Nomad is a political and cultural magazine, and in Thursday night’s fundraiser for their annual publication they took over Mash House to host Vine Box. Armed with pillows, with a shoes (and phones!) off policy on the door, we followed plastic vines up to a room tinged with green lights , decorated with a bohemian patchwork of rugs and blankets on the floor. More vines were also stuck on the walls and draped over window frames. It was dark, atmospheric, and with about forty people sitting about on the floor, very warm.
The readings consisted of a mixture of poetry and short stories. Within these categories there was a diverse style set: from long, winding Ginsberg-like rude metaphors for complex concepts, to short-but-sweet pieces with clear symbolism – the stories were equally varied, with calming, yet surreal, storytelling styles. Each reader signalled the end of their section by hitting a triangle and moved away from the large basket seat at the back of the room, and was replaced by their successor.
There was accompaniment by gentle background music, improvised guitar picking and cajon box drumming, which crescendoed during change-over and applause intervals. Projected onto a large screen was a well-shot, cleanly minimalist abstract film, silent and with a curious editing style that made the watcher wonder what parallels and relations the images shown drew between one another.
After all the readings were done, the blankets were packed away, quickly transforming the space into a dance floor. The first DJ playing fun, cheesy, old school dance tracks and the bar area quickly becoming busier. Mayowa Omogbenigun, Nomad’s president, afterwards told The Student, “We didn’t know what to expect and we’re just so happy everyone had a positive response,” hinting at plans to repeat the event in the future.
The words, music, and images all worked wonderfully together, making the dimly lit room seem homely and safe. Of course, there were some aspects of the night that were a little off-beat. The only frustrating thing I found about the event was the repetition of themes and images in the readings: things like milk and honey; romantic cigarettes; or traditional maternalistic imagery kept popping up. But it was an amateur creatives’ night.
However, it didn’t take anything away from the event on the whole. Everything ran smoothly, and taking votes on when to take a drinks break between readings added a charming communal element to the atmosphere. Overall, all aspects of the performances were impressive and they all came together to create a singular expose of talent that made the evening highly entertaining. My advice for anyone reading this is to keep an eye on Nomad’s media – and snap up tickets for a repeat performance.
Image: Flickr/Travel Stock Photos