Theme was Spirit last week, and as everyone knows spirits can be blessed or malign. Ours took their cue from proximity to All Souls' Night and began by diving into the humus beneath Highgate Cemetery. Emanuele read an original sonnet written there, followed by English translation. Barney offered an equally bittersweet reminiscence with his original 'Haunted Ballroom'. Phoebe had arrived with her partner Joseph, who played a brilliant piece of flamenco. She matched his brilliance and kept in the spirit by reciting a comic-turning-horrific speech from a screenplay by Stephen Poliakoff. This pair are real pros, but our favourite amateurs rose to the standard - Charlotte with 'The Ghost' by Sarah Teasdale and no-longer shy Malcolm with a not-quite-ghost tale from the heart, shocking and ending with the line 'It's not OK to be called a cunt'. George, who had not contributed before, recited an original piece, written exactly two years ago, with a refrain about being 'between pleasure and pain'. A light touch returned at the end when Kelly amused us with her father's favourite version of 'The Ballad of William Bloat'. Spirits were by then flickering, a candle or two guttering, but their persistent flame reminds of the significance of the Friday to come, which suggests that the new theme should be
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