Once, I saw you

Once, I saw you dreaming of a nightingale…
Once, I saw you…

I think S has the full poem, but what a night Nightfest 2015 was. I had been a bit jaded by last year’s – it didn’t seem that long ago, and I hadn’t had time to follow up on what is held this year. So we didn’t make that much of an effort to attend. But what a surprise it was.

The Proletariat Poetry Factory – disgusting facebook link., was a marvel of marvel, held at the Centre 42 building that we visited not so long ago. A really non-descript and plainly designed building of the early Singapore era, I might say. ‘Cept that it’s painted all blue – a stroke of odd architectural courage. But yes an empty courtyard, a plain building, plain rooms. Somehow it was so appropriately taken over, so appropriately dressed up, occupied, and filled with a queue, a crowd, a massive presence, and words, and… ideas.

The poetry factory team – and it was a massive team, used the medium of poetry and drama and a thoroughly immersive interactive audience participation to enact the embodiment of the industrial revolution. Man, I gotta give it to them. I liked it so much I actually liked them on facebook, and I don’t do so lightly.

I loved the utter and complete scene and how it subsumed the entire building and crowd, from the moment you stepped through the half gate, you were part of it. Not just an observer, but part of it. I loved the revivial of verses in my blood like how I did not expect much poetry in the past night festivals – it was more about music, visual arts, light shows, and displays more relevant to the night, darkness and a wild noisy crowd. Poetry is often tucked away in quiet chambers, sombre drinking parties and literary fests.

The man in the tophat, in which the ‘call for collaborators’ described as “PEOPLE OF OSTENTATIOUS WEALTH”,

to set the tone of the installation, these characters will be dressed in elaborate clothing (suits, tuxedos, ballroom gowns, cocktail dresses) and with a glass of champagne in hand, drift around the waiting area while speaking with members of the audience and being photographed by paparazzi. they will engage in high brow conversation and show a subtle disdain for these commoners coming to the installation. volunteers should be highly extroverted, well-spoken and, well, mock-glamourous.

was exhilarating, coming up to us and offering a poem right on the spot, expounding on us the concept of the factory and his intention to buy it over. Nightingale, you said, zerá would have raised an eyebrow at that, in that way that we would give you the credit but not squeal over the serendipity.

It was a beautiful hour of high-brow immersion. Hah.


But not forgetting the jaw-dropping fire-sand creation on the front lawn of Arts Museum. It was dangerously enticing and ferocious. Just stunning.

and not forgetting the lovely bazaar crowd and feel inside the SAM courtyard. Just like good old uni days.


and the Annoying Brothers with their entertaining circus-comedy act. It was fun, thank you.

We didn’t have the time to go through the SMU lawn and all the rest, but it was already pretty wonderful. And the other museum too, maybe another year.

Nightfest just gets me.

Once, I saw you

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