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Ant Smith
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Sing For Your Supper

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Sing for Your Supper is our once and future king of London's open mic nights.

I can say that. Now that I don't live and perform in London, but rather just look back over the ill-spent years with perfect 20/20 hindsight, I can and do say that.

And why is it the best of all London nights? Because it is hosted by none other than Calm Carl - if you don't know Carl CHECKOUT HIS WEBSITE at calmcarl.uk

I asked carl to list where S4YS had ever been in operation, aside from those I already had covered in the albums here - and this is what he offered me:

  • The Prince Albert, Albert Square, SW4 Stockwell,

  • The Canton Arms, Stockwell,

  • The Duke of Edinburgh Brixton,

  • The Imperial, Leicester Square,

  • The Ship, Kennington,

  • The Queen's Head, Brixton,

  • The Magic Garden, Battersea

  • & somewhere in there is The Crown in Battersea!

It can be a little confusing to pin it down - it has had such a vibrant life of its own. Some venues Carl organised nights in/for didn't respect the whole sing for your SUPPER idea - which is kind of the heart of the movement* really; so I think he perhaps doesn't really include those nights.

*in some sense it is right to call S4YS a movement, given how well it moves people; and how those involved cannot help but talk about 'family'. Whether he likes it or not though, it is at the same time definitely Carl's brainchild - S4YS is just not S4YS but for him.

Another World

Another World

Another World

Make for me

Another World

The basic building blocks and bits

No longer seem to me to fit

As if the trees don't reach the ground

But still beneath the earth turns round

And if the seas can't reach the beach

Then turning tides mean nought to me

If passing clouds hold up the rains

What's this storm inside my brain?

And if we're made from burnt out stars

Why are the heavens so damn far?

Another World

Another World

Make for me

Another World

This is a poem I file under Mental Health.

To me, the arts in all of their expressions are a form of public dreaming; in that they help to keep society sane, just as our own dreams help us to process and cope with the world.

Sing For Your Supper did make for me another world. A place where my own sense of normal was just a little bit less askew than that of those around me. A place where it never seemed to mater overmuch however many mic stands decided to fall apart in my hands. A place of respect and of belonging.

A place of love, laughs and lunacy.

Here's a selection of recollections from some of S4YS' regular performers

Here are my thoughts on each of the venues