Hi, I’m Henry, what’s happenin?

January 17, 2010

On Friday night I strolled across one of the always magical Hungerford footbridges (I chose the one looking east to St Pauls and the City this time) to see Henry Rollins doing his spoken word tour at the Festival Hall.

I’ve never been particularly interested in hearing the man’s music (I imagine it’s a little loud for my liking) but I’ve always been a bit fascinated by him as a person, ever since reading stuff by him and about him in places like Purr magazine back in the nineties. Probably because he looks like such a hyper-masculine guy, and yet completely defies my prejudiced stereotype of what a hyper-masculine guy should be like.

The night wasn’t at all what I thought it would be – I guess I was expecting some sort of visceral punk poetry. Instead we were treated to a monologue that was somewhere between stand-up comedy and political rant. I wasn’t disappointed though – he’s an immensely likeable fellow, and his rambling stories about flying to countries his government were trying to make him afraid of and befriending strangers there with the phrase “Hi, I’m Henry, what’s happenin?” were most entertaining.

And I wasn’t totally deprived of scintillating poetry either. I turned up at the venue an hour early, and got the unexpected bonus of a free performance in the bar by Poejazzi – sparkling streams of words that trickled refreshingly into my brain. (“My love’ll cuss you out like Christian Bale” is the phrase I remember two days later.) I’ll definitely try and catch one of their nights again.

I heart the South Bank. It’s full of little surprises like that.

One Response to “Hi, I’m Henry, what’s happenin?”

  1. evolkween Says:

    I saw this show while he was Aus last year and I was a little disappointed. I thought it was too long (2.5 hours!?). I understood the point he was making after the first hour, you know? You should check out some of his live spoken word DVDs from the nineties – hysterical stuff!

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