In Liverpool, every one of us has a story to tell, and local storytellers Bill Dawson and John Hughes know this only too well. Their evening of tales, The Mouth Of The Mersey, had its second outing at Parr Street Studios this week and SevenStreets was there to investigate.
Not feeling brave enough to sign up to recount an anecdote or conjure up a fictional protagonist, a seat at the back was taken so as not to draw attention. Immediately Bill Dawson was over to introduce the evening and above all make us feel welcome. Newsletters were signed up for, raffles were entered and then Bill and John opened proceedings.
It was clear to see the passion they share for telling stories. Their aim is to present the audience with established storytellers (notably Taffy Thomas who began his role as the first storytelling laureate in January 2010) and to encourage the new and upcoming storytellers to sign up and hone their skills.
It became apparent throughout the evening that delivery was key to becoming a good storyteller. Being able to create images in the minds of the listener as you progress through your tale of choice is something many of the speakers have mastered.
Whether it was a sense of nostalgia from Bill Dawson as he reminisced over the heat of 1976 or the Tolkien-esque tongue in which Tom Goodale delivered an Arthurian legend, each tale – and each teller – brought something different to the floor.
Apparently numbers were down from the first outing, but the small crowd gathered round the virtual campfire made for a relaxed setting. Everyone was made to feel a part of the experience, thanks to the welcoming nature of the hosts and the engagingly close-knit nature of the evening.
We’re guessing it kind of leaves the hosts in a catch 22 situation: gain popularity and lose the atmosphere, or keep it low key with limited promotion. In one respect it would retain many attributes that made this a quirky and, at times, unusual evening (how many Monday nights have you spent clapping along to someone phonetically shouting out the theme tune for Superman?) but in another it could run the risk of missing out on acquiring a whole new collective of local storytellers.
We had a story of our own concerning how SevenStreets found out about the evening. It involved a missing parrot and Google News, but that story’s getting saved for a potential recital at a future story evening. If you want to hear how this particular tale ends, you’ll have to turn up and hope we’re brave enough to divulge…
The Mouth Of The Mersey hopes to stage an event on the 4th Monday of every month. Entrance is £2 (including a raffle) and runs from 7.30pm onwards.
The Mouth Of The Mersey
Parr Street Studios, Parr Street
Neil Moran can be found enquiring about guest ales in the Ye Olde Hole In The Wall