On the fringe of AML

AML’s Head of Art, Chris Walker, and Head of Wellbeing, Hobie Walker have returned after  a long weekend at the Edinburgh Fringe. (They’re married, before the rumours start.) But little did they imagine that two of the highlights of their break would be provided by AML’s stand-in receptionist, Ben Norris. A fringe employee, as it were.

Apart from being an absolutely top-drawer receptionist, Ben is an acclaimed poet and spoken word artist. And he was also at the Fringe. But Ben was there to make his debut at one of the festival’s most renowned venues, The Assembly Rooms, performing in ‘Choir of Man’, an all-singing, all-stomping, all-drinking show celebrating pub camaraderie. As well as singing and dancing, Ben was the main narrator, writing and delivering his own words in his lyrical ‘spoken-word’ style.

Never claiming to be high art, this was out-and-out feel-good stuff. It’s going down a storm with audiences. And especially with Chris, who gave rave reviews to one of free pints given out by the cast.

If that wasn’t enough, the multi-talented Mr Norris also took part in the BBC Poetry Slam across town. It’s a kind of FA Cup Knockout competition for poets, where performers and spoken word artists recite their own work. After a few rounds, and the semi-final, Ben went on to win the whole thing, with a powerful piece entitled ‘What colour is your Brexit?’.

An amazing achievement wildly applauded by Chris. Hobie was seen to glow with a great sense of wellbeing. The only downside is that Ben’s success may mean he becomes less available for his stand-in reception duties. Poetic justice perhaps?

Watch the poem Ben performed in the final here.