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It’s encouraging for Chester Creatives when there are two intriguing events overlapping in an evening, and on hump day as well. Hopefully it’s a sign (alongside other encouraging newbies, like Tortoise) that the art scene in Chester is blossoming. In order to check out both of them I had to leave the Ginger Open Mic Evening early (apologies) and turn up late to CreativesVsBeer at the Deva Tap (apologies). My offensive departures and interruptions aside, it was a great, and varied night.

The Open Mic Evening, run by Edward Little and hosted by Ginger Wine Bar, was a real slow-burner of a success. It’s held monthly, on a sporadic Wednesday (you’ll need to follow them here), with a start time of 6:30pm. I learnt this start time is relaxed, and for good reason; to allow the the drip of attendees to settle, and those already settled to natter away over drinks, pre the performance at 7pm. By this point there was a decent crowd, and we spilled across the reserved area and took over the bar. A few (like me) were there just to bear witness, but most were poets, song-writers, and prose writers, flying solo or supported by other halves.¬†It sounds like this event’s been going on for three years or so, hopping between various venues but has has found a home for the time being in Ginger.

The first half saw David Subbachi and Amanda Jane Derry share their poignant poetry. The atmosphere was very laid back; people felt comfortable to ask questions about the work and interact. Before the interval The Chi Project delighted us with two instrumental pieces on their guitars. I managed to stay to catch a poet determined to (and succeeding) turn his corporate 9-5 into short, comedic poems.

Then I ran off to The Deva Tap to catch CreativesVsBeer (organised by Matt Jeffs) with one of our contributing writers Ali Hunter (who’s going freelance as a Travel Copywriter in October – watch this space). The event is targeted at creative types and freelancers wanting to step away from their desks and have a beer or two with some (in theory) likeminded folk. I met the friendly duo behind Off Grid, who run an independent design studio, chatted with David Atkinson about his upcoming Magazine Writing Workshop, admired the art of Matt Jeffs (it’s all over the Deva Tap) and got plans in the diary with Joe from Stride Studio. We laughed self-consciously when all the business cards came out – comparing finish and design, and networked all over the shop. It’s only the second gathering of CreativesVsBeer, but it’s a brill idea and we’re fully behind it.

It’s great to be getting out there, yapping about Amble, and finding out all about the exciting start-ups doing their thing in Chester. I’ll cheers to that.