Hey Readers At this time last week I was attending a party. It was a very special party, it wasn’t held to celebrate one individual but rather the first birthday of a very creative community at the Blue Chair open mic night.
Unusually for me at least, I arrived before kick off. This was due to the fact that I was given a lift to the venue by my friend Victoria who had brought her young son along to enjoy the evening in this inclusive and family friendly venue. On arrival I noted that the seats were filling up fast so we found a table and settled down for what was sure to be a party to remember.
The night kicked off in traditional Blue Chair by Kieron as our host sang his Welcome song. He followed this up with Dancing Dirty Dancing, and concluded a fine opening set with The Heart Of Wednesday Night.
Kieron was followed to the stage by Joel (pictured below) who performed four songs all of which had a blues like seductive quality which enticed the audience to listen to him and invited you in to his world. I really enjoyed Joel’s set and found his laid back manner to be very easy on the ear.
Next up was Victoria who performed three poems The Stray, A feminist poem entitled If Gender’s Equality, and The Dalriada written in memory of her grandfather. Whilst I liked all of the poems selected I have to admit that her first poem contained the line of the night and ‘ I partied in places that taxi’s don’t go to.’ sums up in a picture of certain parts of working class Glasgow with a really stunning image of the dark, dimly lit and dangerous places where nobody from outside the area would ever dare to venture.
Following Victoria is never an easy shift but Greg stepped up and gave us a set of four songs which put us all in a mellow mood. This was music to chill to and that was exactly what we did as we were taken to dreamland by a talented singer /songwriter I want to hear more of.
At the end of Greg’s set it was time for Lucy to entertain us which she did with interactive stories which went down much better than I thought they would. I make this point as I am not always a fan audience participation particularly in this genre but I’m glad to say it worked and worked well as Lucy is a talented performer with a very engaging manner.
Talking of engaging performers they don’t come any more engaging than our resident comedian Gabriel Featherstone
To celebrate our birthday Gabriel told tales of Oxygen in the Merchant City, Elephants Colon’s, and A very drunk superhero before singing a love song to Samantha and showing us a card trick which apparently went wrong not that I would have noticed the difference. but it was another excellent set from the man who describes himself as the Salvador Dali of extreme sexual competence.
Next up to the stage was Jamie a young comedian from Ardrossan who spoke to my condition. As a fellow Strathclyde graduate I wanted to Jamie to do well and I have to say the boy done good. With tales, lifts, and growing up in the wilds of North Ayrshire I was impressed by his talent and to told him so during the break.
Next up was another performer making their debut and like Jamie, Zander didn’t disappoint. I have to say, I really liked his song Boom and I hope to see more of him at future open mic nights.
After Zander it was back to our regulars and Molly (See Picture) did what she does best and woke the place up a bit with two brilliant poems The first of these, The Smartest Man In The Room which tackles head on the attitudes of a certain type of unreconstructed male and their inflated sense of self importance.
Molly’s second poem Neither Successes Nor Failures looks at the viciousness of contemporary societal values and puts them under the microscope for a detailed examination and trust me the patient aka Capitalism and/or British society does not escape from being given a very bad report as it is in much poorer health than some would like to think.
(The Wonderful Molly McLachlan)
Next up Anna Crow (See Picture) performed three poems two of her own Austerity, and The Role Of The Artist and a poetry cover of Kevin Gilday's The Man Who Loved Beer As is always the case Anna gave
a flawless performance which was entertaining and thought provoking as befits the style of an artist who is both passionate and principled.
(Anna Crow A Poet Who Makes You Think)
Anna was followed by Louise whose poem I Cannot Leave was a fabulous take identity on accents and the trouble they can cause for a Yorkshire born lass who now speaks fluent Glaswegian
Lucy was followed to the stage by Aidan Rivett who was runner up in the Blue Chair slam. On this occasion Aidan read Ben Jammin Franklin, Euphemisms, a poem on the art of love masking or as Aidan calls it Shagging. He then moved on to Silk Streets, and his poem on Bowie and finished with a challenging poem entitled Get Colour. This was an excellent set delivered by a poet who packs a punch.
