I don’t really know why I still go to open mic poetry nights, as I reached the age where other people’s earnestness becomes anathema quite a while ago. But as Paul Stones, host of Howling at the Moon, said last night (though in slightly more diplomatic terms): ignore the fact that most of what people have to say is embarrassingly crap, and open your mind to what might be the nugget of truth within.

Howling is not strictly a poetry night. It’s not very strictly anything. And what always starts off as a typically British crowd, perched silently on bar stools, usually turns into a heckling mob with the most unlikely members of the audience taking the stage to tell a bad joke, recite a limerick they wrote when they were ten, decry George W. Bush, play guitar poorly, or discuss druids. And if we’re lucky the excellent MC Braniac will be there actually being funny.

Earnestness abounds, but so does chaos, which is what keeps me coming back I suppose. Trouble is, the Full Moon pub is under new management, the type that likes dark red paint and dark moody bar staff. There was a definite feeling last night that Howling might not be at home here for much longer, given that its core of performers and fans are a bunch of filthy hippies. Not being part of this core, I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to find the truth in the theatrical mumblings of a sweaty communist, or at the bottom of an overpriced bottled beer. Looking is fun though.