Poetry Politics And Protests Were Part Of My Journey Through June

Hey Readers

This post will take you to all the places I’ve been to and introduce you the friends I’ve seen during what was a busier than usual June for yours truly. Well as regular readers will know in involved in both political and spoken words scenes so im always kept reasonably well occupied though there was a time when these particular parts of my life would be taking a sort of semi break at this time of year with politics taking a post election hiatus till after the summer recess and the spken word scene kind of resting for a wee while apart from one or two staple events to allow poets time to prepare themselves for Edinburgh and the madness on the mile taht is was and ever shall be the fringe. This however is simply not the case anymore and as the selection of photographs illustrates this blogger has had a very busy month

Picture 1 features one of Scotland’s best young poets in the inimitable Molly McLachlan at Gordon Street Coffee House . This is a fairly recent addition to the west of Scotland cultural calendar and is run by the gifted young musician Caitlin Buchanan who just happens to be Molly’s flatmate. This was my first visit to this event and Caitlin created a relaxing atmosphere where everyone was made to feel welcome , included, and valued. I have to say though Molly was in my opinion the star of the show and when your sharing a stage with other rising stars such as Jade Mitchell, featured in Picture 2 and Liam McCormick the cool guy in Picture 3 that is no mean feat.
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Picture 2 Jade Mitchell at Gordon Street Coffee House
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Picture 3 Liam McCormick Rocking The Mic at Gordon Street Coffee House.

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The next night was the first Tuesday of the month and finally after a four month break forced upon on us by circumstances it was great to Words and Music back on the road as we moved in to our new home. The next few pictures in the collection show some happy and contented regulars as we settle in to our new surroundings at the Pollok Ex Servicemen’s Club hereby known as The Tin Hut.

Picture 4 Features our first featured writer at our new venue and a happy Carla Woodburn certainly was enjoying herself in the spotlight when this shot was taken.

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Picture 5 features two words and music stalwarts Alex Cuthbert (left) and 2012 Words and Music championship winner Steve Allan (right). As well as being top quality poets and storytellers they are good and valued friends to both myself and our community.

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Picture 6 Shows the company who gathered for our first night in our new home. As you can see there are lots of happy smiling faces as befits such a momentous occasion.

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Picture 7 Shows me and my mentor the first lady of Words and Music Pamela Duncan standing side by side in our lovely new cultural home. My debt to this remarkable lady is such I can never repay it, but for Pamela’s sterling efforts over more than two decades we wouldn’t have the legacy we posses. Put simply but for Pamela and her determination to keep the flame there would be no words and music.
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Picture 8 was taken at the Parkhead Forge as Team SNP campaigned to remain in Europe. However I feel I must quash two rumours about this photograph

(1) We are not The Spice Girls

(2) We were not campaigning to be Scotland’s entry in the Eurovision song contest.

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Picture 9 Was taken at a night I’d sooner not have needed to attend as I would sooner those who were Dancing In Orlando were still able to do so. However a madman with a gun had other ideas but I was proud of my city my rainbow and my fellow Glaswegians for the way we conducted ourselves at the vigil. Here you can see the Rainbow flag fly at half mast over our city chambers.
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Picture 10 is another from the vigil which sends Glasgow’s message to Orlando in one word.
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Picture 11 Is my last from the vigil where though Glasgow couldn’t quite get Kylie we got a damn lookalike and she spoke with the same accent having lived most of her life in Australia despite the fact she actually a Glasgow girl who has come home to the city of her birth for the love of another Glasgow girl.
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Picture 12 was taken at one of the best spoken word nights I have ever attended in 23_years on the spoken word scene. The night was Sonnet Youth which is run by the force of nature that is Kevin Gilday and the genius that is Cat Hepburn. This night had so many of my favourite people it was like the perfect family party.

