Good Music, Great Coffee: Bookophilia’s Open Mic

If you’re looking for the hipster demographic in Kingston Jamaica, look no further than the bookstore/cafe Bookophilia on Open Mic night. Replete with converse-wearing, indie-music-appreciating, dreadlocked guys and gals, it’s certainly the place to be for the creatively analytical mind. And non-smokers too.

I’ve blogged ad nauseam about Bookophilia – it’s one of my absolute favourite places to be when I’m in town. How can I not love a store whose staff has loud discussions about a certain Time Lord from Gallifrey? Conveniently sitting on Old Hope Road, only a taxi ride away from where I live, it’s got an impressive selection of fiction, non-fiction, Caribbean and international bestsellers. Plus coffee, cookies and comfortable couches.

They introduced Open Mic Night last year, much to the delight of the alt-teen crowd, first displaying poetry and occasional musical performances. Then somewhere along the line it turned into a kind of basement jam session (if you can call a brightly lit parking lot ‘basement’) for up and coming reggae-indie blend artistes.While I miss the poetry, I can’t complain about the quality of the performers. Most of time. I’m particularly delighted to have discovered Runkus (aka Paula son), a talented and entertaining Campion grad who performs his own self-styled genre of music called, of course, Runkus.

The last two sessions of Open Mic Night were vastly different. It’s like they read my review. Aside from the concert segment they allocated time to invite performers up to the stage giving them five minutes to share their art. No one really volunteered, but it’s the thought that counts.

They also stuck like glue to the time limit despite starting late, but I think it was poor judgement on the part of the MC. The last artiste was angry, rightfully so, (but also a little over the top) because they limited his set to one song.

Bookophilia: time is valuable, both the patrons’ and the performers’, so it’s only right that you treat us both fairly. Start on time (regardless of crowd numbers!) and that way you can end on time without ruffling feathers.

As it pertains to bring poetry back, every time I ask a member of staff they suggest I take to the mic myself. Perhaps one night I will. But until then, keep feeding us good music, coffee and literature.


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