Hey everyone As we reach the end of the first month of 2015 it’s time to review my first Words And Music of the year. As some of you may know, the New Year Sammy’s has a unique magic due to the fact that on most years it is held in the festive season. This was the case this year and 15 gathered round the family table to raise their glasses to the traditional toast to good words, good music, and good friends.
Having drank the toast to Sammy’s I decided to first foot company though my choice of poem was shall we say unconventional. Well actually truth be told, it was a bit of a screw up as I couldn’t find the new year themed I had intended to read. Instead I kicked off with Last Night I Dreamed Of Economics. Though hardly seasonal, the poem did contain a wee a bit of seasonal goodwill towards TV and media personality Katie Hopkins whose tweets about Scotland and Ebola had got her in to some serious trouble with a very angry Scottish public. The poem, a political satire where debate with Katie a woman I am unlikely to meet on Sky TV a channel I don’t subscribe to was I think a slightly surreal way to start the year but I hope it did show a degree of compassion towards a woman who has taken a lot of abuse for what I consider an act of ill informed stupidity.
After reading the opening poem of the year it was time to introduce the first of the billed performers and what better way to start the year than with a little bit of music. This was provided by Frank Somers who was making his debut on the Words and Music stage and Frank sang two songs Chase The Dragon and Satellite Of Love and he sang them brilliantly. This I have to say is a performer I want to see a lot more of and someone who will I am sure be a welcome addition to our event.
Next up we had our first poet of the year and who better to filled that role than our very own prince of the preamble Pete Faulkner. Pete started his 2015 Words and Music by treating us to two panto themed poems. Oh yes he did, and not only that but he entertained us brilliantly with the Sleeping Princess and The Boy King. Pete in the best traditions of panto knew exactly where to stop with both poems and that was at the bit when he left the crowd wanting more.
Lesley McKay was next to the stage giving us a selection box of her best work. Lesley’s first gift was a gothic story entitled Threads which had her audience enthralled throughout. A born performer Lesley followed that with Promises Kept, a fitting poem to read at New Year when some of us are trying to focus on the resolutions we’ve made. This is in my opinion a stunning piece of work in which every word works and fits exactly where it should expressing the tenderness of love as it does so. Lesley then moved on to Lost In Perdition and completed an excellent set with Inne’s Lament before taking her seat to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Lesley is always a difficult act to follow but in February’s featured writer David Forrest we had a young poet who was more than capable of doing so. On this occasion David who is surely one of the rising stars of the spoken word scene read Mhairi which I have to say touched corners of my heart few other poems have reached. This was a very emotional poem, it was what I would call poetry in the raw and all the better for it
Next up it was the turn of Jim Ewing to take centre stage. Jim performed two poems the first one Different Sides Use The Same Language illustrates perfectly how easily people can fall in to political trenches and conflict, in contrast Jim’s second poem The Christmas Truce shows what happened when The British and German troops got out of their trenches on Christmas Eve 1914 to exchange gifts and play a game of football. Celtic and Rangers fans please take note, if there is hope for humanity even in war there can be hope for a better Glasgow and a better Scotland if the decent majority keep an eye on our more unruly elements.
Linda Grant was next on the list and I have to say Linda is one of the most improved performers at Words And Music or for that matter anywhere else in the last couple of years. Linda started her year with a seasonal poem on Mistletoe Magic And Menace and followed it up with Darling Daughter which was written for her highly talented daughter Louise.
Talking of highly talented the force of nature that is Chris Young treated us to a seasonal set, performing Before BC, the astonishingly brilliant Santa Rap, A Man In A Suit which I thought was both moving and hilarious and the excellent Stop Start. Believe me this set was anything but stop start, it was fast paced, high octane, and Chris at his brilliant best.
There was a time when Susan Milligan wouldn’t have dreamed of following Chris but now she’s got no worries. In her first poem Dictatorship Susan has a pop at the human rights record of Russian and North Korean presidents. I think someone bought her bravery pills for Christmas and she’s been double dozing on them ever since. Personally if this is the new Susan I like it and think she should get her bravery pills on the NHS. In her second poem she asks the question Do You Know Me? and even after almost four years on the scene I don’t think we do, well not yet anyway.
After the break only featured act as Andy Fleming was featured musician. Well featured multi-tasker would I think be a more accurate description. I mean this is Andy and whenever he has a featured slot he brings a little a bit of everything to the table. In this set Andy started with a touch of the blues his first song was the Howling Wolf number Down In The Bottom. This was followed by The St James Infirmary Blues, and War On Babylon, Andy then read a full page of Haiku, sang All Hail To Mediocrity, and Rock Jam, before finishing his set with Odin’s Declaration otherwise known as There’s No Mention Of The Clitoris In The Bible. This was a brilliant set which showed both the comic and serious sides to a very talented performer.
At the end of Andy’s set we had our traditional Words and Music raffle. This year there were more than enough prizes to go round and I think everyone got more than one prize and perhaps most importantly of all Andy Fleming won his now traditional mince pies and I as usual collected more than my fair share of chocolates. My thanks to all those who donated prizes to the raffle especially Pamela who invented this now annual tradition more years ago than either of us care remember and my flatmate Janette who despite having been through the hardest year of her life went out and bought a couple of gifts especially for the event.
At the end of the raffle it was up to me to bring the evening to a close. I did so by performing a set of three poems I started with To A Curry which is my take on the Robert Burns classic To A Haggis. I followed this up with Do I Look Good In This? On the trials and tribulations we girls face when getting ready for a night out and finished my first set of the year with the poem i intended to read at the start of the night. Brand New You is written for those of us and yes it’s a girl thing who are told by so-called lifestyle coaches how we can improve our looks and our lives. It is of course written with my tongue planted firmly in check.
As I ended my set I had a brief chat Andy before heading home after what I thought was a good start to Words And Music 2015. As always we will gather in that wee back which has been our home since April 1990 and believe me will that be a promise worth keeping
Love And Best Wishes