The first picture in this collection is Picture 13 shows Katie Ailes in reflective mood as Alan Bisset , Michelle Fischer, and Liam McCormick chat in the background. This is what I mean I talk about the perfect family party what a collection of talented writers to be in the same place at the same time.
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Picture 14 Shows one of the hosts of this amazing evening Kevin Gilday ready to address the audience. You can always tell when a host has their serious face on and make no mistake this is the face of a man who means business.
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Picture 15 captured one of my favourite ever spoken word poets
and that is Jenny Lindsay. I’ve known Jenny for a number of years and like good wine her poetry just seems to get better every time I hear it and before anyone says anything I am not biased in any way, shape, or form.
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Picture 16 is of the other half of the hosting team for this event Cat Hepburn. Cat is one of a number of young, strong , female voices in the current Scottish spoken word scene and that is exactly what the Spoken word scene has been needing for a very long time. It is women like Cat Hepburn, Michelle Fischer, and Jenny Lindsay who will inspire the next generation of girls to become the new voices who speak their truths to power and for that the spoken word scene and Scotland will owe them a very significant debt.

Picture 17 was taken at the Extra Second event at the Blue Chair and features two amazing spoken word artists in Bram E Gieban and Bibi June. This picture sums up the old and the new at least it does in terms of the poetry as I’ve known Bram for more than a decade but have only got to know Bibi this year. How long I’ve known matters only on a personal level but in terms of talent and for the people I know them to be I am very proud that we in Scotland have such amazing talents whether they were born here or landed here by design or happy accident matters not one jot. Are you listening kippers?
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Picture 17 takes us to Seeds Of Thought and my third spoken word event in three nights. Run by Zimbabwean Scot Tawona Sithole this was my first appearance at the multi cultural feast that is Seeds for four years and it was as if I’d never been away and it didn’t take me long to realise what I’d been missing like the Spanish flamenco dancers.

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Picture 18 Shows a politician congratulating his constituents as SNP MP for Glasgow North Patrick Grady says a big well done to Maryhill Integration Network on winning a Britain wide award for one of the best integration projects in the UK
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Picture 19 Shows Tawona and Biggie playing Zimbabwean traditional music which so much a part of both seeds and the culture of the Glasgow creative community.

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My final stop on this tour is at the home of Irene and Colin Storrie whose annual McGonagall supper is always one of the highlights of this time of year. The event held in honour of the self styled worst poet in the world Scotland’s very own William Topaz McGonagall is always a celebration of all that’s good about the spoken word community. Though it does have to be said that deliberately trying to write a poem in the style of McGonagall is not the easiest job a poet could ever undertake. The final few photographs in this celebration not just of this event which has now been running for 11 years but of the friendships which bind us together.

Picture 20 Jim Ewing reads from the emergency stage.
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Picture 21 Poets keep a watchful eye on the proceedings from left to right Jim Monaghan, Derek Read , and Alex Frew.
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Picture 22 Andy Fleming reads from the work of the bard.
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Picture 23 The Host or should I say the Poetic half of the host couple Colin Storrie reads his McGonagall tribute poem.
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Picture 24 Three Wise Poets from left to right Lesley Traynor, Colin Storrie and Derek Read
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Picture 25 Alex Frew performs his epic McGonagall masterpiece McGonagall Wouldnae Die

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Picture 26 As the weather had improved we were able to back in to the garden and Andy Fleming looks very happy as he strums his guitar in the company of his new girlfriend.
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Picture 27 Sees Jane Overton in a relaxed kinda mood. Well it’s what the McGonagall supper is all about
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Picture 28 Sees Jim Monaghan get ready to launch in to his set on what we seasoned McGonagall devotees call the real stage.
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Picture 29 Have done their own turns earlier in the day Alex And Andy get ready to form Ayrshire’s most lethal double act and entertain the company with a few songs.

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Picture 30 Rosie Mappleback gets ready to read to the gathering.

Picture 31 The Traditional McGonagall fire which helps us conclude this annual Mid Summer event in the only way we know how. By gathering round it for poetry music and chat with good friends and kind hosts.

So that was my journey through June. It was a journey which as you would expect with took in moments of poetry, politics, and protest and made some wonderful memories I am happy to share with you.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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