What if you threw a poem and no-one came?

2 Oct


Dada Generators at the Museum of Computing

Sometimes no matter how great that you think an event is and is going to be, it doesn’t work.

Coming from the background of ‘why don’t we just try it?’

I am very used to my imagination colouring in the feverish excitement of eager punters in the build up to the event.

Only to find that come the great day I am talking to someone who thought I was the Tuesday Yoga teacher.

Or my audience is a drunk straight out of an all-day bender in the pub.

So there I was feeling welcome but uncomfortable, admiring the amazing innards of The Museum of Computing with no lithe bendy leotarded companion or beer breathed bore for company, just me and Dada, some computers and the marvellous Simon Webb, resident hard drive and RAM of the museum and all round hero, pfft.

His volunteers were the curious, interested sort.

What was all this Dada about?

What is Dada about?

How does a Dada generator work?

What’s the algorithm?

I struggled with all four but especially the last one, these were geeks, high calibre geeks whose brains must operate on an utterly different plane or planet or universe to my sad grey confused prune.

I was asking where are the people?

And what could be better than a rainy Saturday cutting and pasting NHS ailment advice into a Dada machine and analysing the results?

Well as it turned out, anything was.

Over the course of four hours I got visits from Festival helpers, the  amazing Tin Women and a German infant with a scream so shrill the Broadband briefly dropped out, but no-one else.

No-one marvelling at the random juxtapositions I was by now creating from angry emails I’d received from my ex-wife.

Well as it turned out, anything was.

The results were good but I decided that my source material was by now well through the bottom of the barrel.

I packed up my Dada books, my technology and decided to catch up with the Tin Women at the nearby Central Library.

I thanked Simon for the tiny 3D Duchamp urinal he had spectacularly made for me, braced myself and made my way across Regent Circus, on my own.


Poetry Generators took place at Swindon’s Museum of Computing at part of Poetry Swindon on 1 October 2016.

Chronicle written by Michael Scott.





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