(Aidan Rivett A Poet Who Packs A Punch)
Aidan was followed by our third debut of the evening and Drago and like the other newcomers this was also a man of calibre as he showed with material which was innovative and well performed Next up Gaynor and Kieron did a couple of Oasis numbers including Wonder Wall which was the Strathclyde University anthem of the mid to late 1990’s and brought back many memories for this blogger who was a Strathclyde girl
during those years. During an enjoyable laid back set they regaled us with Half A World Away before Gaynor (pictured below) sang With Or Without You, Getting To Know, and Bad For Each Other It was during this set I finally selected mine as guess who was next to be called to the stage.
In case you haven’t guessed it was my turn to entertain the gathering and my set of four poems was one of the most personal I’ve performed at the Blue Chair or for that matter anywhere else. I started with A Thorn Amongst The Roses which is a kind of love poem for all my younger lesbian friends many of whom see me as either an extra or replacement mammy. I then moved on to attacking the callousness of the Conservative Government with Self Service Cafe in which I lambasted the gap between rich and poor which has accelerated under their rule. In A Day For Donegal I illustrated my pride in my Irish-Scots identity and the importance of music and friendship in maintaining the culture I’m proud of. I then brought my set to a close with Mother Hen which is yet another poem on the maternal bond I have with certain younger female friends before finally returning to my seat. My set went down well with the regulars though I have to say I was initially heckled by a drunk who thought he was being entertaining rather than a pain in the ass. I don’t think he felt quite so good once I gave him his character
(This is me (Gayle, As A Gayle Force Poet Takes The Mic)
After me it was Andrea’s turn to take the mic and entertain us and just I was about to relax and make her contribution to the evening she was interrupted by the heckler and this time he wouldn’t shut up. So the inevitable happened and the drunk was rightly evicted by Lorell. After this ignorant intrusion by someone who had more ego than talent it was hardly surprising that Andrea cut her set shorter than I would have liked. I look forward to hearing her many times in future as I have in the past by which I mean without interruption.
As Andrea went hack to her seat Max treated us to a couple of songs but just as he was about to take his place amongst the crowd Kieron put the call out for the Fields. Now if like me you are a yes voting, Celtic supporting member of the SNP you will realise exactly what was meant by statement. Though initially reluctant do sing it Max couldn’t resist the unstoppable call and eventually The Fields Of Athenry was being belted out by the company and yet again when it mattered most I had found my singing voice. Now I don’t know why but a Rangers fan walked in with a face that looked he’d had a promise from a liar and told us that if Rangers fans were passing they might not take too kindly on hearing this and told me that they had their own version of this song. I told him I knew this and had heard it and just like his team I didn’t think much of it. Anyway Lorell dealt with him though it has to be said he was a much nicer guy than the drunk.
As things slowly returned to as near as to normality as is possible on a cabaret night It was Grace (pictured below) who achieved the almost impossible and restored a sense of calm to proceedings. You could say it was automatic and that funnily enough was the song she sang
(Our Grace Star Of The Blue Chair)
After Grace Christy performed Ciao Bella before Kirsty Nicholson See below was called to be the last act at the party. Needless to say Kirsty didn’t let us down well she never does but I confess I may be a wee bit biased with my opinions on someone who has established a very special place in my heart and claimed it as her own. On this occasion, Kirsty read a story from a nine year old on the topic of aliens and followed it with a song for her wee cousin before handing over to Kieron to finish the night as it started with a song
On a night like this when we had celebrated all that was good about Blue Chair Wednesday nights we also honoured all that was good about the Words and Music scene both in Scotland and beyond and Kieron (see picture) sang Closing Time to end the night in the traditional Blue Chair manner it is important to remember the words of Aileen MacKay that we are part of a community and that it is something very special birthday of which we should proud.
Needless to say I totally endorse Aileen’s comments 100 percent and i think we should remember the debt we owe to the owner of our venue the wonderful Lorell. It is due to her encouragement and support that we have built a creative community which is like a family of friends who all appreciate and value each others talents and abilities because without the woman pictured below we wouldn’t have such enjoyable Wednesday evenings.
As I relaxed at home in my wind down time I thought of the night and how much it meant to be a part of it. As I reflected on the event I thought on the many new friends I had made since attending my First Blue Chair Wednesday in early October and how much a part of my life they’ve become. Well when drunken superheroes were climbing wonder walls and a mother hen told the world she had dreams and songs to sing then I think it’s fair to say that we enjoyed this celebration and look forward to making many more memories in the months and years to come.
Love And Best Wishes