7pm. Luckily the guy behind the bar saw us trying to get in, so he let us inside, which was a relief for us all to get out of the rain. 

Inside the Boileroom it’s quite cosy. There are two bars, the main bar, and a cocktail bar, a stage, and the DJ, sound and lighting booth. It is dark, as most things are coloured black. There are some sofas, stools, and tables to sit round. 

Not long after we arrived Elizabetta and Jen the event hosts came into the Boileroom. I have also met Jen before, which was at a sketching night round Frog’s cottage. 

I introduced Jude to Elizabetta and Jen and told them she is a writer. 

Jude may read some of her poems and stories at a future ‘Den Of Voice’ event, as she is also a writer. You can read more about Jude via her blog by clicking here. 

Whilst Frog was chatting to Jen about organising his stage routine for later that evening, I got myself and Jude a drink. I also ordered myself a Chinese curry. 

Frog, Jude and I sat at a table together, and when my curry arrived, I shared it with Frog. 

A poet and artist called Nigel and his friend Steve came to join us at our table, as Nigel knew Frog. 

Nigel was an interesting character, and was performing on stage that evening too. He had an unusual beard like Buffalo Bill's and was quite eccentric. Nigel showed us some of his poems, and they were very funny, he was good company. 

Becca then arrived at the Boileroom and she joined us at our table. Becca is another mutual friend of Frog, and me, as she is Mark’s girlfriend, and also goes to our sketching group. 


Elizabetta then went up on to the stage and introduced the various poets. 

Elizabetta hosting the event  

I enjoyed seeing the different poets and speakers up on stage performing their poetry and pieces. It was a mix of all ages, young and old, which was great to see.  



One middle-aged lady was reading out some of her erotic poetry about her lover, which was amusing, as he was sitting in the audience. He was a middle-aged Irish guy, with long grey hair, he also went up on stage and read some of his own erotic poetry too. Their poems were very good, but a little embarrassing to hear. 

Erotic lady poet 

Erotic lady's boyfriend reading out his saucy poems 

Some other guy read out a biography about another poet. 


Then Nigel went up on stage. I liked his poems the best, as they were very well written, and he was a good speaker. 


Frog was getting a little nervous again, as his turn to go on stage was fast approaching. 

Frog waiting for his turn to go on stage 

Elizabetta asked Frog to come up on stage. I filmed his ‘Stick to Hold a Spiral On’ routine on my mobile. The video unfortunately came out a bit too dark, but you can hear his voice clearly. Frog started his performance by waving something above his head, which made a funny whistling noise. He was great on stage, very amusing and quite bonkers, everyone loved it. Frog was talking about potatoes, and someone brought a bag of potatoes to the stage. He then made a spiral out of coloured pipe cleaners, and tied it to a wooden twig, whilst telling his story. After he did that, he showed two of the videos he has made on the projector, I've also included the two videos below. Frog came across as a very confident speaker. At the end of his performance, everyone cheered and applauded him. Many people came up to him and thanked him personally for doing it. Frog was a little overwhelmed by it all at one point. Some of them joined him for a smoke outside. 

Frog on stage

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Frog unfortunately missed seeing Elizabetta reading out her own poetry, as he was smoking outside. I enjoyed hearing her poem about an aeroplane. 

Elizabetta, Jen, and another male host (whose name I have forgotten) then showed the audience an anthology poetry book they were launching that night. The book was called ‘Mustard’, and it included their own poems, and some of the other poets work. 

Jen the other host 

The guy host with the Mustard book  

We all stayed until closing time. I got chatting to Jen’s boyfriend, who turned out that he went to the same school as me, many years ago. I looked behind me and saw that Frog and Jude were waiting for me to stop chatting, and they wanted to go back home, as it was getting late.  

We walked back to the multi-storey car park, and luckily, the rain had stopped.  

Jude drove back home in her car, and I gave Frog a lift back to his cottage in my car. I then drove straight to my home from there, as now that I am sadly working again, I could not stay out much later.  

It was a great evening. I definitely go again to another ‘Den Of Voice’ event at the Boileroom. I look forward to seeing Jude read some of her material there next time.

Comments on Den Of Voice

Posted by planetfrog | 24 August, 2008 1:40 PM | | planetfrog's profile | | Permalink

Wow. Fantastic write up Barry. Many thanks, & really enjoying your blogs!

Barry's avatar
Posted by Barry | 07 September, 2008 7:36 PM | | Barry's profile | | Permalink

Thanks for the comment Frog. I enjoyed watching you do your spot at the Den Of Voice. I hope you do the next one too!

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