Harry Baker: World Slam Champion 2012, immaculate wordsmith and genuinely nice guy. It’s a rare sight to see people squeezing themselves into a tiny pub basement for a free spoken word event at noon during the Fringe, but Baker is having to clear floor space just to get his excited audience in. He does so with nonchalance and easy humour, ‘It’s a nice problem to be having,’ he grins calmly at the bustling audience. This influx of people may be due to his recent exposure on Radio 1 from Scott Mills, which has gained him some well-deserved attention.
Baker has some slick wordplay for you, and he’s going to rap it, sing it, change costumes a couple of times and totally disarm you with his self-effacing charm. He speaks about what he knows and balances nuggets of hilarity and self-deprecating anecdotes with moments of real sincerity. Just having finished a year of university, content is centred on Freshers week, german class, and joining unsuitable societies. Everything is brushed with a childlike enthusiasm, he laughs at his own puns, parodies boy bands and sings about board games and desert. The spell over the audience is tangible; mouths are open continuously, closing only intermittently to laugh, then falling open again. Every poem is delightfully different and he showcases a number of different performance styles. Although the teenager may not at first appear to be a hip hop star, he goes on to prove this assumption completely wrong; Baker knows how to hold a room and has hidden a poetic surprise around every corner. An impressive, intelligently written show from an exceedingly likeable young poet.
Baker leaves us with the message that he believes in people. Well, people should believe in Harry Baker right back; he’s an inventive and brilliant young talent who is definitely one to watch. See him now whilst there's still that little bit of floor space left to sit on, soon the crowds will be queuing out the door and paying through the nose.