Before supper, I popped out for a bit of Poet on Toast - and very good it was too. In fact, after having got lost on the Wirral Peninsula (which breaks all the laws of geography, geology, gravity and doubtless genealogy) again, failing to find West Kirby again, and wondering why it is impossible to tell whether you are heading North, South, East or West on The W.P. again, I was relieved that the toast hadn't taken on the consistency of a rubber car mat.
Still, I'd missed none of the poetry because a gallimaufry of musicians had assembled and had bagsied the mic first.
[A word to the wise during National Euphemism Week: Avoid Folk Music Clubs and Anyone With a Banjo.]
Titles of traditional songs are inordinately suggestive. First on, a woman in a fleece who sang (loudly) Keep Your Wick Well Trimmed and Burning.
I bit my lip.
Next, a chap in a checked shirt sang Goliath of Garth - which I misheard as girth.
I bit my lip harder.
Then a duo; winsome boys with sweet voices. In a lengthy preamble to All That Meat and No Potatoes, the one without a beard said, "So I grabbed my dictaphone -". Which I also misheard.
I chewed the knuckle of my left hand.
This segued into a rousing rendition of Bang Lulu, which I thought meretricious. A euphemism has to have the possibility of doubtful intent.
I sipped my peppermint tea calmly and with dignity.
The man with the fiddle (and a beard) then played a lament: Put It In a Cool Dry Place.
Well, I ask you. Luckily, some paper towels were at hand so I could mop up the tea.
If You're Irish You Can Come Into My Parlour had the audience clapping - and me slowly rocking. O so slowly. I've had an Irishman in my parlour. Once.
Fanny Power and This Way and That Way were both performed without an ounce of self-awareness. If irony is the first defence against feeling, then these musicians were feeling their banjos most unironically. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that their intruments were being strummed vigorously.
At this point I left the room before I disgraced myself completely. Sadly, this meant that I missed out on all twenty-two versions of Robin Hood and the ------ (You can fill in the blank with any aristocratic or clerical title: Earl, Lord, Abbot, Nun - that sort of thing.)
But I calmed myself in time for Broken Biro's poetry, which was subtle, moving, funny, clever and not the least bit euphemistic.