Hey readers.I never made it to The Blue Chair this week but I made it last Wednesday and this post tells the story of that night. It starts when I missed my bus to the city centre and that meant I missed attending my trans women’s support group. However, sometimes clouds really do have silver lining’s and this turned out to be one of the times. You see by the time the next bus came I had abandoned all hope of getting to my support group and decided instead to have a night of the finest quality entertainment by getting off the bus in the Merchant City and heading for The Blue Chair Cafe.
In what must be a rarity at any cabaret or words and music night I arrived early. This meant I was able to relax and enjoy that unique ambiance that only The Blue Chair can provide and makes this weekly Wednesday night a must for all whom can make it.
On arrival I found myself a nice comfy seat at the back of the cafe and away from both the door and the draft and as luck would have it I was seated beside Elaine Gallagher a fellow poet I had met at an LGBT poetry night earlier in the year. We were soon joined by the outstanding Anna Crow one of the most promising upcoming poets on the Scottish spoken word scene and optimistically we looked forward to a top quality night. Trust me when I say we were not disappointed and as is always the case I discovered some excellent new voices in addition to those now familiar regulars.
The night started in customary manner with our host Kieran singing the Blue Chair song to welcome us all to the night. After his opening number Kieran treated us to one of own his compositions which I think was titled was young, beautiful, and wasted before inviting Andy to the stage where he performed a set if three songs entitled Crazy, Sorry, and Latch and I have to say that easy listening acoustic performance was the perfect way to ease us in to the night.
If Andy’s set was mellow and relaxing what followed certainly wasn’t. What it was however was a well written, well performed story from Dave which told the tale of what it was like growing up gay in the industrial heartlands of North Lanarkshire in 1969. This was a story which was delivered with great sensitivity and the fact that it was written in Scots seemed to add the warmth of the feelings the main character shared for his forbidden love whilst emphasising the problems of the macho attitudes of the time.
Dave was followed to the stage by Elaine whose poems Treasured Position, The Astronaut, When Did The Future Go Away, Johnny Cyber, and Universal Controller, looked back at her formative years as well as asking what happened that it all disappeared so quickly. This was the first time I’ve heard Elaine read more than two poems and I must admit I really liked what I heard.
After Elaine, Craig played a fine instrumental set before giving the stage to one of the rising stars of the spoken word scene Anna Crow. Like me, Anna is a woman with opinions and it is because of those opinions that Anna has made it on to the Green Party Glasgow Regional List for next year’s Scottish Election. On this occasion Anna read three poems all of which show very clearly her vision of a fairer more inclusive Scotland. In the first of these It Felt Like A Party Anna relates how a day at the Fasslane naval base where she and along with her friends and many others demonstrated against the obscenity that is the Trident nuclear missile system brought about such a spirit of togetherness that it actually felt like a party rather than a political protest.
Having tackled one topical issue the bold Anna then went on to look another when she raised issues around mental health awareness with the excellent Ask Me If I’m OK in which she speaks with both clarity and compassion on an issue too many people would prefer not to talk about. Many well meaning types, would say that this was a brave poem to read out I say that attitude is doing a disservice to both the topic and more importantly the poem. This is not brave it’s necessary if we are to drag some people kicking and screaming in to the 21st century.
For her final poem in what was an inspired set yet again challenged her audience with the excellent Queer Is. In this piece Anna asserts her right and instead everyone else’s to be who we are and never to accept the culture of blame, shame, or stereotypes that so many with narrower minds than ours would seek to inflict upon us. This was in my opinion a brilliant thought provoking set which made me want to hear more from one of the freshest most promising voices tell on the Scottish spoken word scene.
At the end of Anna’s set l think we all needed some thinking time so the gentle melodic sounds of Joel and Ivan otherwise known as The Slow Ones was an excellent relaxing way to collect our thoughts whilst being taken to a place of calm for some chill time.
After being sufficiently chilled out it was time for some more top quality spoken word and who better to provide it than Blue Chair regular and all round good guy Jim Ewing. On this occasion, Jim (pictured below) shared some views of different views of Scotland’s two largest cities in Kelvinside From Hillhead, and Edinburgh Old And New. Needless to say, Jim’s performance was given a good reception from a highly appreciative audience.
Jim was followed to the mic by Dan who is shall we say a wee bit of a multi-tasker. Dan started his set with Artefacts Of Desire a poem in which he directly challenges the values of our materialist consumer society. Dan then moved on to showcase his talents with Just Like Another, before enchanting us with two songs The Night That I Strummed Hallelujah, and Love’s No Exception I Know to conclude an entertaining and enjoyable set.
Our next two performers Iain Paterson, and Gabriel Featherstone both tickled our funny bones with a bit of comedy. I think if memory serves me that this may have been Iain’s first time in taking the stage. If not , then I know he hasn’t been doing this for long and I think it’s fair to say he has potential. Gabriel on the other hand, has been performing stand up a wee while longer and is always the case any time I’ve seen him, gave an accomplished and polished performance. I have to say I particularly enjoyed his satirical songs I’m In Hell, and Trillionaire which exposed the British establishment’s vulgar must for greed and personal gain. Was I feeling smug about my vote in last year’s referendum you bet I was. Sorry no voters, but at least I can sleep at nights without the threat of being haunted in never ending nightmares
Following Gabriel (see picture)