Hey everyone Due to the magical mayhem that was Edinburgh I write the August review just as we prepare ourselves to get ready for the September edition of our event. That said this was the night which kick started a brilliant August and what I can only describe as my best fringe yet.
As the crowd gathered for a night of culture with a side order of lunacy. I was delighted to see one of our prodigal family members return home to the Sammy’s fold. Not only did JJ return he also brought along two of his daughters Samantha and Rebecca to give them a taste of the event in which both their dad and their late grandfather John J Turner Senior have graced the stage.
It was perhaps a fitting night for JJ to make his comeback as two of original golden generation Steve Allan and Andy Fleming were the featured writer and musician respectively. This meant that any chance of sanity had gone flying out the door faster than the speed of sound. It was in other words a good night to get the girls inducted in to the Sammy’s tradition.
As I kicked off the night I decided that it was only fitting she was now at the age to give her father nightmares that I dedicate the first poem to Samantha. The poem entitled House Rules is a list of rules with which I believe every woman should confront her potential partner before deciding if they should move in with them or not. Anyway judging by her smile Samantha seemed to like it and the night was off and ready to rock in traditional Sammy’s style.
After I opened the night it was time to welcome the first of the programmed readers to the stage. This month that particular fell to Fred Fingers who regaled the company with two of his tales. Fred’s first piece was The Lost Supper. This was both entertaining and educational and I have to say that anyone who takes the piss out of Rule Britannia is fine by me. As for his second piece So The Politicians Said I can only describe this poem with the following words moving, thought provoking, and brilliant. It was and I am not going to mince my words here a devastating attack on the horrifying futility of war and was made even more poignant as the event was held on the day on which 100 years before had seen the start of the so-called great war. This we were was the war to end all wars but 100 years wars still rage on and the chance of a lasting global peace seems about as likely as managing to clutch on to a single straw in the teeth of force ten gale.
After Freddie it was the turn of another storyteller Paddy Hannrahan to make a welcome return to the stage and as is always the case with Paddy he gave us a story which made us think and remember that every action has a consequence.
Next up was Susan Milligan. Now it’s fair to say that Susan has not had the best of times at recent Words and Music nights, but though she yet again ran over her time, this was a much better performance. In her set Susan performed two poems A Ticket For Anything Anywhere and Summer Dress before singing a song by Peggy Lee. This had audience singing along and capped a much improved performance which will give a boost to her confidence. However she does need to be aware that every time she over runs she eats in to someone else’s time. This is a mistake she cannot afford to make too often as it can begin to become a bad habit and once people establish bad habits they can be very difficult to break.
Our next performer on what was proving to be a very busy night was that one man force of nature that is Chris Young who was making a welcome and long overdue return to the family home. In an excellent set Chris entertained the company by giving just a glimpse to his world a world we can expect to see a lot more of when he takes the stage as September’s featured writer. In what surely was a tantalising taste of things to come Chris performed poems which showed his talent for social commentary starting with the highly amusing and very skillfully written Pretentious in which he takes the mick rather mercilessly of those who are too fond of airs and graces. Chris followed this with Do Not Judge Me, I Am Art which again looked a world in which social snobbery abounds, before moving on to his final poem Remember What You Will which left us with some pretty sobering thoughts.
Our next two readers brought very different ideas to the stage. Firstly Jane Overton a reader I am always pleased to see at Words and Music performed her parody of the Peter Sarsteadt song Where Do You Go To My Lovely?, after which Linda Grant who had forgotten to bring any of her poems read one of mine Do I Look Good In This? and if I say so myself she actually performed it quite well given the fact she was only given five minutes notice to do it.
Last up before the bar break was last month’s featured writer John McGlade. Known for using comedy to provide his social commentary on the world
John started with a look back at the Commonwealth Games and what the queen could have said in Alternative Baton Speech and I do have to say that one was very amused. Next up was the nautical tale of The Fish Eyed Lens. John then moved on to a brilliant take on the TV Show The Call Centre which I am sure could applied universally to call centres all over the world and finished with Keep It Unreal. Make no mistake this was quality from a man at the top of his game.
After the bar break it was time for our featured writer and who better to lift us out of our post Commonwealth blues than a man who a fine ambassador for both his city and his country during the games Steve Allan. In a brilliant set Steve took us from rants on Scotrail to reasons Why Poetry Is Better Than Sex. Amongst other topics covered in a 20 minutes which passed all too quickly were Different Types Of Poet. A Normal Poem outdated attitudes a subject tackled in his poem Anti-Clockwise and why the relatives of Daniel O’Donnell fans need counselling rather than mockery. As I said a quality set from a quality writer and performer. Well is a former winner of the Words And Music Championship and the Hughie Healy Memorial Trophy.
To Follow Steve is never easy at the best of times so I thought I would have a featured musician who also doubles up as a poet and there is no better multi-tasker at Words and Music or anywhere else for that matter than Andy Fleming. On this occasion Andy included such classics as Sing A Long Songs, Jesus Will Kick Your Sorry Ass. No Job Like A Blow Job, and the song which is so often his encore The Only Gay Eskimo. So I have to say we had two brilliant featured sets from two guys I’m proud to call friends.
Talking of friends, it was perhaps fitting that it was time to welcome the return of a friend who had been absent for far too long back to stage where he rightfully belongs and that friend was JJ Turner. Earlier on in the evening he was telling me that he and his wife are separated at the moment though he hopes this will only be temporary and this was the subject of his poem which had the incredibly long title Sometimes You Don’t Need A Referendum To Go It Alone. It was as I would expect from JJ a thought provoking piece of work daring to do that thing men usually find too messy in other words talk about their feelings. However to me at least, JJ has always been a liberal minded metrosexual kind of man though I don’t know if his daughters would agree with my assessment of their dad.
At the end of JJ’s comeback it was time to greet the penultimate reader of the evening and one of the runners up at this year’s Words And Music Championship David Forrest who gave us a short set before I brought the night to its conclusion.
This month I delivered four poems. The first two of which were political My opening poem was the Champagne Socialist. This was and I have no problem admitting it shameless playing to the gallery as I know just how much JJ hates the whole Tony Blair New Labour monstrosity. The second of my political poems The Quilt illustrates my version of how Britain became a dis united kingdom, why Scotland needs to vote yes, and how by doing so we can as families so often do after leaving home get along much better when we are not fighting for what we believe to be our share of contested space.
My final two poems saw me shift from politics to comedy and I’m sure reminded many of us of those crazy nights out you sometimes regret later but always enjoy at the time and as is always the case with these particular poems the Karaoke Queen and Every Saturday Night went down rather well.
At that the curtain came down on another Words And Music which with a crowd 20 of had it’s best attendance for a few months despite being packed in between Wickerman and the Fringe. This was a good crowd to send me on the road to Edinburgh with a spring in my step, and on a night when JJ Turner made his comeback two of his daughters made history by becoming the third generation of the same family to attend the event. Let’s hope they and there dad will back among us soon, well when history making girls hear those Sing-A-Long Songs they carry on family tradition
Love And Best Wishes