Sunday evening. Me and my boy pal wandered sleepy and hungover, into the Tyne Theatre Opera house (which can only be described as a cross between a working men’s club and a gilded palace, fucking unreal) grab pints of morretti and settle down to people watch.
I’d been following Hollie McNish’s work for about a year now, thanks to some trusty youtube recommendations after watching Kate Tempest, and have been quietly exploding with excitement for some months since I found out she’d be performing in Newcastle promoting her latest book ‘Plum’. The way I tried to encourage boy pal was that “its poetry – but its dead good”. And it was.
Her poems, I would like to think, are for an everywoman.
Hollie McNish is an absolute, unexpected force. She came onto the stage unassuming, maybe a little shy, with a pint of water and a large glass of pink wine, in jeans and a jumper, and just starts chatting to us like we’re her mate. She is warm, and kind, and makes you feel included. And she’s funny. Really, fucking funny.
Her poems, I would like to think, are for an everywoman. You feel so included, talking to you like you’re a friend with intimate subjects of puberty, first time hand jobs, bored blow jobs, what to call your vulva, growing older and not just calling on your pals anymore. Of getting married. Of getting divorced. Of motherhood, politics and David Cameron’s penis. Hollie McNish is funny, and fresh. Her work is brilliant and sad and hilarious all at once.
My boyfriend, when we were leaving said that it was brilliant, that she was brilliant. And then later, that it was possible for him, as a male member of the audience to feel like an interloper. Like he’d snuck into a private meeting, and that some of the anecdotes and jokes weren’t for him. And that is ok.