Having had no Words and Music in March due to essential maintenance work at the club Jen and I were determined to make it an April to remember for all the right reasons. Well April is the birthday of our event and the night we celebrated our 29th birthday proved to a very enjoyable evening. That said this was as the occasion demanded a night which had its share of chaos. Well let’s be honest no good Words and Music ever is the same without a wee bit of madness and we’re not going to change a winning recipe for a fleeting appearance of sanity.
Unfortunately we suffered a late call from Featured Writer Gabriel Featherstone who got his dates mixed up and forgot he was featuring for us. However, this isn’t the first time this has happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Sometimes these things happen and there is nothing anyone can do about it. That said we still had an enjoyable evening as we made the best of what was unforeseen circumstances and in the finest showbiz tradition we got on with the show in only we knew how and that of course is with style.
As 8 o’clock approached I got the night under way by performing a new poem titled Bricklayer which I wrote in memory of the man I succeeded as host the one and only Hughie Healy. It may have taken all of 13 years to do it but I believe I’ve finally written a poem that does him justice and it was I think a fitting way to open our birthday celebration.
Having got the night under way it was time to call up the first of the billed readers and it was lovely to welcome Jo Hughes to our stage for the first time since August. On this occasion Jo shared a couple of poems on relationships the later of which was particularly heartwarming and one which I’ll take some inspiration not to give up love.
Jo was followed by Steve Allan whose self deprecating brand of comedy always goes down well at our nights and his anecdote about Two Women In Need really hit the spot.
Next up was our featured musician Ronan Doran. The music however would wait to later as Ronan is also a poet and this was his chance to share some of his poetry and Bull In A China Shop and Kinda Waiting were worth waiting for.
As Ronan went back to rejoin the company it was time for David Dobbie who like myself lives in Baillieston to make his Words And Music debut. Now David, who was invited along by one of our most experienced regulars my good friend Steve Allan after they had attended a comedy course together took to the stage and made it his own with an excellent performance as he entertained our gathering with a poem entitled Blossom and then much to my surprise belted out a song I Can Live Again and boy can this guy hold a note. This was a cracking performance from someone who in another incarnation worked in my local library. I was almost like watching the guy you knew as Clark Kent turn in to superman right before your eyes.
Next up was another Baillieston resident Mhairi Hynds who like David was making her Words And Music debut. In a promising first appearance Mhari performed three poems, starting with Cakes before moving on to a poem on Jessica Fletcher who is for those who don’t know the main character in Murder She Wrote which just happens to be Mhairi’s favourite TV show. Mhairi finished her set with a poem titled If Only and I couldn’t help but think if only we had more time we could have heard more of her work but I’m sure she’ll be back amongst us to share more poetry in the future.
Having had two debut performers it was time to call up one of our more seasoned regulars as we welcomed Derek Parkes to share his musings as only he knows how. Derek started his set with Dressing before moving on Temp, which he followed with the wonderfully titled and very entertaining Presenting Flamenco For Beginners after which he shared Redhead and Isreal before exiting the stage to make way for Mary Wilson to make her first apappearance of the year
On this occasion Mary read three poems Just Desserts, A Mother’s Love, and So Inconvenient and it was lovely to see her back among the company enjoying and being part of the evening’s entertainment.
On concluding her set Mary gave the floor to yet another debut performer at our event. Though this time it has to be said that our newcomer was someone I’ve known for a fair few years having seen him many times at Robin Cairns last Monday events firstly at Rio and then at its new home at Waterstones. This however was his first time at our event and it was indeed a pleasure to welcome Tom Devlin to Words And Music. Tom started his set with Fun, Fake News, and History. This was followed by Monday, and his excellent take on White Van Man , before concluding a cracking set with Talking To Ourselves. This was a long overdue debut from a writer who will I hope become a regular member of our team.
Next up was our very own Jen Hughes who on this occasion read two poems by Janet Paisley The Gathering and While Brooming and on our 29th birthday I found it very appropiate that my amazingly talented co-host read the work of our founding mother who planted the seeds were were to give birth to our event and hand it over to Pamela Duncan, who along with Hughie Healy, and Jim and Cathy Craig help it to flourish in to what we’ve all become a part of.
After Jen it was Jilly Gifford who took us to the bar break with an impromptu Limerick. This was as much of a surprise to Jilly as it was to us as she didn’t expect to be called but that was my mistake and I claim the ownership of it.
Having no featured writer this month it was the Featured Musician who brought us back from the bar and on this occasion it was Ronan Doran who filled the spot. With his easy going acoustic style Ronan who I first met at the Blue Chair has become a firm favourite with our crowd and it’s really easy to see why. Ronan (Pictured Below) started his set with A Cold Country before moving on to Excommunicate and my personal favourite of a great set Children Of The Night before concluding with I’m Always Here If You Need Someone To Keep An Eye For.
(Picture ) Our Featured Musician Ronan Doran
Now a lot of people may think that having completed his featured set and read some poetry earlier in the night that may have finished Ronan’s contribution to the evening’s entertainment. However, as we were slightly ahead of schedule we decided to take an impromptu bar break during which he played some tunes in which he was accompanied by Tom Devlin on the moothie. That’s mouth organ for anyone resident outside Scotland. Since this was going down really well with company I invited Ronan And Tom to take to the stage as a double act which they duly did as they performed a rousing rendition of Children Of The Night to start the third and final segment of the night.
As Ronan finally exited the stage in the sure and certain knowledge that he’ll go down in history as the hardest working featured act we’ve ever had it was time to get the next act up and that was Elaine Shade.
Elaine performed four poems starting with Memories then moving on to Blues Night and Bubbly Jock before concluding with Nice People Don’t in which she said why nice people should be doing exactly the opposite of what our privileged and I believe patriarchal society expects them to.
Elaine was followed to the stage by one of our longest serving regulars and Andy Fleming took us all back in time to the first night he attended Words And Music by performing the first song he ever shared in the wee back room at our old home at Sammy Dow’s the brilliant Part Of The Food Chain. For his second song Andy belted out Nostrafu The Vampire to complete his contribution to the night.
Andy was followed to the stage by his partner in rhyme, crime, music, and journeys home as it was time for Alex Frew to share his musings with the company. Alex started with Belle Star then performed a cracking piece called Geraldine before with his brilliantly demented rap Chunky Buttocks. I love this piece and it always has the audience in hysterics. Trust me it’s a real crowd pleaser and the audience lapped it up even those who like myself had heard it countless times before.
At the end of Alex’s set it was up to Jen and I to bring the night to a close and we did this by performing our final poems of what was an eventful and enjoyable evening. It was Jen who went up first, with Fuck Today her poem on the day from hell being her poem of choice. It was then left to me send the company home and like Jen I selected a poem which I knew would go down well with the crowd. Like Andy Fleming I also decided to pay my respect to our history by sharing the first poem I ever performed at a Words And Music and that poem was Every Saturday Night which relates the tale of how a woman sees the guy who believes he’s the local Casanova. This poem is one of my personal favourites and is 14 years older than golden girl who is now my co-host and it always seems to be very popular no matter where I perform it.
At the end of this poem we thanked our audience and participants for making the night what it was and yet another chapter was written into our history. With an attendance of 15 this was our highest so far and a good night was had by one and all. To me at least the April edition of our event is always that wee bit on the magical side and this night certainly lived up to that description as we looked to the future we honoured our past by acknowledging foundations built on memories.
Till next time