Pound Shops, Pies And Politicians Were The Topics Of Principled Poets But When We Heard Of Death At The Turner Prize We Wanted To Know Who Done It.

Hey Readers It was a cold and frosty evening that first Monday of January when the Words and Music gathered in the wee back room for the first Words and Music of 2016. It was a small crowd with only 8 of us braving the winter chill to attend and apologies were noted from regulars Andy Fleming, Audrey Marshall, Chris Young, Derek Read, Jim Ewing, Shaun Moore,  Suzanne Egerton, and a fair few others.

One stalwart who was in attendance was cofounder and First Lady of the Words and Music family Pamela Duncan. Yes, three years after ‘ ‘officially ‘ retired Pamela was making yet another welcome visit to the place where she will always have a home. Well, it was New Year and there are according to Pamela certain New Year traditions at our club which have to be upheld.  Anyway more about that later it’s time to crack on with the review of what was a cosy and intimate wee night for those who managed to make it along.

As the occasion demanded I got the night and the year underway with a couple of winter themed poems which both illustrated the more serious side to my nature. I started with One In The Oven a poem which reflected on the fact that whilst we may not always enjoy our festive feasts particularly when we are younger and they are not of our choosing we should be grateful we had one some people aren’t always so lucky.
I then read Twelve a poem which focused on growing up during  the industrial unrest of the early 1970’s and how despite all the chaos going on around me I didn’t have a care in the world. 

As I ended my walk down memory lane I called on the first of the billed readers to the stage and it was Billy MacLean who took the floor to entertain the gathering. Appropriately, since it was new year Billy started his set with Glasgow Party as he recalled the new year parties of his youth. He followed that with a poem which really is every chancer’s rallying call entitled Every Lie I Tell Is The Truth. This light hearted poem on the theme of exaggeration may explain why so many Glasgow and West of Scotland children grow up believing that their  dad may actually be Superman. Billy then went on to read another poem on his youth with Sixties Teen before concluding a warmhearted nostalgic set with Pub Crawl which is something Billy will know all about, having spent time  working as a publican.

Having called time on his set it was only right that a man who pulled pints gave way to one of our regulars. The regular in question Pete Faulkner is a man whose poetry and storytelling is always one of the highlights of First Monday sessions. On the this occasion Pete read a extract from his noveld  which is written from the perspective of Christopher a young idealistic secondary school teacher. Since it was still the festive season he selected the chapter on the staff night out.   Though I’ve heard this chapter a fair few times before it never fails to make me laugh as a master storyteller relates tales of head teachers on the wine and second rate comedians. I have to say that this chapter relates to every staff night out I’ve ever attended even the passable ones. As you can probably tell I was never a fan of these nights but as for Pete’s writing well that is a very different story.

It was Lesley McKay who was next to grace the stage and Lesley who like Pete and myself has experience in the learning profession read highlighted an event which would occur later in the month and jokingly  claimed she had been stalked  by Burns, as she read  Fae The Lassies, Aw The Earth,  Words, and Death At The Turner Prize. This was a very enjoyable set and I must I really loved the last poem which depicted so well the social snobbery that Burns lampooned whilst among us. 

Next up Susan Milligan performed two poems Just Like Him and Sweet Sensations before finishing with the song Till There Was You. This was a good set and finished within the allocated time. This is stark contrast to her December set which though enjoyable ran way over the limit. However, this is a new year and it will hopefully see a new more polished Susan who won’t have the timing issues which have so often plagued her over the years.

As Susan went back to her seat it was Linda Grant who was next to the stage and was the final reader before the bar break. Linda who was making her first appearance at Words And Music read four poems Ray Of Light, Whose  Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? Body Dance,  and the one everyone seems to like, Darling Daughter.

After the break it was time for our featured writer and this year that honoured was bestowed on Fred Fingers who at his late 70’s or very early 80’s I’m not sure which ,  became our oldest ever first time featured writer Fred has a wide range of work ranging from The topical to the humorous and some of the worst puns in the history of civilisation.  In an excellent, fast paced set, Fred started with Who Done It, before moving on to The Pie Shop,  and very amusing 17 Socks. He then read Jabberwocky and followed it with one of my personal favourite poems of his titled So The Politicians Said in which he attacked the empty promises of the politicians of the First World War and every war and conflict ever since for failing not only the people of this country  but also the whole of  humanity for not finding a way to end wars as they had claimed they would.

Fred then followed this with a poem on The Verger a word I  have only  ever heard on Dad’s Army but I must admit to enjoying this poem more than I thought I would when he abounded the title of it. Fred. then an anti austerity poem The Affluent Society which spoke loudly and clearly to my liberal left leaning values. In his next poem The Biker, Fred told the story of love rivalry as two bikers wanted to date the same girl .Now I don’t know about you lot but I think to gain attention she must have been one hell of an angel. In his next poem our likable patter merchant told his story of The Pound Shop but not quite in the same way as Andy Fleming  the man whose comic song  inspired him  to write it. You see unlike Andy who took a tongue in check look at the products you can buy in such an establishment Fred wrote from a far more serious angle about how and in what conditions the goods were actually made that’s why
he gave this thought provoking piece the subtitle Slave Labour. 

At the end of this poem Fred became the first featured writer to have his sight interrupted to be resumed later in the evening as Pamela told the gathering it was time to draw the Raffle. well to be fair, time was moving on and  her taxi was arriving at 10. Since there were only a small number of us in attendance everyone was guaranteed to win a prize and at the end of the raffle we all ended up with two raffle prizes each. When my number was called I selected body lotion and other girly things as my choices So I have to say I was very happy at the result of my lucky dip.

At the end of the raffle Fred resumed his featured slot and delivered the final two pieces of what  was a very enjoyable set, with The Green Eye And The Little Yellow Pimple before finishing by reading the lyrics of a well known Glasgow song made famous by Adam McNaughton Oh Where Is The Glasgow That I Used To Know.

Having no featured musician it was up to me to conclude the evening’s events with the final set of the night. As it was the new year I had to read at least one poem on the theme of family and friends, so I started my set with Just Like The Waltons which provided my take on family life for those of us who grew up in the 1970’s. I followed this with another favourite on the topic of getting ready for a night out Do I Look Good In This? before finishing the evening with Twelfth Night a poem on the sadness I always feel when taking the decorations down at the end of the festive season.

As I made my way home from what was an enjoyable night I wondered what the future would bring us but as I went on my journey I couldn’t help but think that pounds, pie shops, and politicians were  the topics of principled poets but when we heard of death at the Turner prize we wanted to know who done it 

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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