As we made our way into the park hosting Parramasala (the arts festival at Parramatta in Sydney “that celebrates the global impact of Asian arts and cultures”) an older couple with European accents approached us. “Is there anywhere nearby where we can just get a nice sandwich?”, they asked us, almost in desperation. Perhaps we were wrong to assume, but we later laughed about this, concluding they might have found the food on sale in the park a little “challenging”.
We had come to the park to see a poetry slam. My own connection with poetry slams goes back to 2008, when working for 702 ABC Sydney, I was the executive producer for the radio of the National Poetry Slam at the Sydney Opera House. The event was also shown on ABC-TV and was co-hosted by Andrew Daddo (then the 702 Evening Show presenter) and Miles Merrill, who pretty much brought the poetry slam genre to Australia. The winner that night was a bloke called Omar Musa, who has since gone on to fame and success with a book earlier this year that both sold well and was received well by the critics.
Both were at today’s poetry slam. The slam and the poetry were interesting enough, though slightly challenging for us since half the poems were performed in Hindi. It made it a little hard to judge which were good and which weren’t, aside from making judgments about musicality and performance.
Still, it was a fun thing to do, and we caught the ferry back which is a lovely trip.