Hey everyone Friday was my fourth successive day at the fringe and it was as bizarre chaotic and wonderful as the fringe always is for a host of different reasons.
As I arrived in Edinburgh I was approached by a mature pleasant looking man who tried to get me interested in a show on the First World war entitled Least We Forget. I politely but firmly told him that I couldn’t attend as I did not want to glorify war.
This led to a very interesting discussion on Britishness, Imperialism, and Scottish Independence. The man spotted my Yes badges and immediately proceeded to tell me why he was voting no. I told him I certainly would not be voting for a union which was corrupt, sectarian and well passed the sell by date. We debated the issue until I was satisfied that I had won on my terms by which I mean I had gained respect from my opponent and I then went on my way. There is I think a lesson to
be learned from this which is never underestimate me or I will make sure it comes back to bite you on the bum. Anyway, the debate served another purpose it fired me up to make sure I was at the top of my game for my planned performances at the Courtyard and Jibba Jabba.
As I walked down the mile I was in upbeat mood and this was I think reflected in my performance which was the penultimate one of another busy afternoon at the courtyard. Hosted by the ever amiable Tony Lawrence it was as we say in Glasgow jam packed and the bigger the crowd the more I tend to like it.
The day started in the traditional way with our host reading a poem to kick start the event. It was Tony Capaldi who seized the moment not to mention the stage and his chance to entertain us in his own unique way. Tony is always good value and this was no exception, you can always trust him to enchant his audience and he’ll never let us down.
Next to impressed was Pamela who delivered a brilliant set featuring poems on exercise, sex, and babies as I joked with her afterwards that was the perfect set in the right order. Well that’s how it happens you know, you do the exercise then you do the deed and that is as any biology teacher will tell you that’s how you make babies.
Next up to stage was an Australian poet named Jeff who read a poem called Quantitative Easing which he dedicated to Alastair Darling. This was the man to whom referred to as that financial genius who even on a bad night for his opponent could make Alex Salmond look good. This got a tut of disapproval from my long term sparring partner at this event Beverly Wright. I however backed him up by saying that he didn’t make Salmond look good he made him look world class. Anyway I enjoyed that poem and the rest of his set.
It was Beverly who was next up to the stage and she read a brief set before leaving for another engagement. This was a shame as I always enjoy her company as well as her poetry but alas it was not to be but I dare say normal circumstances will be resumed next year.
After Beverly it was the turn of Paul MacKintosh and Shalpa Ray to deliver sets themed on families and ethnic origins which included poems on war and death. In Paul’s case he concentrated on his Italian ancestors and Shalpa read about hair and her Bengali heritage.
Both poets are known to me from previous visits to the courtyard readings and both are poets whose work I hold in the highest esteem.
To follow poets of this calibre is a big ask but that it is what I had to do as was the poet to follow Shalpa. Since I wanted to make sure it was a high impact performance I decided to I read two of my poems which are always well received. I started with Tights Before Trident before moving on to my pro Independence poem The Quilt which I know to be a favourite of one of my favourite Edinburgh based poets Matt MacDonald and concluding my set with a poem written in memory of my mother and the loving but sometimes challenging relationship I had with her A Trans Daughter Remembers Her Mother. I’m glad to say that all three poems were well received by an appreciative audience who know their poetry.
Last man standing on this afternoon was Philip Hutton. Philip is he informed us a very keen supporter of better together and believes Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom which he claims has served us well. To illustrate his support for his cause he wrote a poem supporting it and though I strongly disagree with the sentiments expressed I did appreciate the fact his views were expressed with sincerity.
As Tony brought the curtain down on a lovely afternoon I chatted to Philip about his poem and recommended that he remove the references to Alex Salmond. I explained that this would give the poem a more current and topical edge and that since some of it is set in a time about 15 to 20 years from now Mr Salmond is hardly likely to be politically active let alone President of the Independent Scottish Republic that Philip fears so much therefore it will give his poem a much longer shelf life. It could be that it may be relevant for another referendum in 10 or 20 years time should we vote no this time as I think we would always certainly have one whether the unionists would want it or not. Much to my surprise and delight Philip said he would make these changes and he thanked me for the suggestions.
On leaving my fellow poets I went to the Edinburgh Central Library and joined it in order to submit my flatmate Janette’s fantasy football team in to a dream team competition. In the event I ran out of time so that would have wait till Saturday Morning the very last day for entries to the competition.
As I sauntered through Edinburgh I took in the sights and sounds of the grass market before eventually finding my way back to the mile and making my way to the final night of Jibba Jabba.
On arrival I was pleased to see that every seat was taken as I had really enjoyed my visit there the previous night. To mark her final night of Jibba and the end of her first ever fringe Jenny had assembled a top quality line up as well as leaving plenty of room for those who wished to rock the mic in the open stage section of the show.
The our headline acts were Davy Viney, Byron Vincent and the brilliant Liberty Hodes. Whilst I enjoyed all their sets I have to say I thought Liberty Hodes was outstanding, her dippy girl style was right up my street and her delivery was spot on. Of the open mic performers I yet again enjoyed the work of Chris Page whom I had seen the previous night and Mel Jones whose work had entertained me at Stand Up Tragedy earlier in the week.
I also enjoyed Australian duo Mel And Sue and there excellent poem I Like Chips which was a protest about the Americanisation of global and this case British culture, and Mab Jones whose poem Poor Queen was in my opinion the stand out piece of the evening and guess who had the job of following it? Yes that’s right yours truly. It’s a good job I was job ready and up for the challenge. My poem Night Shift seemed to go down well and I received several compliments on it at the end of the show. At this juncture Jenny invited me down to Newcastle to enjoy the real Jibba Jabba experience whenever I get the chance. I joked with her that I might need a passport to come down that far, she just giggled and said I might.
At the end of the show I had choice to make, go home for an early night or go to the Banshee for a quick diet coke and see what occurred thereafter.
Despite the fact it would have been easier to get to the bus station and go home. I decided such is my logic to go to headquarters aka The Banshee for one last diet coke. As is my want I got myself in to good company and eventually staying until half 9 when I made my way to the bus station and started my journey back to the village at the end of a day where sex war and fantasy football were very pleasant distractions on a truly capital occasion.
Love And Best Wishes