It's not often you get an invitation to go and listen to a gargoyle grumble as well as listen to live music, so Ralph sent out his roving reporter to cover the Lynn Gerrard (aka The Grumbling Gargoyle) live book launch in The Citadel St Helens recently.
To celebrate signing a four book deal with Wallace Publishing to produce her poetry she took over her local theatre for an evening of music, comedy and spoken word.
First on the bill was local singer Amber Heyes who had won the St Helens Got Talent competition the previous year at the tender age of just 16 and this year was a Teen Star UK Finalist.
She performed a short but stunning set of covers that had the audience shouting for more. Over the summer she's performing at more local venues and the Rainhill Festival.
It was Lynn Gerrard's night though and she took to the stage unassumingly, almost apologetically approaching the microphone before taking the audience by surprise with tales of her Mother's chest stubble and nasal hair, her Gran's affection for Custard Creams and crematoriums plus her own children's effect on her ability to breast feed only under the influence of alcohol and view them through tinted glass incubators.
Despite her protestations otherwise, with the use of humour and poignancy alike, Lynn Gerrard is the consummate storyteller and is as at ease with a comedy routine as she is in availing the listener with her spoken word poetry which ranges from the introspective and thoughtful to hilarious and scary!
Her rendition of The Lovers was funny and insightful as it took a sideswipe at Asda 'chav life' with it's 'hero' Martin getting his comeuppance for 'dissing' his girlfriend Alice with Chantal - Alice "Drop-kicked him right up his thick posterior - He landed with the words 'Unwanted Item in bagging area'."
Other poems were surprisingly poignant, none more so than Removal and Dark Skies which both kept the audience in respectful silence. The ability of Lynn Gerrard to make me laugh before tearing at my heart-strings and making me cry then making me laugh again is a tribute to her writing as much as it is to the care with which she tells her tales.
Leaving to thunderous applause, she was reluctantly dragged back onstage (she even forgot to plug her book) to take another bow.
She's performing at Greater Manchester Fringe on July 24th and by invitation in Central Library in St Helens on October 15th for World Poetry Day.
Lee Wylding and Adele Halsall from Runcorn band The Fireflys took to the stage next to perform an all too short acoustic set from their 'Storyteller' Show (which was sold out and two nights hence in The Brindley Theatre) to celebrate the release of their Branches album.
Their intimate, soul searching brand of Americana was perfectly suited to the evening and it was only the time constraints of the show that prevented them from complying with the audiences request for more! If you get a chance go and see them live as Lee's honest vocals are ably backed by Adele and with the full band in attendance they're not to be missed.
Another musical gem presented itself next in the form of London singer/songwriter Officer who had graciously offered to travel up to St Helens just to perform at Lynn's launch night.
He's as magnetic in his stage performance as his music is to listen to. Playing a selection of numbers from his upcoming Myriad album, he held the audience spellbound.
Do take the chance to catch Lynn Gerrard live as she expands on her Darkness and Decadence show for Manchester Fringe and Central Library, St Helens in March as I'm certain the tickets for her inevitable Edinburgh Fringe Show will set you back a bit - although it will most definitely be worth it!
Top news is the new book Musings & Mischief was launched on March 3rd 2016 for World Book Day in St Helens Central Library, where Lynn performed her poetry to a sold-out audience.